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.
In this article, we will cover:
|Microsoft Hololens 2||Magic Leap One|
|Saves spatial mapping in the cloud||Powerful and optimized processing|
|Excellent navigation with hand gestures and voice-enabled Cortana||A controller enabling 6 degrees of freedom is ideal for new users of AR|
|Support of Microsoft’s vast productivity platforms||Fast-charging and ease of use in its ergonomic lightweight design|
|High resolution and wide FoV||High refresh rate for a smooth experience|
|Microsoft Hololens 2||Magic Leap One|
|The display is susceptible to sunlight and bright lights||No option for expanded memory|
|Between 2-3 hours of active battery life||Not compatible with people wearing glasses|
|Clipping occurs more frequently, making it difficult to get close to AR objects|
The specifications of both devices can be seen below.
|Microsoft Hololens 2||Magic Leap One|
|Holographic Resolution||2k, optimized for eye position||Sharp 1280×960 pixel per eye display with 120Hz refresh rate|
|Optics||Waveguide (Binocular)||Waveguide (Binocular)|
|Field of View||43° horizontal, 29° vertical, and 52° diagonal||40° horizontal, 30° vertical, and 50° diagonal|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 850||3-core NVIDIA Parker System-on-Chip|
|Operating System||Microsoft OS||Android 9.0 (Lumin OS)|
|Weight||566 grams||316 grams|
|Tracking||Hand- and head tracking from 4 visible-light cameras and 2 Infrared (IR) cameras in eye-tracking, a depth sensor, and inertial measurement units (IMU) of accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer||Eye-, controller-, and hand tracking, plus an accelerometer and magnetometer|
|Control||Hand gestures, Eye-tracking, Headmotion, Voice with Cortana natural language||Voice, eye tracking, hand tracking, controller|
|Mapping||Spatial; remembering spaces in the cloud||Spatial|
|Battery||2-3 hours of active use (two weeks of standby time)||3 hours, USB-C PD 2.0 with fast charging|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB Type-C port||IEEE 802.11a/g/b/n/ac, dual-band and Bluetooth 4.2|
|Price||€3.588,- excl. VAT||€2.499,- excl. VAT|
|Compatibility||All of Microsoft’s platforms||A wide suite of supporting enterprise software|
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.
The Magic Leap one is also much lighter on the head as its processing unit is not built on to the device and rather housed in a circular disc called a lightpack attached to the goggles by a cable. This means the Magic Leap One weighs 316 grams on the head, however the wire is a constant item that must be taken into consideration when moving around.
The Hololens on the other hand is a totally standalone device, which means all the processing is done and built into the headset itself. This comes with a small drawback that the device weighs over 500 grams which can be quite heavy when used for extended periods of time.
The difference in the display experience between Leap One and HoloLens 2 is the smoothness of the 3D elements. The huge difference in refresh rate between the two AR headsets means that Magic Leap One’s AR experience feels more natural as movement is more fluid. Although to achieve the 122 Hz refresh rate the Magic Leap One needs to sacrifice its display resolution. As a result, the Leap One has a lower resolution per eye and smaller FoV compared to HoloLens 2.
The Hololens 2 has gone in the opposite direction to the Magic Leap as it has a 60 Hz refresh rate but a better resolution. The choice between the two is therefore dependent on the use case.
One of the main issues with current mixed reality headset is light sensitivity. The display of Microsoft Hololens 2 compared to Leap One is more sensitive to bright lights and sunlight, making it so that Hololens 2 is more limited in the environments it can effectively be used in. Oppositely, ‘clipping’ (teleporting into the 3D model you are viewing) occurs more frequently with the Magic Leap One, removing immersion and making it tricky to get up-close to objects.
Both AR headsets feature spatial mapping, where Leap One shows a level of finish that HoloLens 2 doesn’t in its setup stage. Here Leap One uses a series of colors to map the space around you. However, Leap One wrestles with mapping black surfaces in environments compared to HoloLens 2. There is also significantly more ‘drift’ (jittering or gliding 3D elements) with the Leap One compared to HoloLens 2, impeding productivity. A useful feature of the HoloLens 2 is that it saves spatial environments which enables multi-use around different workspaces. A feature Magic Leap One misses.
On the Magic Leap One, spatial tracking works by identifying high contrast points within the environment. That means that it looks for color saturation and texture to measure the position of the Leap One in 3D space. As a result, the Leap One works better with high-contrast and textured walls in comparison to HoloLens 2.
Both AR devices’ tracking and mapping are designed for use inside. Consequently, both struggle when used outside, as light from the sun messes with the tracking for the headsets.
Lastly, Magic Leap One benefits from navigation through a controller, whereas the HoloLens 2 uses hand tracking. In practical terms, this means that Leap One is more user-friendly and is the better choice for first-time augmented reality users. Whereas the HoloLens 2 has a steep learning curve and can sometimes be frustrating on first use.
The HoloLens 2 features more processing power compared to Magic Leap One. Although, the less processing power in Magic Leap One, is compensated by its optimized system-on-chip.
The supported suite of Microsoft platforms HoloLens 2 offers, from Cortana to Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365, naturally enables out-of-the-box productivity and integration into a company’s existing IT structure. Oppositely Leap One requires external enterprise-ready solutions such as EON-XR Platform and Mixed Reality Viewer by Brainlab.
Nevertheless, both AR devices can handle enterprise-required tasks and use cases. But the UI/UX design on the HoloLens 2 seems more designed towards enterprises and productivity, whereas the UI/UX on the Leap One is more game-like.
Initial spatial mapping on the HoloLens 2 works better and faster than on Leap One, where you have to inch closer to walls for the Leap to recognize and map the environment.
Further, the HoloLens 2 is designed for multiple environments, as the unique feature of cloud saving several settings enables it to be used by many people.
Magic Leap One is approximately 1,000 euros less expensive than the HoloLens 2. This is because HoloLens 2 is solely aimed at enterprises for R&D, whereas the Leap One is for location-based AR and demonstrations and gaming. It means that the Leap One can be deployed more and in higher numbers, whereas the HoloLens 2 is to be stationary in, for example, an R&D lab.
Magic Leap One is ideal for demonstration in location-based situations for users new to augmented reality. The reason is Leap One’s ease of use, accompanying controller and auto-fitting feature. Such situations can be training and onboarding, and showcasing at conferences. Furthermore, Magic Leap One is also positioned at video games and consumers, explaining its higher refresh rate.
Oppositely, Microsoft HoloLens 2 is solely for enterprises, with its unique cloud saving feature for different environments, higher resolution, bigger FoV and reduced clipping. These features mean that design and stationary R&D fit well. Additionally, the supporting enterprise platforms from Microsoft, such as Teams and Dynamics 365, seamlessly integrate throughout the office.