Leading MR headset vendors
Demand for Extended Reality (XR) is growing at an astonishing rate. In recent years, companies from virtually every industry have begun to discover just how beneficial immersive technology can be when it comes to improving collaboration and productivity. In fact, immersive headsets are becoming a commonplace investment for brands in the health, manufacturing, and construction sectors.
While virtual and augmented reality headsets have grown relatively commonplace in today’s landscape, mixed reality is an area that’s only just beginning to flourish. Bringing aspects of the virtual and real world together with holograms and unique technologies, MR could represent the next era for immersive collaboration and productivity.
The question is, which vendors are paving the way to the future of mixed immersion? Today, we’re looking at some of the top MR headset manufacturers in the industry to help business leaders track down the right endpoints for their technology stack.
Microsoft has been increasing its focus on the extended reality landscape in recent years by producing solutions such as Microsoft Mesh and a metaverse environment for Microsoft Teams. The company’s flagship mixed reality headset offering is the HoloLens series. The most recent device, the HoloLens 2, comes in a variety of editions, including industrial and development options. The device features full see-through holographic lenses, 4 visible light cameras, and 2 IR cameras.
Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset enables 6 degrees of freedom tracking, with spatial mapping and mixed reality capture. It also comes with a 5-channel microphone array, built-in spatial speakers, and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 compute platform.
Currently focusing its attention on the enterprise landscape, Magic Leap produces AR and MR headsets designed to address the needs of various industries. The most recent headset produced by the company is the Magic Leap 2, a lightweight and ergonomic wearable device with built-in dynamic dimming technology and built-in technologies for running custom enterprise solutions at scale.
Magic Leap’s flexible technologies support various input options for the devices, as well as tools for integration and management via an Android-based platform. The solution also supports a customizable UX experience, so teams in different industries can adapt their immersive adventures according to their specific needs.
Exploring both software and hardware-based solutions for the extended reality world, Varjo is assisting businesses in numerous industries in the discovery of immersive opportunities. The professional-grade mixed reality solution available from the company today is the Varjo XR-3. This headset delivers human-eye resolution, with custom-made aspheric lenses and a 115 degree field of view. There’s also a 3-point precision fit headband for extra comfort.
The Varjo headset includes Ultraleap hand-tracking to monitor natural hand movements and true-to-life MR passthrough with 12-megapixel video. Plus, users can unlock depth awareness capabilities powered by LiDAR and Inside-out tracking capabilities for more immersive experiences.
Building on a long history in the computing and technology landscape, HP has begun producing headsets for both VR and MR environments. The HP Windows Mixed Reality headset is a streamlined device with integrated motion tracking and a 2-in-1 cable for pairing USB 3 and HDMI connections. The product includes a 1440 x 1440 resolution per eye and a 90 Hz refresh rate for high-quality visuals. Plus, HP supports six degrees of freedom with no tracking boundaries.
For ergonomics, HP has built its headset with a double-padded headband, an easily adjustable strap, and a front-hinged display. The device comes with its own convenient controllers and works well with Windows operating systems, for quick access to a range of enterprise applications.
Another computing and electronics company exploring the mixed reality environment is Acer. The brand entered the MR space at a relatively early point in the industry with the Acer AH101 system, featuring access to a Windows operating system and more than 20,000 universal applications. The product includes a screen resolution of 2880 x 1440 pixels, with a RAM of 8GB.
This headset also supports Bluetooth connectivity and promises integrated HD graphics for quick and convenient immersion. For a more comfortable form factor, Acer has chosen to include a versatile, adjustable padded headband in its headset, as well as a flip visor to assist users in jumping in and out of immersive experiences.
Technology brand Samsung has been traversing the immersive technology space for some time, with the development of tools designed to take advantage of Samsung smartphones and other computing devices. The flagship MR solution from the company is the Samsung HMD Odyssey, which combines Microsoft Windows Holographic computing components with a 110-degree Fresnel lens.
The display delivers 90 HZ refresh rates with AMOLED technology, and the headset also features built-in AKG premium speakers created by Harman. For collaboration and communication, users can leverage a set of built-in array microphones. Plus, a 6-degree-of-freedom camera is built into the system for tracking purposes.
When other companies explored virtual reality, ASUS was diving into the mixed reality space with the HC102 Windows Mixed Reality headset. The solution turns tracking inside out to reduce setup time and loosens the hardware restrictions of other devices. The product includes a resolution of 2880 x 1440, as well as a 95-degree field of view and a 90Hz refresh rate.
With this device, users can also take advantage of built-in head tracking to immerse them in the digital experience as they move around. The product comes with a balanced form factor and padding around the headband for extra comfort. Plus, there’s a set-up wizard included in the device to assist users in getting started.
Producing technologies for both virtual reality and mixed reality space, Dell has begun to invest heavily in immersive technologies. Dell produced its own mixed reality headset with the Visor solution for virtual and extended reality, featuring a 110-degree field of view and 1440 x 1440 per eye resolution. Since then, the company hasn’t upgraded its headset collection much but has begun focusing on the development of partner computers and systems for XR creators.
Today, Dell has its own Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) program for VR and AR to assist partners in developing their technologies using Dell graphics and processing technologies.
