XR Devices (HW1)


With the advent and booming of the XR technologies and applications based on them, numerous companies including the big names had launched their advanced XR (AR/VR/MR) devices. In this post, I list several of them and give my personal recommendations on device choosing.

I covered the following devices in this post.

Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Rift S
PlayStation VR (PSVR)
Magic Leap One
Epson Moverio
Google Glass Enterprise Edition
Vuzix Blade AR
Hololens 2

VR Devices

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is experienced through sensory stimuli (sights and sounds). It is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world and can be applied to most of the scenarios.

Till now, I suppose that the most successful application type on VR is still entertainment, as I am a real zealot of the game experience, thus I focus on the devices that are widely applied in the game scenario. I listed the popular three VR devices with their specs below:

Product:Oculus Quest 2Oculus Rift SPlayStation VR(PSVR)
HardwarePC optionalPC requiredPlaystation (PS5, PS4)
Tracking6 degrees6 degrees6 degrees
ControllersRedesigned Touch Controllers(add thumb rest)Touch ControllersPlayStation Move controller, DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller
HEAD STRAPSoft StrapHalo HeadbandHeadband
OPTICSFast-switch LCD Display 1832 x 1920 Resolution Per Eye 60, 72, 90 Hz Refresh Rates Supported Glasses-compatibleLCD Display 2560 x 1440 Resolution 80 Hz Refresh Rate Glasses-compatibleResolution: 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080) Refresh Rate: 120hz, 90hz
SOUNDPositional Audio(3D)Positional Audio(3D)Positional Audio(3D)
GamesOculus Quest StoreOculus Rift StorePlayStation Store
STORAGE64 GB | 256 GBN / AN / A

My Favorite

Previous VR devices all have a good configuration as well as good support for the game service on different platforms. Among them, the PSVR is the newest and may have the best performance on the PS platform. However, I highly recommended the HTC-Vive (Pro), which is the most powerful and professional VR device, which I used to play with before.

First, it has the most powerful screen. With

  • 2880 x 1600 615 PPI
  • 37% PPI Increase
  • 78% Pixel Increase

It also has an Optimized Ergonomics

  • Optimal Center of Gravity
  • Adjustable Eye Comfort Setting (IPD)
  • 24% Increase in Face Gasket Surface Area for Lowered Stress
  • Adjustable Headstrap with Soft Padded Foam

Moreover, its available movement space is much larger than the others

UP TO 100 m²

In a word, much more powerful when compared with others.


I only used Vive before, but it can really perform well in numerous games such as lights saber, half-life Alyx, and fruit ninja. The game experience it brought is quite immersive and charming.

AR Devices

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visualauditoryhapticsomatosensory, and olfactory

AR basically is virtual later provides additional information, thus MR devices can also provide the ability of AR, as well as many cellphones. Most of the existing AR-specific devices are glasses, as I illustrated below(source https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/best-augmented-reality-glasses/):

Headset NameMagic Leap OneEpson Moverio BT-300Google Glass Edition 2Vuzix Blade AR
1300 pixels per eye1280 x 720 pixels720p video capable640×360
Field of view (degrees)50238010
Refresh Rate (Hz)12030
Tracking and controlEye and hand, with hapticsEye and handEye and handEye, with haptics
Battery Life (hrs)3682
-Drone AR
-Voice command
-Mobile OSs
Pricing ($)22956991167599
Car Heads-Up Display

MR Devices

Mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time

Very few products, or in other words, only the product of Microsoft, Hololens, really produced an integrated hardware device in this field. Now it launched its second version with more powerful functionalities.


Side-angle view of HoloLens 2 headset with light reflecting off visor

Technical Specs

OpticsSee-through holographic lenses (waveguides)
Resolution2k 3:2 light engines
Holographic density>2.5k radiants (light points per radian)
Eye-based renderingDisplay optimization for 3D eye position
Head tracking4 visible light cameras
Eye-tracking2 IR cameras
Depth1-MP time-of-flight (ToF) depth sensor
IMUAccelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
Camera8-MP stills, 1080p30 video
Audio and speech
Microphone array5 channels
SpeakersBuilt-in spatial sound
Human understanding
Hand trackingTwo-handed fully articulated model, direct manipulation
Eye-trackingReal-time tracking
VoiceCommand and control on-device; natural language with internet connectivity
Windows HelloEnterprise-grade security with iris recognition
Environment understanding
6DoF trackingWorld-scale positional tracking
Spatial MappingReal-time environment mesh
Mixed Reality CaptureMixed hologram and physical environment photos and videos
Compute and connectivity
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform
HPUThe second-generation custom-built holographic processing unit
Memory4-GB LPDDR4x system DRAM
Storage64-GB UFS 2.1
Wi-FiWi-Fi: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac 2×2)
Battery life2–3 hours of active use
ChargingUSB-PD for fast charging
CoolingPassive (no fans)

MyFavorite & Comments

Future, is, Hololens!!!!

