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HoloLens 2 vs. HoloLens 1: What’s New?

HoloLens 2 vs. HoloLens 1: What’s New?

Today we’re going to break down the differences between the Microsoft HoloLens 2 vs. HoloLens 1. To help you decide which augmented reality headset is right for you, we will compare and contrast the two. We will outline improvements and new features for the HoloLens 2. And we will tell you the differences between the two headset’s specs and prices. Lastly, we will show you how Hartford can help you rent a HoloLens to try before you buy. If you’ve been curious about what the HoloLens 2 can do, this is all the information that you need.

Introduced in 2016, the first HoloLens was an innovative tool. And then, on November 7, 2019, Microsoft went on to release the HoloLens 2. But Microsoft isn’t stopping and has even teased the 3rd generation of HoloLens products coming at some point several years in the future. So is right now a good time to invest in one of these leading edge headsets? The original HoloLens is an incredibly powerful tool, and today, we will help you decide if your company should consider purchasing a HoloLens 2. 

Before we start, it is essential to note that like the first HoloLens, this new device helps people in enterprise situations work more efficiently through Mixed Reality technology (MR).. And while the original HoloLens succeeded in its goal of introducing the possibilities of incorporating holographic computing into the workplace, after using the machine, the limitations became obvious. But unlike some of its competitors, Microsoft listened closely to the feedback of its customers. This second generation of the HoloLens family shows a retooling of the old system to create the most potent MR headset currently available.

So how exactly has the HoloLens 2 changed from its predecessor? Well, if you look at the technical specs, there’s some significant difference between the devices.

HoloLens 1 vs. HoloLens 2 Specs

The HoloLens 2 improves on almost every single aspect of the first HoloLens. From the second generation of custom hardware to the inclusion of state of the art technology, the HoloLens 2 is a massive upgrade from its predecessor. The following specs come from Microsoft MVP Chris Pietschmann on the Build5nines website


HoloLens2 HoloLens1
CPU Model QC Snapdragon 850 Intel Atom x5-Z8100P
CPU Cores 8 4
Memory 4GB 1GB
Storage 64 GB 64 GB
HPU 2nd Gen custom 1st Gen custom
Wifi Wifi 5 802.11ac

The new HoloLens has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform while the original HoloLens has an Intel Atom x5-Z8100p @ 1.04Ghz. Upgrading to an AMR based system means more processing power for the user’s work. The CPU upgrade is most apparent when looking at the logical cores. The HoloLens 1 has four cores while the HoloLens 2 has eight. Additionally, the new HoloLens features a larger battery, which means longer useful session life. Similarly, Microsoft has also upgraded its custom made holographic processing unit (HPU). 

The integrated HPU technology handles the spatial processing for the device, which drastically lowers the strain on the CPU. An upgrade to the HPU means you will get more powerful computing from the graphics and processing standpoint. One of the most exciting upgrades is the 52-degree field of view. The new HoloLens also features upgrades to the RAM. HoloLens 1 featured 64 GB of storage but only one gig of RAM. The HoloLens 2 specs state that it will have the same storage capacity but with 4 GB of RAM. The HoloLens 1 had built-in wifi and Bluetooth compatibility; however, the new unit has upgraded both areas, allowing for more efficient connections. So what do these upgrades mean for businesses? 

HoloLens 2 Main Improvements

In short, the HoloLens 2 technology significantly improves upon the exciting possibilities of the original HoloLens. The HoloLens project allows businesses to reach new heights. The upgraded processing power and RAM will provide an even more detailed experience, meaning users can go even further with their projects. Like the specialized hardware, several of the device’s essential fittings and arrangements have been upgraded as well.

Many of the new upgrades have improved the overall comfort and wearability of the device. Alterations like the repositioning of the battery pack have increased the balance of the headset. The device has also been trimmed down and modified, so the weight is reduced. These changes mean users can work while wearing their headsets comfortably for longer periods. But these revisions only scratch the surface.

 Two of the most dramatic changes come with processing power and the field of view. The processing power of the HoloLens 2 is vastly superior to the original unit. With RAM alone, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 has quadrupled its ability to handle complex programs. And the processing unit itself has experienced a massive change. A switch from an x86 Intel CPU to an ARM system on a chip means almost no need for discrete CPUs. The field of view upgrade is a significant game-changer from the Microsoft HoloLens 1. With nearly double the range, the field of view now has more than enough room to interact with your holograms easily. Other changes similarly help the user feel more naturally in control of the HoloLens.


Another HoloLens change comes in the battery; in addition to having an average of 3-hour charges, the battery has been moved to the headset’s back to help the unit feel more balanced. The device also features additional internal infrared cameras that assist with eye-tracking. Eye-tracking and hand tracking improvements have allowed for new gestures as well. Features such as gaze will enable you to select things by merely looking at them. The new gestures are all designed to feel as intuitive and natural as possible.

