Magic Leap has not solved any of HoloLens’s biggest problems

Magic Leap has finally unveiled their headset, and the product they showed off does look rather polished, if in a 1930’s Sci-Fi goggle-eyed fashion. But Magic Leap did not just promise another mixed reality headset, they promised a revolution, and at first glance, it appears they have failed to deliver.

The headset has failed to address the biggest issues with the main mixed reality headset on the market, the Microsoft HoloLens.  The main issue dogging that headset is of course field of view, and according to Brian Crecente who had extensive hands-on time with the Creators Edition of the headset “the viewing space is about the size of a VHS tape held in front of you with your arms half extended.” That would be roughly around 40 degrees,  somewhat bigger than the 30 horizontal degrees of the Microsoft HoloLens and still far from the 120 degrees field of view that includes our central and mid-peripheral field of view.

The second big issue with the HoloLens is cost, and when it comes to the Magic Leap headset, while the company would give an exact pricing, they did say “we are more of a premium computing system. We are more of a premium artisanal computer,” suggesting we are almost certainly talking about several thousand dollars.

The third element is suitability for day to day use, and while Magic Leap managed to create a light device by moving some of the electronics and battery to an external belt pack, the headset with its 6 cameras is pretty far from what one could wear in public without creating a commotion.

While Magic Leap has managed to announce (but not yet delivered) a HoloLens competitor, they have not yet delivered a successor – it seems that will be up to Microsoft sometime in 2019.

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