Magic Leap One: Why Reviewers Are Disappointed with the New Augmented Reality Headset

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Magic Leap has generated a ton of media buzz and hype over the years. We’re finally getting our first independent hands-on looks at the product.

Magic Leap invited The Verge to Florida for a one-hour, hands-on demo of the Magic Leap One, an augmented reality (AR) headset that projects 3D images into reality. And the reviewer was disappointed in what she saw:

And the Magic Leap One, which is now available for sale in the United States only, is extremely pricey for new technology: starting at US$2,295, it’s easily more expensive than an entire computer set-up for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive VR headsets. And, as the reviewer states in the video, there’s little content available for it, and what content there is demonstrates the drawbacks in the platform, such as the restricted field of view.

Another mixed review by CNET points out another serious drawback to the Magic Leap One, at least for me:

There’s one huge drawback to the entire experience of putting a Magic Leap One on my face: It doesn’t work with glasses. My handlers asked for my prescription before I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, and pop-in prescription lenses were supposed to be provided for my demo. But it turns out my prescription broke the mold. I’m -8.75 in one eye, -8.25 in the other — too strong.

The verdict? Interesting, but it’s probably best to check back in a year or two, unless you’re a fanatical early adopter. I’m quite content with my Oculus Rift headset, and I’m in no hurry to upgrade/switch.

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Anyland: A Brief Introduction

A couple of people encouraged me to go take a look at another social VR space/virtual world product called Anyland, so I decided to visit it a few times, both in my VR headset and on desktop. (I actually had only one successful visit in my Oculus Rift. Each time after that, I got an error from SteamVR whenever I tried to enter in VR mode. These pictures are screen captures, all taken when I was in desktop mode.)

Anyland bills itself the “virtual reality sandbox universe”, where you can build anything you want using the in-world building tools.

First, here is a selfie of my avatar taken in my spawn point, which appears to be a small rocky planet in space. There’s not much to the default Anyland avatar, only a pair of grey robotic hands with button pads on the thumbs (which you press to call up menus, such as the one you see on the left-hand side of this picture).

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In fact, Anyland encourages users to use its in-world building tools to create their own avatar body! I did see some creative examples on my first visit in my VR headset, when I popped in on a group of avatars playing an Uno card-playing game.

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The following are two pictures of Anyland experiences, the first is called Blue Castle, and the second is called Build Town. As you can see, it’s basically a blocks/”prims” building environment, which reminds me a little of Google Blocks and the Second Life in-world building tools.

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Blue Castle
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Build Town

Here’s Anyland’s main tutorial video, explaining how to use the building tools:

It’s clear that some people are really enjoying the creative canvas that Anyland provides:

In summary, the best way I would describe Anyland is that it is a mix between Second Life and Google Blocks. Give it a try if you are interested, it’s available on Steam for free.