The hiding and the teasing are over. Magic Leap, the mysterious augmented reality startup backed by big money, has finally released a product into the wild, with its Magic Leap One Creator Edition, a lightweight headset with a portable computer puck and pointer/controller.
With a price point of $2,295, Magic Leap One enters the ring against other augmented or mixed reality headsets including Microsoft’s HoloLens, or Google Glass, if those are still around. But we’re told this isn’t just AR as we know it with digital images laid over real-world views, it’s “spatial computing,” according to Magic Leap.
If you thought Elon Musk was the only one enjoying a cosmic 420 trip this week, Magic Leap invites developers, creators and explorers — not consumers, yet — to join the Florida-based company “on a mind-expanding journey into the outer reaches of human creativity.”
Well, the folks from CNBC and The Verge did just that, with exclusive test drives of Magic Leap One.
Adi Robertson of The Verge said that Magic Leap One has some real advantages over HoloLens, but …
“It doesn’t seem like a satisfying computing device or a radical step forward for mixed reality,” Robertson wrote. “Magic Leap’s vision is a compelling alternative to that of Silicon Valley’s tech giants. But there’s a baffling disconnect between its vast resources and parts of its actual product. I genuinely believe Magic Leap has given me a glimpse of the future of computing, but it might take a long time to reach that future, and I’m not sure Magic Leap will be the company that gets there first.”
The review stresses that Magic Leap One’s field of view is “constantly distracting.”
“Moderately sized objects were cut off if I got too close, and full-room scenes appeared only in patches,” Robertson wrote. “The overall image quality, meanwhile, felt similar to HoloLens. Objects looked three-dimensional, but ethereal. Edges glowed slightly, text was a little fuzzy, and some objects appeared slightly transparent. Tracking was generally good, but objects occasionally shifted or jittered. A few times, animated objects seized up altogether, which might have been an issue with tracking, Lightpack performance, or something else.”
Over at CNBC, Todd Haselton said that “it’s hard to explain what it’s like using Magic Leap, a problem the company has admitted” and he conveyed the same concerns as The Verge did about the device’s field of vision.
“The Magic Leap One is sort of like looking through a window within your field of view,” Haselton said. “It doesn’t lay the scene on top of everything within your vision, which means it can be hard to see objects that are really close to you or too big for the headset’s field of view.”
But Haselton was clearly wowed by sea creatures floating in front of him during one particular app he played with called “Tonandi,” which is a collaboration between the studio and the band Sigur Rós.
“I knew the experiences weren’t real, but it was unlike anything I’ve experienced before.”