Magic Leap One is headed out to doorsteps this summer, that much is certain. And despite knowing some of the AR headset’s specs, there’s still an extremely important piece of the puzzle that has been missing in official documentation: field of view (FOV).

According to a report by Next Reality, users accessing the developer site have been privy to some hidden information. One such developer reportedly found the final text describing Magic Leap One’s FOV, which was buried in the site’s source code.

Peering into client-side source code of the FOV documentation page, which ostensibly featured placeholder text (“Coming soon on launch day!”), the unnamed developer reportedly found the hidden text which lists the headset’s FOV.

Displayed in 4:3 aspect ratio, the Magic Leap One headset supposedly features a horizontal FOV of 40 degrees, a vertical of 30 degrees, and a diagonal of 50 degrees. If true, this gives Magic Leap One approximately a 45% larger FOV than HoloLens, which features around a horizontal FOV of 30 degrees and a vertical of 17.5 degrees. Here’s a rough guide to see how they stack up relative to one another.

Image created by Road to VR

While presenting a larger viewing window than its Microsoft-built forerunner, both pale in comparison to a human’s natural FOV, which is around 220 degrees horizontal (including peripheral vision). A typical PC VR headset boasts around a 100 degree horizontal FOV.

Instead of using the term FOV though, Magic Leap is supposedly opting to use the term “viewing frustum,” which they say would ideally better describe three-dimensional viewing spaces as they relate to augmented reality.

Image courtesy Next Reality, Magic Leap

In the documentation, the company also reportedly provides a few informal examples of its viewing frustum: At 40-inches (~1m), the viewing window is sufficient to show a large house cat. At 144-inches (~3.5m), Magic Leap One can display a trio of six-foot-tall people.

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Here’s the full FOV documentation text, as revealed in the supposed leak:

Field of View is widely used in XR to measure the viewable area a person can see through a device like Magic Leap One. While helpful in providing a baseline measure, Field of View can be misleading as it is a 2D concept and does not fully describe the three-dimensional attributes of space directly visible through our device. A 2D Field of View is a relative measure and is dependent upon the depth and scale of the content being viewed.

Instead, the term Viewing Frustum (or View Frustum) better describes the three-dimensional space within which lightfield objects are viewed. With a focus on design guidelines and best practices, our volumes can range from hand sized characters to larger objects like 90″ TV screens or even spaceships. Spatial computing is about working in volumes and spaces, not just a 2D Field of View.

For context, here’s a list of real world items and the distance from the you at which they’d be fully contained within the viewing frustum of the device:

  • At 40 inches away a large house cat, laying down (29″ long, 21″ high) would be fully within the viewing frustum.
  • At 75 inches away a standing large dog such as a labrador or a retriever (54″ long, 40″ high) would be fully in the viewing frustum.
  • At 110 inches away a 90 inch widescreen TV (80″ long, 58″ high) would be fully in the viewing frustum.
  • At 144 inches away you can fully fit a family of three 6 foot tall humans, standing upright side by side within the viewing frustum. At 144 inches the viewable area is 104 inches long and 77 inches high.

That all said, as a developer you need to know operational values of the device. Magic Leap One has a horizontal FOV of 40 degrees, a vertical FOV of 30 degrees, and a diagonal FOV of 50 degrees. Check out the following documents and samples for more information on ways to work with the device to have larger content, and experiences, that feel good to your users.

By now, the operational FOV of any given headset, be it AR or VR, is a decisive spec that consumers want to know well in advance.

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To Magic Leap’s credit, it’s a difficult task to communicate FOV as it relates to AR headsets, although the company is clearly holding out to the last second to reveal the Magic Leap One’s true limitations—something that would be better served with an honest, upfront discussion rather than a launch day subtitle that even prospective developers aren’t privy to.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • dk
    • PaulKemp

      Not really a fair comparison, since its appearing that Vive has full FOV. Your image would be a better comparison, without the image behind it imho.

      • dk

        it’s not my image

      • NooYawker

        How is it not fair? The image puts things in perspective.

    • Paul Downs

      It’s also incorrect, both the og vive and the rift have 110 fov.

      • Mythos88

        That is the stated FOV and the Odyssey has the same. But the real world measurement is more like a 100 for them all.

      • dk ask him about it

    • Downvote King

      This type of comparison seems specifically like the reason they worded things the way they did in their documentation:

      “At 144 inches away you can fully fit a family of three 6 foot tall humans, standing upright side by side within the viewing frustum. At 144 inches the viewable area is 104 inches long and 77 inches high.”

