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July 28, 2008 • Reviews

Review: Myvu Crystal 701 Personal Media Viewer

Even though the screen is small, I enjoy watching video on my iPhone and iPod Touch. No, it will never match the experience of watching a movie on a 50 inch hi-definition LCD, but it is more than merely functional- it is a pleasant experience. I’ve had my eye on Myvu’s various offerings for some time, watching carefully as each new one was released. I have wondered if they really worked.  And, assuming they did work, wondered whether the experience of watching video through Myvu would be that much better than viewing on my iPhone.

So, when the opportunity to try out the Myvu Crystal arose (thanks Judie) I jumped at it.

Do they live up the hype? Read on to find out.

What’s In The Box

The Myvu Crystal 701 ships with:

The crystal 701 personal media viewer

The Crystal 701 Personal Media Viewer

The Pendant Controller

The Pendant Controller

iPod OR Universal Connectors

iPod OR Universal Connectors

A MicroFiber Sleeve, USB Charging Cable and QuickStart Guide

A MicroFiber Sleeve, USB Charging Cable and QuickStart Guide

Set Up

Set up was simple. After charging the unit, via the usb charger (what is the deal with companies no longer including a wall charger?), and making sure the iPod was set to “video out”, I simply plugged the cable exiting the pendant controller into the iPod.

I put on the glasses, put the earbuds in my ears, turned on both the iPod and the Crystal and started a video. That’s it.  Within seconds the video began to play.

Controler Pendant and iPod Connector

Controller Pendant and iPod Connector

The iPod edition ships with a connector for the current generation of iPods, the iPod Touch or the iPhone.
The universal edition ships with a connector for use with 5th generation iPods, Zunes, Archos (and other major brands), as well as an RCA connector for use with devices that require it.

Charging takes 2-3 hours from a wall charger (not included) or up to 6 hours from a computer. Run time is ratea at 4 hours maximum.

Video Quality

I don’t know what I was initially expecting, but at first I wasn’t blown away. Turns out my eyes needed to adjust to viewing video on the Crystal. Once I relaxed my eyes a bit and just sat back to enjoy, it was pretty impressive. I handed them to my wife, whose immediate response was “These are Awesome!” (she isn’t easily impressed by gadgetry.)

I put them back on and quickly realized…”I’m going to have to get a pair of these.”

The video quality is good but, if you look closely, you can see some of the lines created by the pixels. When you remember that the point of comparison here is not to a 50 inch LCD, but to watching video directly on an iPod or iPhone, however, the video quality is really quite amazing.

The Crystal takes the experience of using the iPod (as a media player) to an entirely new level.

Sound

The folks at Myvu understand that a huge part of the experience, when watching a video, is the sound. Great high fidelity sound surrounds you and pulls you into the experience. Bad sound does just the opposite. To ensure the best sound possible, the Crystal uses Ultimate Ears in-ear headphones. The result is nothing short of terrific. The sound from the Crystal is well… crystal clear.  Were I able to disconnect the earbuds from the Crystal, I would happily use them as my main headphones.

Comfort:

At first, I found the Crystal to be a bit uncomfortable. They weigh more than my reading glasses and even than my sunglasses (which are not all that light). Once I got used to wearing them, they became increasingly more comfortable (although I would not choose to wear them as reading glasses).

While wearing the Crystal, you can still see what is in front of you and above/below the video, so using them requires a certain degree of focus. It isn’t difficult, but it does take some adjusting to fully enjoy the experience.

The glasses are comfortable enough that I wore them and watched videos while riding on a recumbant bike last night. While doing so, I discovered another nice “feature” of the Crystal- because you are wearing them, the image moves with you- when you move your head.

Appearance:

I loved the Star Trek series’, but I never had the desire to dress up like Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge. To get an idea of what you look like, while wearing the Crystal, think of his “visor”. Or, think of the red light “eye” from the original BattleStar Gallactica. Or, look at this picture…


(You didn’t actually think I would put in a full, identifying image of myself wearing them, did you?)

Bottom line, wearing the Myvu Crytal makes you look a bit odd, but if the movie, tv program or music video is good enough then who cares!!  Once you got used to the feel, and figure out where to look on the “screen” for the best image, the experience using the Crystal is exceptional. With the glasses on, the earbuds in and a video playing it is easy to get lost in your own world.  That’s the whole idea, isn’t it!

The review unit is packed and ready to go back, but something tells me it won’t be long before I have my very own Crystal.  That pretty much says it all.

The Myvu Crystal 701 personal media player is available directly from www.myvu.com or a variety of retailers.

MSRP: $299.99

What I Liked: Image and sound quality, portability

What Needs Improvement: Price, battery life is only 4 hours max, I wish you could disconnect the excellent earbuds and use them independently.

7 Responses to " Review: Myvu Crystal 701 Personal Media Viewer "

  1. Myvu Crystal 701 video goggles: deceptively appealing? - SlashGear says:

    […] Yet after reviewing the Myvu Crystal 701 video glasses, Gear Diary’s Dan Cohen seems surprisingly impressed.  Promising the effect of a 4:3 aspect display viewed from 2m at 640 x 480 VGA resolution, the […]

  2. I reviewed a previous unit here for GD; and they were awesome. I recently used them again on the trip down and back to Houston to visit my mom. They are great; but I found that they became painful to wear after about 2 hours. Did you find that was the case with the Crystal? (I admit that I only skimmed the review…)

  3. Dan Cohen says:

    Chris- They certainly aren’t as comfortable as my RayBan’s but I haven’t found them to be painful. I could, though, see them being a bit uncomfortable after a long period of viewing.

  4. myvu personal media viewer says:

    […] […]

  5. gofishus says:

    Amazing! I use these glasses not just for my ipod but as a portable monitor to play my Xbox 360 anywhere where I can find an outlet. All that is needed is the RCA adaptors and voila, you can now play GTA 4 in your office or starbucks. Its pretty cheap considering its a portable tv/monitor too!

  6. Brian Clark says:

    I so let my gear geek out briefly last week and went all Jordi. Now I keep thinking of things to do with my new http://piurl.com/hLF

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