Vufine+ Is A Wearable That Works With Your Phone, Laptop, and Drone
Google Glass didn't quite work out how people wanted, but that isn't stopping other companies from producing wearables for a user's face. Vufine, coming off an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign raising over $200k by 1,500 backers, has started a new campaign for the Vufine+. This upgraded unit has a bigger screen and more features. It's another option for people looking for a hands free wearable. Vufine+ doesn't require any special frames and can attach easily to any set of glasses.
This flexibility is made possible thanks to a base that can attach to any pair of glasses through a thick rubber band that holds the base steady. There's a circular magnet on the base that the VuFine viewer attaches to that allows users to make slight adjustments to the unit to best view the internal screen. It can be a little tough to get the angle right, and I found I had to wear my glasses lower than normal in order to get the best view, but that is a minor complaint and will not hold true for everyone.
Sadly, the unit requires a cable attached to it, there is no wireless option. While that helps with battery life, it just isn't very convenient. Combine that with the fact that Vufine+ is kind of gaudy, and you'll find you'll need some pretty high confidence levels to wear the unit out in public.
On to functionality. Even though the screen is rather small, the 720p viewer accomplishes its goal. The screen accurately displays whatever it's connected to. After testing with both a laptop and cellphone, the screen could be easily read, but the whole hands-free approach doesn't ring true throughout. Yes, I could see my cellphone screen, but if I wanted to read the whole text message it still required me to pull my phone out and open the message. At that point, I could just read it normally. It was nice to be able to see incoming calls and email/text notifications, however. It was enough to let me know if something needed immediate attention.
Another nice feature was being able to use Google Maps while out and about with the Vufine+. Being able to enjoy the city while still getting directions was really convenient. It should also be noted that you'll need an adapter for the unit to work with your phone. Luckily, I already owned an HDMI to USB adapter, but if you don't, you'll need one to connect with your smartphone.
I also tested it with everyone's favorite AR mobile game, Pokemon Go. Being able to continue on with walking and daily life while still being able to monitor the screen for rogue Pokemon was very nice. It didn't require me to constantly be staring at my phone while walking around. Through HDMI, you can also connect the Vufine+ to devices like GoPro cameras and drone cameras, allowing you to see what those devices see. Another very nice feature. While I didn't get to test it with a drone, the benefits there are easy to see. If you're into aerial photography, having to switch between looking at a screen and trying to keep an eye on the actual drone can be difficult. Vufine+ immediately eliminates that issue.
Overall, the Vufine+ isn't a bad device. It accomplishes many of the things it sets out to do, but in some instances the execution is just a bit clumsy. Not being wireless being one of the biggest issues. The quality of the physical product is solid, it doesn't feel cheap, and the base used to attach the Vufine to glasses is well done. Being able to swivel the unit to get the right angle is a breeze, but the magnet is still strong enough to where you won't really have to worry about it falling off. Once again though, that wire caused me to pull the unit off my face more than once.
If you're a gadget head (no pun intended) who likes testing new products or someone interested in drone photography, however, the Vufine+ is most certainly worth checking out. There are many handy features that you'll find with extended use. Personally, I loved being able to see Google Maps through the unit. You can find the Kickstarter campaign here.