MeganeX: Super-compact PC VR glasses with 2.5K displays
Panasonic unveils the MeganeX PC VR glasses, which have an amazingly slim and lightweight form factor thanks to the latest VR technology.
The device resembles welding goggles and weighs 250 grams, not including the cable. The VR goggles feature micro OLED displays with a resolution of 2,560 by 2,560 pixels, a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz and HDR capability (30-bit color depth).
The slim form factor comes from a combination of mini-screens (1.3 inches) and pancake plastic lenses from the manufacturer Kopin. Pancake lenses allow the display and lenses to lie close to each other.
The HTC Vive Flow, released in 2021, was the first commercial VR goggle to use pancake lenses. Expect more VR products to rely on the same technology in 2022, including Meta's next VR goggle, Cambria.
MeganeX: 2022 will see the start of sales
MeganeX also offers lens distance and prescription adjustment. The latter is meant to eliminate the need to wear corrective glasses and contact lenses. Panasonic does not mention the field of view. The VR glasses can be folded and speakers are built into the casing.
Like HTC Vive Flow, the device runs on a Snapdragon XR1 and must be connected via cable to a PC, which provides power and processing power. MeganeX supports SteamVR for now, with other unnamed VR platforms to follow later. Panasonic will soon comment on the topic of VR controllers. The VR glasses have integrated spatial headset tracking.
The device was developed by Panasonic subsidiary Shiftall, which plans to launch the VR glasses worldwide in spring 2022. It is expected to cost less than $900.
Panasonic has been experimenting with VR for years
The MeganeX was preceded by two prototypes that Panasonic unveiled at CES 2020 and CES 2021. The first prototype stood out for its form factor, while the second added spatial tracking. With the Shiftall spinoff and an official product name, Panasonic is apparently finally ready to bring its VR technology to the market.
A big question mark is the VR controllers and whether Shiftall will develop the device into a standalone VR goggle or dock with existing ecosystems. The first hands-on comes from hardware analyst and Youtuber Brad Lynch, who got to try out the VR glasses at CES 2022. Lynch attests a "quite good" brightness, which is not a self-evident feature for VR glasses with pancake optics.