Review Review: Magic Leap One – glasses augmented reality, the development of which spent 6 years and $ 2 billion

Many journalists were impressed by the technology, but they agreed that it was unlikely to get to the market in this form.

Photo of Magdalena Petrova, CNBC
Photo of Magdalena Petrova, CNBC

On August 8, the startup Magic Leap opened the sales of Augmented Reality Glasses One Creators Edition. They were developed in strict security mode for six years, for which more than $ 2 billion was invested in the company.

The first version of the device is aimed only at developers and costs twice as much as the iPhone X – 2.2 thousand dollars (about 150 thousand rubles). While the device can be ordered only in six American cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco (Bay Area) and Seattle. Delivery in other cities promise to add in the fall.

Journalists were allowed to test the device in advance, though, apparently invited only representatives of several major publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Verge, CNBC and MIT Technology Review. The company did not send the device to the editions: to write down the reviews, the editors had to come to the Magic Leap headquarters in Florida.

we chose the most interesting of the first opinions about the Magic Leap One.

The Wall Street Journal

Editor WSJ Joanna Stern (Joanna Stern) withdrew video review points. The girl, like other journalists, was not allowed to record what the device was showing to her, so she “drew” the image from the glasses herself.

Stern noted the convenience, ease and quality of graphics Magic Leap One. According to her, even after half an hour in glasses she did not feel any discomfort, and technical demonstrations were struck by their beauty. However, the journalist was not convinced: she believes that the device is still very far to the mass product.

Despite the fact that [Magic Leap One] is not as limited as Microsoft HoloLens, the device has a limited drawing area, which worsens the experience. Some objects were lost when I turned my head or took a few steps back. Mr. Abowitz (CEO of Magic Leap) said that this will be fixed in Magic Leap Two.

I do not think anyone should run and buy it – maybe even over the next few years. I hope that many technically impressive demonstrations of Magic Leap will become something more than just a new experience.

Joanna Stern
WSJ editor


The editor of CNET Scott Stein (Scott Stein), like his colleague from WSJ, remained in mixed feelings. On the one hand, he liked the technical demonstrations and the level of immersion that Magic Leap One can achieve. But he believes that the device did not become a breakthrough in this area.

I can tell you exactly what the Magic Leap One is – not a pshik, but a reality that works. Whether it is more than just a prototype and whether you are amazed is another story. This AR-system is moving forward, but it does not change the rules of the game. At least for now. Everything depends on what will happen next.

Scott Stein
CNET editor

According to Stein, with Magic Leap One, he experienced “the best experience of augmented reality”, but there was nothing fundamentally different from the Microsoft HoloLens project, which is available to developers since 2016. The journalist also complained about the problem of a limited field of view, in addition, he had to wear a lens, since with his glasses Magic Leap One did not work.

Photo by Sara Tew, CNET
Photo by Sara Tew, CNET

Magic Leap One was not impressed by the journalist. According to him, the glasses did not become something new for him, since he already tested test samples of AR-sets for three years, such as HoloLens, Meta 2 and Avegant. Stein was waiting for some “raisins” from Magic Leap One, but he did not find it.

The journalist noted that, probably, the company decided to first show the whole world at least some real device and only then make a more massive product. But she still has many problems to solve: for example, a limited field of vision, working with glasses, ease of use, price, more convenient management. According to the journalist, these are just some of the demands that the market will place on the product, if AR ever becomes “mainstream”


CNBC journalist Todd Haselton liked the device, although he did not understand how it works. The editor believes that the glasses show “the future of interaction with computers.”

Imagine that all the programs that you use, such as a mail or player with video – fly in the real world near you. Because the headset allows you to see far away, interfaces can exist anywhere. You can chat with the 3D avatar of your friend in the room, or you can sit on a football stadium and look there at the tyrannosaurus. Of course, there is more practical application.

Todd Hazelton
CNBC editor

Hazelton remained impressed by the technology and noted that this is an incomparable experience compared to using any other computer. The journalist saw the future in technology: a convenient way to interact with digital screens in the real world, but explained that the company has to convince everyone else of this. Especially developers and creators of content.

I believe we are in a few years from when the Magic Leap will be ready for all of us. Where I do not need my computer or phone where there are no field limits and where any TV channel, film or game I want to play is in this world, in a kind of version of “Oasis” from “The First Player prepare, only in a mixed reality.

Todd Hazelton

In a conversation with CNBC, the company’s CEO, Roni Abovitz (Rony Abovitz) explained the ban on shooting the display of glasses technical reasons. According to him, the cameras do not catch the light coming into the eyes of Magic Leap One, so it’s impossible to record the device’s operation. Also, Abowitz revealed that the device operates on a single charge for about three hours.

Photo by Todd Hazelton, CNBC
Photo by Todd Hazelton, CNBC

Hazelton also separately noted that although the headset and comfortable in itself, but still quite cumbersome. According to him, this is not at all like the usual glasses: the Magic Leap One is first put on the head, and then clicked from behind and held on the entire head.

Photo by Todd Hazelton, CNBC
Photo by Todd Hazelton, CNBC

The journalist tried several applications, including the beta version of the NBA. Hazelton was able to fix the clip with LeBron James’s throw on one of the walls, and then got a 3D version of the game of the basketball player that appeared on the floor. According to the journalist, the picture was so high-quality that “he could watch the whole match like this.”

Hazelton noted that despite all this, the device has several serious drawbacks. For example, lighting in a room should not be too bright or too dark. Like colleagues, Hazelton also complained about the problem with the limitation of the field of view.

The Verge

The Verge editor Edi Robertson (Adi Robertson) left one of the sharpest reviews on the device. The journalist said that there was no “something revolutionary” in it, than the company teased the audience for six years. Robertson noted that this is “just the best version of what she tried before,” and the device is still in development.

I truly believe that Magic Leap gave me an idea of ​​the future of computers. But it may take quite some time to reach this future, and I’m not sure that Magic Leap will be the first company to do it.

Edie Robertson
The Verge editor

Robertson explained that the Magic Leap One is still very impressive compared to other mixed reality headsets. She believes that the device may be the best in this area, but the journalist has doubts about the technology of the light field, which uses Magic Leap.

It does not feel like something radically different from HoloLens, which was released two years ago and which has a second generation on the horizon. I’m not sure that the photonics chip in practice differs from the mixed reality of other companies or that Magic Leap does something that other people can not quickly copy.

Edie Robertson

In a conversation with Robertson, the general director of Magic Leap compared his device to an Apple I computer that could not even display a color image, but “opened the whole world.” The journalist agreed that revolutionary technology does not need to be perfect.

Photos by The Verge
Photos by The Verge

However, according to Robertson, Magic Leap does not even try to show the advantages of technology: the demonstration of the device emphasizes only the weak points.

I can imagine that I replace my TV with a virtual screen, but not the one that folds in half when I do not look directly at it. I kept forgetting where I had placed objects in the room, and full-screen capabilities, such as the beautiful underwater landscape in the Tonandi app, always seemed artificial.

It seems that the problems were not in technical limitations, but in applications that were not created with such limitations. 

Edie Robertson
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