Google Glass Beta: Device Receives Mixed Reviews

Dennis Faas's picture

Google Glass blends advanced smartphone technology with your average set of spectacles. But people who've used the first batch of Google Glass devices say the technology suffers from a number of problems.

Google Glass is described as a wearable computer. It has most of the components of a smartphone, including an earpiece and voice-recognition microphone. The display is a tiny transparent screen that fits over one eye.

Google Glass allows users to carry out a range of functions, including taking photographs, carrying out voice-activated Internet searches, and acquiring navigation data.

The company recently released the first edition of the spectacles to testers known as 'Explorers'. Only selected individuals were given the opportunity to buy the $1,500 glasses.

Early Google Glass Reviews Raise Practical Concerns

Explorers recently got hold of their glasses and have begun posting reviews. While there's the usual variation of opinion, some common complaints have emerged. (Source:

Some of these beefs are purely practical. For example, Google has already said it will eventually produce a version that can neatly clip onto prescription eyeglasses.

However, early reports suggest a snug fit might not be the only issue: it seems some people with poor vision simply can't focus on a screen so close to their eyes, even when looking through contact lenses or their own glasses.

The current model also doesn't feature foldable arms. That's left some reviewers wondering how they are meant to safely store the spectacles when not in use.

Battery life also appears to be much lower than the advertised "full day". Reviewer tests suggest that ordinary use sees the battery last about five hours, while watching video can drain the battery much faster.

No PIN Lock Could Mean Security Woes

Reviewers have also highlighted the absence of a smartphone-style PIN code to "lock" the device. This means that if your Google Glass is stolen somebody else could access your account without permission.

Of course, finding out about such problems is the whole point of beta testing and it's likely Google will address many of the issues before the final version goes on sale.

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