To significant anticipation, Microsoft revealed HoloLens 2 earlier this week at MWC 2019. By all accounts it looks like a beautiful and functional piece of technology and a big step forward for Microsoft’s AR initiative. All of which makes it unfortunate that the company didn’t strive to be clearer when illustrating one of the three key areas in which the headset is said to be improved over its predecessor.

On stage this week at MWC 2019, HoloLens visionary Alex Kipman was the one to officially reveal HoloLens 2. The headset, he said, delivers improvements in three key areas that customers of the original headset had consistently asked for: field of view, comfort, and business ROI right out of the box.

For field of view—how much of your view is covered by the headset’s display—Kipman said that HoloLens 2 delivers “more than double” the field of view of the original HoloLens.

“More Than Double” …What, Exactly?

Image courtesy Microsoft

Within the AR and VR markets, the de facto descriptor used when talking about a headset’s field of view is an angle specified to be the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal extent of the device’s display from the perspective of the viewer. When I hear that one headset has “more than double” the field of view of another, it says to me that one of those angles has increased by a factor of ~2. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s how the industry has come to define field of view.

It turns out that’s not what Kipman meant when he said “more than double.” I reached out to Microsoft for clarity and found that what he was actually referring to was not a field of view angle, rather the field of view area, but that wasn’t explained in the presentation at all, just (seemingly intentionally) vague statements of “more than twice the field of view.”

But ok… I get it. Field of view area isn’t a bad way to compare headsets by any means, if somewhat peculiar compared to how other companies rely this information. Not the end of the world.

But then Kipman moved onto a part of the presentation which visually showed the difference between the field of view of HoloLens 1 and HoloLens 2, and that’s when things really became misleading.

From 2x to 5.2x

In the center of the image Microsoft showed the HoloLens 1 field of view, and then drew out the edges of the image to show how much larger the HoloLens 2 field of view was by comparison. Except it was hugely exaggerated.

I pulled the below photo right from the presentation and used a perspective-correct transformation to make sure the shapes are correct relative to the camera angle. Then I overlaid the actual HoloLens 2 field of view (since confirmed to me by Microsoft) as it should have been sized in the comparison:

Photo by Road to VR, based on image courtesy Microsoft

The difference between the actual field of view and what was presented is not just a little bit wrong… it’s like, way wrong. Microsoft made a big deal about the “more than double” increase (in area) compared to HoloLens 1, but managed to misrepresent the difference by an even larger margin, showing a 5.2 times area increase over HoloLens 1 in the visual.

What makes this even more unfortunate is that they attempted to show how the wider field of view would let you see more of a virtual object, but the actual HoloLens 2 field of view in this case would have truncated the example on all sides.

When I asked Microsoft about this, I was told that what was shown just an “illustration,” and only a brief part of the presentation. But it seems surprising that they didn’t take more care to faithfully represent one of the headset’s most important improvements, especially considering this is the only means of comparison short of actually having a HoloLens 1 and 2 in front of you to try.

Initially when I went asking through official Microsoft press channels for specifics on the HoloLens 2 field of view, I was told that “more than double” HoloLens 1 is all the information that would be shared for the time being. When I took to Twitter to air my frustration at the lack of clarity (especially considering that the stated “more than double” was relative to the HoloLens 1 FOV which Microsoft had also been coy about sharing) Alex Kipman responded by pointing to a huge Wired pre-reveal feature article published this week where he confirmed a 34 degree diagonal field of view (16:9) for the original headset, and a 52 degree diagonal (3:2) for HoloLens 2.

But even in an in-depth pre-reveal briefing, Microsoft still didn’t manage to accurately convey the field of view message; the Wired piece reports that the “diagonal field of view has more than doubled” on HoloLens 2—the same thing most people reasonably thought when the company said it on stage this week.

Fool Me Once

This isn’t the first time that Microsoft has been called out for doing a poor job of representing the HoloLens field of view. When the original headset was revealed back in 2015, the company used (admittedly very cool) mixed reality compositing to show a third-person perspective of all the virtual objects floating around the user. This was billed as ‘what the user sees,’ but left out the important detail that with such a small field of view there is significant truncation that is not shown. Microsoft later began adjusting many of its HoloLens marketing visualizations to be more clear about what how the user-perspective actually looked and was impacted by the field of view limitations.

