How to Compare Mixed Reality Headsets in 2024

Comparing Mixed Reality Headsets for your Team

How to Compare Mixed Reality Headsets in 2024
Mixed RealityInsights

Published: April 9, 2024

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter

Mixed reality (MR) has been the overlooked sibling in the extended reality landscape for a while now. While vendors have produced countless AR apps, smart glasses, and virtual reality headsets, mixed reality has only just begun stepping into the spotlight.

However, the success of innovative new headsets, like the Apple Vision Pro, Meta Quest 3, and the Microsoft HoloLens 2, is driving increased adoption of MR. Suddenly, everyone wants to compare mixed reality headsets and embed them into their workflows.

The mixed reality solutions market is growing at a CAGR of 44.39%. Unfortunately, with so many AR/VR and mixed reality solutions to choose from, it can be challenging to make the right choice for your organization. Based on our reviews of mixed reality tech, here’s your guide to comparing MR headsets in 2024.

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Use Cases

To compare mixed reality headsets effectively, you must first decide what you want to accomplish with MR in your organization. If you’re using mixed reality to create immersive training experiences, you might want to look for headsets with access to training software or integrate with platforms that allow you to design your own courses.

If you’re using MR for communication, collaboration, and product design, you may consider devices with built-in access to valuable tools. For instance, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 offers companies access to Microsoft Mesh and accompanying apps like Teams Immersive Spaces.

There are also headsets specifically designed for industrial use, with more robust and durable materials. These could be ideal for mixed reality in the manufacturing or construction space. Alternatively, you might need a headset with built-in security features, particularly if you’re concerned about sharing data over the cloud.

Step 2: Compare Mixed Reality Headset Features

All of the leading mixed-reality headsets come with similar features, such as the ability to combine digital content with real-world environments. However, the scope of the features you can access from each vendor can vary drastically. For instance, the Apple Vision Pro and the Meta Quest 3 give users complete control over their level of immersion.

However, the Vision Pro also features spatial computing technology, eliminating the need for controllers, allowing users to interact with content naturally, through gestures. Most MR headsets also include sensors and inside-out tracking capabilities.

However, the Varjo XR-4 offers more advanced sensor tracking through LiDAR, eye tracking, and ambient light reconstruction cameras. The key features we recommend exploring include:

  • Visual performance: The quality and type of display included on the headset.
  • Processing power: The chips used in the headset and their impact on performance.
  • Battery life: As well as whether the system can be used as a standalone headset.
  • Input: How will your users interact with content in mixed reality?
  • Sensors and cameras: The number of cameras and sensors used to connect digital content with a real-world environment.

Depending on your use cases, you might want to consider additional features too, such as microphones and cameras for communication, or hot-swappable batteries.

Step 3: Consider Available Apps and Software

When you compare mixed reality headsets for your enterprise team, remember that the hardware is just the first part of the puzzle. You’ll also need to ensure your hardware works seamlessly with the tools your teams already use for product design, communication, and collaboration. Some headset vendors, like Meta, offer access to app marketplaces, where you can find crucial tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

Other companies, like Apple, have developed their own operating systems (visionOS), which allow developers to build and implement their own apps into the system. As mentioned above, there are also headsets that come with built-in software, like Microsoft HoloLens and Mesh.

Certain innovators in the MR world will give you more freedom to access all of the software you need. For instance, the Varjo XR-4 headset works in tandem with workstations and NVIDIA GPUs. It gives you unrestricted and upgradable performance in a range of 3D platforms and software apps.

It’s also worth looking at the software you can access to manage your headsets and devices and preserve security. For instance, Meta offers its Business subscription solution, which can give business leaders more control over MR device management.

Step 4: Compare Mixed Reality Headset User Experience

Concepts like “VR sickness” don’t just apply to virtual reality. Users can experience discomfort using any type of extended reality device, and their comfort level will often depend on the headset’s design. For instance, Magic Leap’s mixed reality headsets are custom-made to be lightweight and ergonomic to reduce discomfort during long use periods.

The Vision Pro, from Apple, offers every user an entirely customized level of comfort, with various sizes for its light seal, custom-curved aluminum alloy, and adjustable headbands. The Meta Quest 3, on the other hand, takes more of a one-size-fits-all approach but still allows users to adjust the fit with a dial system.

When considering user experience, remember various factors can influence comfort. The quality of the display (and the speed of the refresh rate offered), can reduce visual strain. Access to comprehensive eye and hand-tracking capabilities can make interacting with content feel more natural and less frustrating. Where possible, it’s definitely worth testing a few headsets to see how they feel and work for yourself before making a choice.

Step 5: Consider Accessories and Add-Ons

Finally, just as there are plenty of accessories and “add-ons” available for virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses, there are ways to customize your MR headsets too. When you initially compare mixed reality headsets, you might want to focus on basic accessories. For instance, the option to access a more comfortable headband and various light seals with the Apple Vision Pro can improve user comfort and increase adoption.

You can also look into accessories that enhance the experience your users have with their headset. Spatial audio headphones can enhance collaborative experiences, while additional sensors and cameras can boost the performance of spatial computing apps.

However, depending on your use cases, you might eventually explore more advanced options. Haptic gloves and body suits are emerging as valuable tools for truly immersive training, product development, and workflow experiences. These accessories help users feel like they’re actually touching and interacting with digital content using an intelligent pressure application.

Ready to Compare Mixed Reality Headsets?

The rising impact of incredible devices like the Varjo XR-4, Apple Vision Pro, and Meta Quest 3 is accelerating the growth of the MR market. Mixed reality headsets are quickly making their way into countless industries, from the healthcare space, to the industrial world.

Whether you want to enhance collaboration, turbocharge team creativity, or simply transform your training sessions, now could be the perfect time to compare mixed reality headsets. If you’re looking for a behind-the-scenes insight into the top players in the current market, check out our comprehensive guide here.


Immersive ExperienceMixed Reality HeadsetsWearables

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