The Steam Deck only has a 7-inch screen. With the Nreal Air display headset, you can play Steam Deck games on a virtual 130-inch screen.
The 80-gram Nreal Air was launched in the United States last September. It is also available in China, Japan and the United Kingdom. The wearable is sold in the US via Amazon and costs $379. The USB-C cable connects it to smartphones (Android and iOS), consoles (Xbox Series S/X, Playstation 4 Slim, Playstation 5), and mobile devices (Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck).
The virtual monitor headset features built-in OLED screens that display an image with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels to each eye. the 46 degrees field of view It’s relatively narrow compared to standard VR headsets, but the pixel density of 49 PPD is more than double that of the Meta Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro.
This fact should result in an exceptionally sharp image. According to Nreal, the simulated screen is a size 130-inch TV four meters.
Nreal Air: Secret Tip on Steam Deck
At the end of last year, the Chinese startup celebrated the production of 100,000 units. In the fourth quarter of 2022, 70,000 units are expected to be shipped — a respectable success for the display’s small niche.
This is likely aided by Nreal Air’s reputation in the US as a great Steam Deck accessory. It replaces the electronic screen with a virtual screen that beats it in terms of quality, and is lightweight and portable to boot. Nreal Air looks almost like sunglasses and can be worn relatively unnoticeably on trains or planes. Those who need a traditional headset can purchase compatible glasses.
Norman Chan of the Tested YouTube channel demoed the Nreal Air on the Steam Deck and sums up his impressions in a video (see below). Our hardware tester calls the image quality “remarkable,” but points out some limitations.
Easy screen setup, but no 3D tracking
Setup is simple: once connected via cable, Steam Deck automatically recognizes the screen glass as an output device and adjusts the resolution accordingly.
Since the Nreal Air does not have a battery, the wearable also uses the Steam Deck’s battery, which affects its lifespan. If the battery power drops below 50 percent, no signal is sent to the display speaker. You can play with Nreal Air for about an hour, or use an adapter to power the handheld device for the same amount of time.
What bothers Chan much more is he Fixed default screen orientation. 3-DoF tracking is disabled in screen mirroring mode, causing the image to move with every head movement—an ultimately unpleasant viewing experience.
Chan also criticizes that some other devices, such as the iPhone, must purchase an additional high-efficiency adapter. Those who need an extra visual aid will have to dig deep into their pockets for a second screen. He hopes the next iteration of Nreal Air will be a better all-around product that’s more comfortable to use.