– – — – –

To be clear, this isn’t the end of the world. Companies try to present their products in the best light, and oftentimes that involves stretching the truth. It isn’t clear if Microsoft was being intentionally misleading, or if someone just made a bad mockup, but it does mean that if the only thing you saw was the HoloLens 2 reveal presentation, the field of view is actually significantly smaller than what was shown on stage (and for anyone curious, nearly identical in size to that of Magic Leap).

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: HoloLens 2 is a More Than Just a Larger Field of View

This will be forgotten in time; HoloLens 2 will go on to do great things. But misrepresenting the field of view doesn’t make it bigger, and people are still going to be asking for even more field of view from HoloLens 3 and beyond. So in the meantime, Microsoft, why not just aim for accuracy and let the device speak for itself.

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  • Matilde Constance

    This looks like that discussion about penis size. All Men Lies About Penis Size

    • daveinpublic

      Sounds like you’ve had a lot of experience.

    • JPRacer77Qc

      I have a very, very small penis… Haha, no I’m lying! Oh shit! You’re right!

  • gothicvillas

    MicroFlop do what it does the best – mislead the public

    • jj

      yeah cause tragic heap(magic leap) really delivers…. nothing can beat the hololense so that means nothing is going to impress you, so youre just a troll

  • daveinpublic

    Can place more blame on the marketing dept than anyone, but that’s still something the execs or presenters need to take responsibility for. Still, the engineers are doing an awesome job, and it’s the most advanced AR headset on the market.

    In fact, it may be the most advanced headset on the market. They demoed some pretty realistic avatars from one photo, and it’s the only headset that has hand tracking. Those are both big deals. Full hand presence in MR with no controller, and nobody on any VR site has talked about it, even though it’s what everyone has been hoping for in ‘VR 2.0’. They also threw in eye tracking. And the ability to authenticate you and log you in automatically by using your eye like a thumbprint. Lot’s of serious upgrades that probably all deserve their own article.

    • Guygasm

      Alex Kipman takes full blame here, not Marketing. He approved of the graphic he presented and knew full well how BS it is. Also, he chose to compare the increase as “the equivalent of moving from a 720p television to a 2K television, for each of your eyes.” Technically, he’s correct but it’s still BS to compare vertical resolution (1280×720) to horizontal resolution (2048×1080). Most people don’t know “2K” is “1080p”. The only reason to choose this wording is to mislead people.

      • GordoSan

        Well, also because it isn’t 1080p, due to different proportions (3:2). Vertical lines should actually be over 1080. What he really should have used is MegaPixels, IMO. In fact, the video industry shouldn’t have jumped to the movie industry standard of 4K, because it isn’t accurate either. (ie. vid version is still measured horizontal, but not even 4K wide) MP is a much better method because it’s independent of ratio.

      • Sai

        From what I’ve read, it actually is the equivalent of 2000×1500 pixels, which is not-so-coincidentally the same aspect ratio as the Surface Book.

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    • Downvote King

      What’s interesting to me is this basically puts Hololens 2’s FOV on par with Magic Leap’s. I don’t know how many people were projecting feature parity between ML and Microsoft’s next gen offering.

      • I would hardly call parity of one feature, “feature parity” lol. Though I guess it would be technically correct?

        • Downvote King

          Pedantry is not a victimless crime

    • Malkmus

      “it’s the only headset that has hand tracking.”

      Magic Leap has hand tracking and a 6DOF controller. That being said the hand tracking on H2 tracks more points on the hand, so it’s better.

  • jj

    this is BULLSHIT BECAUSE you guys didnt tear into PIMAX when they lied about their “8K”?
    “Within the AR and VR markets, the de facto descriptor used when talking about a headset’s field of view is an angle specified to be the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal extent of the device’s display from the perspective of the viewer.”

    Why wasn’t pimax held to these same standards because i remember everyone saying the way you measure dimensions is pretty loose and up to the company, yet here you guys says we have a standard for it. Which is what i said back when pimax was trying to claim 8k without having 8k and everyone shit on me…..bravo guys, bravo.

