Tap to activate


04 Jan 2023

XR Headset: 10 Devices Most in Demand in 2023

Table of Contents

Previous years have brought us plenty of XR (Extended Reality) highlights, and significant announcements of enterprise, hardware, and technology level. In 2023, there is no longer doubt that XR will be one of the defining pillars of the 4th industrial revolution, bringing the next generation of communication, interaction, presence, and being to enterprise and mass consumers. However, to understand why XR will play a significant role in global technological development, let's first talk about the technology itself.

What is Extended Reality (XR)?

XR is the general term used to describe technology of human-machine interaction facilitated through immersive hardware, software, digitalized cross physical and virtual world interactions. It is often referred to as an umbrella term that unites the three immersive technologies Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). Where Augmented Reality is used to enhance real world objects in real time with digital capabilities, Virtual Reality is an artificially created interactive virtual simulation that can be developed to recreate real world objects, processes, interactions and environments. Last but not least is the Mixed Reality that makes it possible to interact and control the digital overlays of real-world objects and environments in real-time. All three technologies are possible through headworn and faceworn AR, VR and MR hardware devices that include both glasses and headsets.

What are Extended Reality (XR) devices and headsets?

As the term includes all three immersive technologies, the devices really vary in parameters including visual fidelity, field of view (FoV), refresh rates, eye-tracking capabilities, battery life, formfactor and much more. XR hardware are head-worn, stand alone or tethered immersive devices and headsets that allow users to experience digital capabilities, cross physical and digital capabilities, virtual environments and settings of AR, VR and MR in real-life. We’ve seen quite a few remarkable headsets released in the past few years like the combined announcement of HTC Vive Pro 2 & HTC Vive Focus 3 VR headsets and AR headset like Rokid Air crowdfunded AR glasses, back in 2021. Or the major technology leap that was associated with Varjo XR-3 the next generation XR headset of 2020. Even though Hololens 2 has been with us since 2019, while we were patiently anticipating the next generation of this device, let's not forget how this MR headset caused an uproar in 2021 with winning a modified headset production $21.9 billion contract to deliver to the US army. Each noteworthy in their immersive technology class.

HTC VIVE Pro 2 & HTC Vive Focus 3

We looked at both of these headsets back when they were still just announced. HTC Vive Pro 2 and HTC VIVE Focus 3 released on June 3rd and June 27th respectively are two high-fidelity VR headsets. While there are quite a few similarities, both devices differ quite a bit. With VIVE Pro 2 being a PC-powered headset while VIVE Focus 3 is a standalone VR device. Having the same 2448x2448 per-eye resolution, 113° diagonal Field of View (FoV), 24.93 horizontal pixel per degree (PPD), Vive Pro 2 has a higher, 120Hz vs 90Hz, refresh rate, however VIVE Focus 3 comes with 117.22° horizontal FoV, hand tracking, no need of base stations for tracking, prolonged, 15hrs vs 6hrs battery life and a much more modern formfactor. What’s important to note is the insignificance of the price difference between the two headsets, with VIVE Pro 2 along with controllers and base stations costing $1399 USD, and VIVE Focus 3 with controllers just $1300 USD.

Varjo XR-3

Announced in December 2020, Varjo XR-3 is PC-powered photorealistic level visual fidelity headset with 2880x2720 per-eye resolution, 115° horizontal field of view, Full Frame Bionic Display with human-eye resolution, 70 PPD, LiDAR powered depth awareness, 90Hz refresh rate and, importantly, eye and hand tracking. Varjo XR-3 is an enterprise grade XR headset, priced at $5495, that allows to create XR experiences with the next level of immersion in many ways thanks to its exceptional visual fidelity and built in eye- and hand- tracking capabilities that are especially important for Healthcare, Aerospace and Defense. Varjo XR-3 high visual fidelity allows the creation of digital twins and hyper-realistic experiences, building them using eye- and hand- tracking capabilities to control and interact with the environment as well as gather and analyze user behavior. 

