RealWear HMT-1 AR Headset Review

RealWear HMT-1 AR Headset Review

15-06-2020

In this article we’ll review the RealWear HMT-1 AR smartglass which was launched in 2017. The RealWear HMT-1 rapidly became the market leader in the industrial smart glasses category. Leaving its competition behind by creating a very focused product specifically aimed for remote expert use cases. In the first quarter of 2020 competitors Microsoft and Vuzix launched the Vuzix M400 and the Microsoft Hololens 2 to regain market share. Therefore, it’s time for an extensive review of the RealWear HMT-1.

In this RealWear HMT-1 review we’ll compare the quality in 5 area’s: Camera & Display, Comfort & Durability, Software, Hardware & Navigation.

RealWear HMT-1 camera and display

The RealWear HMT-1 is equipped with a full HD camera that can film at a stable 30 frames per second. In general, the camera quality is more than sufficient to provide remote support to somebody wearing a RealWear HMT-1. Further, the camera allows you to take a high-resolution photo at 16 megapixels. In comparison, the new Iphone 11 has a 12 megapixel camera. So in case you need a detailed image, the RealWear HMT-1 has you covered.

The RealWear HMT-1 display is located in front of one eye (left or right) and the viewing angle can be easily adjusted. The display is small and therefore it can be hard to see detailed information. When using the RealWear HMT-1 it is important to position the display at an appropriate angle and distance in front of your strong eye. Otherwise detailed information or reading documents can become a difficult task.

Pro’s

– Good video quality

– Great photos

Con’s

– Small displays make it difficult to interpret detailed information.

 RealWear HMT-1RealWear HMT-1Z1Vuzix M400Vuzix BladeHoloLens 2
Video Quality1080p 30fps1080p 30fps4k 30fps720p 30fps / 1080p 24fps1080p 30fps
Photo Quality16 MP16 MP12.8 MP8 MP8 MP
Camera FOV20 degrees20 degrees16.8 degrees19 degrees52 degrees
Display TypeLCDLCDOLEDWaveguideWaveguide
Display Resolution854 × 480854 × 480640 x 360480 x 8532048 x 1080 (per eye)

Comfort and durability of the RealWear HMT-1

The RealWear HMT-1 is the most rugged smart glass in the market and specifically built for rough industrial environments. The frame of the RealWear HMT-1 is very firm and can even handle a 2 meter drop without issue. Furthermore, it can handle strong jets of water and dust exposure as it is IP66 rated. Also it is possible to order the ATEX approved edition.

Wearing the RealWear HMT-1 is relatively comfortable. It’s easy to put on and remains stable on your head. For increased comfort, we recommend purchasing the RealWear HMT-1 Workband as it divides the weight of the RealWear HMT-1 more equally. Regarding the display, It does require some time to get used to.

Finally, you can easily turn or reposition the camera and display separate from each other, so the remote expert and you both have an optimal view.

Pro’s

– Built for industrial environments.

– IP66 rating

– ATEX version available

Con’s

– The small display can take some time to get used to

 RealWear HMT-1RealWear HMT-1Z1Vuzix BladeVuzix M400HoloLens 2
IP RatingIP 66IP 67N/AIP 67N/A
Water ResistantYesYesNoYesNo
Dust ResistantYesYesNoYesNo
Fall Resistant2m2mNo2mNo
Weight380g430g90g190g566g
ATEX certificationNoIntrinsically safeNoNoNo
Mounting OptionsHard hat mount

Headband mount

Head-worn

Hard hat mount

Headband mount

Head-worn

Head-wornHard hat mount

Headband mount

Glasses mount

Head-worn

RealWear software

The RealWear HMT-1 runs on an Android 8.1 operating system. This has two advantages. First, the user interface of the RealWear HMT-1 is very similar to an Android tablet, which makes it intuitive to operate the RealWear HMT-1. Second, it is possible to manually install Android applications (.apk). Not all Android applications work smoothly, so testing is required.

Foresight is RealWears cloud environment where devices are registered and managed. In Foresight a RealWear device can be assigned with “Policies”. Policies can be created in Foresight and consist of a number of applications you would like to have installed on your device(s). Applications can be selected from the RealWear application catalogue in Foresight. It is also possible to upload your own application into Foresight and then publish it via a “policy” to the devices.

