Magic Leap One
Magic Leap One first look: worth the hype? The Verge
Magic Leap One first look: worth the hype?
Magic Leap One Review by hardcore dev Avaer Kazmer
Magic Leap One Review by hardcore dev

Photos - Magic Leap One

Magic Leap One - Main Look Magic Leap One - Display Magic Leap One - Set Magic Leap One - Glasses Magic Leap One - Front Magic Leap One - Hub Magic Leap One - Strap Magic Leap One - Unboxing Magic Leap One - AR Magic Leap One - Lightpack Magic Leap One - Lightpack Jeans
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Magic Leap One - Specification

UsageFor PCFor SmartphonesFor quadcopter
Operating systemLuminOS
ProductionCountry of productionUSA
ProtectionWater ResistantDust resistant
TypeAR - See-throughVRD
SizeField of view horizontal50°
CPUNVIDIA Parker SOC64Cores2ArchitectureDenver 2.0
Auxiliary cpu4 ARM Cortex A57 64-bit cores
Memory cardCard slot
Internal memoryCapacity128GbAvaliable free memory95Gb
GPU - Video cardNVIDIA Pascal
SupportSteamVRGoogle PlayOculus HomeWindows Mixed RealityDaydreamGear VRViveport
VideoHDMIHDMI 2.0DisplayPort
ConnectionNFCSamsung payFM RadioInfrared port
Wi-Fi802.11ac/b/g/nDual-Band HotspotAV in/outWi-Fi DirectVoWiFi
USBUSBUSB type-cMicroUSBDisplay port supportDisplay port paramsHDMI support
SoundHeadphone input 3.5mmMicrophone
ChargerMagnetic chargerWireless charger
Battery lifeAverage time3hours
Tracking3DoF Rotation tracking6DoF Positional trackingLighthouse laser tracking HTC LighthouseOutside-In TrackingInside-out trackingAR Tracking
ContentsManuals1USB cable2HDMI cableDisplayPort cableHDMI repeaterCharger2HeadphonesMotion controller1GamepadСloth to remove dust1Power cable1

Magic Leap One overview

Magic Leap One is a mixed reality headset and the first serious competitor of Microsoft Hololens with improved graphics of holograms and hand movements tracking, but still at a high price which is inaccessible to the majority of ordinary users. The device combines in itself a stand-alone gadget and high performance, but raises a lot of doubts about the uniqueness of the technologies applied.
The Magic Leap start-up was established in Florida in 2010. The main idea was to commercialize and to spread widely the technology of augmented (mixed) reality. Thanks to this, it was possible to attract more than 2 USD billion of investments from the largest electronics corporations, including Google and Qualcomm. The device went on sale on August 8, 2018.

Pros of Magic Leap One

Advanced technology. Mixed reality offers its user a truly unique experience of immersion in a world where objects of the virtual world are superimposed on a familiar interior.
Individual optics. The headset can be optimized for each user when it is ordered in accordance with the features of the person's vision.
A stand-alone device. The device does not require connection to the PC and base stations, and the processor unit (Lightpack) can be carried in your pocket or belt. It is a mobile hybrid of completely stand-alone Hololens or Oculus Go and WMR devices working from the laptop behind your back.
There are no hidden costs. A user does not need a powerful PC or a large room for the game. Everything is already in the kit. It has even its own OS.
Light weight and convenience. It is one of the lightest and ergonomic AR and VR devices.

Cons of Magic Leap One

A high price. At the beginning of sales, the Creators Edition version costs 2,295 USD. It is cheaper than Development Suite from Hololens, but it is still not affordable for a mass buyer.
Not very impressive graphics. Since the advent of mixed reality devices two years have passed, but the first users were not impressed with the quality of Magic Leap objects despite active marketing and a great advertising campaign.
It cannot be used with your own glasses. The distance between the display and the user's eyes is too small and the headset is firmly and tightly set on the nose bridge, so you will either need to use contact lenses or to wait for the opportunity to order the built-in optics from Magic Leap.
Few applications and games. The headset was just launched recently and it uses its own OS, so at first you'll have to use pre-installed programs.
There are no memory card slots. Despite the minicomputer that you always need to carry in your pocket, there is no room for additional memory in it which in the future with the growth in the number of applications can be a problem.

