Magic Leap One Hands-On Impressions Round-Up: ‘None Of It Is Truly Mind-Blowing’

by Ian Hamilton • August 8th, 2018

A smattering of news outlets including Wired, CNBC, The Verge, Wall Street Journal and MIT’s Technology Review were granted Magic Leap One demos in connection with the availability of pre-orders today.

I found the piece by Rachel Metz at the MIT Technology Review to be the most enlightening of the articles written about Magic Leap One’s launch, with Metz writing that Magic Leap still won’t offer a clear description of how its technology operates.

“It’s shining light through see-through wafers built into the headset’s lenses, and those wafers direct the light toward your eyes,” Metz wrote. “Users should be able to see 3-D images clearly all the way from up close—the virtual light field starts 14.6 inches from your face—to out in the distance.”

Here’s more of what Metz had to say along with some quotable sections from the other hands-on reports today:

MIT Technology Review: “The visuals were crisp and vivid, and in some cases I was able to see several digital images, positioned at various depths, at the same time….I think ML One is likely the best AR headset out there right now…It is tinted, so donning it is kind of like wearing sunglasses indoors…while the experiences in the demo room are fun and visually impressive, none of it is truly mind-blowing…the hardware will have to get still smaller and better.”

The Verge: “The Magic Leap One’s 50-degree diagonal field of view, while larger than the competing Microsoft HoloLens, is still extremely limited. And the image quality feels roughly on par with the two-year-old HoloLens. It’s generally good, but with some tracking and transparency issues.”

Wired: “As I stand in front of Abovitz’s desk, watching the dinosaur stretch his neck, a man walks behind the cartoon character and he is completely obscured…I tried out the Magic Leap One in a 1,000-square-foot faux-living room that had been tricked out in West Elm furniture, and it wasn’t great at first.” The writer reported some trouble with the fitting. When it was fixed, the writer described experiences “certainly on par with other augmented reality and virtual reality demos I have seen. Are they really mind-blowingly better than the competition? Not yet.”

CNBC: “Might Leap’s lightfield technology wasn’t convincing enough that I actually thought there were objects in front of me but it did do a good job putting 3D rendered objects into the real world.”

Wall Street Journal: “Cameras and other sensors in the headset scan surrounding objects and surfaces—from your arms to the chair’s armrest. When I placed a virtual orange fish between two actual couch pillows, it swam back and forth between them. Some objects appeared cut off unless I turned my head or took a few steps back. Mr. Abovitz says this will be improved in Magic Leap Two.”

CNET: “Magic Leap One suffers from a limited field of view, according to my colleague Scott Stein. That means what you see through the headset isn’t as large as the space you’re in. Abovitz says to think of the viewing window as a cone that widens as it moves away from you. That also means that getting too close to an object might cause it to sort of disappear.  After 20 minutes of wearing it, I can say it’s more comfortable than VR headsets.”

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