Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset was the star of the company’s developer conference this week, but it sounds like there may be one important shortcoming with it. While HoloLens is impressive, the field-of-view is way too small, and doesn’t always live up to the experience Microsoft showcased in its demos, according to early impressions of the product.
Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger and Julie Bort played with the HoloLens on Thursday, and wrote that the HoloLens’ small field-of-view was disappointing:
The field of view was the biggest disappointment.
The actual holograms are projected into a little box that hovers in front of your face, perhaps for computational reasons, because filling your entire line of sight with realistic, high-resolution holograms is just too much to ask of the little thing.
Here’s what Microsoft has shown in its demos:
Other technology journalists and analysts that have tried the headset had similar reactions. TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois said the HoloLens was “awesome,” but not as “immersive” as he expected.
The final version of HoloLens needs to have a wider field of view. It’s awesome, but not as immersive as I expected. http://t.co/Wl8WVPEaws
— Frederic Lardinois (@fredericl) May 1, 2015
The Verge’s Adi Robertson agrees:
I feel really awful but I tried the HoloLens and the field of view killed it for me. I just couldn’t *see* anything. http://t.co/sPepsjBOl3
— Adi Robertson (@thedextriarchy) May 1, 2015
And so does SlashGear’s Chris Davies:
— Chris Davies (@c_davies) May 1, 2015
Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart described the small field of view as a limitation, but doesn’t seem to think it will really hold back the product:
@harrymccracken field of view is a real limitation, but not enough to prevent it from fulfilling many use cases. Skype and Trimble = great
— Avi Greengart (@greengart) May 1, 2015
Blogger Paul Thurrot thought the earlier prototype Microsoft showed in January was better than the more current version:
Someone has to say it. After an amazing experience with HoloLens prototype in Jan., the real thing is not as good. Limited field of view.
— Paul Thurrott (@thurrott) May 1, 2015
A few developers also pointed out the small field-of-view issue, but still seem to be excited about the HoloLens overall:
— Tomas Morris (@Tomas_Morris) April 29, 2015
— Jimmy Engström (@Apeoholic) April 30, 2015
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that it’s still really early. This isn’t even the final iteration of the product. Microsoft is likely to make a ton of changes before the HoloLens is actually released to the public. In general, it also seems like msot people who tried the HoloLens liked it more than they disliked it.
We expect to learn more about the HoloLens, the types of apps it will work with, and when it will be released over the coming months.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft to ask if the current, limited field of view will be the same in the final product or if this is simply a limitation of the current prototype. We’ll update the story when we hear more.
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