New HoloLens 2 Capabilities

The original HoloLens 1 specs allowed for a range of fields to utilize holograms for design and training but only for short windows of time and many constraints. The processing power and FOV upgrades to the HoloLens 2 specs allow for easy, intuitive manipulation of holograms, which lowers entry barriers.

 Working remotely – allows coworkers to meet in virtual space-saving on travel costs and time.

Training simulations – provide trainees with hands-on experience and consolidation of expensive equipment.

Mapping and design – create virtual representations of spaces to help plan changes on location in real-time.

Sales – help provide a visual aide to generate interest in products or designs.

Healthcare – allows doctors and surgeons to analyze a patient in 3D space and create tailored medical solutions.

Heads up display – allows for information to be viewed in real-time, creating more immersive customer experiences.

Efficient R&D – enables research and modeling to be done without purchasing costly resources.

Risk reduction – virtual testing of risky endeavors to create more encompassing safety protocol

Construction – Provide on-site blueprints and models to assist the building.

Pharmaceuticals – create manipulable 3D visualizations of protein chains and molecular structures.

Manufacturing – train workers without costly machinery and save space.

Displays – create interactive presentations for customers to utilize.

Security and defense – utilize live HUD displays to inform operators in the field.

Air traffic control – See live air traffic plans and adjust paths in real-time.

Connectivity zones – see Maps of wifi and other data dead zones in your office or workspace.

Therapy – gives patients and doctors the ability to connect and work through exercises efficiently.

Computer-aided design (CAD) – Bring CAD models into relevant spaces for testing. And adjust systems on-site.

Below are three specific case studies of the HoloLens 2 and how it applies to astronomy, computer science, and robotics: 

  1. One of the first projects for the HoloLens was Galaxy Explorer. This unique open source application allows students to explore the galaxy through the HoloLens headset..
  2. The HoloLens 2 will allow you to increase your field of view. This enhanced feature in the Research Mode is a terrific tool for Computer Vision Research.
  3. The advent of industrial robotics has introduced the need for advanced safety precautions in the work environment.  See how the HoloLens 2 can make that feasible.

Pricing: HoloLens 2 vs. HoloLens 1

The price point of a HoloLens has always been relatively high because it is a tool for businesses. The Microsoft HoloLens 1 price was $3000 dollars for a Dev kit and $5000 for a Commercial suite on its release. Although similarly priced, the sales model is different for the second generation. The Microsoft HoloLens 2 price is $3500 for the headset, plus you can pay $99 or $125 monthly for a developer or enterprise kit, respectively. Although this price is considerably higher than the original HoloLens, the HoloLens 2 has more ease of use features and upgraded technology. But is the price so high that you should wait for the HoloLens 3?

When is HoloLens 3 Coming Out?

So you’re trying to decide if you should skip a generation and wait for the HoloLens 3? Our short answer is, don’t do that. Unfortunately, we don’t have a concrete release date for the next version of Microsoft’s Mixed Reality headset, and rumors say we would be lucky to see the third model within five years. Fortunately, there’s not much of a reason for waiting to upgrade.

The main reason to upgrade now is the Microsoft HoloLens project is miles ahead of any of its competitors. The HoloLens 2 represents what is currently the furthest a company has pushed augmented reality, and it will likely be at the top of the field for a while. Because other companies will struggle to compete, it will be a long time before a viable alternative appears. Similarly, this company has its eye on the future of the HoloLens project. In interviews, Alex Kipman (the HoloLens creator) has stated the HoloLens 3 could feature a limitless field of view. Investing in a HoloLens 2 could help keep your company up to date on the HoloLens platform’s future.

Not Convinced Yet… Try Before You Buy

The HoloLens 2 is the newest entry from Microsoft into the AR/MR space. And with a near fully upgraded system from the former top of the line HoloLens1, the new system is primed to be the best. But with a price point of $3500, investing outright into an MR headset like this can feel like a costly decision. And since the product is new, you have to weigh the pros and cons of the Microsoft HoloLens2 vs. HoloLens 1. But Hartford has a best of both worlds solution! 

We can easily let you try out the HoloLens 2 as a rental before you purchase the product. Testing out a product before you buy it can help save you lots of money and ensure that you can use the headset in the ways that make the most sense for your company. Typically testing out an expensive product like this would require access to high-end trade shows or a personal connection at another company. Still, we at Hartford want everyone to try out the HoloLens 2. To make that happen we have become a fully authorized Microsoft Rental Partner for the HoloLens 2. 

All you have to do to rent a HoloLens from us is call or email, and we can give you a quote. Hartford representatives are available by phone at 888-520-5667 or online at https://hartfordrents.com/product/hololens-2-rental/. Contact us to speak to one of our dedicated HoloLens specialists today!