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Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 AR glasses

By Immersiv • 15th March 2023 • 3 min

Early 2021, Qualcomm introduced a new reference design for augmented reality glasses. Called the XR1 Smart Viewer, the system was meant to be lightweight and easy to wear with a “sunglasses” look. Lenovo immediately adopted the design for its ThinkReality A3 glasses and announced a release in mid-2021, following up on Lenovo’s A6 business-focused headset from 2019.

Qualcomm takes Lenovo back in the AR glasses race

In August 2021, Lenovo unveiled the first look & tech specs of its new AR Glasses, and the worldwide launch of the PC edition happened in December 2021.

Qualcomm has spent the last years pushing for AR glasses adoption, which it thinks could stimulate the nascent 5G cellular market by popularizing high-bandwidth mixed-reality apps. 

Lenovo ThinkReality A3 augmented reality glasses, presented during the CES 2021

Technical specifications
130g with headstrap
Native passthrough
1920x1080 per-eye
Field of view
Audio Input
3 noise-cancelling microphones
Audio Output
Stereo speakers
The Lenovo ThinkReality A3 can only be used with a very small range of Lenovo & Motorola products (Lenovo ThinkPad P1, P15, P17, P53, P73, Motorola Moto G100 & Motorola Edge+)
ThinkReality A3 PC Edition (1706€) & ThinkReality A3 Industrial Edition (not available for the retail)

Once plugged into a compatible phone or a PC through USB-C, the user can display virtual screens around them thanks to spatial awareness and navigate through the digital world either thanks to hands tracking or using its plugged device as a remote control.

In November 2021, Qualcomm and Lenovo announced a new augmented reality partnership to expand the developer ecosystem. By combining the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform and the ThinkReality A3 smart glasses, their goal was to facilitate the development of AR apps on Lenovo’s newest AR glasses.

“Snapdragon Spaces is designed to support the democratization of XR by taking a horizontal, open channel approach so developers can rapidly bring their ideas to life and reach a wide range of end users,” said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. in a press release.

Let’s ask our devs what they think about it

After working with these newcomers in the AR glasses market for a while now, we’ve asked our devs what they thought about the glasses and the platform. 

Get ready for Immersiv’s review! 

lenovo thinkreality a3 review

The hand-tracking module is particularly smooth and offers many possibilities in terms of interactions with the AR elements. The visual quality of the glasses is great.

The surface detection tech of the framework is doing a very good job identifying flat surfaces (even walls).

On the downside, these glasses only work with specific Motorola devices, which might be a bit restrictive for consumers.

In terms of interaction with the interface, you have three possibilities: using the hand-tracking module, using your look or using your phone as a remote control.

While the eye tracking system might seem like a fun thing to experiment with at first, the limit is that this way of interaction with the AR elements interferes with your vision and you might end up “clicking” involuntarily. But, if you want to experiment with augmented art, explore with historical walks or AR guided museum tours, or even AR games, then this is definitely something your have to look into!

Like with almost every AR glasses today, some overheating of the phone & the glasses might occur with extended use. But a lot of the initial problems have been solved with Qualcomm’s updates.

We think there still might be some work to do around the management of the phone interface inside the glasses, but updates are still arriving and we trust that it’s the kind of issue that will be addressed soon!

Overall, the tech is good: we were able to quite easily transpose all the features of our ARISE. Snapdragon Spaces kept its promise of creating a dev-friendly platform that is relatively modular and respects the standard of AR dev in glasses.

From an outside design and comfort perspective, well the look is a matter of personal opinion! The glasses are not so heavy and quite comfortable to wear during the time of your AR experience. And something important: they present a good grip to prevent them from falling. The vision area, which is a bit smaller than on the NReal AR glasses, allows a good focus on the experience.

Imersiv's Dev Lab

A whole field of possibilities oppening

Like our devs just said, the hands and eyes tracking modules, associated with the great built-in surface recognition program are offering a lot of fun possibilities to play with. Recently, in association with Deutsche Telekom, we developed during the FIFA World Cup 22 the first augmented TV experience on the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 glasses. 

Our solution ARISE for broadcasters allows sports fans to live a one-of-a-kind at-home AR experience.
Picture it: you are sitting in your living room, and the game is about to start. You put on your AR glasses, deploying a giant screen with the game right in front of you: you can adjust the size and distance to maximize your comfort. 
In front of you is a mini-pitch: it shows the starting lineups for now and will provide a live reproduction of the game in 3D as soon as it starts.! 

Kick-off is on. On the mini-pitch, the live position of the players and ball is fully synced with the video stream,  providing two points of view to enjoy your game: on one hand, the live stream, alternating between wide and close-up, focuses on the action and on the other hand the general overview of the action on the AR mini-pitch on your coffee table.

Throughout the game, live insights are automatically displayed on top of the action on the mini-pitch such as the name of the player with the ball, or his speed when it is outstanding. You can also personalize the experience to your needs by clicking on the players on the mini-pitch or interacting with the AR menu to access VOD content, live stats, and AR analysis of players and teams such as heatmaps shot maps or attacking zones to better understand the game.
You can even replay goals in 3D on your mini-pitch, to analyze the overall picture and tactics that lead to the goal!

The flexibility of our solution and the modularity of Snapdragon Spaces allowed us to easily take ARISE to the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 glasses. We truly believe that the future of TV will be augmented. Augmented reality glasses are the ultimate AR experience. AR and XR glasses are coming strong to the consumer market, and in a few years from now every home will be equipped with such devices. Thanks to great partners like Deutsche Telekom, we can prepare today for the TV experience of tomorrow, and show the industry the way. 

Since then, other manufacturers – Xiaomi, Goertek,… – announced augmented reality glasses based on Qualcomm’s tech, and with Snapdragon XR2 platform, wireless AR glasses are coming! 

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