      Those people look about that distance from the viewer but it barely fits two of their torsos. It’s also a bad comparison generally, aside from the fact that Rift and Vive have the same FOV, there should be a reference FOV of 220 degrees to demonstrate perspective.

      • dk

        the guy who made this pic mentioned what distance away r the people …I don’t remember now

        • Downvote King

          Here’s an image that supposedly takes into account actual viewer perspective in comparison.

          I comes from the link in the top comment here:

          • impurekind

            Given that example, I would juuust about be able to see my full monitor on the desk in front of me as represented in Magic Leap, and not even in Hololens, which is just not great at all.

          • Downvote King

            Seems like a start, anyway. The benefit would come more in the fact that you could be surrounded by monitors on all sides, or have a 100 inch monitor on the wall across from you than just substituting your single desktop monitor though. As a functional tool it’s a start. Perhaps not so much for incredibly immersive entertainment, although it is funny to think as someone who grew up with an 18″ black and white television with a single channel this would be an issue.

            For Magic Leap, this is more about proving the concept. If they truly create lightfields that’s the important thing, a potential game changer. Processing power should be all they need to create more field of view. making the “photonic chip” larger I don’t think is the issue, so subsequent generations should be subject to standard Moore’s law iteration. If they actually have what they say they have, of course.

          • impurekind

            Well here’s hoping that all comes to pass in the near-ish future. . . .

    • Trenix

      About right for the hololens. The images were so tiny, there is no way that anyone would use that for business purposes, especially when it’s a few thousand dollars. The more I follow this website, the more I feel like we need another year before anything significant comes out. I personally believe a better headset can be made, but it seems like the VR companies still want some more returns from their old products. For augmented reality, keep dreaming.

  • JJ

    Thats gona be a big nope for me. My hololense is cool but the FOV kinda kill sit for me, same with the hand tracking only being good enough for gestures and nothing more detailed which looks like the ML is going to be the same

    • dk

      it has a 6dof controller….and the hand tracking of the hololens had a nice update u can now scale and rotate stuff with 2 hands

      • jj

        I am a software company lol and I work very closely with the Hololense gestures for various clients. I also use the Leap motion for other clients vr apps and the difference is astounding.

        • Sponge Bob

          hand tiring and annoying as hell for any productivity app

          6DoF small ergionomic controller is a MUST for VR/AR

          Magic Leap’s so-called “magnetic” controller will not work as advertised – they tried to cheat the LAWS of PHYSICS and will be punished big time
          Magic Leap controller is DOA

          • Sponge Bob

            Sixense kickstarter fiasco will repeat with some variations
            The LAWs of PHYSICS can’t be changed by some greedy CEOs and dumb ass corporate investors
            Mark my words: Controller will SUCK big time

          • JJ

            I believe it and thats what i keep hearing too that their controllers are a gimmick that isnt going to work. NOT TO MENTION the fact their very few demos before the live demo like the one with the gun in the room did not have a controller and was all by hand manipulation…. what a lie. rewatching the concept video gives me such a good laugh, not a single thing in that demo will be real literally not one single aspect of it is achievable by the ml.

          • dk

            the controller works in the same way as the pico neo ….they have to demo how consistent is the tracking…could have problems

          • Sponge Bob

            Pico Neo is ultrasonic, not magnetic – completely different story

            and it does not work well according to some hands-on reviews
            from Consumer Electronics Show

            Needless to say you can’t buy it either, can you ? – and not because the demand is too high – is 750$

            Premature productization by some greedy bastards

          • dk

            yep right ….so like the razer hydra and one other company that didn’t reach production

          • Sponge Bob

            True… not a single demo of their “6DoF” controller in action
            Well, there was some demo steering a toy car but I can do it with 3 DoF Oculus GO controller even better

            I need a high precision 3D drawing or drafting demo, something like Tilt Brush or full 3D Autocad drafting

        • dk

          yes if u r making software investing time in the platform it makes some sense …..getting it because it’s a cool expensive dev kit doesn’t…and it won’t make sense for the average consumer at least in the next 3-4 years if not double that

  • Ian Shook

    Not as god awful as I was expecting. Not too exciting either. I’d love to try one, but I’m sure as shit not going to buy one without trying it beforehand and the price coming way, way down.

  • Things are looking grim for magic leap. More than 1000$$$ cost and not much better than hololens. This is not a consumer product.

  • Sandy Wich

    Jesus that field of view is horrible, am I missing something here? Like with my CV1 Rift I get frustrated all the time at how bad the FOV is… But damn the Magic Leap… How is it even a viable product? Who’s gonna buy a tunnel vision simulator?

    Being AR and not VR, does it change how much FOV is needed somehow?

    • Who’s this?

      Yep. In AR it’s much less necessary however an immersive world is questionable. So you can play games and have fun without breaking immersion but if you try to make an entire environment it’s impossible as it would always cut out.

      So its practical uses will be far higher, less passive use.

      • david vincent

        yep the ultimate HMD which can do decently both AR and VR is not for tomorrow

      • Sandy Wich

        Yea I can see that, considering it is about mixing real life and virtual software it only makes sense it doesn’t need as big of a FOV as VR which has it’s entire experience attached to the displays only.

        ..Still wish it was bigger though, but maybe in time?

    • dk

      it’s still an expensive dev kit mainly for developers ….they r going to sell something like 50-75k in the next 2 years …..even if the fov was 70 horizontal with this hardware it wouldn’t be something for the average consumer for various reasons…..the hololens and this r basically like the first home pcs they r really limited/expensive and more than 99% of people can’t imagine why would they need one in their daily life

      • Sandy Wich

        Ahh I see, so nobody considers Magic Leap or Hololense actual consumer products? More like extremely early access window peeks into the future?

        That’s understandable… Dunno why Microsoft was so adamant about showing it off to gamers at that one Xbox convention with Minecraft and stuff though.

        • dk

          well they own minecraft and they just wanted to show something cool I guess and for publicity…. and even after that the vast majority of people have never heard of ar headsets

    • Harve The Cuc

      Its the limitations in the optical system why AR struggles for FOV, fixed screen gasket-ed to your head architecture is an easy optical system to design comparatively.

      • david vincent

        From what I understand, higher FOV means less opacity ?

        • Harve The Cuc

          One of hundreds of tradeoffs

  • RJH

    How much has Magic Leap cost to develop? How many will they have to shift to break even?

  • NooYawker

    Maybe.. just maybe.. Leap Motion is trolling us by putting out awful demos and these sad pathetic specs.. then will release a really great device and everyone who said negative things will feel silly.

    • brubble

      Good one!

      • NooYawker

        I try

    • dk


    • Smokey_the_Bear

      Another person that doesn’t know the difference between Magic Leap & Leap Motion. :(

      • NooYawker

        Oops. I do know the difference. I meant magic leap obviously. I love leap motion.

    • WyrdestGeek

      “Magic Leap” ≠ “Leap Motion”. I kept confusing then myself for the longest time.

  • brandon9271

    “viewing frustum”…. Lol
    RIP Magic Leap

    • dk

      if only it wasn’t …a small ………viewing frustum

  • LowRezSkyline

    My main take-away(s): sure it’s what we all expected and it’s disappointing no doubt but it’s where we are at. Simply put AR is not ready, it’s too soon, maybe not quite as bad as mid-90’s VR but close to it. This is why even the ‘big boys’ are taking it slow bringing real AR to the masses. Also all points to Apple being the only smart company out there as they do their usual research, develop and keep their fucking mouths shut about it until it’s, you now, something worth using. At least Google had the sense to step back and let things simmer for a bit more too after getting their asses handed to them with Glass. Steady MS will continue to evolve their Hololens… Magic Leap, yeah as we all expected they’ll end up a footnote and cautionary tale for future investors sold on hype and LSD laced water. Otherwise I don’t get how they raised so much cash. Real good LSD will do that.

    • Renaissance0321

      Not ready? VR is amazing. It’s just generation 1. You think they came out with 4k TV’s right away? They started black and white…

      • dk

        nah I remember those 90hz great consumer headsets running on 90s gtx 1070…it was the same thing I tell ya :P

      • LowRezSkyline

        Ar is not ready; VR is fine.

    • dk

      ML is basically this which wasn’t a bad product …..but if the investors keep throwing money at them or if someone buy the company it could grow
      it would be cool if it comes with lsd in the box

  • realtrisk

    AAAAAAhahaha! Hahahaha!

  • oompah

    Any glasses based Vr/Ar is welcome
    out of box always wins

  • Joe Strout

    Thanks for reporting this. There was much speculation in the past that the FOV was going to be no better than HoloLens. Glad to see that’s not the case. Sure, we’d all like it to be wider, but it’ll definitely be usable.

  • Steve Medina

    Trying to look at the positive, going to 4:3 is a good step; vertical FOV is important for AR especially when you want to get closer to a virtual object

  • It is disappointing. Such hype for 40° FOV? Meh… next HoloLens will have at least 60°