The Recon Jet isn’t just a pricey pair of glasses. It’s also a bike computer, GPS, camera and a smartphone and social media interface. Connectivity-wise, it’s compatible with GPS, Wi-Fi, ANT+, Bluetooth and USB.
Its main selling point is that it functions as a heads up display (HUD) so you can view your power output, speed and distance info, text messages and navigation without taking your eyes off the road. That’s the theory.
Related: Recon Jet opens a new frontier for wearable bike tech
The reality is that comprehending any of the data on the display requires so much eye movement and refocusing that you might as well not be looking at the road. The problems don’t end there, because battery life isn’t up to much (one two-hour ride was enough to burn through almost an entire charge though claimed battery life is three to four hours). The camera can only film 15-, 30- or 60-second clips and, unless you hold your head up like a periscope, all you get is footage of the ground.
The biggest problem is the display’s housing, which blocks your view when you try to look to the far right and over your shoulder. It’s ironic that a gadget intended to help you keep your eyes on what’s ahead prevents you from seeing what’s behind and to the side of you. Until there’s an option to swap the display to the left (or the housing becomes less bulky), it’s not a good or safe idea to use the Recon Jet on the British roads we tested on. If you’re reading this in the US, or another country where people drive on the right, this will obviously be less of a problem.
The price has dropped by since launch, but is that enough to offset the Recon Jet’s issues? Probably not, especially as the new price is still equivalent to what you’d pay for a fancy pair of glasses and sophisticated bike computer.
To be a viable alternative to the glasses and computer option the Jet needs to solve a problem caused by the two being separate. The idea behind the Jet is good, and tech heads will love it. We, however, will be waiting for version two.