Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Google Glass Explorer Edition

Well, i can't say much on the back story except i've wanted this for a long while, then i saw a chance to get it at a good price, then i bought it. £800. But with a speedy delivery and the product looking pristine, it was a time to give it a review. Enjoy a video review. The blogpost will go into some more detail than what might be shown.

The packaging and contents.

So this is quite a wide box as well as a very plain design, of course with googles design and font but very basic. Which might put people who didn't know what this was off, but with the explorer edition, it is a very niche product, so the packaging shouldn't be something to be focusing on. Yes, the contents isn't as much as you would expect but it all fits in nicely. You get with this: 
  • Google Glass 
  • A pouch which is hardened to give it extra protection 
  • 1 small mono earphone for better communication with busy areas 
  • some nose handles which are different sizes
  • a pouch with a quick FAQ and also the above (it was always in the pouch)
  • A unique style micro usb cable (thats all, no mains charger with the item)
XE - eXplorer Edition

A Blank side

Glass at the top of the box

The opposite side of the XE logo which has all the trademarks, EAN codes and serial numbers

Unrelated note, as i was reviewing this, my cat decided to play with a bag 

The bottom of the box

The inside of the top of the box, which explains how to set the thing up

Glass itself. With all the labels of what each button does

Underneath the space glass is, is the cable and the pouch which includes the FAQ and spare nose buds

A short guide on how to use the pouch

This is the guide of how to use the mono earpiece, with the top side of the earpiece

The bottom side of the earpiece, yes its also a micro usb connection

One side of the pouch, the top is where my thumb is 

The other side, there isn't any difference 

The spare nose pads with different sizes

Part one of the FAQ

Part two of the FAQ. 
Now this was quite a fair bit, with CLEAR instructions which is a bonus for anyone new to this type of this, (yes that is including me). But it was ina a amazing condition and well its nice to see how much effort google has put in for this product, even if it technically a beta (not fully finished).

Glass itself and setting up

So. Glass looks nice, but did it feel right, well i can say. Sort of, it wasn't a too loose fitting but it was so tight that it blocked my nose, which is a good thing but in high action situations, it could prove dangerous. to both me and glass. Also GLASS IS NOT WATERPROOF. So just be careful of when it rains. There was actually something in the FAQ saying about scuba diving, which made it clear its not waterproof.
A look at glass from the top left

#GoogleGlass #selfie
So with it fitting and all, setting it up was not too bad. Sure i had to make the battery charge, but you need to have it turned on before you can (No offline charging). Which while i left it off during lunch, it was not charging. 

After a tutorial on how to use the touchpad and also using MyGlass to pair it up. It was done via bluetooth, it did look like it was going to fail, then it worked and connected to my main gmail. No problems there. Then when i took a photo, the app on my phone let me know there were photos taken. 
The app on my phone (yup the zp810) it was quite clean looking. 
Also the lockscreen is simple to use and you can control the interface with either voice or with the touchpad. You can just say "ok glass" then it lists you some of the options to say what to do. Searching google, call someone, check the battery (with an app in glassware), take a photo, record a video and much more. Oh and you can get twitter and facebook for this, i've not tried it yet but i might do soon. But i'll list what apps i DO have on there below:

The apps i've got installed on there. 

The photos and videos.

Now this is one of the cruical things i wanted google glass for, which will help my vlogs look better. and from what i've done on glass currently....they do.  The pictures are not 16:9 which is a slight pity but i can't do much from there without a launcher and a 3rd part camera, which i'm not ready to do just yet. But the video is a nice 720p, the audio is ok but i do here some distortion, but nothing to be shocked about. I'll show you details of the quality and the images below:

The first image with google glass, this was done while recording the review

This is the info of the above file

Another indoor pic

The details of the above pic

A pic of the garden
Details of the above pic.
Now the video quality is pretty good as well. 720p at 4mbits (DVD quality some people would call it). Now here is a instagrammed clip and the details of the original file before uploading. 

Oh and at this point, if you copy the orginal file from google glass to an android phone then upload to instagram. it directly accepts it and uploads it. So NO conversion required. Sadly since its too good of a quality for snapchat sharing, you have to convert it.
Info for the orginal clip before it was instagrammed 

With that in mind, it makes importing to video programs like iMovie and Movie Studio easy to use with less hassle. Again, you might hear some distortion in the audio, which is a very minor flaw, also there is no light on the front, so there isn't a torch function to use.

The Potential.

With this you can do alot more than what people think it can do. The Glassware store has plenty of unique apps which either are games (including a Zombie running game) to fitness apps to even the news, the actual news of NYT or even the Guardian. Since this is running a variation of Android 4.0.3 (If you notice the guide on setting up sideloading, it mentions 4.0.3 ). There is a fair whack of apps that can load that even though are not supported, they might run. There are alot of test but i will check on what it could run soon. Since there is a touchpad, navigation isn't too much of a problem with apps from the normal playstore (to a degree). But there are some apps that need to be added. Such as an app for Airplane mode. Now this isn't for that exact reason (going on an airplane) but it does give it the best battery life if i want to get decent vlogs on this.

Installing adb wasn't too bad, Following this Guide was simple. But when it came to getting the drivers for glass installed, that turned out to be simple too, but adb just wasn't recognising it, uninstall wiping the drivers and reinstalling from windows update worked. But then it was the trouble of being unathorized. Which then finding THIS had made it work. Also i found a good screen monitor for Android in General. ASM its called.

Sadly after various attempts, i was unable to get airplane mode to work. Maybe since XE21.x is out, it might be too new for the Airplane mode app and even Launchy doesn't work properly, it won't let you change apps via the touchpad at least, voice it might be but i was quite quiet. But its things like this that give it alot more potential.  

The Part conclusion. 

So with the device working, the design looking neat, the features slightly packed and the quality of content is pretty high, it is sort of a vloggers ideal, with easy record features, as well as a personal assistant right within eyesight. But the cost is the most putting off factor, which if i didn't save up enough, i would of avoided it altogether. With that being a major gripe, it sometimes makes you regret forking out for it, but it will change my mind when its put to good use. 

The Pros: 

  • Slick design.
  • Easy to use.
  • 720p recording.
  • Pairs with your phone so you can call and text people if need be via bluetooth or wifi. I noticed my texts appeared without me realising.
  • Quite nice fitting on the nose to keep it stable.

The Cons:

  • Relies on a network connection thats reliable, with tethering to phones or wifi. 
  • No GPS, so you can't have tracking software without the above.
  • no 16:9 picture option.
  • You might get evil or weird looks or even kicked out of some places (not confirmed)

With all this in mind. I'm considering giving it a 6/10. But this will give for some amazing FP (First person footage). Firework displays will be easier to capture the moments and it could also be like having your friends always there for you. 

Lets see what the future with glass has in store for me.