The overwhelming majority of discussions involving augmented reality these days centers on Microsoft's HoloLens and to a lesser extent, Magic Leap (the latter of which has yet to reveal its hardware). But there's a third competitor – a privately owned company by the name of Meta – whose second-generation augmented reality offering is generating a lot of attention.

Is it possible that the Meta 2 augmented reality headset already has its Redmond-based competition beat?

For starters, the Meta 2 features a field of view of 90 degrees (diagonal) projected on its 2,560 x 1,440 display (20 pixels per degree). In comparison, HoloLens has been criticized for its narrow field of view which has been compared to standing two feet away from a 15-inch display (in other words, pretty narrow).

During a recent hands-on, Engadget found that augmented items stayed in place as they were viewed from different angles. What's more, they were able to walk around a large globe and as they got closer, more detail emerged. Gesture-based controls were reportedly a bit finicky and sound like they need work before a final, non-prototype version ships.

The publication was also given a demo of virtual displays, something that I myself have been interested to try in the world of VR / AR. I currently use three desktop monitors which has boosted productivity over a single screen greatly. How much more work could I get done if I had even more virtual screens at my disposal? I'm not sure but it's a question I'd like to answer one day.

The Meta 2 augmented reality development kit is available to pre-order as of writing for $949 and is forecasted to ship sometime in the third quarter of this year.