Nreal is launching its stripped down Air glasses in the US. The Nreal Air glasses are available on Amazon. The original glasses are compatible with the iPhone, but only with a $59 accessory. The Chinese startup is racing Apple, Meta, and other tech giants for the growing niche of augmented reality.

The Nreal Air glasses are less expensive than the Nreal Light. The Nreal Light is a bulky pair of sunglasses, but they come with more modest capabilities. The Air glasses only track a user's rotation, unlike the Light which uses cameras to track movement. Nreal says they will consume 50 percent less power than their full-featured counterpart and their field of view is a little narrower at 46 degrees.

A woman using the Nreal Air with a MacBook on a plane.
The Nreal Air with a MacBook.

The Air is meant to be a place for people to watch streaming services. Nreal says they offer the equivalent of watching a 130-inch screen from three meters away or a 21-inch screen from a distance of six meters. You can also play games on your phone. Unlike a virtual reality headset, Nreal's glasses project images in front of you without blocking the rest of your vision.

The Light allows users to mirror the screens of laptops and officially supported Android phones, and the new adapter officially offers mirroring for the iPhone. Nreal is launching a macOS version of Nebula for MacBook Pro and Air computers that use Apple chips, which will allow you to project multiple displays around your laptop.

We had a mixed experience with the Nreal Light, but they worked well as a private big-screen TV. The Air offers most of the features we liked at a much lower price, and although losing sophisticated tracking is a real downside, they also remove some of the privacy concerns around augmented reality glasses.

The Air glasses might have the same issues as the Light because of the lack of Nebula support. Nebula doesn't officially support most popular streaming apps, but you can bookmarks them in its augmented reality browser, which means you'll get some of the improved interface options. New details about streaming app support will be announced next year, according to Nreal.

One of the few cheap-ish headsets on the market is the Nreal Air glasses.