At CES in January 2023, I saw a wide range of assisted reality glasses that, like the Rokid Max, are primarily smartphone accessories, projecting the mobile phone screen, or pad, or computer display onto the glasses, simulating a 200-inch screen. After shooting my mouth off in Forbes about the potential of these devices, the review units poured in until my desk started to look like the Amazon returns room. In an effort to clean off my desk, I get my assistant, who is 24, to come into the office and help me. She is doubtless the sweet spot for users of this HMD. Indeed, she took the Rokid Max home, where she played “Fortnite” for an hour, lying down. A far more thorough test than I would give left to my own devices.
The $399 Rokid Max is one of the best of these screen extenders, or assisted reality (AR) glasses. It is essentially an Android TV accessory you wear on your face that is drop-dead simple to use. No one is going to be fooled into thinking you’re wearing regular sunglasses, but you’re not wearing a hot box like the Quest 2 on your face, and you can see what’s going on around you. At 75 grams, the Rokid Max may be the lightest in the category. You should be able to wear it for hours. When you need to do something else you can just push them up on your forehead.
The Rokid Max is NOT a 3DOF headset. The image moves with your head, always in the middle, which takes some getting used to. It tethers to your phone or a Rokid TV device. We’re used to our monitors being anchored in space and then glancing at them when needed.
On the wings of the glasses you’ll find both volume and dimming controls. As there is no practical way to use these with glasses, Rokid has included modest vision correction (from -6 to 0), a feature unique to the Rokid Max. There are switchable nose pieces to help customize the fit. Rokid also offers a dedicated app that enables further customization, like syncing controllers. The app offers an “AR Space” that lets you use the phone as a mouse-like pointer in sync with the headset. The AR mode basically turns the phone into a controller.
Rokid offers a $100 accessory for the Max, Rokid TV, which comes with a remote and its own box, which connects to the headset via USB-C. It has a remote control. A real plastic remote control. Which it turns out is actually pretty convenient. All you need is your Google account.
We have some questions about durability. During the test, the nose pads fell off the new out-of-the-box headset. As far as vision correction goes, your mileage may vary. The case is cheap, and the zipper broke the first time we used it. Given the insanely low cost and excellent optics, this is no surprise, clearly, trade-offs were made. This doesn’t prevent us from praising the Rokid Max, one of the best in the promising new category of assisted reality devices smart glasses.