Tech Review: Your seat might be in coach, but your head would be in an IMAX theater using the $799 Royole Moon “mobile theater.” Another option, the $499 Video Headset from Avegant, gives you some peripheral vision.
On a recent flight to Florida, I’m in row 32, seat B. To my left, a teenager watches “Rick and Morty” on his iPhone. To my right, a grandma watches “Property Brothers” on the seat-back TV, sound bleeding from her airline earbuds.
Me? I’m catching up on the original “Blade Runner,” viewing a screen that extends to the edges of my peripheral vision, with resonant, crystal-clear, surround sound. My seat may be in coach, but my head is in an IMAX theater.
I’m wearing the Royole Moon, a $799 “mobile theater” that debuted earlier this year. The headset combines noise-cancelling headphones with twin 1920×1080 curved optical displays that, according to the website of Fremont, California-based Royole, creates an experience equivalent to seeing a movie on an 800-inch screen from 65 feet. I’d describe it as sitting in the third row in front of the big screen at your local multiplex.
The eyepiece, which fits over your face like a scuba mask, is hinged to the headphones at the ears. To control your experience, the Royole Moon uses a modified Android operating system, which you control by swiping on the side.
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With a Wi-Fi connection, you can access such apps as Netflix, Hulu and the recently added “Royole Lounge” — a partnership with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. For offline viewing, the Royole Moon comes with 32 gigabytes of onboard memory, enough for nearly 20 movies (though the battery will last only through about five hours worth).
If you were to see a plane full of people wearing these, you’d feel as if you had stepped into a stylishly appointed dystopian film. When you’re the only person on the plane wearing one, though, the effect is a touch more comedic. (Being an early adopter is hard.)
At least the effective noise cancellation (>92 percent) and the eyepiece that envelops your vision means you won’t see or hear the people who point and ask each other what that thing is on your head.
For those who want to maintain more situational awareness in a smaller package, try the $499 Video Headset from Belmont, California-based company Avegant.
Rather than having two bands hinged together as…