Microsoft first launched the mixed reality device HoloLens in 2016; its successor, the Microsoft HoloLens 2, appeared three years later. The Head-mounted Display (HMD) has a new design, but there is more to it than just visual modification.
Bitnamic presents the most important features and significant changes of the HoloLens 2 compared to its predecessor.
For more in-depth reviews of the best smart glasses for industry, like RealWear Navigator 520, please visit our magazine.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 review – Appearance and main area of application
In general, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 can be described as a hands-free controllable computer with WLAN connectivity that does not require any cables or external accessories. The device sees everything the user sees and is controlled by voice or gestures.
The display opens up an additional, digital information level within our reality. This interaction with holographic elements that remain in user-defined positions and react like physical objects – that’s mixed reality.
The HoloLens 2 was designed for the industrial sector, as it’s the biggest field of application – especially with regard to Remote Maintenance, location-independent troubleshooting, visual inspection, etc.
The numerous improvements that can be determined in a direct comparison with the previous model HoloLens 1 are also aimed at this. In our opinion, an upgrade to the successor is definitely recommended.
Test: New and further developed features of the Microsoft HoloLens 2
In terms of size and weight, not much has changed – both models are one size, the Microsoft HoloLens 1 is only 13 grams heavier. More serious differences can be found in the handling, the field of vision and other aspects.
When you put on the Microsoft HoloLens 2, you can already see the first improvements compared to the previous model. The smart glasses are only slightly lighter due to the use of carbon fibers, but the balanced center of gravity makes the new device much more comfortable and can be worn painlessly for several hours at a time.
Due to the elastic bracket, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 is easier to put on and can be adjusted to any head size and shape using the rotary knob on the back. The new dial-in-fit system also allows it to be worn over glasses. For a quick change from mixed reality to our physical reality, only the visor needs to be flipped up.
Field of view
The field of view of the Microsoft HoloLens 2 has been greatly enlarged for better clarity. This makes it much easier to interact with holograms, for example.
The image quality has also improved tremendously, the resolution of 47 pixels per degree roughly corresponds to the change from a 720p television to 2K.
The revised hand control enables a more intuitive interaction with holograms. No pre-programmed gestures are required – thanks to the tracking of 25 points on the hand, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 can process any hand movement.
Objects can be moved using drag & drop, and the menu can be opened by pressing a virtual button on the user’s wrist.
The Microsoft HoloLens 1 was already able to execute voice commands, but its successor also has voice tracking, which further improves voice control.
New on the Microsoft HoloLens 2 are sensors that measure the user’s eye movements. They record where the gaze wanders and which elements are fixed, whereby the intention of the user is recognized and the system can determine even more precisely which hologram is to be interacted with.
In addition, the wearer’s eye relief is automatically set via the sensors, which enables an individually optimized display of holographic elements. The eye-tracking interface was programmed in accordance with data protection regulations; personal data, especially biometric data, will not be passed on.
Thanks to the biometric authentication via iris recognition in Windows Hello, the successor to the Microsoft HoloLens 1 can be unlocked much more easily and used safely by several people in one company.
Microsoft HoloLens 1 vs HoloLens 2 – Technical data in direct comparison
|HoloLens 1||HoloLens 2|
|Resolution||1280 x 720 (per eye)||2048 x 1080 (per eye)|
|Weight||579 g||566 g|
|SoC||Intel 32-bit (1GHz)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 850|
|Memory||2 GB RAM||8 GB RAM|
|Kamera||2.4 MP, HD video||8MP, 1080p video|
|Microphone array||4 channels||5 channels|
|Eye-based rendering||Automatic pupillary distance calibration||Display optimization for 3D eye position|
|Eye tracking||No||Yes, 2 IR cameras|
|Hand tracking||One hand||Both hands|
|Gestures like Press, Grab, Direct manipulation etc.||No||Yes|
|Battery life||2-3 hours of active use||2-3 hours of active use|
|Price:||HoloLens 1 no longer available||3.849,00 €|
Microsoft HoloLens 3 Release Date
Microsoft is currently working on a further development of the HoloLens 2 – it will probably not be the successor HoloLens 3, but rather a refreshment of the HoloLens 2 hardware. At the beginning of February 2022, rumors were spread that Microsoft would stop the development of the HoloLens 3. Alex Kipman, the head of Microsoft’s mixed reality department, denied these via Twitter: Don’t believe what you read on the Internet, HoloLens is doing well, he said.
When the Microsoft HoloLens 3 will be available for purchase is therefore still up in the air. However, it seems certain that the HoloLens 3 is not intended for end consumers, but primarily for use in industry and the military.
How the Microsoft HoloLens 2 compares with other AR glasses can be read in our comparison of the top 3 smart glasses for industry.
Microsoft HoloLens 2 and bitnamic CONNECT for more effective working
With the HoloLens, Microsoft has developed smart glasses for augmented reality maintenance that make it possible to merge reality with virtual content and thereby facilitate all work processes, especially in the industrial sector. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 builds on the advantages of its predecessor, offers improved and new functions for even more efficient handling. I
In combination with bitnamic CONNECT, also available as an app for both HoloLens models, maintenance processes can be significantly accelerated and complex problems on machines can be quickly resolved under expert guidance. How this works in practice, you can read in our article Maintenance and service with Remote Maintenance and Microsoft HoloLens.
Give your employees the right tool to design or review work environments, train complex procedures and advise customers – all completely remote. Welcome to Industry 4.0.
Would you like to learn more about bitnamic CONNECT, augmented reality and smart glasses like the Microsoft HoloLens 2? Arrange a noncommittal demo appointment with our Sales Manager Christopher Poelker and experience live how you can make your service processes more efficient.