Microsoft Reveals HoloLens 2 with More than 2x Field of View & 47 Pixels per-Degree

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Microsoft today revealed HoloLens 2 at MWC 2019 in Barcelona. The headset features a laser-scanning display which brings a field of view that’s more than 2x the original HoloLens and 47 pixels per degree.

HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman took to the stage in Barcelona to introduce HoloLens 2 which addresses many of the key criticisms of the original headset: field of view, comfort, and hand-tracking.

Kipman on stage in Barcelona | Photo by Road to VR

Kipman says that HoloLens 2 “more than doubles” the field of view of the original HoloLens, though hasn’t yet specified exactly what the field of view is. The original HoloLens field of view was around 35 degrees, so HoloLens 2 is expected to be around 70 degrees.

Of course, there’s a direct inverse relationship between field of view and resolution, because as you stretch the field of view you reduce pixel density. HoloLens 2 retains it’s high 47 pixels per-degree despite the jump in field of view. Kipman said the headset targets 47 PPD because that’s the bar for legibly reading 8-point font on a website. For comparison, contemporary VR headsets like Vive Pro are around 16 PPD.

Image courtesy Microsoft

HoloLens 2 is also designed to be more comfortable, with much of the headset’s bulk balanced in the back of the headset. Kipman said HoloLens 2 “more than triples the comfort” over the original HoloLens… though the exact weight, and how they came to that specific figure, is unclear. Still, the front portion of the headset is said to be made entirely from carbon fiber to cut down on weight and offers a convenient flip-up visor.

HoloLens 2 also brings hand-tracking which goes much further than the coarse gesture control in the original headset. Now with full hand-tracking, users can interact much more directly with applications by touching, poking, and sliding controls directly rather than using abstract gestures.

Image courtesy Microsoft

The headset is also equipped with eye-tracking. Although Microsoft didn’t go into detail about its capabilities, it is said to be “real-time” eye-tracking and the company noted that it’s capable of being used for biometric authentication (and presumably user recognition), which ought to be very useful for enterprise use-cases.

Microsoft says that HoloLens 2 will be available for $3,500 (putting it squarely in the non-consumer category), and pre-orders are available starting today. The company says it will also offer the headset in bundles with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist starting at $125 per month.

Check out our dive into what’s known (and not known) about HoloLens 2 specs here.

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HoloLens was was category-defining first-gen AR headset introduced in early 2015. Microsoft initially launched HoloLens as a dev kit in early 2016 and later that year made it available in a ‘Commercial Suite’ edition that was positioned toward enterprises. Through 2017 and 2018 the company steadily grew the headset’s distribution channels and options: opening official third-party resales and rentals, expanding regional availability, offering a certified hard hat option for the headset, and launching first-party software tools for enterprise visualization and remote help. And to top it all off, Microsoft recently landed a $480 million defense contract to provide the US Army with AR headsets, which is almost certainly based on HoloLens 2 technology rather than the first-generation headset.

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  • Lucidfeuer

    I don’t like insulting “I’m going to try and flip things by assuming you’re fucking stupid” language it’s insulting.

    70° FOV, if it’s true and there no reason to assume it is, is nice for AR, but 47 PPD doesn’t mean fucking shit. So I assume it’s a crap resolution compared to the screen FOV.

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      Wouldn’t it be closer to 50 degrees?

    • daveinpublic

      I think they said the new resolution is the equivalent of going from 720P to 2K. And I think 47ppd is pretty good, it means that you have a high resolution in the places you’re looking, even though the fov is still probably around 50 to 70 degrees. Readable text is important to Microsoft, more business applications, better for web browsing.

      This headset is advancing nicely, putting Tragic Heap to shame, despite talking up their magic lingo for like a decade now. And it looks more comfortable now, and probably sports a much bigger battery to push more pixels for the same length of time.

      • Mike

        I think they should have pushed the FOV a little higher at the expense of a little PPD. 70 degrees (I’m assuming horizontal) should be decent, and is much better than the garbage FOV in the original HoloLens, but VR headsets are at least 90 degrees horizontal, and still leave a lot to be desired.

        • Bespin

          They CAN increase FOV anytime as its lasers…. this new MEMS stuff is legit as hell. Lasers into Waveguides is the ticket.