Rokid Air

Released in December 2021, has gained much interest due to the Rokid crowdfunding campaigns that generated over $1,9 million USD from backers. Rokid Air are Phone-powered lightweight AR glasses with 1920x1080 per-eye resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, 43° FoV and 1800nits display brightness, compatible with many iOS and Android mobile phones, computers and tablets along with Switch, Xbox and both PS4 & PS5. Priced at $499 USD Rokid Air is communicated to be aimed at both consumers and business users, allowing access to entertainment, study and business applications. Communicated to be suitable for prolonged wear, the AR glasses are powered by the tethering device and allows to stay hands-free due to their voice-control capabilities. 

Microsoft HoloLens 2

HoloLens 2 is one of the go-to devices that has been on the XR hardware market since November 2019. Coming with 1440x936 per-eye resolution, 43° horizontal FoV, 60 Hz refresh rate eye- and -hand tracking, the MR device is an enterprise grade headset priced at $3500 USD. HoloLens 2 is one of those headsets that cover a vast scope of industries and is integratable with Microsoft Dynamic 365. The device has quite a significant number of existing and potential use cases in a variety of industries like healthcare, construction, education and military, to name a few.

Why is Extended Reality (XR) important?

Today, it is still as important as ever to stay connected, removing the barriers of physical presence while being able to carry on with both work, educational and everyday life activities. With the ever-growing ambition of following through with the creation of a Metaverse - an immersive, decentralized, hardware-independent 3D virtual “sandbox” that allows users to experience the next generation of existence and interaction. Using a variety of technology from XR to haptics and EMG(electromyography) can serve as a leverage to bring this vision to the threshold at an accelerating pace. With that being said, just the XR addressable market alone is estimated to reach 125.2 billion by 2026 with accelerating development in healthcare, educational, industrial and military directions. 

Image Source: MarketsandMarkets

The XR Headsets of 2023

Now that we have identified some key points and notions, including the concept of XR, XR devices and headsets, looked at some examples and established the importance of XR technology, we can look at the XR headsets that have shaped the market in 2022, that will continue to stir interest in 2023.

The worldwide hype that was amplified by the October 2021 Meta announcement of their own Metaverse, NFTs that skyrocketed to over $10 billion USD in sales volumes along with Web3 being one of the biggest tech buzzwords of the year, continued into 2022. The year kicked off with a major announcement of the Qualcomm and Microsoft partnership to start the development of a lightweight Augmented Reality (AR) chip, NVIDIA making its Omniverse XR design and collaboration platform, which was launched as an enterprise solution, now available to creators worldwide. Let’s not forget the Apple M1 most powerful chip announcement which is rumored to power the upcoming Apple AR glasses as well as Intel’s new ArcTM Alchemist and Ponte Vecchio GPUs that will offer great computing power much needed to push the Metaverse development further. 

Even though the hype around the Metaverse has calmed down substantially, the concept has sparked great interest at the governmental level. With news of South Korea creating a metaverse development fund of nearly $30 million, estimates predict a 41% annual growth of the Metaverse industry in Japan or countries like the UK, shaping entire Department of Science, Innovation and Technology departments dedicated to advancing the Metaverse.

And, of course, the major hype of 2022 around the Meta Quest Pro, the high-end class of VR headsets, and the device that could stir up the entire XR hardware market, the Apple MR headset, anticipated for the 2023 WWDC June 5th announcement. Each device is noteworthy in its immersive technology class with common specs and unique capabilities.

It is now much more visible that the tech markets are following this hype and reshaped at a rapid pace to accommodate for the new XR trends. It is becoming even more visible amongst global players. CES, one of the world’s most influential tech events, has already moved beyond being just a consumer electronics show, where before, the majority of presentations were to launch new mobile devices and home electronics technology. CES 2022, held Jan 5-8 in Las Vegas, has set the stage for a number of remarkable XR products, starting from next generation head worn devices to advancements in haptics, movement tracking and XR creation software. 

