Canon’s Latest Mixed Reality Headset Priced at $38,000
Japanese camera and optical tech giant Canon has entered the Mixed Reality enterprise market with its MREAL S1 XR glasses that cost a whopping $38,500, a pretty high bar to entry.
Canon introduced the MREAL S1 Mixed Reality headset last fall and are set to be released this year. The headset supports both AR and VR. The wearer of the S1 headset can either hang the video module for video AR in front of their eyes or they can look through the MREAL headset with casing closed in front of their eyes for the VR effect.
The MREAL S1 Mixed Reality headset is expected to launch some time in February of this year. It is so far the smallest and the lightest headset from Canon’s MREAL series. The headset weighs just 137 and about 338 grams when it is attached to its HMD unit.
Apart from the fact that it is much smaller than the previous MREAL devices as well as other top mixed reality headsets such as the Varjo XR-3 and the Microsoft HoloLens 2, Canon claims that S1’s simple interface and its minimalist design makes it possible for users of all levels to operate the Mixed Reality device with relative ease.
The S1 XR headset has a resolution per eye of 1,600 x 1,200 pixels with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. The horizontal field of view is 45 degrees while the vertical field of view is 34 degrees. The S1 has an interpupillary distance of between 55mm and 78mm. The headset is orientated in the room using cameras that are integrated in the casing.
Another key user selling point (USP) for the MREAL S1 Mixed Reality headset is the fact that it is not tied up to a mounted display. It can therefore be used both as a handheld device as well as a head mounted device for enterprise users on the go. In spite of the XR device’s discreet size along with its portable design, the MREAL S1 XR device is still a fully tethered headset and will therefore need either a PC or workstation to work.
The S1’s design and size suggests that the headset was originally built to target the mass market but the reputable Japanese website, DC Watch, is predicting that headset could be priced from 4 million Japanese Yen or $38,500. This price is so steep that the Mixed Reality headset could only be an option to the large-scale multinational corporations.
The mixed reality technologies are still, after all, being built to target big business and enterprises unlike virtual reality and augmented reality technologies that also target the mainstream consumer market. This is confirmed by the trends and insights at Microsoft’s recent HoloLens Industry Summit.
In spite of the steep pricing, it’s exciting to see more innovations such as the MREAL S1 coming into the fold and the early release in 2021 could spell good things for the mixed reality space this year.
Canon has showcased examples of the typical application scenarios of the device for VR and AR companies as including 3D design, mechanical engineering or 3D prototyping.
The design, function and the form factor of the MREAL S1 is reminiscent of the R1, the first mixed reality headset from the French startup Lynx, but which compared to the MREAL S1, is a standalone mixed reality device that runs independently.
The Canon S1 mixed reality headset, on the other hand, must be powered by a wired computer. The tethered performance has its benefits as it extends the scope of performance of the XR headset in terms of complex 3D graphics and computationally intensive applications. Canon is recommending a Windows 10 PC with an eight-core processor, 32GB of RAM and an Nvidia RTX 5000 for the mixed reality headset.
The $38,500 price tag also covers Canon’s XR software, a workstation, maintenance costs and other services. The MREAL S1 Mixed Reality headsets will be available from the end of February.