A2 Basic US 109 Folder Collection
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These glasses will cost you $600.
They're actually smart glasses called Focals
made by the Canadian start-up North.
Focals are meant for everyday use,
and their main purpose:
to make you rely less on having to pull out your phone.
But these provide you notifications and other information
right in front of your face,
just like smartphones, but faster
and arguably more convenient.
But is it really as good as it seems?
I wanted to see if smart glasses
really will replace a smartphone
or if it's just all hype.
Watch out New York,
Alex has a pair of smart glasses.
So how do they work?
There is a holographic display
on the right lens that
shows notifications and
information directly from your phone.
This is all controlled by a
small ring called the Loop,
which allows you to navigate
and interact with your display all via Bluetooth.
Adam: The idea was, what can we create
that can be part of your everyday life
and seamlessly fit it into your life
and give you all of those benefits
of being connected to the world.
Alex: From the home screen alone,
I could check the time, weather,
messages, calendar notifications,
locations, and even my battery life.
Pretty much everything I could check on my phone,
well, maybe not everything,
just the things I wanna know right away.
It even has Alexa integrated into the glasses,
so you can ask Alexa questions through the
built-in mic and speaker.
Focals can even let you call an Uber.
You better believe we tried
all these features along the way.
First stop: getting fitted.
At North's showroom in Brooklyn,
they custom-fitted me and
even gave me a quick demo
of what I would experience
when wearing them.
A pretty unique sizing process,
measuring my head size,
width between my eyes,
and other measurements
to make sure the hologram
would perfectly align with my eyes.
The crazy part is they are just made for me,
so no one could see the hologram display
while wearing my glasses.
Gene: I hear little beeps
in my right ear, but nothing showing up.
Kara: Am I not looking in the right place?
Alex: After a few weeks,
my glasses were ready to be picked up
and sized for my final fitting.
I just got them, woo-hoo!
It is officially day one
of me wearing my Focal smart glasses.
I'm heading into the office
and mostly going to be
sitting at my desk during the day
just kind of performing simple daily tasks.
I'm going to just try and get used to
the look and the feel of these
and see how my first day goes.
I wanted to take my Focals
a step further today.
I figured it's day one, why not?
So I tried out the GPS feature
to get me from my apartment
to the PATH station.
Alexa, how do I get to the Hoboken PATH station?
Alexa: Directions to PATH station:
Hoboken on Hudson Place in River Road in Hoboken.
Turn left onto First Street.
Alex: It's kind of neat having each step
pop up, and then it will go away in about five seconds,
so it's not very distracting if
I'm walking or crossing the street.
And at one point I intentionally
wanted to make a wrong turn
to see if it would reroute me,
and it didn't, so that was like a little disappointing
and kind of shows that their
GPS is not so accurate.
I'm used to wearing glasses.
I do wearing them on a daily basis,
but after wearing these Focals
for a full day, my eyes do seem more tired.
Alexa, what's the weather today?
Alexa: In Hoboken, it's
6 degrees Fahrenheit with clear skies.
Alex: I just got to the office,
and I'm going to put my phone down for the day
and just rely on my smart glasses.
I was already informed that
when I'm sending a voice-to-text
message to one of my contacts,
a different number will appear
when they receive the message.
OK, so I did pick up my phone
just because I posted an Instagram Story,
but no more phone today.
I can't help it if my glasses
don't let me check social media.
Stay warm.
My eyes took awhile to get adjusted to the Focals.
At times they felt heavy, slid down my nose,
became loose, and I even had to make them refitted.
As my week went on, the holographic display
was very out of focus and even glitchy at times.
I even lost the nose pad, which kind
of threw off all the display,
and I couldn't really see anything.
So I ended going back to the store to get them realigned
and tightened to fit my face.
Let's just say day four was the true test,
when I tried calling an Uber right from my Focals.
Jay Street Subway station.
I have the option to walk or Uber,
and we are going with Uber.
This Uber is six minutes away,
and it's $8.
Looking for ride!
It's a little complicated ordering the Uber from my Focals.
I did have to bring out my phone just to kind of see
some of the notifications
from when my driver's arriving.
It's kind of neat. It is giving me updates throughout
my ride, and it's saying I'm three
minutes away from my destination.
I tried texting and responding more
and even using my calendar with the glasses.
Schedule a meeting for tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.
I ran some errands and asked Alexa to guide me
to the local grocery store.
Alexa: Would you like directions to Organic Basic Food
LLC on 204 Washington St. in Hoboken?
Alex: Which wasn't an easy experience.
Before I knew it, my journey into
the future of tech had come to an end.
After a full week of wearing my Focals,
here are my final thoughts.
As for the comforting fit of the Focals,
they were really uncomfortable at times.
They felt even heavy, and they would slide down my nose,
so I had to kind of keep pushing them back up,
and just really bulky on the sides.
Alexa was not very effective
when I was in a loud or noisy environment.
She couldn't easily connect and understand
the commands that I was asking her.
This just became really frustrating sometimes,
and I wanted to just pick up my phone.
The holographic display wasn't super clear
and easy to see in the sun, so
I often used my sun clips.
As for the Loop, it died a lot faster
than the Focals, and that could've
just been because I was navigating
most of the time with the Loop.
But the good part was I was able to get
all my notifications on my Focals,
and I was a lot more hands-free
and relied a lot less on my phone.
North has a lot of great features so far,
and they have a lot more to kind of grow
and integrate into these Focals,
but it would be nice if I could
play my music on them, maybe even pick up a phone call,
and watch some videos.
Since trying them out, North has added
a few new features like music controls
and transit updates to the Focals.
But it's going to take a lot more
than telling it to skip to the next song
before it's a must-have device.
My overall rating for the Focals
would be 3 out of 5.
Personally, I did not find them
to be an ideal everyday wearable.
I'm not really a techy person,
but it was a really nice challenge
to wear these smart glasses for a week
and step into the future.
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I Tried $600 Smart Glasses For A Week

109 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on May 2, 2019
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