For me, Hololens is the only but the most powerful MR device. It can create a workplace in which you can visualize anything you need on-demand, with relevant data available at the jab of a finger.  I used this device before and surprised by the button control without a controller. The immersive experience of the galaxy exploration overwhelmed me.

With the HoloLens 2, Microsoft is looking to build on the handful of enterprise successes it has carved in the last five years, based on customer and user feedback. Specifically, the firm has looked to address ergonomics, immersion, and what it dubs time-to-value’. — ITPRO

Though from my experience of this device, the tracking accuracy of the movement still needs a lot of improvement, this product really demonstrates what the future can be.

VAR devices blog [CS4240]

VR device: Valve Index

Resolution1440 x 1600
Refresh Rate80, 90, 120 or 144 Hz
Field of ViewAdjustable, up to 130 degrees
Face CushionAffixed to removable face interface, foam covered in anti-microbial microfiber cloth
PriceUS$999 (incl. 2 controllers and 2 base stations); US$499 (headset only)
Battery~6 hours

As an avid gamer, the main use I would find for VR headsets would be of course for games. Hence, after looking through the newest headsets, I thought that the Valve index seems to be the best VR headset currently due to its great hardware specs, comfort, long battery life and high tracking quality.

The index offers excellent resolutions at custom refresh rates, and in particular the 144Hz refresh rates makes pictures crystal clear. This is compared to other headsets that often offer limited refresh rate selections, though perhaps at slightly higher resolutions.

Although somewhat on the heavier side at ~800g without cables, users have given good reviews on its comfort. Reviews included how the head straps distributes weight well over a user’s head, and positive comments were made on how the straps were of high build quality.

On top of this, the index offer a great ~6h battery life, which is more than enough for most average users. Constantly having to bother with charging the battery would be annoying, and in my personal experiences with consoles, having to stop a game mid-way due to dead batteries is the worst feeling.

Lastly, the index comes with what many users have reviewed as the ‘best’ tracking technology. The index offers two base stations that track user movement effectively, along with novel controllers that convey a person’s actions effectively into the games. This allows games like Valve’s half-life:Alyx to truly shine, and offering users an experience other headsets cannot emulate.

That all being said, all this comes at a whooping cost of $999, which compared to the competition, is twice the price. This is likely to be a deal breaker for many people, which is a shame, since the hardware and software makes the Index likely the best headset available on the market right now.

MR device: Microsoft HoloLens

As I personally do not have any experiences with AR devices or their applications, I first sought to find what these devices could do and what some user favorite applications were.

Raptor EverySight, and its cycling application

Interestingly, although the market seemed to be rapidly growing, I did not find any of the popular applications to my personal interest. I would personally use AR glasses for purposes you would use a phone for, such as GPS, calorie counting, routing, and so on, but there did not seem to be readily available apps for such things. There were specific AR devices for things like cycling (which I enjoy), such as the Raptor EverySight, but the application itself seemed very lackluster when I saw it on youtube, especially when one considers the hefty price of US$599.

That said, I do find applications using Microsoft’s HoloLens to be the most interesting compared to its competition. It seems that HoloLens has found great success with industrial manufacturing and healthcare, along with healthcare education.

For manufacturers, HoloLens provides greatly improved guidance, allowing workers to be much more productive. The guided workers are able to have accelerated work processes, increasing productivity by decreasing errors.

For healthcare and healthcare education, the HoloLens provide a level of clarity for both patients and students alike that cannot be emulated through conventional means of communication. Patients are able to use the lens to very effectively see what they are suffering from and what the treatments might entail. For students, they are able to interact in situations that are otherwise dangerous or impossible in a conventional setting, allowing improved understanding and ability.

This is very hopeful for AR applications, because it showcases how good applications with good hardware can effectively improve situations. Both the manufacturing, health and education sectors have shown great numbers of improvement through the use of HoloLens, which may translate to other sectors in due time when proper applications are developed.

