Magic Leap 2 Review: Smarter and Sleeker

XR Today Team

Magic Leap announces the next version of its flagship device

Magic Leap Reviews
Magic Leap 2 Review: Smarter and Sleeker

About the Company

Magic Leap was among the earliest entrants in the AR/MR space, launching in the early 2000s. However, it spent most of its early years in stealth mode, teasing a sophisticated augmented reality device that would be unveiled as Magic Leap 1 in 2018. While it wasn’t an outright commercial success, Magic Leap 1 had a lot going for it, including its sleek, ergonomic form factor and rather natural user experience. What put off several interested buyers was the device’s formidable price point, which placed it outside the reach of not only prosumers but also several small-to-mid-sized businesses.

Now, in April of 2021, Magic Leap has announced the next version of its flagship device – the Magic Leap 2.

Magic Leap 2 comes at a pivotal juncture in the company’s journey. Despite raising $350 million in 2020, the company suffered major losses across the year and its valuation dipped by a staggering 93% ($450 million, down from $6.4 billion). There were large-scale layoffs and eventually, then-CEO Rony Abovitz stepped down.

Now, as Microsoft and Qualcomm alumni, Peggy Johnson takes the reins as the new CEO and announces the Magic Leap 2, do brighter days lie ahead? Let us review the specs we know so far, and find out.

Inside Magic Leap 2

Magic Leap is the company’s eponymous AR headsets, originally meant for both consumer and enterprise use. Magic Leap also provides prebuilt solutions for your specific use cases in manufacturing, healthcare, 3D visualisation, collaboration, and more. You could think of Magic Leap as a cross between barebones AR glasses and full-fledged VR headsets in terms of form factor, and Leap 2 follows these aesthetic principles.

Here are its key features:

  • Device weight – Magic Leap 1 came in at a comfortable 316 grams, making it suitable for long hours of use in enterprise scenarios. The new Magic Leap 2 will be a significant 20% lighter, weighing approximately 252 grams. For comparison, HoloLens 2 from Microsoft is almost twice as heavy at 566 grams, and even Oculus Rift weighs 417 grams. Leap 2 promises to be a lightweight addition to the XR devices available today, making this one of its most prominent differentiators.
  • Field of view – Field of view refers to the flexibility of observation enjoyed by a user when inside a virtual world, and this is another area where Magic Leap 2 stands out. Leap 1 sported a 2-megapixel camera, which enabled a 76.9° diagonal field of view and a wide 50°-degree field of view. Going by Johnson’s recent announcement, the Magic Leap 2 will have twice the field of view, which means approximately 100°-153° flexibility of movement. You can expect even more naturalistic movements than Leap 1, ready for use across diverse enterprise use cases.
  • Form factor – Magic Leap has managed to trim down the form factor as well, expected to be around 50% smaller than the original device. The Leap 1 wasn’t bulky, to begin with, but did include a thick band of around 1-inch that clasped around the sides and back of the user’s head. The glasses themselves were nearly twice as large as your standard-issue spectacles. At 50% smaller, we’d expect the Magic Leap 2 to be even closer to the AR glasses aesthetic, without compromising on performance.
  • Performance – The exact performance specs of Magic Leap 2 are yet to be revealed. To recap, Leap 1 featured an 8GB RAM, 128GB of storage, 3.3 hours of continuous use on a single charge, and a 1280 x 960-pixel RGB display per eye. It also has built-in stereo speakers for spatial audio, as well as Bluetooth 4.2. If recent trends are anything to go by, we expect at least Bluetooth 5 on the new device, and hopefully no battery life reduction as a result of the slimmer form factor.

Why Magic Leap 2 Makes a Difference

Despite an underwhelming market response, there’s no denying that Leap 1 was among the most comfortable and user-centric headsets of its time. Admittedly, it lacked the muscle power of providers like Microsoft, which is why Magic Leap lost out on the $22 billion deal with the US Department of Defense. Nevertheless, enterprise AR is now a massive market with plenty of opportunities – the new Leap 2 with its best-in-class UX could definitely revive the company’s growth trajectory.

What We Think

Magic Leap 2 is scheduled for limited release in 2021 Q4, and GA in 2022 Q1. Leap 1 was priced at upwards of $2200, so Leap 2’s pricing will definitely have a role to play in adoption.

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