Xreal’s cheap smartphone-like gadget solves the biggest problems with AR smart glasses

Xreal has unveiled its latest gadget at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2024 XR industry showcase, but it’s not AR smart glasses: it’s a smartphone-like device called the Xreal Beam Pro.

The Beam Pro is a successor to the original Beam adapter and solves many of the issues I’ve had with this generation of AR specs – and it’s surprisingly affordable.

The upgraded Beam Pro is an all-new Xreal goggle attachment that is compatible with the Xreal Air and Xreal Air 2 models, including the Pro and Ultra. Simply connect it to your specs with a USB-C to USB-C cable and they turn into bona fide spatial computers running Android 14 and NebulaOS (Xreal’s proprietary operating system).

You can control what you see on the Xreal glasses using the Beam Pro’s 6.5-inch LCD 2K touchscreen. You can also use the screen as you would on a smartphone to manage Play Store apps and adjust your settings, and the dual 50MP cameras on the back let you capture spatial imagery and 3D video at 1080p and 60 fps.

(Image credit: Xreal)

Best of all, it costs just $199 / £189 for the 6GB RAM / 128GB storage model, while the 8GB RAM / 256GB storage model costs $249 / £239. Pre-orders are now live on XREAL.com for the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Netherlands; availability and prices for Australia are not yet known.