[Updated: 20-03-2023] In this article, you can find an overview of all AR headsets in 2023 currently and expected on the market. We will discuss the revolutionary Magic Leap 2, the productivity of Hololens 2 and newer headsets such as Nreal Light.
You’ll find an overview of each brand, the models or types they sell, and specifications such as resolution, the field of view, and control for these devices:
Apple is the market and innovation leader in numerous consumer and business technology categories. The adage of ‘what Apple does, industries dissolves, follows, and transforms’ is correct and is why a mixed reality headset from Apple is so pivotal.
The premium mixed reality headset from Apple codenamed N301 is profound in many ways. N301 will feature a 3-display configuration totaling 8K resolution, a native operating system, powerful System-on-Chip processing, improved hand tracking, and a lightweight design. The headset will also target both enterprises and consumers alike.
Delays such as heat dispersion issues have prevented the headset from arriving in 2021 and 2022 but should be expected in early 2023.
Canon is a Japanese multinational company specializing in optical, photographic, and industrial products such as cameras, lenses, printers, and medical products. Canon’s first mixed reality headset was released in the US in 2013.
They currently have three headsets on the market intended for business use. According to Canon, they’ve been working on mixed reality since 1997, but its first product didn’t hit the market until 2012. Canon is known for its expensive enterprise-grade headsets.
The Canon MREAL MD-10 was released in 2016 for the business market. The glasses have a binocular mixed reality display, permitting the real and digital worlds to be combined.
The glasses have an HD resolution screen and four cameras, two to record visuals and two to track the user’s location. According to Canon, this device can reduce the cost and time of producing a prototype.
The Canon MREAL MD-20 came on the market in 2020 for €70.000 and is only used by the business market. The glasses have a binocular mixed reality display allowing visualizations of 3D models in the physical world. Canon is intended as a business support tool for manufacturing industries such as car manufacturers.
Canon MREAL S1
The Canon MREAL S1 hit the market in 2021 for €32.000 and is currently only sold to the business market. The glasses have a binocular mixed reality display allowing visualizations of 3D models in the physical world. In addition, the glasses come with a computer and support for both hardware and software.
The glasses are intended as a business support tool for manufacturing industries such as car manufacturers. These companies can test a production line or prototypes before they are built, which can save costs and time.
Lenovo is a Chinese company that was founded in 1984. They have been selling augmented reality glasses since 2021. They currently have two glasses on the market and mainly focus on business and industrial customers. In addition to selling smart glasses and AR glasses, Lenovo sells computers, laptops, smartphones, and many more electronic products.
Lenovo ThinkReality A3
The Lenovo ThinkReality A3 will be released in mid-2021 and is intended for the business market. The glasses have a binocular display on which the user can view one large or five small computer screens. This makes the glasses very suitable for office workers who use multiple displays. The glasses must be connected to a computer or a Motorola smartphone to use them.
Lenovo ThinkReality A6
The Lenovo ThinkReality A6 came on the market in 2019 for business users. The glasses have a binocular display and are intended for the industrial and AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) market. The ThinkReality A6 can be controlled hands-free by voice control, which makes the glasses handy for remote expertise. The glasses run on a version of Android, which makes them intuitive to use.
Founded from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2020 by Stan Larroquer, Lynx is aimed at delivering mixed reality experiences to consumers that don’t break the bank, and their first headset R-1 is a testament to this.
Lynx R-1 is a premium mixed reality headset with an affordable price tag of $699 targeting consumers. The headset will feature the “4-fold catadioptric” lenses, enabling a much slimmer form factor while still housing processing within the headset.
Magic Leap was founded in 2010 in the United States. The company currently has one AR device on the market and is working on its second. The focus of the first version was on consumers, but due to limited success, version 2 has shifted to the business market.
The Magic Leap 1 came on the market in 2018 for €2.000 and is mainly used by consumers. The glasses have a binocular display that allows visualizations such as 3D models to be placed in the physical world. The glasses have a wide field of view and can be controlled with the controller. Due to the high costs, the glasses were not a success among consumers.
Large 50° field of view
The Magic Leap 2 will start shipping 30th of September 2022. The binocular AR glasses are aimed at the business market in three price and availability packages. Upon release, Magic Leap 2 will be the most advanced AR headset with innovative features such as Dynamic Dimming. This feature manipulates the level of light entering the glasses from the real world, sharpening the 3D objects such as text.