    • Mo Last

      “but 47 PPD doesn’t mean fucking shit.” what why??? that’s wayyy to high and good enough lol.. do you realize the vive is like 11 ppd and vive pro is 16 ppd?

      • dk

        47ppd means unnoticeable sde and reading text and looking at details without getting tired …20/20 vision was maybe 60ppd but it depends on the type of matrix too
        the hololens 2 is most likely 1440p display per eye

    • Adderstone VR

      Um…pixels per degree is the ONLY way of reporting pixel density for a head mounted display and thus the ONLY meaningful measure of resolution for an HMD. So 47PPD means A LOT.

      • AS

        Yeah, no. PPD only works for uniform displays with fixed lenses or waveguides.

        Literally every hmd on the market for the last 50+ years has measured its optics using resolution and FoV

        • Hivemind9000

          Yeah, yeah. PPD is a derivative calculation based on usable resolution and horizontal FOV. Seems to correlate well with anecdotal/reported visual clarity (especially for things like text readability).

          • AS

            God job completely misunderstanding my comment.

            When you get it, please try again.

      • dk

        because it might not mean a lot to everyone …they mentioned the vive is 16ppd …..there is no noticeable screen door effect and u can read text and details without getting tired …..but 20/20 vision was maybe 60ppd but it depends on the type of matrix too

    • AS

      If you make an approximation from the specs, and say the display is 1920×1280 per eye (2k, 3:2 aspect), that works out at slightly under 82 degrees horizontal FoV and 27 degrees vertical.

    • Jim Cherry

      Ms loves to change the metrics to suit their needs. Remember when they used to report Xboxes sold.

    • Hivemind9000

      PPD is the best metric to quote if you’re interested in visual fidelity (i.e. can I read text easily etc). Otherwise you have to calculate it backwards from (usable) resolution of the screens and the horizontal FOV.

    • dk

      rift/vive is 16ppd
      the hololens 2 is most likely 1440p display per eye

  • Xron

    3.5k… :DDDD w/e go next

    • dk

      when the woman was interacting with stuff in the demo it was lagging a lot …also the hand visualization was recorded by a 2nd device receiving information from the 1st device looking at the hands …so who knows how that affects everything ….more reviews and reports r needed

      • Andrew Jakobs

        I don’t actually understand the pricing, at $125/month/user it’s actually cheaper than buying the headset alone (which @ $3500 doesn’t come with the dynamics365 software), and in most cases these devices don’t hold up well for 28 months with active use. And in most cases you will have more users using the headset at the same time, so it’s still cheaper to go for the monthly price than buying one headset alone.

        • dk

          yep it’s not really clear ….but I guess with multiple users ….when u put it on u log into your own services with the iris scan …if someone else is using it they might be using different services …basically treating it like software instances but all the accounts r accessible via the same pc …..it would be funny if the price goes down with multiple users because they want to sell the software subscription solutions more than selling the hardware

    • Jim Cherry

      Ms has decided not to bring HoloLens to the consumer so don’t hold your breath on any future version of HoloLens for under 3k.

  • blue5peed

    Eye tracking and hand tracking as standard, It looks super comfortable and almost half the price . This is the AR headset I’ve looked forward too, It’s a great base to develop from.

    AR has had one hell of a year already and its only February. Excited for its future.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Half the price of what? the previous hololens was $3000. But it’s still a great price for enterprises.

      • Jorge Gustavo

        the business edition hololens 1 was 5k (commercial edition 3k) …..now the business edition is 3.5k or $125 a month. (copy and paste from dk commentary)

  • one80oneday

    They had me at 3x more comfortable

  • Foreign Devil

    Guess the only way I can use one of these is join the army now. Too expensive for consumer..but average Joe can get one if they agree to become a mercenary.

    • Xron

      Well, military made an order for about 500million so they can get 100k+ headsets.

    • jj

      or jsut be a software developer…. or work in a factory in the next 5 years…. or work in city planning and infrastructure or utility management. there are endless uses, but you know have fun focusing on other things.

  • Octo

    Can you not connect this to a pc? I’d like to eventually replace my monitors with an AR headset..but everyone keeps pushing this mobile crap..

    • dk

      yep it’s not sold without the processing unit at this point

    • Bob

      And why would you connect the device to a PC while you’re operating on a vehicle out in the wilderness?