In general Foresight is easy to work with. It takes some time getting used to creating policies instead of directly working per device, but especially with a large pool of devices the advantages of working with policies soon become apparent.

The largest frustration from working with Foresight is waiting for the devices to update, this should happen automatically, but sometimes can lead to an error screen. This can lead to frustration, so start in time and ensure enough time is planned in for the installation!

In general most remote expert software platforms support the RealWear HMT-1. A unique possibility of the RealWear HMT-1 is that it is also possible to use Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is officially still in pilot on the RealWear HMT-1, but if you have a existing Microsoft Teams account you are free to use it.

SoftwareRealWear HMT-1RealWear HMT-1Z1Vuzix M400Vuzix BladeHoloLens 2
Operating systemAndroid 8.1Android 8.1Android 8.1Android 5.1.1Microsoft Holographic OS
App storesForesightForesightVuzix App StoreVuzix App StoreMicrosoft Store
Argus Yes Yes No NoNo
Remote EyeYesYesYesYes 
Microsoft TeamsYesYes  Yes
Microsoft Remote Assist 365NoNoNo NoYes
Teamviewer PilotYesYesYesYes 
FieldbitYesYes   
UbimaxYes Yes   
Zoom  Yes Yes  

Hardware & accessoires for RealWear 

The RealWear HMT-1 is one of the best performing AR smart glasses with regards to battery life. The RealWear HMT-1 comes with a 3250 mAh hot swappable battery, in practice this means that you can use the RealWear HMT-1 non-stop for around 6 hours. Then without much hassle swap in the new battery for old giving you another 6 hours. It is important to know that you need a special 6 battery multi charger to be able to charge the batteries back up externally.

Operating the RealWear HMT-1.

Controlling the RealWear HMT-1 is done with voice commands. With a variety of voice commands you are able to navigate through the RealWear HMT-1. The voice recognition is one of the best in its field because of the four microphones integrated.

The voice recognition even works in noisy environments due to its noise cancelling technology. You will get used to the voice commands in no time and it will feel very natural. The big benefit is that you really keep your hands free at all times.

In total the RealWear HMT-1 supports and recognizes 12 different languages. There is no other option to control the RealWear HMT-1 then with voice. This can be unhandy when forgetting the voice commands. In case you forget the commands you say  ‘show help’ to show the available commands.

The memory of the is pretty standard , with a total of 16GB of internal storage. The memory can easily be extended with a SD Card up to 256GB.

Pro’s

– Long battery life

– Super high quality voice recognition

Con’s

– Basic memory (16GB)

– Only operational with voice commands

HardwareRealWear HMT-1RealWear HMT-1Z1Vuzix BladeVuzix M400HoloLens 2
Type of navigationVoiceVoice Voice & TouchpadVoice & TouchpadVoice & Gestures
Audio Jack3.5mm jackNoMicro USBNoneNone
Charging portMicro USBMicro USB & USB-CMicro USBUSB-CUSB-C
Data PortMicro USBMicro USB & USB-CMicro USBUSB-CUSB-C
Built in speakersYesYesYesYesYes
Speaker volume91 dB91 dBN/A97 dBN/A
Built in microphonesYesYesYesYesYes
Memory16 GB16 GB8 GB64 GB64 GB
SD Card slotYesYesYesNoNo
Battery Capacity3250 mAh3400 mAh 1000 mAh 
Swappable batteryYesNoNoYesNo
Processor2.0 GHz 8-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 6252.0 GHz 8-core Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 625Quad Core ARM A538 Core 2.52Ghz Qualcomm XR1Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform
GPSGPS, GLONASS, A-GPSGPS, GLONASS, A-GPSNoGPS/GLONASSN/A
BluetoothYesYesYesYesYes
ViewMonocularMonocularMonocularMonocularBinocular

Conclusion

A clear focused vision in combination with smart product design makes the RealWear HMT-1  best in class for remote expert use cases in the industrial environments. First, the high quality voice recognition and the comfortable fit ensures that you can keep your hands free at all times.

Second, the Foresight environment shows that RealWear has a good understanding of what enterprises needs are for full scale deployments within their organisations. Finally, the RealWear HMT-1 is very rugged and durable which makes it feasible for implementation within any industrial environment.

You can buy the RealWear HMT-1 or contact us for feedback and questions at info@vr-expert.io. 

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