How Much Does Microsoft HoloLens Cost?

Last Updated on January 25, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Microsoft Hololens stands at the forefront of augmented reality technology, with its ability to overlay holograms onto the real world. But this innovative device also comes at a hefty price point.

This article will provide an in-depth look at Microsoft Hololens pricing and costs, including different versions, packages, and expenses related to development and enterprise integration.

With Hololens positioned as a premium enterprise solution, understanding the various cost factors provides key insights for technology investment and adoption.

How Much Does Microsoft HoloLens Cost?

The consumer version of the original Hololens launched in 2016 for $3000. This included the head-mounted display unit and clicker for gesture input.

Even for early adopters and tech enthusiasts, this price was seen as quite high, especially for a first-generation device with limited capabilities compared to today.

In 2019, Microsoft released the second-generation Hololens 2 at a base price of $3500. This upgraded unit features advanced displays, eye-tracking, upgraded sensors, and a more comfortable fit. Optional packages include:

  • Hololens 2 Industrial Edition – $4,500 with increased protection and durability
  • Dynamics 365 Remote Assist bundle – $4,500 with remote collaboration software
  • Dynamics 365 Layout bundle – $5,250 with spatial mapping tools

For enterprise customers, Microsoft also offers volume pricing discounts for large orders of 100+ units.

The very first HoloLens Development Edition released in 2016 was initially priced at $3,000. Microsoft later dropped the price to $1500 to spur developer interest, before discontinuing this early version.

Clearly, Microsoft positions Hololens as an expensive high-end device, given the cutting-edge nature of the underlying holographic technology. But for businesses investing in augmented reality solutions, the potential productivity and efficiency gains may offset the steep upfront costs.

What Exactly is Microsoft Hololens?

Before diving deeper into the pricing, it helps to understand exactly what Hololens is and what it does.

Hololens utilizes advanced holographic processing to blend 3D digital objects into the real environment. Using transparent lenses and an array of environmental sensors, it maps the physical room and enables interactions between holograms and real-world surfaces and objects.

Users can manipulate holograms using hand gestures and voice commands. The ability to overlay rich data and visualizations has applications across design, training, collaboration, and hands-free workflows.

Key features include:

  • Sophisticated optical projection system
  • Spatial sound and mapping
  • Gesture input and eye-tracking
  • Self-contained computing power
  • Wireless connectivity

This collection of technologies allows Hololens to deliver immersive mixed reality experiences beyond virtual reality or standard AR overlays. The level of environmental integration allows seamless blending between physical and digital.

The Development Journey Behind Hololens

Microsoft unveiled their vision for Hololens back in 2015, positioning it as the first fully self-contained holographic computer.

The original Hololens 1 became available as a development kit in 2016, supporting Windows Holographic and Microsoft’s own holographic processing unit. Despite the high price of $3,000, Hololens 1 sold primarily to enterprise developers exploring the technology.

In 2019, Hololens 2 brought major hardware improvements, including upgraded displays, advanced eye-tracking, and a faster HPU. Microsoft also revamped the look and ergonomics to make it more comfortable for extended use.

You might also like our articles on the cost of Ocumetics Bionic Lens and Google Glasses.

Hololens 2 launched alongside Microsoft’s Azure Spatial Anchors platform to aid enterprise AR development. Adoption has expanded across training simulations, retail applications, healthcare, and industrial environments.

Rumors suggest Hololens 3 has been in the works since 2020, but details remain scarce. Expected improvements for future models include a larger field of view, 5G connectivity, and a slimmer/lighter form factor.

While adoption has been limited due to the premium pricing, Microsoft’s continued investment shows their belief in Hololens’ long-term potential as both a hardware and software platform.

How Hololens Compares to Other AR Headsets

Very few devices exist in the same category as Hololens in terms of capabilities and features. But for context on pricing, here is how Hololens compares to other AR headsets:

  • Magic Leap 1 – Google-backed AR headset priced at $2,295 in 2018, now discontinued
  • Nreal Light – Consumer AR glasses costing $499, less advanced than Hololens
  • DAQRI Smart Helmet – Industrial AR headset originally $4,995, no longer sold
  • Oculus Quest – VR-focused goggles starting at $399

The closest competitor to Hololens 2 is likely Magic Leap 1, which offered similar projection technology and spatial awareness. But their headset failed to gain traction and has since been discontinued.

Most budget AR devices provide simplified overlays but lack Hololens’ understanding of physical spaces and objects. And specialized industrial headsets still cost thousands without matching Hololens’ capabilities and ecosystem.

This shows Microsoft’s pricing is reasonably aligned with the technology contained within Hololens. The standalone mixed reality experience enabled by Hololens remains well ahead of consumer-focused AR and VR products.

Industries Using Hololens and Impact on ROI

Hololens pricing puts it squarely in the bracket of enterprise solutions. As such, the device has seen adoption in various industries where hands-free computing and collaboration provide high productivity value:

  • Manufacturing – Complex assembly and training procedures. Allows interactive visual guidance.
  • Healthcare – Aid physicians through overlays during surgery or patient treatment. Improves precision.
  • Architecture & Construction – Visualize building plans mapped onto real sites. Enables rapid iteration.
  • Retail – Provide shoppers with digital product experiences layered onto physical stores. Increases engagement.
  • Field Service – Enable remote expert connectivity for repairs. Reduces service delays.

For these scenarios, Hololens has the potential to increase worker productivity, improve training, and reduce errors. While the upfront cost is still very high, enterprises have started measuring substantial return on investment from Hololens adoption. More data is still needed to quantify the long-term financial impact, but productivity gains in the range of 15-35% have been reported by early customers.

