A Detailed Guide into Realities: AR vs. MR vs. VR vs. XR and Top Applications

August 21, 2023 13 min read
vr vs ar vs mr vs xr and top applications

The advent of technology with digital disruption has blurred the lines between real and virtual. What was once a defining Sci-Fi movie or book moment has slowly paved its way into reality. The world of realities has transformed how we consume apps, play games, or work in offices. It has even transformed the way we complete purchases and access healthcare.

The global AR, VR, XR, and MR market is estimated to reach $252.16 by 2028 (Statista). When Metaverse becomes the next big thing, the realities seem to be pitted against each other to find the strongest one. Businesses are keen on knowing which path to choose for their next product to enhance customer experience.

AR or VR, MR or XR- The debate is never-ending. It is almost akin to choosing between Voldemort and Thanos. Each one is known for its powers and strength.

In this guide, we will look at each of these realities individually. We will also provide an at-a-glance comparison to acknowledge the strengths and use cases for each of them. This article aims to help you choose the reality that can help boost conversions for your business.

Virtual Reality

We will take you through this reality's definition, use cases, and benefits for your business.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality is a computer-simulated environment in which the user is present within the virtual environment. The user needs to use gadgets such as Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, and others to create the simulated environment.

The technology uses head and body tracking to take the user from the real world into the immersive virtual world.

There are several places where VR is used to help users better understand the world. For instance, you can use VR to get an oceanic experience and learn more about underwater elements.

In some cases, along with vision, the computer-generated program also simulates the touch taking the immersive environment to the next level.

Types of VR

You are almost part of this virtual reality, which is segmented into three categories

Non-immersive: In this case, while the user is in the simulated environment, they are aware of their reality. They aren’t completely submerged in the virtual environment. For example, if you are playing a video game using the VR tool and control units, you will be part of the non-immersive reality

Semi-immersive: In this, the user is located in a partially virtual environment. While the user believes they are part of the virtual world, they aren’t fully disconnected from the real world. For example, when you are learning a new theory or are part of a classroom, you are in a sub-immersive VR environment.

Fully immersive: This is when the lines between real and virtual are completely blurred. The user has no control over the real world and is fully part of the virtual world. It offers a complete 3D image of the world and provides exciting experiences. When we talk about oceanic experiences, we are talking about a fully immersive environment.

Benefits of VR

There are several benefits of incorporating VR into your business solutions. It can enhance experiences, engage people and convert them into loyal customers.

Almost Real Experience: Whether you are shopping or playing, you are in the environment. This can take the business to the next level. The user will feel like they are with the store owner, bank manager, or company representative in person. This will help them learn more about the product, gain first-hand information and improve decision-making.

Simulated Environment: This will improve the learning abilities of the user. For example, instead of learning how to drive a car directly on the road, you can learn it in a simulated environment. It is similar to the actual road but not the road.

Competitive Edge: When you incorporate VR into your business, you offer an edge. When you move online, there is a limitation to our engagement. however, with VR, you can overcome this and be present for your users.

Cost-efficient: Imagine prototyping a product in the real world and then building it. You will know the exact flaws and issues immediately. As a result, it will save you time and money otherwise spent on rectifying the developed product.

Top Applications of Virtual Reality

As a VR app development company, you can use reality in numerous ways in healthcare, retail, and other industries. Let’s look at some of the top use cases of this technology.

  • In the healthcare industry, with the help of cognitive behavioral therapies, it is used to aid in pain relief.
  • It is also used for the effective diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases.
  • The technology allows users to try the product (akin to their trial or demo in the store) before they complete the purchase.
  • Get a glimpse of the real estate property or hotel as if you were walking the roads with VR headsets.

Augmented Reality

We will take you through this reality's definition, use cases, and benefits for your business.

What is Augmented Reality?

This is a world where the real and virtual environments are combined to give you a computer-generated environment. It is where the digital objects are laid in the real environment.