XR is, without a doubt, one of the technologies that will help achieve unprecedented connection, interaction, and presence for many companies and individuals worldwide without being limited to a single purpose for pure entertainment, interaction, work, or education. While we are waiting for more groundbreaking news to come, let's look at the XR devices of 2022 that have shaped the XR hardware market of 2023, as well as their main specifications and potential advantages.

1. Vuzix Shield

Vuzix Shield enterprise-grade AR glasses were one of the XR devices recognized at CES 2022 with multiple Innovation Awards. The revolutionary AR smart glasses are equipped with advanced optics, immersive sound, and voice control, state-of-the-art eye protection as well as allow smartphone integration. Powered by an 8-core CPU running Android 10, the glasses incorporate Waveguide optics, microLED displays, stereo speakers, and an advanced optical reader. The lightweight smart glasses are aimed at enterprise-grade use, perfect for any work environment due to the noise-canceling headphones. Aiming to connect traditional, social, and digital systems, Vuzix strives to reshape how users connect and exchange information in the Metaverse, with the new AR glasses making this interaction more seamless and user-friendly. Priced at $2,499.99, Vuzix could be a great addition to advanced enterprise XR experiences.  

2. Sony PlayStation VR2

Anticipated initially at the end of 2022 and launched on February 22, 2023,Sony PlayStation VR2 was one of the anticipated next-generation VR headsets developed to be used exclusively with the Sony PlayStation 5 (PS5). The new device delivers stunning visual quality with high visual fidelity through 4K HDR, foveated rendering, 2000x2040 per eye display resolution, smooth 90/120Hz frame rates, and a 110-degree field of view (FOV). The VR headset combines 3D Audio, headset sensory feedback feature, innovative haptic feedback, adaptive trigger Sense controllers, and most importantly, intelligent eye tracking. The next-generation virtual reality system advances the sense of presence and helps users experience the gaming world like never before. Priced starting from $549.99 Sony PlayStation VR2 makes fair competition to the consumer aimed at Oculus Quest 2 and continues to democratize the immersive headset market.

3. Magic Leap 2

Available first as part of the Early Access Program to companies like Cisco, SentiAR, NeuroSync, Heru, Taqtile, PTC, and Brainlab, Magic Leap 2 was launched on September 30, 2022. Magic Leap 2 is a compact, lightweight (260 grams) immersive AR device suitable for prolonged wear with 3.5 hours of continuous use and 7 hrs sleep mode. Magic Leap 2 can potentially become one of the smallest and lightest AR industry devices, offering a 70° field of view, 120Hz refresh rate leading optics, and 16GB RAM. The device display supports over 16.8m colors, 1920 x 1080 and 2.5M pixels per eye, and 256GB storage. The company promises to continue focusing on enterprise customers and developing the AR industry for business. Magic Leap 2 prices start from $3299.

Image Source: Magic Leap

4. Meta Quest Pro

There were several speculations around the new headset promised by the ultimate tech giant Meta, former Facebook, starting from the name (Project Cambria or Oculus Quest Pro) to a vague launch date prediction of sometime in 2022. Launched October 25, 2022, Meta Quest Pro is a stand-alone full-color mixed reality headset. Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+, the device has a 120-degree field of view, 1800 x 1920 per eye, and up to 90Hz refresh rate, weighing 722g. Incorporating TruTouch haptic feedback, the device significantly increases visual fidelity, accompanied by eye-tracking capabilities, foveated rendering, and integrated face tracking, enabling it to capture and replicate real-time facial expressions. Meta Quest Pro's price starts at $999.99.

