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Varjo XR-4 MR Headset vs. Apple Vision Pro

Varjo’s Auto-Focus XR-4 MR Headset Compares to Apple Vision Pro

With a PC-tethered architecture, the Finnish startup’s innovative technology investigates the boundaries of how external cameras may mix reality.

Although Apple’s impending Vision Pro headset pushes the boundaries of AR and VR headset resolution and camera quality, competing headsets are already ahead of Apple’s. A new industrial mixed-reality headset for PCs from Finnish tech startup Varjo promises considerably better headset resolution. Varjo also claims to have a multifocal passthrough camera that blurs the barrier between mixed reality and the actual world. It is important to note that the Varjo XR-4, which will be introduced in December, is meant for industrial use exclusively.

The Varjo XR-4 may have strong visual characteristics based on the offerings of the company’s prior-generation Varjo headsets. A lot of the retina-level display quality and premium passthrough camera MR capabilities that Apple is presently striving for with Vision Pro were exhibited by prior headsets, which were astonishing. The sensor-rich Galea headset from OpenBCI also incorporates Varjo’s technology.

Varjo’s new headgear needs to be tied to a powerful PC in order for its software to run. Nonetheless, the latest Varjo XR-4 streamlines the process. The lidar-equipped headgear’s exterior cameras can now handle full-motion 6DoF monitoring sans the need for any extra Steam VR base stations, unlike prior models. The new headgear also has its own integrated controls that were co-developed by Razer.

The XR-4 has outrageous specs. With an extra 120 degrees of horizontal and 105 degrees of vertical field of vision, the field of view is greater than it was previously. The pixel resolution is about 4K per eye (3,840×3,744 pixels per eye) with 51 pixels per degree. (To put this in context, the human eye’s fovea detects 60 pixels per degree.) Varjo employs a single display panel for each eye, as opposed to the several panels used in previous headsets. The maximum brightness of the mini-LED displays is 200 nits.

Varjo’s lidar sensors, which assess depth in a way similar to Apple’s augmented reality technology, have been upgraded to an 8x resolution. This might lead to better virtual reality item or hand scanning and more accurate mixed reality overlays over real-world imagery. Additionally upgraded are the cameras, which now feature two 20-megapixel photo sensors.

An entirely new concept is included in the more costly Focal Edition: autofocus, which is managed by the eye tracking sensors integrated into the headset, allows users to concentrate on items in the real world and superimpose virtual objects on top of them in a manner that may be even more similar to regular focus-based vision. Although this isn’t varifocal VR, as some organisations, like Meta, have been studying, it may result in a mixed reality experience that is close to varifocal.

In instances like producing automobiles with Volvo, one of Varjo’s clients, or constructing flight simulators with the US Department of Defense, Varjo’s software and components are applied for training and creation. The expense of this durable, professional gear is equally high: $3,990 for the basic XR-4 and $9,990 for the auto-focus Focal Edition, not to mention the PC necessary to run it. In comparison, it makes the Apple Vision Pro look more fairly priced. However, Varjo’s technology looks to be positioned against a new generation of highly costly mixed-reality headgear that may set the benchmark for what is feasible with future, more accessible consumer gadgets.

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