🗣 Magic Leap as a company has had a wild ride since its founding way back in 2010, with billions of dollars raised, an ambitious initial product that fell short of the hype, and a near-death and rebirth with a new CEO.
The company’s latest product, Magic Leap 2, in many ways reflects the ‘new’ Magic Leap. It’s positioned clearly as an enterprise product, aims to support more open development, and it isn’t trying to hype itself as a revolution. Hell—Magic Leap is even calling it an “AR headset” this time around instead of trying to invent its own vocabulary for the sake of differentiation.
In this article, we first present you a brief overview of how Hololens 2 and Magic leap 1 differ, followed by a more extensive comparison between H2 and ML2, so you can take a peek into what suits you better and see how Magic Leap has improved features with this new product.
Hololens 2 vs. Magic Leap 1
🗣 Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap One are two of the most well-known augmented reality headsets, but with some major differences, clear use cases start to form what Magic Leap One is ideal for, and HoloLens 2 is aimed towards.
Let’s start with the pros. While the Hololens 2 has excellent navigation with hand gestures, voice-enabled Cortana, and support of Microsoft’s vast productivity platforms; ML1 has a fast-charging ergonomic lightweight design with a controller enabling 6 degrees of freedom which makes them perfect for new AR users.
Cons? The fact that Holelen’s 2 display is susceptible to sunlight and bright lights with only 2-3 hours of active battery contrast with ML1’s not suiting for glasses-wearing users and has no option for expanded memory.
Last but not least, design (is subjective). If you prefer the visor aesthetics of the HoloLens 2 over the google type design of Magic Leap One, then that is your preference. What stands out with the Leap One is its auto-adjustable headband. With the Leap One, the ergonomics and fit adjust automatically compared to HoloLens 2, which uses a two-level system with a screw. It must be said though that the fit of the HoloLens 2 is more customizable partly because of the ability to flip the visor, meaning you can enter and leave the mixed reality seamlessly. While wearing the Magic Leap One you must physically remove the goggles to exit the mixed reality experience.
Hololens 2 vs. Magic Leap 2
🗣 Magic Leap 2 isn’t available just yet, but when it hits the market later this year it will be directly competing with Microsoft’s HoloLens 2. Though Magic Leap 2 beats out its rival in several meaningful places, its underlying design still leaves HoloLens 2 with some advantages.
After being available for testing at AWE 2022, users got the sense that, like the company itself, Magic Leap 2 feels like a more mature version of what came before—and it’s not just the sleeker look. The most immediately obvious improvement to Magic Leap 2 is in the field-of-view, which is increased from 50° to 70° diagonally. At 70°, Magic Leap 2 feels like it’s just starting to scratch that ‘immersive’ itch, as you have more room to see the augmented content around you which means less time spent ‘searching’ for it when it’s out of your field-of-view.
While we suspect many first-time Magic Leap 2 users will come away with a ‘wow the field-of-view is so good!’ reaction… it’s important to remember that the design of ML2 (like its predecessor), ‘cheats’ a bit when it comes to field-of-view. Like the original, the design blocks a significant amount of your real-world peripheral vision which makes the field of view appear larger than it actually is by comparison. Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if only the augmented content is your main focus, but it’s a questionable design choice for a headset that’s designed to integrate your real world and the augmented world. Thus, real-world peripheral vision remains a unique advantage that HoloLens 2 holds over both ML1 and ML2.
Unlike some other AR headsets, Magic Leap 2 (like its predecessor), has a fairly soft edge around the field of view. Instead of a hard line separating the augmented world from the real world, it seems to gently fade away, which makes it less jarring when things go off-screen.
On the other hand, tracking remains as good as ever with ML2, and on-par with HoloLens 2. Content feels perfectly locked to the environment as you move your head around, though users have experienced some notable blurring, mostly during positional head movement specifically. ML1 had a similar issue, and it has likely carried over as part of the headset’s underlying display technology. In any case, it seems hidden chiefly during ‘standing in one spot’ use-cases and impacts text legibility more than anything else.
And even though the color-consistency issue across the image is more subtle (the ‘rainbow’ look), it’s still obvious. It didn’t appear to be as bad as ML1 or HoloLens 2, but it’s still there which is unfortunate. It doesn’t really impact the potential use-cases of the headset, but it does bring a slight reduction to the immersiveness of the image.
While ML2 has been improved almost across the board, there’s one place where it takes a step back… and it was one of ML1’s most hyped features: the mystical “photonic light field chip” (AKA a display with two focal planes) which is no longer there. Though ML2 does have eye-tracking, it only supports a single focal plane, as is the case for pretty much all AR headsets available today.
Different Strokes for Different Enterprise Use-cases
🗣 If you put ML2 next to ML1, you see a clear improvement from the first headset to the second, almost across the board. And while we’d say that ML2 is notably more immersive than HoloLens 2, it’s important to remember that these are enterprise products for which immersion may not be the most important factor—the individual use-case will have great sway over which is ‘best’ for the job.
What’s fundamentally at stake between ML2 and HoloLens 2 is the same as it was between ML1 and HoloLens 2. The key is in each headset’s architecture: HoloLens 2 is fully self-contained and has a ‘visor-style’ design which leaves you with nearly full real-world peripheral vision and a convenient ‘flip-up’ display for stowing the AR view when you don’t need it.
Magic Leap 2 on the other hand has a ‘goggles-style’ design that significantly reduces your real-world peripheral vision and has a tethered compute ‘puck’ which means first putting on the headset and then slinging the puck over your arm or attaching it to your pocket (and doing the reverse when you don’t need it).
If you think about the enterprise sectors that Magic Leap is gunning for—healthcare, manufacturing, and government—it’s clear that ML2’s consumer-centric heritage has left HoloLens 2 with some key advantages in the enterprise space. But that’s not to say that Magic Leap 2 isn’t a good enterprise headset. We are sure there are use-cases where having the largest field-of-view and most immersion will be the overriding factor in choosing which to use. In the end, we’re just saying we don’t think anyone should be counting HoloLens 2 out just yet.
👉 Any thoughts? If you are thinking that AR could help you take your business to the next level? Contact us! We are the partner your company is waiting to #JoinTheARRevolution