Since 2016, Microsoft has released two AR glasses targeting enterprises. Both these AR headsets use Microsoft’s AR productivity platform Windows Mixed Reality and is well-liked by many businesses. This operating program shares many similarities with Windows 10 but is optimized for augmented reality glasses.
Microsoft HoloLens 1
The HoloLens 1 came on the market in 2016 for €3.299. The headset has a high-resolution binocular display with a small field of view.
Microsoft Hololens can be controlled with voice control and hand movements. The glasses are quite fragile, making them less applicable within heavy industries. The HoloLens 1 has seen adoption in various sectors such as:
A small Field of View
Easy to use
Text can be difficult to read
Support for Microsoft platforms
Microsoft HoloLens 2
Hololens 2 came on the market in 2019 for €4.250 and is mostly used by the business market. The main difference between the HoloLens 1 and 2 is that the Field-of-View was significantly increased, while it also has better specifications and comfort from an improved weight distribution. Microsoft has launched an additional industrial version of the Hololens 2. [link: “HoloLens 2 Industrial Edition vs HoloLens 2: What are the key differences?“] This version was developed and tested for regulated industrial environments and is, among other things, certified for cleanrooms (dust and contaminant free).
Navigation with hand gestures and voice
Less suitable for industry
Meta is the umbrella enterprise covering companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and RealityLab. Meta, directed by Mark Zuckerberg, has, since the acquisition of Oculus in 2014, been on a mission to introduce the metaverse to the world through augmented and virtual reality.
The premium mixed reality headset Meta Cambria is still unannounced and therefore, no release date is known. However, recent news tell that the headset will be announced October 11th from Meta’s Connect event.
Nevertheless, the headset will likely feature pancake optics slimming and making it lighter. It will also have impressive video passthrough technology and the resolution will be 2160×2160 per eye at a 90Hz refresh rate, running on the XR2 Qualcomm platform.
Mirrorlake is a prototype mixed reality headset by Meta, and it is unknown if it will ever be released. The headset will be small, lightweight, and energy-efficient with ground-breaking Holocake 2 optics combining virtual reality and augmented reality lens technologies. Mirrorlake will have a display called Half-Dome 3 dynamically changing focus based on where the wearer looks, similar to foveated rendering and an impressive reverse video passthrough feature.
Nreal is a South Korean company founded in 2017. The company specializes in mixed reality experiences and launched its first AR headset in 2020. Nreal’s main focus is to bring AR headsets to the consumer market.
The Nreal Light AR headset was launched in South Korea and Japan in 2020 and has also been available in Germany and Spain since mid-2021. The device is available there for 799 euros and is mainly used by consumers. The binocular AR headset can be connected to either an Android-powered smartphone or the included 170g computing unit. The Nreal Light can project 3D objects into the real world and is particularly interesting for consumers due to its low price. Its light weight also makes the device comfortable to wear for long periods.
The Nreal Enterprise Edition was announced in Q1 of 2021, a headset aimed at business customers, but technical details are not yet released, and as of Q3 2022, no new updates have come out.
Little is known about Google’s plans for an AR prototype called Iris.
However, a recent Google acquisition of AR display maker Raxium signal that a future headset will use holographic waveguide optics, further telling that Iris will be slim and lightweight. Iris will be powered by Google’s SoC Tensor and run on a modified Android for augmented reality.
2021/2022 were and are continuing to be a profound period for augmented reality, with many new products introduced and brand new companies bringing further momentum to the already emerging market around AR headsets. However, most devices still focus on the enterprise market, and some even changed course to business customers.
While that is said, rumors for headsets from companies such as Google, Apple, and Meta point to more AR headsets and smart glasses for consumers. While the Kickstarter-backed Lynx R-1 is said to arrive in late 2022.
Depending on which use cases are critical in your company, different devices come into question. With this large selection, it is understandably often not easy to keep an overview and find the right AR headset.
VR Expert can advise you in this matter and support you in the hardware decision. Please contact us at email@example.com to arrange a consultation with one of our experts.
Jakob Pii is Writer at VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.