Nevertheless, despite the benefits, these HoloLens applications are customized for the manufacturing companies, which makes it less accessible to the average user. This might mean a very long wait time before AR applications could be valuable to the average user, which is rather disappointing considering how long many AR devices have been around for.

One small step for Augmented Reality, one giant leap for mankind

It may not be obvious to us, but Augmented Reality (AR) has already taken roots in our daily lives. From face filters to AR games, this wonderful technology has slowly evolved and gained commercial traction. Unfortunately, most of these applications are mostly restricted to our phones. With the availability of smart phones in our modern society, the adoption of AR phone apps far exceed the ones of AR headsets. However, recent developments have brought headsets, such as Microsoft Hololens and Oculus Quest, closer to widespread consumer adoption.

Current Market
The current market for AR devices are quite varied. Here is a brief breakdown of the specifications of some AR capable devices.

Microsoft HololensMagic LeapOculus Rift SHTC Vive
TypeARARVR (Partial AR)VR (Partial AR)
Degree of Freedom6666
Field of view43° × 29° 40°×30° 110° 110°
Resolution (per eye)2048×1080 1280×9602560×1440 (single display)1080×1200
Refresh Rate120Hz60Hz72Hz90Hz
Target Audience Professionals  Professionals, previously for consumersConsumersConsumers
Price $3,500 $2,295 $599 $799

My Analysis
For my AR/VR headset analysis, I wish to take a in-depth look at the Magic Leap device. Having worn and played around with the Microsoft Hololens 1, Oculus Rift and Magic Leap, I personally liked the use of Magic Leap the most. Here’s why:

  1. Comfort
    Initially aimed at the consumer market, Magic Leap was designed for comfort. Despite having a separate pack for the CPU, this design removed a lot of weight away from the headset itself. The Microsoft Hololens 1 was incredibly chunky and the weight was distributed unevenly. In comparison, the Magic Leap was significantly lighter, removing quite a bit of stress on the neck from long usage.
  2. Realism
    Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Magic leap do not display a virtual version of your surrounding. As such, it is more realistic in terms of its colors and the virtual object placed on screen. Of course, the Magic Leap is disadvantaged with the limited field of vision which restricts its realism.
  3. Headset Design
    For its design, Magic Leap is the most outstanding, with its smaller build and googles-like appearance, making this headset especially appealing to me.

Here’s a short video on the holograms generated by the Magic Leap device!

Written by Giam Ju Xian

Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality Technologies

The latest commercial Virtual Reality Hardware release was Facebook-owned Oculus’s Oculus Quest 2 back in October 2020. Unlike other leading VR hardware out there, Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset powered by Android, meaning that it does not require a PC or a smartphone for one to operate it. The fact that such a standalone hardware can run VR is a feat of excellence, given that VR requires high fidelity graphics together with target framerates higher than that of PC and Console gaming’s (90 vs 60 FPS).

Taking away the inconvenience of setting up a VR environment with the classic tethered PC/Console VR such as the HTC VIVE, PSVR, and Valve Index, the Quest 2 still manages to provide smooth VR experiences with its powerful hardware. Hence, it is hard to not pick the Quest 2 as one of my favorites in the VR hardware sphere as it removes one of the major pain points of VR hardware. Another huge plus is that it is at a lower price point (SG$450) than PCs and Consoles, paired together with the fact that it is a standalone device makes it a highly accessible technology for one to pick up.
As for Mixed Reality, a relatively younger phenomena, the leading technology by far is the Microsoft HoloLens 2, released in 2019 at a hefty price point of SG$5,388, and is an improvement over its predecessor, the Microsoft HoloLens, which was released back in 2016. The HoloLens 2 features a much higher field of view of 52 degrees compared to the 30 degrees that the first version has. It also has an increased display resolution of 2048×1080 pixels, eye-tracking, and a much better processor. Development potential also increased dramatically with the addition of the tracking of both hands as well as additional gestures that the HoloLens 2 can pick up.

Its competitor, Magic Leap One, while costing two-thirds the price, underperforms the HoloLens 2 in almost every aspect. Unique to the HoloLens 2 for example, is Microsoft’s “Remote Rendering”, which is essentially using cloud computing to provide the hardware with extra computing power and hence performance, easily achieving better performance than Magic Leap One. The amount of content available to the user is also overwhelmingly in favor of the HoloLens 2, having backward compatibility with applications that were made for its predecessor. Tracking and Control is also way better on the HoloLens 2 with its new hand tracking system that picks up both hands. Therefore, Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 easily wins out its competitors in the Mixed Reality market.