Main competitors of Magic Leap One

  • Microsoft Hololens is the most popular and successful stand-alone mixed reality headset released in 2016. Among its benefits a large number of professional applications can be mentioned. As for the drawbacks, it is even more expensive.
  • Meta 2 is a more heavy headset model which only works in conjunction with a PC or laptop. It falls behind both in ergonomics and performance.
  • Google Glass 3.0 is a very hypothetical competitor because this headset is able to transfer virtual reality to the user's retina, but it does not connect it to the real space.

Magic Leap One design and ergonomics

Almost all people who have already tried Magic Leap One mention the great convenience in the headset usage and a really attractive and extraordinary design. It is difficult to recall at least one VR headset which would at least slightly resemble Magic Leap in design. The headset is attached to the head with a three-part expanding ring which is really convenient in comparison with the WMR or Hololens clip-on mounts and even more convenient compared with so-called ‘mountain skier masks’ like in Vive or Oculus.

The Magic Leap headset itself is called Lightwear and it really corresponds to its name. The headset does not pull the head down like other VR devices, so you can wear it for a long time. The headset combines in itself several built-in components:
  • sensors
  • cameras
  • two lenses that are made specifically for a user
  • dynamics — 3D audio system called Spatial Audio is designed for virtual reality and allows a user to understand more quickly the location of objects in games;
  • a 3.5 mini-jack for your own headphones;
  • a microphone
In addition to the headset, it is worth mentioning the processor unit Lightpack which is almost no bigger than a baseball ball in size and can be easily put into the pocket.

Magic Leap One display and lenses

The most ‘juicy’ part of Magic Leap One is, of course, stylish protruding round lenses. They are unique in each device and are made to order according to the user's vision. This is an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. On the one hand, you can play without glasses, but on the other hand, each device turns out to be highly personalized and customized and it will be difficult to use it even with friends — there is no space for prescription glasses.
It is assumed that in the future the device will be sold in two sizes to accurately match the interpupillary distance of every user. The same is true about nose pads which can also be selected individually.
The holograms image quality is better than that of Hololens or Meta 2, but it is too early to speak about the realism and clarity of virtual objects. The text is blurry, the objects are slightly transparent and sometimes tremble in space. In addition, the viewing angle is only 50 degrees, so you can see only the holograms directly in front of you. Even if there are a lot of virtual objects in the room, you can see them only in a small rectangle in front of you — this is a virtual screen of Magic Leap.

The viewing angle in Magic Leap One All this makes especially active games in Magic Leap One impossible, and in comparison with Hololens in terms of graphics and the screen the device wins very little.

Magic Leap One controllers

The time of stand-alone workUp to 7,5 hours
Connection typeBluetooth
Charging / updating typeUSB-C (15 W)
Elements of control3
The number of sensors
  • 12 LEDs
  • The Magic Leap One's Control controller has rounded edges and it is comfortable to hold it in the hand. Taking into account that hand movements tracking leaves much to be desired, the controller is very important to control the device. In terms of the quality of tracking controllers are very similar to those from HTC Vive — the loss of tracking is possible, but failures occur very rarely. What’s more, it has built-in vibration, and a small loop should protect it from falling.

    How does Magic Leap One work?

    The device displays are made with the help of the virtual retinal monitor (VRD) technology which draws a raster display directly onto the retina of the eye. In the headset the technology of pupils tracking is used, so objects of virtual reality ‘know’ what exactly a user is looking at.
    The sensors are located directly on the headset.
    The projection of the image is ‘hanging’ in front of the user

    Sound in Magic Leap One

    In addition to a standard headphone output, it is necessary to mention the built-in speakers that are located on the inside of the mount. They are designed for 3D audio and create the effect of finding the source of sound directly in the room. On the basis of the feedback, the quality of the built-in sound system is one of the best among virtual reality headsets.

    Sensors and gaming space of Magic Leap One

    The device supports the 6 DoF tracking of the headset, hands and controller, so you can move around the room without constraints and looking at the wires or base stations. The main disadvantage is the viewing angle. Because of this a visible gaming space is a pyramid with a rectangular base emanating from the user's eyes.