Image Source: Facebook Connect 2021

5. Panasonic and Shiftall MeganeX

MeganeX, which was expected to launch in spring 2022, according to some sources, can be released in July 2023. MeganeX is an ultra-lightweight and compact VR headset created in a joint partnership with Shiftall and Panasonic. The MeganeX headset is communicated to weigh approximately 320g, achieved by weight reduction and miniaturization. Powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR1 chipset, the VR headset will have 1.3-inch OLED microdisplays with 2,560x2,560 per eye resolution, up to 120Hz refresh rate, 6DoF (degrees of freedom) head tracking as well as be StreamVR compatible. Priced at $1699 USD, the high-resolution headset comes in two editions, MeganeX for the consumer market and MeganeX Business for enterprise use. Both devices promise a comfortable for the prolonged use form factor.

Image Source: Shiftall

6. VRgineers XTAL 3

On January 10, 2022, Vrgineers announced the launch of XTAL 3 VR and MR headset aimed at enchanting pilot training, with a wireless option expected to launch Q3 2023. Featuring one of the widest FOV for currently existing immersive devices at 180° horizontal and 90° vertical, PC-powered XTLA 3 will incorporate two 4K resolution displays with 3840x2160 per eye resolution and up to 120 Hz refresh rate enabling it to deliver the next level visual fidelity. Featuring eye-tracking and foveated rendering, the device gathers gaze information and holds both VR and MR capabilities. XTAL3 maintains the main aim of professional and military clients as it was developed in cooperation with a team of worldwide Air Force pilots, promising next-generation true-to-life experiences to the industry, priced at $9,200.00 and $11,800.00 for the XTAL 3 Virtual Reality and XTAL 3 Mixed Reality respectively.

7. Pimax Reality 12K QLED

Announced during the Pimax Frontier Live Conference, Pimax Reality 12K QLED was expected to ship at the end of 2022. According to the brand communication, the demo is planned to be ready in Q3 2023, and the device to attend the CES 2024 is going on a roadshow in Q4. The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 powered two-in-one, both stand-alone (8K / 5K resolution) and PC-powered (12K resolution) VR headset is promised to have up to 200 Hz refresh rate (up to 120Hz for stand-alone mode). The display is estimated to be at an exceptional 5,760 x 3,240 per eye resolution with 240° diagonal FoV (200° diagonal for stand-alone mode), as well as incorporating eye-, head-, mouth- and body-tracking along with head/hand/controller-tracking. The new VR headset is built to achieve a consistent, convincing reality with naturalness, self-awareness, and freedom at the core of the product and development efforts. Pimax Reality 12K QLED has announced its ambition to become one of the essential products to enter the Metaverse. Priced somewhere within the $3000 mark, Pimax Reality is one of the noteworthy VR headsets that could deliver unprecedented visual fidelity at a reasonably matching price.

8. ThirdEye Razor MR

Announced in January 2022 and released on December 31, 2022, the ThirdEye Razor lightweight consumer-aimed MR glasses are communicated as an all-day wear device suitable for prolonged, up to 8-hour in-Metaverse use. The apps for the MR glasses are communicated to vary and go further than just gaming and entertainment, covering such directions as telehealth and remote assistants. Weighing only 85 grams, the MR glasses have 1920x1080 per-eye resolution, 43° diagonal FoV, and 70 Hz refresh rate. Compatible with most iOS and Android devices, the ThirdEye Razor MR glasses include voice control, spatial audio capabilities, and noise-canceling microphones. Originally estimated to ship at the end of 2022, the Razor MR glasses are communicated for pre-order availability with no exact price communicated to the general public. Nevertheless, this device could potentially compete for an ever-growing immersive smart glasses market share.

Image Source: ThirdEye

9. Kura Gallium AR smart glasses

Announced during CES 2022, Kura Technologies Kura Gallium AR consumer smart glasses have already received the CES Innovation Award for creating the top-performing AR device. Built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR platform, the 150° FoV AR glasses are communicated to be the first AR device that can achieve a full frame field of view. The 95% display transparency is communicated to allow for a seamless image blend into the surrounding environment. It is promised to deliver 8K per eye resolution while compact and lightweight (80 grams), featuring a full-color Micro-LED display and 6-DoF head tracking. The Kura Gallium AR glasses could offer up to 6-hour battery life and are aimed significantly at the Metaverse content while suitable for telepresence, training, entertainment, logistics, medical and service apps. Priced at $1199 USD, the developer's kits of pre-production devices were promised to be delivered to big corporations and government agencies back in 2021, setting the stage for the Kura Gallium 2022 shipment, however with all the hopes up, it is still not very clear whether the company will manage to launch their AR glasses, some sources even indicated that the too good to be true AR smart glasses could actually be a scam