In this reality, the different visual, auditory, and sensory elements are delivered to the end users via digital technology. The users can connect with the elements in real-time, and it helps enhance the 3D abilities of the objects.

The digital blocks are blended into the perceived real environment to enable better information flow, data access, and insight building.

Types of AR

There are four types of Augmented Reality accessible to the users

Location-based AR: The location and sensors within the smart device are used to blend the 3D digital objects into the real world at the location where the user is present.

Projection-based AR: This is used for a specific region where you can lay the digital elements in the real world. You will need to place the user around the area where a projector and tracking camera are placed to blend the environments.

Overlay AR: The original image is replaced with an updated and informative 3D virtual image that can help offer the requisite information to the user.

Contour AR: It is used for specific situations where an outline of the system guides the user and helps them overcome problems.

Benefits of AR

Why should you hire an Augmented Reality app development company for the next digital solution? Here are a few benefits that mark AR usable for the next product.

Improves Customer Experiences: You can create unique and immersive experiences without needing external hardware. For example, by pointing at an object in the museum, the user can get complete information, which improves their viewing experience.

Offers Better Support: You won't need to go through the manuals or documents to gain information. The AR support can help you get information at the touch of your finger, and improve your comprehension ability. It reduces cognitive overload.

Better Engagement: When you incorporate AR into your business product, people will engage more and stay longer. They will be in the museum for a long while if you can implement AR in the museum app.

Top Applications of Augmented Reality

  • Ikea uses AR to allow users to check how particular furniture or design would look at their house. You can use it to check the products before you purchase by overlaying them in the real world.
  • Building games and characters that become an integral part of the real world for better engagement. Pokemon Go is an excellent example of the same.
  • You can get location-based discounts and deals with AR, which can improve conversions.

Mixed Reality

We will take you through this reality's definition, use cases, and benefits for your business.

What is Mixed Reality?

It is a mixed reality when the real and virtual worlds blend to produce new and highly immersive environments. It is where the digital and physical objects interact with each other in real-time to improve engagement and enhance experiences.

In short, it is when AR and VR combine to produce a new type of reality. This is a more advanced system where all technologies, including cloud computing, come together to create immersive realities.

Types of MR

Let’s take a quick look at the types of mixed reality that a leading VR app development company will implement in your business apps.

Blended Environment: You recognize and recreate the original environment and create a digital layer along the space. Only a few elements from the real world are translated into digital formats.

Enhanced Environment: As the name suggests, this is more like an enhanced overlay. The user will not move away from the current environment, and you will place the virtual world in the existing environment.

Immersive Environment: In this case, the virtual world controls the existing environment completely. The idea is to give the user a complete simulation of the altered reality.

Benefits of MR

When there are AR and VR that you can use separately, why use MR? Here we will discuss the benefits of mixed reality.

No Technology Required: Unlike VR, you don’t need expensive technology to use MR. At the same time, you don’t create a regular and overlaid environment without the tech. It combines AR and VR without tech intervention

Personalized Experience: You can create a more customized and nurturing experience for the target audience based on their requirements.

Engaging Interactions: It is almost akin to visiting the real world for the store or site. This leads to better engagement and enhances sales for the business. 

Top Applications of Mixed Reality

  • You combine AR and VR to create MR. As a result, it allows you to touch and manipulate objects in the virtual environment, create better experiences and offer more educational value in the education industry. It helps improve learning.
  • You can use this reality to simulate the engineering products, check for faults, know how they will work in the real environment, and monitor the solutions.
  • It can make movie viewing experiential as you feel like you are in their world. For example, if you are watching Jurassic Park, it might seem like you are in the jungle with the dinosaurs.

Extended Reality

We will take you through this reality's definition, use cases, and benefits for your business.

What is Extended Reality?

Extended reality defines any technology (fully immersive or sub-immersive) that can alter reality and blur the lines between virtual and reality. It is used to modernize applications, enhance experiences and improve communication.