    There are also some objects outside it, but they are invisible to a user until he/she points the headset at them. In addition, the headset is darkened around the edges which slightly reduces the interaction with the real world, the lateral vision is lost.

    For the rest, the gaming space can be created in any not very dark, not too light and not too big room, so the headset is suitable mainly for indoor games. If a user has already tried to play in the familiar space before, then its borders will have to be corrected only, but not created anew. More details about creating the gaming space are given below.

    Installation and configuration of Magic Leap One

    Before you start using Magic Leap One, you need to create a gaming space inside your room. This is done semi-automatically, and in order to do this you need to perform several operations:

    1. To choose a suitable room;
    2. To put on the headset and turn it on;
    3. To launch the required application;
    4. To look at the points that will appear in different parts of the room. The device will cover each static room object with a ‘grid’ putting them inside the virtual reality;
    5. An error in identification can occur if the wall, ceiling or other object is too far away;
    6. The headset will take into account all static objects and make them part of the gaming space

    Software for Magic Leap One

    The processor unit is equipped with a completely new OS created specifically for VR headset — LuminOS. The main screen provides a selection of pre-installed basic programs:
    • Project Create is a creative program for creating 3D objects and animations inside your room. Virtual animated objects can be arranged around the room, touched, thrown, interconnected or even used as tools. Objects are able to interact with each other. It looks a bit like the editor of Minecraft, but you can play directly at your kitchen table. The dinosaur walks around the apartment in the Create application
    • Avatar Chat is a social space where you can interact with virtual models of other users. The avatar responds to the movements of the user's hands, fingers and eyes. Avatar Chat uses virtual images of other people
    • Helio is an ambitious web browser for integrating virtual network objects into the mixed reality of Magic Leap user. You can take an image from a third-party website and try to inspect an object from all sides in your real room. It works unstably now, but technology has a great future in retail and education.
    • Tónandi (it means ‘the spirit of music’ in Icelandic) is an application for viewing and controlling of musical visualizations in 3D. Music can be controlled by moving objects, spirals, fireballs and waves. You can twist them into bizarre shapes and the music will change. Now the program is more demonstrative and is aimed at demonstrating the potential of Magic Leap One.
    • Screens is a program that allows you to watch several videos at the same time while being inside your real room. It looks like a house in Windows Mixed Reality, but only everything happens on the basis of the real world.
    • Gallery is an application for viewing photos, created 3D-models or videos.
    • Invaders is the only so far available shooter in the steampunk style where you have to shoot robots that will climb on you from your own sofa or closet.
    • Third-party programs and games are not available yet since the operating system is completely new — they just have not been created yet. The main menu in Magic Leap One

    Technical characteristics of Magic Leap One

    ProcessorNVIDIA® Parker SOC; 2 Denver 2.0 64-bit cores + 4 ARM Cortex A57 64-bit cores
    Graphics adapterNVIDIA Pascal™, 256 CUDA cores
    RAM8 GB
    Hard disk128 GB ( 95 GB is available)
    PowerLi-Ion battery
    Stand-alone workUp to 3 hours
    Graphical user interface
    • OpenGL 4.5, Vulkan
    • OpenGL ES 3.3+

    Packaging and arrangement

    The Creators Edition complete set (for developers) is still available for purchasing only on the Magic Leap official website with delivery to the indicated address in the United States. During the delivery, staff members measure the distance between the user's eyes and provide him/her with the most appropriate headset. There are two available sizes.

    The complete set includes the following devices:
    • Magic Leap Lightwear — augmented reality headset;
    • Magic Leap One Control — one wireless monitored controller + a power supply unit and a strap for it;
    • Magic Leap One Lightpack — a block where the central and graphic processors are integrated, so you can say that the headset is semi-autonomous: it is not yet Oculus One in the configuration, but it is no longer PlayStation VR. In fact, this is a small PC that a user wears in his/her pants. The unit is also equipped with a built-in battery and a charger;
    • 2 USB-C cables for connecting the controller and the headset;
    • AC cable;
    • A cloth for the headset cleaning;
    • Replaceable linings for the headset (Fit Kit);
    • A one-year warranty;
    • A belt for fixing the Lightpack mini-computer on the shoulder.
    Purchasing of the Creators Edition version includes a membership in the development team for Magic Leap (Publisher Membership) and allows you to download your own created applications to the Magic Leap World server.

    Accessories and additional devices of Magic Leap One

    Third-party accessories have not come out yet, but good news is that the most important replacement parts of the device are available on the official website:
    • Hub (60 USD) is a useful device that allows you to connect the headset to both the Lightpack mini-computer and to the power supply unit. It is regarded as a device for developers, but it can be useful for users who want to use the headset for a long time. The kit includes a USB-A cable on Micro-B.
    • A controller (290 USD)
    • The set of face pads (40 USD)
    • A belt for fixing the minicomputer (30 USD)
    • A charger for a mini-computer for 45 W (60 USD)
    • A charger for a 15 W controller (40 USD)
    For 600 USD you can also purchase a priority service package that includes access to developer tools, beta programs, developers’ conferences and support for hosting your own software.

    Reviews about Magic Leap One

    It's too early to talk about the experience of the headset usage, but most of the responses are centered around the comparison between Magic Leap and Microsoft Hololens. Users note:
    • the graphics has become a little better, but Hololens was released two years ago, so there was no qualitative leap;
    • the device is more convenient and pleasant;
    • the device still represents an experiment in its essence, despite the attempt to create a mass-market device.
    The verdict for Magic Leap is encouraging, but, of course, the company expected more. As for the augmented reality, now it is the most advanced device on the market with very few number of applications, so it's worth buying only if you are a fan of advanced technologies. Hololens models are time-tested and have a set of applications and can be suitable for those who immediately want to have a choice from different applications.
    In any case, it is worth waiting for the release of the new software and first reviews of ordinary users after a couple of months of using Magic Leap One.

    Magic Leap One - Alternatives

    Showing 1-2 of 2 items.
    PhotoUSDTitle px.AngleHz.MPGr.
    Microsoft HoloLens4,412Microsoft HoloLens    1268×72030°602 pc.579
    Meta 2 DK2,204Meta 2 DK 2560×144090°60 1 pc.500

    Magic Leap One - Comparison

    Brand Magic Leap Microsoft Meta
    Model One HoloLens 2 DEVELOPMENT KIT
    Min. price USD
    Estimated price
    Announced 2017/12/21
    Release 2018/08/08 2016/03/30 2016/12/20
    Country of production USA
    For PC
    Total weight 579 gram
    Body weight 579 gram 500 gram
    AR - See-through
    Type VRD
    Aspect ratio 16:9
    Field of view horizontal 50 ° 30 ° 90 °
    Field of view vertical 17 °
    Resolution 1268×720 px. 2560×1440 px.
    Refresh rate 60 Hz. 60 Hz.
    Type Li-Ion
    Capacity 16500 mAh
    Battery life
    Average time 3 hours 5.5 hours
    Operating system
    Operating system LuminOS 32-bit Windows 10.0.11802.1033
    Minimum system requirements Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GTX 960 / AMD R9 280, 8GB RAM, USB 3.0, HDMI 1.4b, Intel HD-совместимая звуковая карта, Windows 8.1 64-bit
    Windows 10
    Windows Mixed Reality
    Internal memory
    Capacity 128Gb 64Gb
    Avaliable free memory 95Gb
    RAM size 8Gb 2Gb
    Model NVIDIA Parker SOC Intel Atom X5-Z8100
    Bit 64
    Cores 2 Cores
    Architecture Denver 2.0
    Auxiliary cpu
    Auxiliary cpu 4 ARM Cortex A57 64-bit cores
    GPU - Video card
    Model NVIDIA Pascal HoloLens Graphics
    Memory 114Mb Mb
    Front camera
    Resolution 720 MP
    Number 2 pc. 1 pc.
    Video recording
    Headphone input 3.5mm
    Buttons 3
    Voice control
    3DoF Turning head
    3DoF Rotation tracking
    6DoF Positional tracking
    Tracking area
    Inside-out tracking
    AR Tracking
    Games 600
    Wi-Fi 802.11ac/b/g/n
    HDMI 1.4b
    USB 3.0
    USB type-c
    Charger connector
    Version 4.2
    Manuals 1
    USB cable 2
    Charger 2
    Motion controller 1
    Сloth to remove dust 1
    Power cable 1
    External position sensor in space