    Or why dont you call out all of the Magic Leaps bs theyve tried to lie about? but no you’d rather separate hololense out and drag them through the mud over one thing.

    hololense lies = 1-2 times about the difference in screen size, and not even the exact size.

    Pimax Lies = Infinite about dimensions

    Magic Leap lies = Infinite about everything

    • MosBen

      I’m confused. Pretty much every R2VR article about the Pimax headsets included a paragraph about how their “8k” and “5k” labels weren’t really accurate, and there were no amount of comments to those stories saying that such criticism was pedantic and using too narrow a definition of those terms. Did you miss that?

      • jj

        putting a footnote to say its not what it seams and saying they lied to everyone is a HUGE difference and thats what happened.

        plus some of you are still saying there is a standard while others are saying there isnt.

        • Hivemind9000

          I don’t think you understand what a “lie” truly is (or what “infinite” means for that matter). Pimax explained quite clearly what their 8K term meant – whether it should be an defacto industry term is another matter. I’m not saying that their representation of their product was perfect (E.g. took them a while to explain that 200 was diagonal FOV) but I don’t think they intentionally set out to deceive.

          Microsoft (and Magic Leap) are visually misrepresenting what their headsets are capable of and calling them “illustrations” where they are clearly and intentionally misleading. MS have always been reticent about showing what their headsets can actually “see”, which is a lie-by-omission in my book.

          • jj

            I do believe pimax was intentionally trying to deceive in the same way you say microsoft was doing it via lie-by-omission. Pimax wasn’t that clear on what 8k meant, and put it in the name of the device to make it seam like it was 9k. otherwise why would they put it in the title if it isnt.

          • Hivemind9000

            Pimax stated that their 8K was 2*3840×2160 literally in the second paragraph of their original kickstarter campaign. Same thing on their current sales page for the 8K. Not sure how they could make it any clearer. They also explained that the 8K was upscaled from a 1440p signal, while the 8KX wasn’t. There was no lie-by-omission, nor did they show a blatantly misleading video about what their product would display.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Let me start by saying the hole resolution thing is a cluster fuck… I’m not even gonna try and explain… Im no expert on field of view so I dont even know if there’s some standard for VR to gauge it because if your eyes are half inch closer to the lens/screen your feild of view is expanded..

            As for Pimax I’ve never heard Pimax publicly say errrrr it’s not 8k it’s two 4k screens… But I have heard people that probably work there defend Pimax bay saying the 8k and 5k is just a product name and has nothing to do with actual hardware spec…. Because truth be told the 8k and 5k dont even render at native resolution per screen and it’s flipping stretched up to spec…. But I lost interest in the Pimax a Looooong time ago and

      • Jerald Doerr

        jj is definitely right…. BUT They did jump in mid Pimax hardware spec information release… I was fighting with people left and right at the start of Pimax hardware information with 0 backup until Linus Tech tips made a Youtube video about it. But you can’t expect everyone to know everything!

        • jj

          thank you!

      • Fourfoldroot

        Microsoft is 3x more deceptive.

        • Jerald Doerr

          All of our games on the XBox will be backward compatible right out of the box! Wups!

          • Fourfoldroot

            You obviously missed the reference. Regardless, your response is incredibly amusing to all non fanboys lol.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Not sure which one you’re talking about? The 3x??? The fact that Microsoft and not just them.. Sony and craploads of companies BS? Also, don’t get me wrong, I still love the PlayStation and Xbox but I’m a PC fanboy…

          • Fourfoldroot

            Yes. So you decided to just throw in an embarrassing xbox fanboy comment, which was completely unrelated to anything said in the article or comments section, despite knowing it was no way related to what I said?

          • Jerald Doerr

            “Microsoft is 3x more deceptive”

            My comment was agreeing with the fact that Microsoft is deceptive E3

            But If you’re going to cry about it, your crying alone!

          • Fourfoldroot

            Your comment was something nonsensical about BC if I recall…
            Yep: “All of our games on the XBox will be backward compatible right out of the box! Wups!”

          • Jerald Doerr

            No no no…. You overthought it all… All of it… Not being nonsensical… Not even sarcastic!

            Back in the days, 2015 Microsoft had a show at E3 introducing the new Xbox and they promised everyone that the new Xbox would play ALL of the last gin games out of the box but this was pretty much not true.. More
            “Descriptive Microsoft tactics”
            Basically, the emulator community saved Microsofts sometime later then Microsoft copied what they did and called it there own.

            https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.geekwire.com/2018/three-years-later-microsofts-bet-xbox-one-backward-compatibility-still-paying-off/amp/

          • Fourfoldroot

            Ok, seems I misunderstood your comment. Apologies (but you really weren’t clear lol)

    • Rogue Transfer

      AFAIK, there isn’t an approved/laid-down standard for FOV. Note, the term ‘de facto’ used by RoadToVR, which means ‘in fact, whether by right or not’. That is, it’s not a “standard”, but a common usage. RoadToVR shouldn’t use such easily misinterpreted terms, when people will focus on the word ‘standard’ without knowing what ‘de facto’ means. They should reword the article and just say clearly the truth, that it’s ‘common usage’, not near a single standard. Of course, that doesn’t sound as authoritative as saying ‘de facto standard’ when in fact, it’s just common(and uncertain) usage(e.g. horizontal, vertical or diagonal – it’s not any kind of set ‘standard’ to try and argue by, when there’s three different choices to pick, uncertainly).

      Pimax(and XTAL) do use the industry standard though for resolution when stating 5K or 8K. That is, to represent the approximate horizontal number of pixels without stating anything about the vertical number or aspect ratio of a resolution. What also goes wrong here is that people argue for the common usage that “8K” means “8K UHD”(one industry resolution designation), that is 7680×4320, when it doesn’t mean that alone, but covers a range of resolutions(according to the industry standards).

      In fact, the real problem is with following common usage shorts and not using the full designations and not educating people into understanding that “4K” does not mean 3840×2160(that’s “4K UHD”), because when you get to “16K”, the common industry standard of “16K UHD” will be only ~15.36K wide. But, will we hear RoadToVR criticise the common usage and industry standards that mislead people into thinking they’re getting a full/near 16,000 pixels across?

      Ultimately, don’t trust the industry standards and verify all specifics. They are often convoluted and easily misconstrued by the layperson. The whole industry plays off of that – esp. with display resolution ‘standards’.

      • benz145

        Within the AR and VR markets, the de facto descriptor used when talking about a headset’s field of view is an angle specified to be the horizontal, vertical, or diagonal extent of the device’s display from the perspective of the viewer. […] It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s how the industry has come to define field of view.

        • jj

          “Ultimately, don’t trust the industry standards and verify all specifics. They are often convoluted and easily misconstrued by the layperson. The whole industry plays off of that – esp. with display resolution ‘standards’.”

          this is key.

          Plus if ur going to call out hololense so harshly when theyre making such a revolutionary product and when other companies like magic leap make way worse of statements, is just dishonest and bad journalism. sorry ben i know you dont care about what i have to say, but ur being very biased here

          • benz145

            We didn’t blindly trust what was said, and we went out looking for the specifics and presented them in this article… that was the whole point of it.

            To say we’re bias and have never called out Magic Leap is an assertion with evidence to the contrary:

            https://www.roadtovr.com/meet-magic-leap-one-livestream-dodged-questions/
            https://www.roadtovr.com/new-magic-leap-video-tells-us-nothing-company-working/
            https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-founder-serves-scathing-review-magic-leap-one-calling-tragic-heap/

          • jj

            Thank you for sharing these. I was very rude with what I said and you really are an excellent journalist. I think i was just disappointed in hearing such negative stuff about hololense when i feel like pimax and magic leap are 100% dishonest while holo has been paving the path for all of this.

            Regardless of what i think, I was clearly dishing out misplaced anger and you have gone over the top to politely prove me otherwise.

            This article and the ones you’ve posted are really good un-biased articles and i’d love to see more of them. So thanks again for your patients please keep writing articles, despite people like me :)

          • benz145

            JJ I’m honestly not sure if you’re being sincere, but if you are then I appreciate you being willing to admit that your mistake—I strive to do the same when I’m wrong.

            If you aren’t being sincere then I guess you got the best of me
            ¯_(ツ)_/¯.

          • Jerald Doerr

            jj can be a little slippery pain in the butt sometimes but as I read it I believe he is being sincere…. But I can’t speak for him…

            Thank you for all your hard work R2VR Team.,

          • Jerald Doerr

            Oh man…. You just gave me a flashback The hole TV thing… 120 hz 240 hz 400 hz 600 hz….. You know what are TV is 8,000,000,913 hz Equivalent. Lol!!

    • impurekind

      But at least Pimax is still giving us basically the best field of view and resolution in a consumer headset, by quite some margin, even with a little bit of marketing spiel. So you can be annoyed at the marketing, but it’s not exactly trying to convince you a roughly on-par VR headset is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else; it actually is leaps and bounds ahead of everything else, and that’s kinda what the whole 8K spiel was really getting at. Microsoft’s genuine lies, however, are far more manipulative and insidious imo.

      • jj

        i agree with them being pretty revolutionary but i also think putting 8k into ur title when its not 8k is just as deceitful as microsoft.

  • one80oneday

    Enterprise is gonna be pissed!

  • Blaexe

    “3x more comfortable”

    • Jerald Doerr

      In my days of doing VFX shots for a movie my boss once asked If I could make the shot 30% more mysterious….. So I thought about it for a second then turned down the brightness by 30%…… Well… He was not amused…

  • Well, coming from this: https://youtu.be/xgakdcEzVwg?t=157 – it’s probably progress. ;)

    • Regis Souza

      If only I could play like this in VR (the one on the HMD being this god like person and the other playing in the PC normally)

  • Fourfoldroot

    Why the surprise? It’s Microsoft. Did you not see their hololense1 presentation where they made it seem as if the entire field of view was covered, only to later have to make an embarrassing retraction.

  • themobiledivide

    “Ledbetter and his team have scanned over 600 human heads in the Human Factors lab. A hundred other people have been put through “stress tests” with HoloLens 2 prototypes—asked to watch a long movie or play the tabletop game Jenga or converse with other humans. The goal was to have people forget they were wearing it, ideally for up to two hours. In some cases, “we were getting more than two hours, and people weren’t taking it off at all,” Ledbetter says. Some tests involved sensors, attached to subjects’ necks, that measured muscle load or fatigue. Ledbetter claims, based on this data, that the new HoloLens is three times as comfortable as the old one.”

    https://www.wired.com/story/microsoft-hololens-2-headset/

  • namekuseijin

    microsoft a liar? who would guess…

  • Twa Corbies

    And all you sheep still believe in all the PR crap companies throw at you, and then still defend them, telling how’s one different then the others. Finally, i came to conclusion, that you just deserve it all.

  • Bob

    Oh you bet Magic Leap are going to make fun of this on their next product release.

    • NooYawker

      Magic leap has no right to make fun of anyone when it comes to bullshit

    • gavingreenwalt

      Lol ML the company which pretends it has opaque objects.

  • impurekind

    It’s just more manipulation of the audience by they guy. I’ve noticed him doing this since the very first bullshot videos of the original Hololens. And this is one of thee main reason why I don’t like the guy–he comes across as a very slimy and insidious marketing douche trying to subtly manipulate people who might not know any better at any given opportunity.

  • David Glenn

    I’m Disappointed, Microsoft!

  • Tom_Craver

    This sort of thing is going to get even harder to quantize if headset makers start to use much less linear pixel sizes – i.e. stretching and maybe softening pixels around the outside in order to stretch the field of view without adding as many pixels…

    Might be better to simply report horizonal and vertical angles covered, and pixels per degree horizontal and vertical at the outside edges. If the maker wants to report more, such as higher density of pixels near the center, that’d be up to them.

  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    Maybe Microsoft were trying to fool the US military into giving them even more money for their weapon?

    “By the way if anyone here is in [weapons development or arms dealing]…kill yourself. It’s just a little thought; I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they’ll take root – I don’t know. You try, you do what you can.

    (Kill yourself.)

    Seriously though, if you are, do.

    Aaah, no really. There’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers. Okay – kill yourself.

    Seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good.

    Seriously.

    No this is not a joke. You’re going, “There’s going to be a joke coming.” There’s no fucking joke coming. You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself.

    Planting seeds.

    I know [what all the Microsoft execs are thinking], “He’s doing a joke…” There’s no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend – I don’t care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking machinations. (Machi…) Whatever, you know what I mean.”

    • Justos

      you went from a blabbering idiot to a clearly mental person. go seek help

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

        Another humourless twat!

        CUNT YOU ARE

    • benz145

      This isn’t a place to say whatever you want, this is a place for discussion, and I’m drawing the line at telling anyone to kill themselves. Tone it back or don’t participate.

      • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

        Are you not a fan of Bill Hicks?

        Did you not notice the quotes?

        • benz145

          Didn’t know what you were going for. My point stands.

  • doug

    Excellent journalism!

  • Devil Master

    This reminds of an enquiry about a head-mounted display sold by VRealities I had posted on MTBS3D in 2010. I had shown the geometric proof that their touted FOV angle did not match the “X inches TV at a distance ofY feet” definition they gave in the same page, and I’ve been actually called out by a VRealities representative who told me to “stop doing that thing” because “the only data that matters is the FOV angle they write”!

  • dk

    3 times longer time until u feel fatigued I’m guessing …but the first few seconds after they said it I was like hmmm …it should have been worded differently

  • dk

    yeah I was betting on 2x area …unless the official numbers would have said otherwise …visualisations and whatever doesn’t tell u much without a number

  • crim3

    You knew that Oculus was no longer a bunch of nerds doing something cool and became a “proper” company when they ceased sharing openly every detail about the Rift and VR tech in every interview, forum, etc, and started responding with generic, vague or purposely misleading statements. That’s how it works, and for a reason. You’ll never get a straight and honest answer from a big company representative or a politician because Public Image is always the top priority, and that’s because general public can lead companies or political parties to success or failure based solely on the perceived image.

  • brandon9271

    “On a scale from 1 to 10, how (un)comfortable is this HMD?” j/k :-P

  • JesuSaveSouls
  • Jason Mercieca

    Microsoft marketing was a pure lie, no excuses, thanks for this important info, that lets me know not to trust them, these exaggeration will eventually back fire on them, i have a vive and yes of course Htc puts its as best as they can BUT WITHIN REALITY! something that Microsoft has to learn and to excuse Microsoft and blame Marketing is so short sighted! Dont u think Microsoft must agree with the marketing of there product before its shown, of course! Plain liers!!!

  • ScottF

    Ben, an excellent article and piece of journalism! Didn’t you also call out Alex Kipman on the 52 diagonal FOV to which Alex responded via Twitter. I don;t see a response to this article?

    • benz145

      I didn’t call out Alex directly but did rant a bit on Twitter about Microsoft being cagey and unspecific about the FOV; he did respond with details he shared with another outlet:

      https://twitter.com/akipman/status/1100069645661495298

      But as I reported in this article, even then Microsoft didn’t seem to correctly communicate the FOV because that outlet reported that the 2x FOV increase was diagonal (as anyone in their position would have reasonable expected)

      For the record, I think Alex is a smart guy and HoloLens is an impressive product. I just don’t see the need to not make a good effort to be clear about the most important specs.

  • Dave

    When I tried Hololens 1 in Las Vegas last year I was impressed with the potential but the opaque image wasn’t great, there was some stability issues for me as it wasn’t rock solid. But the number one ‘turn off’ was the FoV. I estimated that for me to use an AR headset it would need at least 10 times the surface area not 2.5x or 5.2x – it ruined it for me completely.

    Some more work to be done then but disapointed that wasn’t improved further – 2.5x sounds like a relatively moddest improvement which just isn’t enough to move this forward – the rest of the tech will help iterate software on future versions but the FoV needs to get much better before it becomes viable I think.

  • Yeah, I originally thought that the FOV was around 70°… they fooled all of us

  • sebrk

    Microsoft knows exactly what they are doing.