AR, VR, MR, and all the other realities yet to be defined/discovered are part of the extended reality. This is not a complete technology; there is scope for evolution. When new realities are added, the world of XR will extend further.

You should hire a VR app development company to incorporate this technology into your business solution to further experience.

Types of XR

We cannot call AR, VR, and other realities types of XR. However, these are forms of reality that are part of XR.

Augmented Reality: as the name suggests, the virtual environment is augmented as part of the real environment. These two overlap to create this format.

Virtual Reality: The lines differentiating virtual and real are completely blurred when you are in a fully-immersive environment.

Mixed Reality: The two worlds co-exist in this case. The virtual and real worlds are not completely different or overlapping; they live harmoniously.

Benefits of XR

Improves Engagement: When you implement XR in your products, you tend to keep the user hooked to the application for a long while. It can help increase the time spent on the product, which eventually translates to better profits.

Reduced Overhead Expenses: Whether you train a user or showcase the product, you won't need to spend on the infrastructure. With 3D immersive viewing, you can lower the spending on unnecessary elements.

Seamless Accessibility: Whether it is data or information, you can seamlessly access elements in the virtual environment with this reality. It helps your business perform well in remote environments.

Top Applications of Extended Reality

  • This will help doctors and people in the medical field get a 3D real view of the scans and understand the health issues better. It will help them diagnose the issues better.
  • From design to prototyping, XR can help identify the design flaws and issue corrections in the prototyping stage.
  • Retailers can create more immersive experiences and make the user feel like they are shopping in the store with XR. This will improve engagement and convenience.

Now that we have seen the four realities and their applications let’s take you through a comparison chart.

At-a-glance Comparison of AR, VR, MR, and XR

The realities blur the lines between virtual and reality to improve convenience and enhance engagement. Let’s examine how these realities differ and when to use which one.

Comparison Point Augmented Reality Virtual Reality  Mixed Reality Extended Reality
Definition Overlays digital objects in the real world Places the user in a different virtual environment using computer-generated simulation The combination of AR and VR, where the virtual environment is blended with the real environment. It alters reality by adding digital elements to the real world. It is the umbrella that comprises VR, AR, and MR, along with other realities.
User Experience You are in control of your environment It extends a fully immersive experience It allows you immersive experiences while giving you control of the real world You can choose the experience depending on the application
Gadgets Needed You need a smartphone You need a VR headset Hololens is required to embrace mixed reality. Depending on the application, you can choose the gear. You can even use it.
Real-time Interactions Yes Not always Yes Not always
Use Cases In marketing, it can help with location-based deals and discounts It Helps you check how a particular dress would look on your body by being present in the virtual environment You can get a complete 3D view of the patient’s body or their scans with the hololens Allows users to step into the store virtual and look around for the products

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the two major types of realities?

There are two major realities that are extensively used in the real world.

Augmented Reality: Where the virtual world is superimposed on the real world.
Virtual Reality: Where the virtual and real world is immersed.

2. What is the reality made of?

Reality comprises all the systems that are known and unknown to the user. It is the total of the real world combined with the virtual or imaginary world.

3. Is VR more popular than AR in mobile app development?

AR and VR are equally used to blend real and virtual environments. The preference for reality depends on the use case, application, and business requirements. It also depends on the cost and timeline for the particular solution.


We saw how the realities are gripping the real world and transforming user experiences. The world is gradually moving towards a blended environment where the real and virtual can happily co-exist.

Each reality has a defining use in the real world, and we saw the primary use cases for AR, VR, MR, and XR. Expert App Devs has been offering AR and VR mobile app development services to enhance user experiences and improve their capabilities. As a VR app development company, we extensively understand the realities and how to include them in mobile app solutions.

If you want to expand your reach by implementing this technology, connect with our team by filling out the contact us form.

Jignen Pandya-img

Jignen Pandya

Vice President at Expert App Devs

Responsible for creating a sales funnel, attracting top-of-the-funnel customers, and converting the target market.

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