Magic Leap 1 vs Magic Leap 2: The Key Differences

VR Expert - Magic Leap 1 vs Magic Leap 2

In this article we go over the differences between Magic Leap 1 vs Magic Leap 2 AR headsets: seeing how the new focus on enterprises shines through with their upcoming AR headset.

In this article, you will learn:

  • Specifications comparison
  • Processing
  • Visual experience
  • Design and comfort
  • Eye Tracking
  • Audio
  • Price of the Magic Leap 2
  • Alternatives to the Magic Leap 2

Specifications comparison

Magic Leap 1Magic Leap 2
Release DateAugust 8, 2018September 30, 2022
Price$2,295 with controllers$3,299 with controllers, Base version

$4,099 Developer Pro version

$4,999 Enterprise version

Optics TechnologyWaveguideWaveguide
Video Passthrough1080p camera, 30fps12.6MP, 60fps RGB camera
Display EnginePhotonic lightfield chip2 x Liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS), binocular
Resolution1280×960 per-eye1440×1760 per-eye
Dynamic DimmingNoYes
Refresh Rate122 Hz122Hz
Field of View50° diagonal70° diagonal
Weight316 grams260 grams
Tracking6 DoF Inside-out6 DoF Inside-out
Eye TrackingYes (1 camera per eye)Yes (two cameras per eye)
Hand TrackingYesYes
Positional, 3D AudioNoYes
ConnectivityWiFi 5 & Bluetooth 4.2WiFi 6 & Bluetooth 5.1
ProcessingSeparate, add-on (pug): NVIDIA Tegra X2 “Parker” System-on-ChipSeparate, add-on (pug): AMD Quad-core Zen2
Graphical ProcessingNVIDIA PascalAMD GFX10.2
Storage128 GB (No expandable storage)256 GB
Battery Life3 hours3.5 hours (7 hours in “Sleep Mode”)



Magic Leap decided to change processing partnerships from NVIDIA to AMD for both its CPU and GPU.

Comparing the two chipsets, the close partnership with AMD delivers an AR-specific processing solution for Magic Leap 2. Oppositely, the NVIDIA chipset in Magic Leap 1 was used for Autonomous Vehicles’ spatial mapping. 

Magic Leap 1’s operating system was also custom built by Magic Leap, whereas Magic Leap 2 will opt for Android as its OS.


In conclusion, it is hard to say the difference in performance other than the core processing numbers naturally are higher for Magic Leap 2, while the choice towards the open-source Android operating system also remains to be seen for stability and performance.

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Visual experience of Magic Leap 1 vs Magic Leap 2

One of the key differences between Magic Leap 1 and Magic Leap 2 is the visual experience.

Higher Resolution

Firstly, Magic Leap 2 will have a crisper resolution of 1536×1856 per eye, than Magic Leap 1’s 1280×960 per eye. This is even enhanced with the Dynamic Dimming and Foveated Rendering features of Magic Leap 2 explained below.


Field of View (FoV)

Secondly, Magic Leap 2’s now has a 70° diagonal field of view. In comparison the Magic Leap 1’s has 50° diagonal and the Microsoft HoloLens 2 has 52° diagonal, making the ML2 over 25% larger than its predecessor and competitor.

Dynamic Dimming

A major difference between the Magic Leap 1 and Magic Leap 2 is the introduction of Dynamic Dimming. This tackles one of the main weaknesses of the Magic Leap 1, where when used in areas with too much light it could be difficult to work with the holograms and see them. 


The introduction of dynamic dimming will allow the Magic Leap 2 to better control how much real world light is entering through the headset. Enabling Magic Leap 2 to darken the border around objects, making text and other intricate objects more visible and sharp. 

Different Display Engines

Thirdly, the Magic Leap 2 will use the industry standard within augmented reality called “Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS)” working by redirecting light within an attached waveguide lens.

Compared to the in-house display engine that was developed for the Magic Leap 1. It was called “Photonic Lightfield Chip” and was used to project 3D images using light manipulation on a nanoscale.


Design and comfort

The Magic Leap 2 is a modernized and sleeker version of Magic Leap 1. Both smart glasses have a distinct design aesthetic and are instantly recognizable compared to other AR headsets.

Similarly, comfort has always been strong for Magic Leap, from off-loading the processing to an external add-on. The biggest difference the Magic Leap 2 will have is a lighter weight of 260 grams compared to Magic Leap 1’s 316 grams. An improvement that will make long hour use much more enjoyable.

The form factor of the device has also changed slightly which will make it more comfortable on the nose and reduce the amount of light entering the device.


Furthermore, when purchasing the Magic Leap 2, you will get:

  • 2x 45W USB-C chargers with cables
  • 2x power cables
  • 1x Strap
  • 1x Shoulder strap
  • 1x Controller wrist strap
  • 1x Hygienic cleaning cloth
  • 1x Carrying case
  • 1x Forehead and Nose Pad with Frame Insert (with additional nose and forehead pads)
  • 1x Compute Pack
  • 1x ML2 Controller

Improved eye tracking

An extra eye tracking camera will be added on the Magic Leap 2 compared to Magic Leap 1. This aids ML2 in determining where you look and enhancing the picture quality, improving the visual experience using dynamic foveated rendering.

Positional audio

3D sound will be available in Magic Leap 2, allowing the user to distinguish between voices in a room, creating more lifelike meetings.


Price and cost of the Magic Leap 2

Compared to Magic Leap 1, the price difference vs the Magic Leap 2 is substantial as the two headsets were built for different markets: enterprises versus consumers.

The pricing of Magic Leap 2 is offered in three ways. The first is the base package for $3,299, the second is the Developer Pro version for $4,099, and the third is the Enterprise option for $4,999.


The difference between these three categories is the permission of commercial deployments and external production environments. In other words, if the Magic Leap 2 is meant and allowed to leave the confines of R&D. For example, the base version is permitted in commercial deployments, whereas the Developer Pro option is meant for R&D purposes, and the Enterprise variant offers both.

Alternatives to the Magic Leap 2

Speaking of comparisons, and further comparing Magic Leap 2 with other AR headsets, the spread in price is substantial while the use case differs.

Magic Leap 2Microsoft HoloLens 2Lenovo ThinkReality A3Varjo XR-3Lynx R-1
TypeAugmented RealityAugmented RealityAugmented RealityMixed RealityMixed Reality
Price$3,299 (with controllers, Base)

$4,099 (Developer Pro)

$4,999 (Enterprise)

$3,500 headset only$1,499 headset only$5,495 headset only$698 (with controllers, Base)

$1,198 (with controllers, Enterprise edition)

Resolution1440×1760 per-eye1440×936 per-eye1920×1080 per-eye2880×2720 per-eye1600×1600 per-eye
Field of View70° diagonal52° diagonal52° diagonal134° diagonal90° diagonal
Refresh Rate120Hz60Hz60Hz90Hz90Hz
Eye TrackingYesYesNoYesNo
Hand TrackingYesYesNoYesYes


It comes down to if your use case requires mixed reality or augmented reality, and/or if you need an R&D headset or a deployable one. Nevertheless, Magic Leap 2 will offer the best all-around choice for enterprises that need augmented reality. 


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