      • jj

        because then you can offload gpu and cpu processes to something larger than what can be carried around mobile. its how everything will be soon

        • Bob

          Yes that’s blatantly obvious but it’s not practical for all kinds of situations like the one I’ve just described so then that’s where mobile comes in.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Ofcourse you can connect it to your PC just like you can with a regular smartphone, through remote desktop for instance.

      • Octo

        Yea that’s brilliant..remote desktop for a headset…why haven’t they done that for wireless VR already? You’ve seemingly solved all the technical issues already.

  • WyrdestGeek

    * x2 display size
    * retain pixel density high enough to read a web page recently

    W00t.

    This all sounds pretty cool. I mean, not for myself personally right now, but for the progress towards consumer AR overall.

    How you lookin’ now, Magic Leap?

    • jj

      you have the best well rounded approach to this on here.

      *Its awesome
      *its for businesses and not consumer, so you dont ask or suggest something ridiculous
      *Point out how lame it makes magic leap look

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  • Hivemind9000

    Color me impressed. With that PPD and assuming they’re as comfortable as is being reported (I watched the Verge overview of it) it looks like something I could potentially use professionally for a virtualized workstation (coding/graphics). However, at $3,500 it makes for an expensive display system so the value is still not quite there yet. Maybe I’ll be in the market for the Hololens 3…

    • jj

      people spend that much on high end monitors so this isn’t that far off.

      • Hivemind9000

        Sure, but those are specialist monitors with resolutions and color calibration that Hololens can’t come close to matching. Comparing apples for apples, the Hololense visual fidelity is probably a lot less than a 24 inch 1080p monitor at normal distance (based on the 8pt text readability statement). You can pick up a good one of those for under $200 these days.

  • Ellon Musk

    We are still at least a decade away from AR becoming a real consumer product, apart from all the gimmicks out today

    • jj

      maybe thats why they say its not a consumer product… so thanks captain obvious is there an echo in here?

  • MosBen

    That’s cool. I’ll check back in three years or so for Hololens 3 and hope that it’s a more consumer-facing product. But this seems like a pretty good improvement over the first generation, so hopefully Hololens 3 will be super impressive.

  • Marz

    Microsoft “missed/sunk” their boat with the smartphone revolution. It seems they are trying hard not to repeat that mistake with AR, bravo.

    It would have been great to have at least 90 degrees fov and a flip down dark or blackout shade for quasi VR. A way to do wireless PC connection for higher graphics processing would’ve also been good. However, all in all, good baby steps. AR is hard.

    • jj

      they just doubled the fov… Obviously we all want huge fov but give them some respect for what they achieve before just asking for the next biggest thing…. like you said baby steps but more for your appetite

      • Marz

        Yep, I most certainly do give them “respect” and do applaud them for what they achieved with 2.0. I mentioned that it’d be “great” for 90 degrees. We know it’s going there someday in respects to FOV.

        I’m curious if these devices will hold out for more graphical processing capabilities until things can be rendered in real time via cloud/ and 5G and beyond or have a way to connect to heftier computers locally.

        Also, IMHO I’d much rather have a Hololens 1.0 or 2.0 before a magic leap. The competition is good though and hope for more.

  • Lei

    Impressive evolution of specs aside, I hope VR HMD makers take note of that ergonomic engineering! The counterbalanced ‘dial in’ design looks infinitely more comfortable than having the bulk of the weight hang off your face, and serves dual purpose by being able to divide the weight of the battery and computing.

  • JustNiz

    It needs to look like a pair of sunglasses, rather than something that should be called the Dorkmaster 2000.

    • jj

      if thats all you care about then you’re in the wrong place… just leave

      • JustNiz

        Funny how Intel did it a while back but Microsoft still can’t.
        https://youtu.be/bnfwClgheF0

        • Caven

          That Intel prototype is extremely limited compared to what HoloLens 2 is doing. There’s no way Intel could fit HoloLens functionality into their Vaunt smart glasses, which have a monochrome display that shines in only a portion of one eye.

        • dk

          that’s not even ar glasses …..it’s just a smart watch for your face …it’s a hud ……next time give an example for cheap small affordable glasses with the nreal ….and obviously that too is not at the level of the hololens but it’s really viable

          • WyrdestGeek

            “Smart watch for your face.” That’s a good analogy. I’m gonna keep that on reserve for when someone tries to say Google Glass was AR.

    • mirak

      It makes you look like Diana in V the aliens that can’t stand light so they use sunglasses.