The world of augmented reality (AR) is about to get a little bigger. Starting Thursday, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 AR headset will go on sale in more than half a dozen countries. The U.S., France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K. are all fortunate enough to make the list.
With a refreshed design, a larger field of vision, and easier gesture controls, HoloLens 2 might finally be a useful tool for those looking to expand their productivity. Unfortunately, it will cost a hefty $3,500.
When HoloLens first debuted in 2016, the world had high hopes for the AR headset. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out to be as revolutionary as originally thought. Despite its limitations, the HoloLens line does have a small customer base that is undoubtedly looking forward to a refreshed version of the device.
One of the biggest changes in the HoloLens 2 is an increased field of vision. Previously, HoloLens had a field of just 34 degrees. At times this made it feel like you were looking through a tiny window to the world. HoloLens 2 boasts a much larger 52-degree diagonal viewing angle. It goes without saying that this is a massive improvement. Meanwhile, the hardware itself has new ergonomics that settle its weight more comfortably on the head.
Users will also notice a fundamental change to the headset’s gesture controls. The new HoloLens allows for actions like pinching, dragging, and opening menus by interacting with holographic buttons that appear on the wearer’s hands. For those teetering on the edge of upgrading, these new capabilities might be enough to convince them.
Still Business Focused
Despite HoloLens 2’s impressive upgrades, the price will prohibit many casual users from getting one of the headsets. As such, the device is still geared towards business customers. In fact, consumers aren’t actually meant to be purchasing HoloLens at all.
Currently, the device has applications for workers that need to access information while keeping their hands free. For example, someone working in a manufacturing plant or as a repair technician may find it helpful. The U.S. military has also commissioned a custom version of the HoloLens as part of its Integrated Visual Augmentation System.
As Microsoft transitions into the second generation of its AR hardware, it has affirmed that the original HoloLens will still be supported. Nonetheless, it’s likely that the small pool of developers making software for the headset will begin integrating the new model’s enhanced gestures. It may happen that the original’s limited technology actually phases the device out before Microsoft does.
HoloLens 2 is now shipping to the aforementioned countries at a cost of $3,500 per unit. Though pricey, businesses hoping to integrate AR into their workflow should consider the device as it is clearly the most advanced (and widely supported) headset on the market today.