The knee-jerk reactions to Magic Leap's long-awaited augmented reality device, the Magic Leap One: Creator Edition, range from pent-up joy to side-eyed skepticism. That's what happens when you launch the hype train several years before even delivering even a tiny peek at the product.
But all that is in the virtual rearview mirror now, as today we finally got our first real look at the product, and the reactions are, let's say, mixed.
Former Apple engineer Bob Burrough delivered perhaps the best hot take on the device, noting that the company's website shows off mostly mainstream-friendly use cases (website browsing, shopping, etc.), but Magic Leap's near-term focus is on developers, or as Magic Leap calls them, "creators." Add to that the fact that Magic CEO Rony Abovitz still won't reveal basic things like how long its battery will last or how much the device will cost and you have a public reception that is steeped in guarded interest and a good deal of wariness.
But most of all, since so few people have had a chance to use the system and there's been constant suspicion about whether the company's video demonstrations represent the reality of the experience, most of the weighing in is focused on how the hardware looks.
The verdict? Well, it ain't pretty. Remember, the most prominent knock against Google Glass was how odd it made you look. So far, the same concern already seems to be tainting Magic Leap One's launch story.
The most frequently referenced image comes from the world of science fiction, namely, the high-tech, light-blocking goggles worn by Riddick (Vin Diesel). If you haven't seen the movies, no, this is not a cool look that people are dying to adopt.
And while Riddick appears to be the favorite go-to jab at Magic Leap, there other creative takes that include comparing the device to World of Warcraft gnome goggles to the ruby-laced visor worn by Marvel's X-Men character Cyclops.
Of course, because it's Star Wars season, the device also drew comparisons to the goggles worn by the tiny figure known as Maz Kanata (a beloved character, but hardly "cool"), and even Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka.
Overall, the reactions to the device are fairly chilly, with most harping on the already established notion that to become a mainstream hit AR smartglasses have to "look good." It's fickle, yes, but it's a reality of the marketplace.
So even if Magic Leap's technology has managed to do things that the HoloLens can't, the biggest hurdle it faces is a familiar one: Would you be seen in public with these things on your face? Right now, the answer appears to be a resounding NO.