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(Pocket-lint) - Although it was previously unveiled earlier this year, HoloLens' appearance at Microsoft's Build developers conference in San Francisco revealed so much more about the headset. It also left us with the feeling that we have definitely seen something new, something that could potentially catch on big time and change the way we interact with software and games in future.

It also provided further proof that this device is not just Microsoft's version of Oculus Rift or Google Glass. It does things that neither is or was capable of and, we feel, could have a far greater impact than both.


That's obviously a bold statement and it is a dangerous game to cast aspersions at Oculus and its headset (or the Vive or Project Morpheus). But we're happy to fan the flames (or flamers), as no matter how fond of the VR device we are, HoloLens somehow excites us more. The same with Google Glass.

Admittedly, it is more of a moot point considering that even Google itself is tiring of Glass in its current form, but in AR terms it set the benchmark so is the current flag bearer for the technology.

So here are the reasons we feel that HoloLens has provoked such a reaction in us. And we haven't even had a go with one yet (that's coming very soon).

1. It is untethered

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Microsoft's HoloLens headset has all the processing power, sensors and other computing maguffins in the headset itself, which means that it doesn't require connection to a smartphone or PC to work. It also has a rechargeable battery, so doesn't need an external power lead.

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It's mobility means that it can be worn while moving through rooms with no danger of you accidentally yanking a PC or external source onto the floor.

2. It gives you a home cinema screen without needing a projector... or a screen

There were plenty of cool things shown during the on stage demos at Build, but one of the best was the video screen feature. Being able to tell a screen to follow you around the house like an obedient puppy is great, but being able to blow the screen up to any size you like and virtually fix it to the wall - like a giant projection screen - gives you a home cinema set-up at the fraction of the cost of buying dedicated AV kit.

3. It combines with physical objects

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The other part of the presentation that was intriguing was the demo with B15, a cute homemade robot that was augmented with a 3D visual representation on top. What's more, the HoloLens headset combined with B15's own AI to ensure that both elements worked within the real and virtual spaces brilliantly.

4. Universal Windows 10 apps can be adapted to work with it

One killer reason that gives us hope for a long future for HoloLens is that every Windows 10 application for smartphones, tablets and PCs can potentially, easily be adapted to work with the headset. Be that Skype, Netflix, games or more, they could run within a Window in a virtual space as easily as they can appear on a physical screen.

That's not to say that there won't be a stack of dedicated apps - the developer audience at Build suggested so - but it will give it a heads up on consumer release as there will be plenty of software already available.

5. It makes you look like a space pilot

Let's face it, Oculus Rift provides a great gaming experience, as will the HTC Vive or Sony's Project Morpheus potentially, but they all look clunky and akin to strapping a shoe box to your face.

Google Glass is also too overt to wear in our opinion. Also Google's considering a recent admission that it could undergo a redesign before a full consumer model is realised.

Microsoft HoloLens looks more like a science fiction helmet and therefore cool.

Admittedly, we were struggling to find a fifth definitive reason at this stage in the HoloLens' development, but sssshhhh, don't tell anyone.

Writing by Rik Henderson.