It's confession time. Through a couple of sources I managed to get an early look at HoloLens 2. But I was sworn to privacy, and I take my techsed seriously (shame on you, readers).
But now it's out in the wild, we can finally talk about how HoloLens 2 looks compared to the predecessor and the competition.
Microsoft learns cold by color
Let's start by giving Microsoft credit to make something so simple and right that many others miss: Make it black, stupid. Yes, colorful hardware is creative, but all want the black laptop, the black sports car and now the black reinforced reality head.
The original HoloLens were charming but the confluence of colors (Lego-style grays and orange) gave it the weak whiff of a toy. This is not the case with HoloLens 2. This looks like it means business. (And yes, it's not technically pure "black." I'm sure there's almost black name for this color, but it's still cool, no matter what color we call it.) I really hoped that the next HoloLens would Get the same kind of attention to style as Surface, and it looks like we have a winner (at least for business users, don't expect to see this at your local hipster cafe).
Body type: AR Sport Car
Although I have not had the chance to handle it myself, my sources tell that HoloLens 2 is easier than the first, and it shows in its construction. Although you can still see some of the design DNA left over from the first HoloLens, HoloLens 2 looks as if someone on the team decided it was time to really own the company's AR space and give it a small sexy machine that no longer has wearing a HoloLens scream "Hey, look at me, I'm a supernatural, guess what I have on my head?".
no. This design allows others to see what you see in front of the lenses instead of asking questions about the headset itself.
Logistics, Comfort and Concern
Many have commented on the decision to move some of the unit's weight and several components, including the battery, on the back of HoloLens 2. I have mixed feelings about this. Although I'm sure it helps with overall balance, because of my experience with other main-purpose devices in VR (yes, I'm talking about Vive Wireless Adapter ) that puts a lot of power on Your noggin, I'm a little wary of this type of design.
Of course, we haven't heard of any horror stories that involve power sources near the sensitive parts of your head (yet), but it's something to think about.
The other interesting thing about the new back profile on HoloLens 2 is the weakly updated dial-to-tighten system. This was by far my least favorite aspect of the first HoloLens. Putting the device on and then dialing it to tighten felt vaguely wrapped up in a kind of cubic torture machine. It wasn't fun.
That's why I was excited when I saw a couple of early leaked pictures showing that the new device could use more of an Oculus Rift headband. It is much more comfortable. Unfortunately, what Microsoft showed us on Sunday is just a steering wheel and no headband, so we can only hope that the improved balance and lighter weight makes it a more comfortable fit.
Versus Magic Leap One
At this point in the main-borne AR game is spatial sound a must. If you don't, you're automatically behind the times. Microsoft's HoloLens team is not new to spatial sound, but it is still good to see the built-in speaker grille design for the HoloLens 2-room radio, although I have not had the chance to try right and low personally just yet.
Considering "spatial" we should mention that this is likely to be the device most often compared to Magic Leap One in the coming months and years. The real competition lies in the technical specifications and the overall interactive experience, but only on the looks alone, I think it's fair to say that Microsoft built a device designed to dominate the business. It just looks right for business. Next to the HoloLens 2, Magic Leap One now looks much more like a console player – fun, interestingly designed, but not like bare legs that are practical as HoloLens 2.
Finally, another early note that I snagged on the device was that the visor could be turned up so that you could easily take a breath from the AR during long periods of use. And on the company's website for HoloLens 2, Microsoft says: "Keep your glasses on – the headset slides over them. When it's time to change your data, turn the visor out of mixed reality."
Great. But for some reason there are not many examples of this feature available online or during the presentation that I attended here in Barcelona, Spain. It's a good feature, so assuming it works as advertised, Microsoft should show it more.
We will get more eye-catches of HoloLens 2 later this week, but we knew you needed something to keep you happy In the meantime, look closely and enjoy the new player in the AR room.
Don't miss: How to order HoloLens 2