Google Glass competitors: What are they and how do they compare?

A few Google Glass alternatives are cheap, available now

Google Glass alternatives

All eyes are on Google Glass right now, but the search engine giant's expensive and beta-only wearable isn't going to be the last of its kind. In fact, it's not even the first of its kind.

Yes, there are several Google Glass competitors out there with strikingly similar head-mounted technology, all encouraging a more immersive digital lifestyle without the need to constantly look down at a phone's screen.

A few are less expensive than Glass and one has already launched, beating Google to the expected 2014 consumer product roll-out of its currently invite-only project.

These smaller companies may not have the name recognition of Google or access to all of your data, but their head-mounted ideas deserve just as much face time.

1. Meta Pro

Price: $2,985 (about £1,829, AU$3,349)

Release Date: June 2014

If Tony Stark wore augmented reality glasses, he wouldn't wear Google Glass. Iron Man would prefer Meta Pro from the ambitious AR startup Meta.

Google Glass competition
In 'Stark' contrast to Google Glass

The company is taking Google's heads-up display head-on by boasting that its wearables' "Giant 3D holographic HD screen" provides a 15 times larger screen area than Google Glass.

With both right and left eyes able to see Meta Pro's 3D holographic interface, there's an impressive 40 degree binocular field of view vs Google Glass' 14 degree monocular field of view.

It also has the ability to recognize hand gesture interactions and mirror all of your devices, including phones and laptops, so that all of your apps travel with you.

Selling them as "the most powerful wearable computer available," the Meta Pro specs include a 1.5GHz Intel i5 CPU, high power GPU, 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD.

But you better have Tony Stark money to buy these fancy AR glasses. Meta Pro's sleek-looking consumer model is up for pre-order for $2,985 (about £1,829, AU$3,349).

There's also a developer pair with less impressive specs and more of a science-nerd look than someone like the billionaire playboy-superhero would prefer. It has to be tethered to a computer and costs $667 (about £409, AU$749).

Meta Pro and META.01 Developer Edition's "see the future" marketing promise is slated to become reality when deliveries start in June 2014.

2. Vuzix Smart Glasses M100

Price: $999.99 (about £611/AU$1,116)

Release Date: Available Now

Claiming to be the "world's first commercially available Smart Glasses," the Vuzix Smart Glasses M100 had a staring contest with Google Glass and didn't blink in delivering on time.

Google Glass competition
Ready to be put on the job

The currently available Google Glass rival ironically runs an Android-based operating system and is compatible with thousands of its apps, according to Vuzix.

Furthermore, its monocular display over one eye and five megapixel camera with the ability to record HD video match what Google's Explorer Edition wearable is capable of right now.

There are a bunch of 3-axis sensors on-board too: gyro, accelerometer and a compass, making it suitable for its target audience of "industrial, medical, retail and prosumer applications."

It's also significantly cheaper than the $1,500 (about £917/AU$1,675) Google Glass and new orders, in gray or white, are available to ship within two to four weeks.

Before ordering, you should down the downsides, like the obvious fact that this small Rochester, New York company is going up against the Mountain View, Calif. internet titan.

The M100 also it has an older USB mini B port, a smaller 4GB of flash storage (vs Glass' 16GB) and no fancy touch screen. We don't like that much either, especially in our futuristic tech.

3. Optinvent Ora-S AR

Price: $949 or £699 (about AU$1,059)

Release Date: March 2014

The Optinvent Ora-S AR glasses are interesting because they promise full frames shades with "True AR," as the company likes to call it.

Google Glass competition
Like Red Bull, it'll give you wings!