Xreal Beam vs Rokid Station: Which smart AR glasses package should you choose in 2023?

Xreal Beam vs Rokid Station: Which smart AR glasses package should you choose in 2023?
If you're in the market for carrying an extremely pocketable private cinema, or a virtual gaming TV on the go, you may find yourself looking into buying a pair of AR glasses. And arguably the two most popular options right now are the Xreal Air (formerly Nreal Air) and Rokid Max – both of which serve exactly the same purpose – they're basically an external display for your phone, laptop or game console, projecting its display right in front of your retinas.

So instead of having to lug around a tablet and some earbuds, you can put on one of these two pairs of glasses and get both a big screen and good sound on the go, all coming from a device that fits in your pocket and is shaped like slightly thicker sunglasses. Pretty cool, right?

Well, with the Apple Vision Pro headset on the horizon, as well as the Meta Quest 3, people are starting to have higher expectations for AR headsets and glasses – particularly that they need to be smart devices capable of doing things on their own. And on their own, the Xreal Air and Rokid Max can't do anything; they're powered by your smartphone (or other smart device) instead, even using that one's battery, as they lack their own.

But both companies – Xreal and Rokid – are now remedying that, by releasing the Xreal Beam and Rokid Station, which are basically pocketable "smart add-ons" for their respective AR glasses.

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Connecting the glasses with said devices gives them that standalone functionality (well, not technically standalone, but close enough) – such as their own battery life, their own smart operating system, and their own apps, as well as wireless casting capabilities.

So let's compare these two options and see which one would be best for you – the tech enthusiast who wants to live in the future today.

Also feel free to check out our Xreal Air vs Rokid Max comparison, which focuses solely on the glasses on their own, while this comparison will be centered around their Xreal Beam and Rokid Station add-on devices.

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How much does either smart glasses package cost?

The Xreal Beam currently sells for $119. Obviously you'll need the Xreal Air glasses as well, which are an additional $379. So overall, this Xreal bundle comes to $498.

The Rokid Station is available for pre-order bundled with the Rokid Max glasses for $529, so this is the more expensive package.

So in any case, unless you already have the glasses themselves, prepare to spend around $500 for your futuristic portable entertainment suite.

Design and build quality

Both the Xreal Beam and Rokid Station feel nice and substantial in the hand. They're made out of plastic, both with directional controls, plus a few extra buttons. Both have a charging port on the bottom, plus a secondary port that connects to their respective glasses.

Looks are subjective, but I prefer the look of the Rokid Station, mainly because its design aesthetic and color actually match the Rokid Max glasses. However, the Xreal Beam does get points for originality – it has a very unusual air vent up top, and just as unusual – a completely markerless, minimalist d-pad, plus an LED strip that fills up as the device charges.

Perhaps most importantly, let's talk about weight, and (you might be surprised, but) noise and heat. Both the Xreal Beam and Rokid Station likely weigh a bit more than your smartphone, and are almost certainly thicker. Both are perfectly pocketable, still, but yeah, prepare to feel like you have a second smartphone in your pocket, and not a thin or light one at that.

Both devices tend to heat up rather quickly, but in my experience the Rokid Station never gets nearly as warm, or as loud as the Xreal Beam. In fact, the Rokid Station doesn't even have a fan, while the Beam has one, and it feels like it's constantly working. In quiet environments – it is noticeable.


So let's get to the main reason you'll want either of these devices – the features they bring to your AR glasses. First and foremost, both the Xreal Beam and Rokid Station have built-in rechargeable batteries, and pack an operating system, meaning your glasses can finally be standalone – not necessarily connected to your phone, in order to power on and do stuff for you.

The Xreal Beam and Rokid Max vastly differ in what their operating systems are capable of on their own, though.

The Xreal Beam has a pretty barebones operating system that's basically just a home screen with a user guide and a screen mirroring guide, plus a clock, some settings, and a promise for more apps to come soon.

You're basically meant to only use it for wireless streaming – whether you want to stream video games from your PC to your glasses, or movies from your smartphone to your glasses – that's about it, for now.

Hopefully apps that expand the standalone capabilities of the Xreal Beam will be coming soon, but at the time of writing this review, and after updating it to the latest firmware, there are still none, besides the two guides mentioned earlier.

We can look at this from a positive perspective too, though – the Xreal Beam is simple to use and understand. Perhaps you simply want to stream from your already perfectly adequate smart devices wirelessly to your glasses, in which case – what more do you need? A simple operating system to handle the wireless streaming is more than enough from the glasses' end, and that's what the Xreal Beam offers.

The Xreal Beam's operating system is simple, with nice, vibrant colors outlining its minimalist interface, and pleasant music often playing in the background as you browse the user guides or wait for an update to finish.

