Yesterday I had a chance to try out two of the "better" head-mounted displays, the Avegant Glypth, and the Moverio BT-300, and I'm disappointed to say that neither is quite ready to be a desktop replacement.
I write smut. As you can see from my office, I often write in public, and as public transportation has gotten much more reliable, it has also gotten much more crowded. I'd like to have a heads-up display that I can reliably use to write in public without having to share my thoughts with the person sitting next to me.
The Avegant Glyph is an entertainment headset. There's no two ways to put it. It's a bit like sitting in the middle of a theater, and for my vision a bit too far away from the screen. It's fine for watching movies, but it lacks the resolution and close-up vision work necessary to make it a desktop replacement. It does, however, have an HDMI input line.
The Moverio BT-300 is at the other end of the spectrum: it's a workhorse. While you can see through the bifocal screens, if you focus on the screen it looks great, the resolution is high and crisp. The glasses are a bit odd looking, but nothing too horrific.
Unfortunately, the Moverio isn't a display; it's a full-on Android box with its own set of software and apps. One of those is Mira, an HDMI-over-WiFi standard that I'm told works pretty well, and in that case I could theoretically use it as a second display for my laptop, but the chipset in my laptop is too old to support it; I'd have to spring for a second WiFi dongle to support the WiFi Direct standard. That's not horrible, but it's annoying. On the other hand, if it works I could wear the BT-300 and I could probably figure out how to make it automagically mate with the laptop on-demand. I managed it with my bluetooth headphones, even thoough that actually took some hacking.
Still, I don't think head-mounted displays are really ready for the present. And that disappoints me. Maybe with the next generation Moverio, or maybe the new ODG R-9, will fit the bill. For the moment, though, I guess I'll just have to wait.
Sad, but true.