10. Valve Deckard

Since the May 2019 release date of Valve Index, the PC-powered VR headset has yet to go beyond the rumors of a potential new stand-alone device codenamed Deckard. That was until June 16, 2022, when a patent application filed by Valve back in December 2021 was published. The application itself doesn't prove that the illustrated concept is of Deckard; however, it does make us wonder, if the headset comes out, what specs and capabilities could feature. At this point, no information is available on this headset beyond what is in the patent application. Today we can only guess and make assumptions. The good part is that we have Valve Index as a benchmark. Valve Index is a PC-powered VR headset with 1440x1600 per-eye resolution, 144 Hz refresh rate, 108 horizontal° FoV, and 6 DoF Marker-based tracking priced at $499. Realistically speaking, the new Valve VR headset would need to significantly improve per-eye resolution and incorporate at least hand-, face- and body-tracking, not even mentioning eye-tracking. At the same time, we understand that the refresh rate on a stand-alone VR device could ultimately have to go down compared to Valve Index's current 144Hz. While Valve product designer Greg Coome vaguely spoke about their ambition to launch the new headset, we are only left to wait and observe, hoping we could have another curious competitor in the 2023 XR headset market.  

Image Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Even though we have quite a few exciting new headsets and glasses, there are even more tech enterprises that are expected to join the near future XR race, with either already working devices or promising prototypes. Like TLC’s LEINIAO AR that we can hope to see as a working prototype at the February Mobile World Congress. Let's also not forget the tech giants like Apple with their long promised VR headset and Microsoft with HoloLens 3 that continue to stir countless rumors around their XR device specs, launch dates and prices, while pushing the promised release dates for 2023. 

In Conclusion

Even though we have quite a few exciting XR headsets and glasses already on the market, even more tech enterprises are expected to join the near future XR race, with either already working devices or promising prototypes, like TLC's LEINIAO AR that successfully debuted at the 2023 Las Vegas CES 2022. Let's also keep in mind the tech giants like Apple with their long-anticipated MR headset set to announce during the June 5th WWDC23, Meta with Oculus 3 Fall 2023 launch, and Microsoft with HoloLens 3. Every device continues stirring countless rumors around its XR device specs, launch dates, and prices while pushing the promised release dates for 2023.

Authors: Alex Dzyuba, Lucid Reality Labs Founder & CEO | Anna Rohi, Lucid Reality Labs Senior Marketing & Communications Manager


What's the best headset to use for 2023?

It would be reasonably inaccurate to recommend one particular headset, primarily since each of the described XR headsets has its advantages and purposes. The best XR headset to use would be the one that serves the project purpose or individual need, making the educated choice based on factors like visual fidelity, weight, battery life, and, most definitely, the required level of interactivity and immersion.

Where do you start if you're looking to use mixed reality to enhance productivity and collaboration?

Depending on your knowledge and familiarity with MR technology, you can start your research by checking examples of technological capabilities and previously developed projects. This could give you a better visual idea of MR capabilities and help shape your vision of the productivity and collaboration functions you wish to be enhanced by immersive technology.

Are there other AR glasses and headsets to consider? 

Every year the AR hardware market sees more new devices launched, 2023 will be no exception. Our article covered some fine examples of XR technology, which made headlines and buzz in the immersive technology industry. However, quite a few more were launched in 2022, like Vuzix Blade 2, INMO Air, Nreal Air, MAD Gaze Wave, Dream Glass Lead Pro, and Cosmo Vision will be launched in 2023.

Article Last Edited 23 May 2023.

Contact us