Canon announced its next enterprise XR headset, MREAL X1. The device, which offers passthrough AR, appears to be a modestly upgraded version of the company’s 2021 model, MREAL S1, as it boasts a field of view (FOV) that’s “2.5 times larger.”

The headset, which is detailed in an English language video (seen below), is said to make use of Canon’s proprietary display panels and optical technology, something the company says has allowed it to expand the FOV from MREAL S1’s quoted 45° × 34° to MREAL X1’s 58° × 60°.

The display resolution has also increased from 1,600 × 1,200 per eye in MREAL S1 to 1,920 × 2,160 per eye in the new X1 model.

Image courtesy Canon

It appears the company is also offering an optional grip-style handheld display configuration, effectively working like the one for Canon MREAL Display MD-20, which was introduced in 2020. The halo headset strap system, with front-facing adjustment knob, appears to be very similar to last year’s model as well.

“In particular, by expanding the longitudinal viewing angle, which was often requested by users, it is possible to check the entire view area without moving the head greatly,” Canon says in its Japanese language site, underlining the headset’s biggest upgrade.

Although the announcement video is dubbed in English, Canon has not made supporting information available in anything but the Japanese language, which suggests it’s again primarily targeting its domestic market like it has with other MREAL headsets in the past.

Additionally, the headset’s price is marked as “open,” which means you’ll likely need to partner with Canon Japan to get a pricing list. That said, if the steeply priced MD-20 model is any indication, it’s probably in the range of 10s of thousands of U.S. dollars.

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Unlike standalone AR headsets such as HoloLens 2 or Magic Leap 2, which feature wave guide-based see-through optics, Canon’s tethered headset is a passthrough XR device, which literally passes real-world imagery through a pair of front-facing camera sensors and blends it with virtual images on a completely opaque conventional display.

If you want to learn more about different AR display methods, check out our primer on the differences between smartglasses and AR glasses.

Specs

MREAL X1
Connection
MREAL Display Body dedicated terminals for interface cables (×1)
interface board Dedicated Interface Cable Terminal (×1)
Mini DisplayPort Terminal (×1)
PCI Express 2.0 (Gen3) ×4 Card Edge (×1)
interface box Interface Cable Dedicated Terminal (×1)
AC Adapter Terminal (×1)
PC Connection Cable Terminal (×1)
Size
MREAL Display body
(head mount unit, interface cable not included)
Approx. 158 mm (W) ×86 mm (H) ×38 mm (D)
MREAL Display body + head mount unit
(minimum state, interface cable not included)
Approx. 186 mm (W) × 150 mm (H) × 250 mm (D)
mass
MREAL Display body
(head mount unit, interface cable not included)
approximately 158g
MREAL Display body + head mount unit
(minimum state, interface cable not included)
approximately 359g
Cable Length
interface cable approx. 10m (20m optional accessory)
display system
display angle of view approx. 58° (horizontal) ×60° (vertical)
display resolution*4 approx. 3840 × 2160
(1920×2160 images on each left and right display)
display frequency Approximately 120Hz*5
IPD Support Range
IPD range approx. 55 to 78 mm
(adjustment range) approx. 57 mm to 76 mm

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  • xyzs

    Who would buy that for 20k or more???
    I am curious for real.

    • daydream

      The camera business is kind of a racket in general.

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  • Emad Khan

    Mediocre. Feel like the design language, pricing, and marketing are lost in the early 90s. Tone def to XR market, user needs, and developers. Even the music sounds like it was taken from Underworld or Blade. Even the demo pen is sooo shaky.

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  • XRC

    @scott Hayden

    Can you obtain a demo headset for review? Very interested to see how this device compares to other AR systems.

  • brandon9271

    It looks ridiculous. Lol

  • It’s about time the word got out that the real future of AR is in pass-through graphics, not projections on transparent lens.

    As for the price, “10’s of thousands” seems a bit unlikely. Look at the device. Those aren’t impressive optics for the cameras, they are super-basic. They might be aiming this for “enterprise”, at the moment, but it’s cheap construction suggests a consumer focus in the future. I’d bet they are using the enterprise release for testing purposes, working out the bugs, develop future IP partnerships.

    This makes sense that Canon is interested in diving headfirst into a new field. Digital Cameras aren’t exactly flying off shelves these days. Outside of professional gear, their products have been on the decline in the consumer section for well over a decade. If they can work out the bugs and get some good IP to work with, maybe Canon might be a name that dominates AR, and maybe even VR, in the future. The playing field is still wide open.