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Xreals' new Beam Pro is an Android tablet designed to work in conjunction with AR glasses.

Xreals' new Beam Pro is an Android tablet designed to work in conjunction with AR glasses.


Xreal has made a name for itself with its amazing-looking augmented reality glasses, which put a display in front of your eyes, allowing you to watch TV or play games on a giant screen projected just for you. But unlike, say, Apple's Vision Pro or Metas Quest 3, Xreal doesn't have any software or content built into it — it's just a screen inside the glasses. This is great in that it lets you connect lots of other devices, but it limits the kinds of things you can do with the glasses.

The new Beam Pro is Xreal's latest attempt to fill that gap. It's a handheld device about the size of a smartphone, but Xreal thinks of it as a companion to the glasses. It runs a customized version of Android 14 that Xreal calls NebulaOS, and you should be able to load most apps onto the face screen. There's also a dual-lens camera on the back that can shoot spatial and 3D video for viewing on the glasses. (Or on the Vision Pro; Xreal says Beam Pro footage can also be played on Apple's headset.)

The specs here are pure smartphone. The Beam Pro has a 6.5-inch, 2400 x 1800 screen, runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (it's unclear which), and has 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage. The cheapest model is $199, but you probably won't want it unless you're willing to shell out a few hundred for Xreal Glass.

However, there are some obvious signs that this is no ordinary Android phone. First, there's the dual 50MP camera, which isn't common on smartphones these days. The Beam Pro also has two USB-C ports, so you can charge the device and connect to the glasses at the same time. Android's NebulaOS tweaks are all about AR, too, and when you connect the glasses you can use the Beam's screen as a touchpad. The device is also designed to open two apps side-by-side in your field of view. When you first connect the glasses, the app's home screen will pop up, and you can open and interact with it using the Beam Pro as a remote.

When you connect Beam Pro to your glasses, the Android app appears in front of you. Image: Xreal

The Beam Pro looks like a big upgrade over the Beam, which was basically just a remote control for the Xreal glasses. While the Beam certainly solved a problem for Xreal owners, it did have some issues. Many reviewers and users found it clunky and unreliable, and Xreal struggled to explain to users why it even existed in the first place. The screen makes the Pro much easier to use, and the camera makes it more than just a poor smartphone replacement. Of course, you can still use Xreals glasses with a Steam Deck or by connecting your smartphone, but this feels like a more integrated approach.

Xreals' approach is far less integrated than that of Apple or Meta, both of which are determined to put an entire computer on your face. But there's something clever about what Xreals is doing: using a fully mature device category to do all the hard work and put as little strain on your face as possible. For now, at least, it seems like a smart strategy.

Xreals glasses can still be connected to smartphones, but now they also come with their own device. Image: Xreal




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