Resembling the futuristic eyewear of alien conquerors in sci-fi movies, the Myvu Crystal 701 attempts to bring multimedia junkies the immersing experience of watching a movie in their own private screening room. While the Myvu Crystal 701 admittedly sports a far sleeker and stylish design than its video-eyewear brethren, and does a good job of displaying video, the piercing eye strain that comes with just a few minutes of viewing content overcomes most of the positive aspects of the headset.
Weighing a total of 6 ounces (4.1 ounces for the glasses, 1.9 ounces for the pendant controller), the Myvu Crystal 701 is heavy--very heavy. So much so that the rubber noseguard kept sliding down the bridge of our nose, requiring us to push the Myvu back into place every few seconds, which was highly annoying.
The Myvu Crystal 701 comes in two versions: Made for iPod and Universal/Standard. The former features a specially designed cable that is compatible with iPod classic, iPod nano, iPod touch, the fifth-generation video iPod, and the iPhone; the latter uses basic composite cables for connecting to gear, so it can work with gadgets that use a composite-out port. These include the Microsoft Zune (30GB and 80GB models), Sony PSP, and a host of cameras and camcorders. The price for either version is $299, but an all-in-one package that includes both types of connectors, as well as a travel case, sells for $324.
After attaching the Myvu Crystal 701 to aniPod nano(3G), enabling TV out, and inserting the bundled, rubber-tipped Ultimate Ears earbuds into our canals (an extra pair of earbud pads is also included), we were pleasantly surprised. The old-school look of Snoop Dogg's "Sensual Seduction" music video was rendered perfectly. We didn't experience the pixelation as we did with thei-O Display Systems i-Theatreheadset. Myvu attributes this to Kopin's Cyberdisplay technology, which allows the glasses to show images at a sharp 640 x 480-pixel resolution.
The Myvu Crystal 701 isn't a slouch in the audio department, either. The comfortable earbuds adequately replicated low-end sounds without overwhelming the audio. The pendant controller let us adjust the volume and the screen brightness without needing to touch the iPod itself, which was stashed away in a shirt pocket. It's a handy feature, but we could've done without it to shave some weight off of the package.
Not So Easy on the Eyes
As with other video eyewear we've reviewed in the past, the biggest gripes come in two areas: weight and eyestrain. For use with a mobile device such as the iPod, there's simply way too much to carry; the cords and connectors are far too cumbersome. Even worse, we began to feel the strain or our eyes after only 5 minutes of use; around the 10-minute mark we had to yank the Myvu Crystal 701 off as intense pain began to set in. It was similar to the eye stress you feel when sitting too close to a television. A co-worker who donned the headset reported feeling eyestrain only 30 seconds into the video.
Myvu Crystal 701 Verdict
Priced at $299, the Myvu Crystal 701 handles audio and video quite well, but you have to ask yourself if your eyes can handle it. It's rated at 4 hours of battery life (it takes approximately 2 hours to charge using a wall outlet or approximately 6 hours using a PC's USB port), which means that it may prove a useful gizmo on long trips, provided that you keep the viewings brief.