Concentrating on the emerging smart glasses landscape, Biel’s headsets are designed to improve mobility for visually impaired people. The AI-powered smart glasses capture the user’s visual feed and process the information to return signals to the display, helping people to navigate the world around them. The lightweight glasses come with adjustable components to allow optometrists to adjust the experience according to the needs of each patient.
With OLED displays, Biel has reduced the size, weight, and power consumption of their technology. Moreover, working with Panasonic, this company has implemented various unique features into their headsets, including zoom, contrast enhancement and more.
Created by Anjna Lens, the AjnaXR headset is a mixed-reality wearable device promising ultra-low latency, high resolution, and colour pass-through in a lightweight form factor. Weighing only 400g, the headset ensures reduces head and neck strain and can be adjusted to fit the shape of each user’s face. What’s more, the technology comes with tracking solutions for a user’s hands, eyes, and head to keep them immersed within the space. There’s even the option to use haptic gloves for feedback.
The AjnaXR headset, available in both a standard and enterprise edition, combines Qualcomm XR2 chips with pancake lenses and a 90Hz refresh rate. Each device also includes a stereo speaker and microphone support for communication and collaboration.
Committed to supporting the development of immersive solutions in the healthcare space, FYR Medical has created a pair of custom AR smart glasses for medical practitioners. The solution is designed to support medical professionals with augmented imagery and digital information which can blend seamlessly with the user’s real-world vision.
The headsets feature two independent eyepieces, capable of capturing and processing light, and then remitting an augmented light field on the opposite side of the lens. The technology has been carefully created to provide high-resolution, three-dimensional experiences without excess weight or discomfort. This headset has yet to be fully released into the healthcare landscape and is still in production.
One of the core companies exploring the benefits of extended reality solutions for the visually impaired, ESight produces wearable devices for those who need to enhance their current vision. The lightweight and comfortable headsets use a small, high-speed, high-definition camera to capture a user’s field of view and then optimize and enhance the footage for the individual.
Images are presented across two OLED monitors, one in front of each eye, with real-time updates. The eSight glasses are designed to assist with numerous medical conditions, ranging from central vision loss to cataracts and glaucoma. Currently, the business is also working on a new, more lightweight set of MR smart glasses in the form of the eSight Go devices.
Still, in the early stages of developing its mixed reality strategy, camera developer Canon announced its entry into the immersive landscape in 2021. The company has produced two headsets so far, including the MREAL S1 and the MREAL X1. The MREAL X1 must be connected to a computer via a cable to create immersive experiences, but it weighs only 158 grams.
The slimline headset doesn’t cover a user’s entire peripheral vision but presents virtual elements just within their core area of focus. The latest compact device from Canon is designed to be portable and easy to use, building on previous iterations of the MREAL collection.
Technology vendor IrisVision produces low-profile, wearable hardware solutions for the XR space. The headsets produced by the company are intended to work as assistive devices, helping with independent living and virtual vision rehabilitation. The current flagship product offered by the company is the IrisVision Inspire, a lightweight mixed-reality device based on the previous IrisVision Live headset.
The product comes with a handheld remote control and a removable eye guard for variable light conditions. The other device available from IrisVision today, the Live headset, comes with Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity, a touchpad for intuitive controls, and voice controls for ease of use.
Exploring various aspects of the extended reality ecosystem, VRgineers produces devices designed to assist professionals with their everyday tasks. The most recent MR solution delivered by VRgineers is the XTAL headset, which includes a 180-degree field of view and 8K resolution. The product was designed in cooperation with international air force pilots to support those in the aviation field.
With the XTAL Mixed Reality headset, users can leverage a customizable wearable experience, which can be tailored by VRgineers to the needs of each company. The product includes two fast-switching 4K LCD displays, as well as eye tracking and positional tracking tools, plus hand tracking enabled by an Ultraleap sensor.
Zappar has been exploring extended reality solutions for a number of years now, producing platforms and applications for companies creating their own AR experiences. Recently, the company developed the ZapBox Mixed Reality headset, an affordable development kit which allows businesses to reimagine how they design and create 3D experiences.
The ZapBox solution helps content creators and developers design fully immersive VR and MR experiences with six degrees of freedom. The device includes two active Bluetooth controllers and access to development platforms such as Unity. Currently, this solution is still in production, but it has already achieved success with a Kickstarter funding round.
Available in both enterprise and developer edition options, the Lynx R1 headset is a streamlined mixed-reality device which combines both AR and VR elements. Built on an open platform, the solution gives users more control over the applications and experiences they leverage within their immersive environments.
The Lynx headset promises a 90-degree circular field of view and dual 1600×1600 lenses. 2 stereo speakers are included for audio, alongside 2 microphone array channels. Plus, the solution includes tools for positional tracking and hand tracking. These headsets also come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 SoC built-in, alongside 8GB of memory and 128GB of storage.
The Valve Index solution created by Valve was initially introduced as a solution for virtual reality. However, the technology is also capable of supporting mixed reality experiences with passthrough capabilities. The Valve Index offers a comfortable design with a balanced form factor and plenty of padding. LCD displays deliver 1440 x 1600 pixel resolution, and the custom lenses deliver end-to-end clarity. Plus, Valve Index headsets can provide a 130-degree FOV.
Valve Index headsets come with their own controllers, which are equipped with 87 sensors for tracking finger and hand position, as well as motion and pressure. Plus, full Valve XR kits provide access to a range of full-body tracking options with sensor systems.