One common issue I have is that the Xreal Beam is supposed to turn on and off when you put on or take off the glasses, respectively, but it rarely works as intended, so often I'll notice that the device is still on, fan still on full blast, long after I've stopped using it. Here's an important tip for that exact scenario – its power button (which doesn't look like a button at all) is inside the air vent on its top side – press and hold it, to turn the Xreal Beam off when you're done using it. Hardly ideal…

The Rokid Station is quite a different beast. Rokid basically put the Android TV operating system on it, and with that – the Rokid Station turns your Rokid Max glasses into a fully standalone, smart pair of glasses.

Picture a smart TV screen in front of your retinas – that's what you're getting. You don't really need to connect the Rokid Station to your phone, or to anything else, as the Android TV operating system already has almost all of the movie and video streaming apps you may want to use, and even some mobile games.

You just head over to Google Play directly on your glasses, download Disney+, YouTube, HBO Max, and start watching. There's no Netflix, though, and that's a bummer, but at least almost all of the other popular streaming apps are available.

And because it's all running natively on the Rokid Station, there's no pairing or wireless streaming to worry about here, let alone lag. Everything is buttery smooth.

So it's up to you – what would you rather have – a device that gives your glasses Android TV, so you won't even need to reach for your phone to enjoy entertainment on the go? Or do you prefer the simple Xreal Beam, that purely focuses on handling wireless streaming between your Xreal Air and your smartphone?

Personally, if I had to pick, I'd go with the Rokid Station, as it has Chromecast built-in, on top of a full Android TV operating system, so if streaming from your phone is what you're after – you can do that too. You just can't stream your full phone or PC display, as that's not how Chromecast works – it only streams specific content like videos and music. But let's face it – that's exactly what most people want out of this.

Wireless streaming performance and stability

Pairing your smartphone with the Xreal Beam is extremely simple and easy. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, simply navigate to your phone's screen mirroring menu, and you'll find the Xreal Beam as an option to cast to, just as you would find a smart TV.

On your phone, you can then open, say, YouTube, play your videos, and enjoy them on a big virtual screen right in front of your eyes, with full AR head tracking, and several options in regards to where to position the screen, and how it behaves. Whether you want it following your gaze, or staying in one spot in 3D space, you can make it do so. Good stuff.

However, when trying to seek ahead through YouTube videos, I've noticed that the Xreal Beam tends to jarringly show its own home screen, and YouTube on my phone begins playing the next video in line, instead of actually skipping ahead like I intended. Not sure if this is a YouTube issue, but it is an issue.

Even more noteworthy – Netflix doesn't work at all. This is likely a DRM issue Xreal needs to figure out, as Netflix requires devices to comply with certain certification requirements. Xreal does state that "support for DRM content streaming will come later", so this should be a temporary hurdle.

What's particularly promising, but still underwhelming, is that you can cast your entire computer's screen to your Xreal Beam and Xreal Air glasses, and it's a really cool and futuristic productivity set up. I was mostly excited for that when the Beam first came out, in fact.

However, there was lag when casting a Windows desktop to the Beam back when I first reviewed the device, and unfortunately, it still remains after the latest updates. It's fine if you're just writing text or doing simple web browsing, but it's still way too choppy for things like watching movies or gaming.

Back when I did the Xreal Beam standalone review I asked Xreal about this, and was informed that an update aiming to fix the choppy PC streaming will be coming soon.

As for the Rokid Station – it's clearly designed to be used as its own standalone thing, making your Rokid Max glasses smart. You don't actually need to bother pairing and streaming content to them from your smartphone. However, you can – the Rokid Station has Chromecast support, as mentioned earlier.

This means that Android phone users in particular can fire off any video from any app to their Rokid Station (and Rokid Max, respectively) with minimal effort, from the cast option pretty much all video apps have.

Well, except Netflix again, because just like the Xreal Beam, it appears the Rokid Station hasn't passed Netflix's DRM requirements yet, so the app doesn't offer casting to either device.

Battery life and charging

The Xreal Beam has a 4870 mAh battery, which should last for up to 3.5 hours on a single charge, powering your Xreal Air glasses and providing you with entertainment.

The Rokid Station has a slightly larger 5000 mAh battery, and according to Rokid, you can expect about 5 hours of using it with your Rokid Max. So the Station definitely has an edge here.

Both the Beam and Rokid Station charge via a USB Type-C port on the bottom, which is separate from the port they have for connecting with their respective glasses, so you can use them while charging; no problem.


I really wanted to like the Xreal Beam for its ambitious nature – a unique operating system, a pure focus on casting desktops for productivity and gaming, but it's all just a bit lackluster and barebones right now. I'd advise Xreal fans interested in buying it to wait for a while until the device matures a bit, and hopefully reaches its full potential a month or two from now.

Meanwhile the Rokid Station feels like a more fleshed out product that's fully ready for the market right now, instead of in the theoretical future, after theoretical updates. Even if you ever face any issues streaming to it, it has full-blown Android TV, so you can brush that off and just enjoy your content directly on the device, which I'd wager most users would choose to do anyway.

It turns your Rokid Max glasses into standalone(-ish) smart glasses that don't need your phone to play video content, and will do it for longer hours, and without any fan noise or wireless streaming stuttering.
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