This indicates the pricing is justified for businesses able to capitalize on the technology’s benefits. But the price point still limits the addressable market for Hololens to larger enterprises.

The Software and Development Cost Factor

Building applications for Hololens requires investment in custom software development and integration with existing IT infrastructure. This adds to the total cost of ownership:

  • Custom business apps – $200K+ for complex enterprise projects
  • IT integration – Tens of thousands for connecting with current systems
  • Maintenance – Ongoing costs for supporting and updating apps

Microsoft offers Hololens application development guidance and Azure services to ease costs. But most organizations still budget over $100K for even pilot projects.

Development costs put Hololens out of reach for many smaller companies. For enterprises, this software investment pays off long-term via productivity and efficiency gains. But it is a barrier to mass adoption.

As Hololens matures and development tools improve, these software costs should come down over time. But the need for customization will always require significant investment using this technology.

Enterprise Solutions and Volume Pricing

Microsoft HoloLens LookThe pricing structure of Hololens focuses on enterprise purchases:

  • Volume discounts – Bring per unit cost down for large orders
  • Bundling – Package with Dynamics 365 apps for better value
  • Customization – Tailor hardware and software for industry needs

For example, an industrial customer ordering 500 Hololens units could see the per unit price drop to around $2000 after volume discounts. This makes adoption more feasible for large-scale deployments.

Microsoft also allows enterprise customers to create tailored software packages combining Hololens capabilities with industry-specific apps and services. This flexibility helps the solution address unique business requirements.

Overall, enterprises are the only segment that can realistically afford Hololens and benefit from its capabilities. But competitive pricing for volume purchases does help make the technology more accessible for suitable organizations.

User Feedback on Hololens Value for Money

Despite the high price, Hololens maintains positive reviews among enterprise users focused on productivity:

  • “Expensive but paid for itself through faster training.” – Manufacturing
  • “Saved us tens of thousands by avoiding site visits and rework.” – Architecture
  • “Reduced equipment downtime and transportation costs.” – Field Service
  • “Operating room efficiency is noticeably improved.” – Healthcare

Users praise the precise spatial mapping, gesture controls, and visual overlays that enhance workflows. While the price is still seen as very high, most report a positive return on investment long-term.

However, beyond enterprise applications, reviews are more mixed:

  • “This isn’t ready for primetime as a consumer device.” – Hobbyist
  • “Fun to play with the demos but not practical yet.” – Early adopter

For consumers and prosumers, Hololens is viewed as an impressive technological showcase that lacks compelling everyday use cases and is overpriced. Most of the available apps focus on enterprise applications rather than entertainment.

The consensus is that Hololens pricing doesn’t align with the value delivered to non-business users. But Microsoft doesn’t currently target or market Hololens to individual consumers. Their focus remains on enterprise productivity.

The Future of Hololens Pricing

As Hololens technology matures, Microsoft is expected to pursue improvements and cost reductions in areas like:

  • Wider field of view
  • Lighter weight design
  • 5G connectivity
  • Lower hardware component costs
  • Expanded developer ecosystem

With enough progress, some analysts predict Hololens 3 could hit pricing around $1500 for a base model. This could expand the addressable market beyond high-end enterprises.

However, Microsoft faces competition from alternative AR headsets entering the market. To stay competitive on both capability and cost, Microsoft needs to iterate quickly and capitalize on its headstart in the space.

Enterprise pricing is also likely to drop over time as usage scales. But the need for custom software will keep the total solution cost relatively high. Wider AR adoption will depend partly on Microsoft’s ability to reduce pricing barriers.

Conclusion: Hololens Remains an Enterprise Investment

In the realm of futuristic tech like augmented reality, sticker shock is expected. And Hololens delivers a suite of advanced hardware and software with immense potential to enhance workflows.

For enterprises, Hololens can drive real productivity and efficiency gains that over time justify the substantial $3000-$5000 investment. Volume discounts also improve accessibility for large organizations.

But for consumers and smaller companies, Hololens remains prohibitively expensive. The standalone AR/MR experience carries a premium price tag only serious enterprises can realistically afford. As the technology matures, costs are likely to drop to expand the target market. But in the near-term, the leading-edge capabilities come at a leading-edge price accessible only to those who benefit most – deep-pocketed enterprises.

Is HoloLens still available?

Yes, the current HoloLens 2 model launched in 2019 is still available for purchase by enterprise customers directly through Microsoft. It represents the latest generation of their AR headset technology, offering enhanced capabilities over the original HoloLens.

Microsoft continues to develop the product and platform, though details on a potential HoloLens 3 successor are limited. The HoloLens remains focused primarily on enterprise and business applications.

Why did HoloLens fail?

HoloLens has not necessarily failed, but it has faced some challenges in achieving mainstream consumer adoption. Reasons include its high price point, limited field of view, and lack of compelling consumer use cases so far.

But for enterprise applications, HoloLens is still seen as one of the most advanced and mature AR headsets available thanks to its mapping, visuals, and integration capabilities.

Microsoft is still investing in HoloLens, though its niche focus on enterprises means it has not broken through as a grand consumer product yet. But in industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and architecture, HoloLens is actively used.

Is HoloLens 3 cancelled?

No, Microsoft has not announced any plans to cancel HoloLens 3 or future Hololens development. While not officially confirmed yet, they are widely expected to be working on a next-generation HoloLens 3 model.

Speculation suggests it could feature a better field of view, lighter design, 5G connectivity, and other hardware improvements. But development and release timelines remain unclear.

Microsoft appears committed to keep innovating in the AR space with HoloLens as their flagship product, so a true cancellation looks unlikely even if release dates get pushed back.

They may face greater competition from alternative AR headsets in the coming years, but HoloLens 3 development is still reportedly ongoing as the next generation.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *