Remember back in January when Microsoft first announced HoloLens? We saw the demo on the live stream and it was amazing. Journalists got to try it and they said it was amazing.
Then came Build. Now, HoloLens was a lot smaller and it wasn’t tethered to a machine. Journalists that got to try it didn’t think it was so amazing anymore. The field of view was compared to looking through a mail slot.
Since then, I have been very skeptical about HoloLens. It just didn’t excite me anymore after hearing these reviews.
Then came last night. Upon entering the Microsoft event, I was handed a scratch off ticket. I was told that if I won, I could demo HoloLens. You guessed it. I won.
I decided I wanted to walk around the event a bit before I tried it and went to the HoloLens concierge about an hour later. To my disappointment, that was only to make an appointment. My appointment was at 10:15 PM.
Upon entering the HoloLens demo area, we were all prompted to put anything that has the ability to take a picture in lockers. It was a bit curious, since there were HoloLenses on display outside that we could take pictures of, and I certainly couldn’t take pictures of the holograms.
We were then taken into a room where we watched a video that showed how to put on the HoloLens. After that, we (all of the others with 10:15 appointments) were all taken into separate rooms where we were paired with a staff member that would assist us with the demo.
I was told that I would be playing Project X-Ray. She explained the game to me but I had seen it on the event during the day.
I would be using an Xbox One controller, unlike the guy that demoed it. The interesting fact is that I wasn’t pointing the Xbox controller at the robots. There were crosshairs in my field of view and I had to look at them and pull the trigger on the controller.
After the HoloLens was fastened to my head and the demo had started, I had to look around the room. This is so the HoloLens can determine the dimensions of the room. After all, as they said in the event, the game is personalized to the room you’re in.
The field of view was much better than I had anticipated. Clearly, it didn’t feel like I was immersed in a complete holographic environment, but it was much, much better than I was led to believe. Perhaps it was because I had heard negative things about it for so long that my expectations were so low.
The HoloLens didn’t feel to heavy, although it didn’t feel like something you would want to violently shake your head with. After the demo, my head hurt a little bit. I asked my buddy Adam from PocketNow if he had the same effect and he said no, so I assumed that my HoloLens wasn’t fastened perfectly.
So here’s the thing you want to know. It looked real. It looked like robots were coming through the wall. When a robot shot at me, I had to jump out of the way.
I thought it would be awkward. After all, I’m playing a game where I have to be running around with a total stranger in the room. I thought that maybe I would end up sort of slowly moving.
That wasn’t the case. I was immersed in the game. I wasn’t thinking about anything else around me. I was having fun. I was having a lot of fun.
You hear stories about people who tried the first iPhone. They always say that while the iPhone wasn’t quite “there yet”, it was clear that this was the future. That was the impression I got after trying HoloLens.
The HoloLens was both amazing and something I had never seen before in my life. It’s a truly innovative product.
The developer kit is going to be $3,000 and it will be available in Q1 2016. Let’s hope the consumer version comes in at $500 in Q2.