$599.00: HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition
Microsoft’s Mixed Reality platform is a bit confusing to understand at first. You’d be forgiven for thinking that something coined “mixed” reality would be a device that can operate in both augmented and virtual reality – similar to what the HTC Vive headset is capable of with its forward facing camera. However, this is not the case.
Mixed reality, as used by Microsoft, is an overlying term used to describe all the work it is doing in the space between the physical and the fully digital worlds. This includes the company’s augmented reality headset the HoloLens, a number of software features released as part of the Windows 10 Creator’s updates and a range of virtual reality headsets.
“We believe that mixed reality represents a spectrum spanning everything in between full physical reality and full digital or virtual reality. While the upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets are closer to the full digital end of the spectrum, they do begin to incorporate elements of the physical world, such as environmental awareness and full 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) hand input via motion controllers. Furthermore, Windows Mixed Reality is a unified platform that spans the entire spectrum, enabling the upcoming headsets to elegantly interface with devices closer to the physical reality end of the spectrum, such as Microsoft HoloLens. Our platform encompasses the entire mixed reality spectrum between the fully physical and fully digital, enabling devices and experiences that span that continuum, which is why we call it Windows Mixed Reality.”
Think of Windows Mixed Reality in these terms and you will just muddy the waters. There’s not a single purchase that gets you everything. If you want virtual reality, you need a VR headset. If you want augmented reality, you need the HoloLens. Windows Mixed Reality is the software underneath the hood in Windows 10 that allows both of these features – and others – to work, much in the same way that Windows Media Player allows songs and movies to work.
As a result of the above, using the term Windows Mixed Reality headset to describe the six pieces of hardware compared below feels inaccurate. These headsets do not allow for mixed reality – they allow for virtual reality. So do you want a virtual reality headset? Here is what you need to consider.
The basic Windows Mixed Reality experience is built for mid-range PCs. As Windows Mixed Reality runs natively in Windows 10, it’s not as big a performance hog as a third-party application. However, this is app dependent. Top-end game experiences, for example, will be far more resource hungry than watching Netflix as the game itself needs to run as well as the Windows Mixed Reality software. So if you intend on doing a lot of gaming, you should aim for the Ultra PC specs below. Where the Basic specs will run at 60 frames per second, the Ultra specs will run at 90 frames per second, which is suited to higher-end gaming.
There are currently six third-party hardware manufacturers making Windows Mixed Reality headsets, with varying levels of availability at the time of writing. They are Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung. Microsoft itself does not make a headset, so there is no “official” device to choose from. Below you will find an overview of what they offer:
|Acer WMR||ASUS HC102||Dell Visor||HP WMR||Lenovo Explorer||Samsung HMD Odyssey|
|Number of Screens||2||1||2||2||2||2|
|Resolution||2880 x 1440||2880 x 1440||2880 x 1440||2880 x 1440||2880 x 1440||2880 x 1600|
|Field of View||95-degrees||95-degrees||110-degrees||95-degrees||105-degrees||110-degrees|
|Motion Tracking||Six-Degrees of Motion||Six-Degrees of Motion||Six-Degrees of Motion||Six-Degrees of Motion||Six-Degrees of Motion||Six-Degrees of Motion|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.||Accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer.||Accelerometer, gyroscope, and proximity sensor.||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, and proximity sensor.||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, proximity sensor, and IPD sensor.|
|Audio||3.5mm combo jack||3.5mm combo jack||3.5mm combo jack||3.5mm combo jack||3.5mm combo jack||Integrated AKG headphones, in-built microphone array|
|Ports||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.1||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.2||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.3||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.4||HDMI 2.0, USB 3.5|
|Dimensions||195.8 mm (W) x 94.8 mm (L) x 106.59 mm (H).||TBC||210 mm (W) x 330 mm (L).||338.84 mm (W) x 176.02 mm (L) x 127.76 mm (H).||185.1 mm (W) x 94.8 mm (L) x 102.1 mm (H).||202 mm (W) x 131.5 mm (L) x 111 mm (H).|
|Weight||350 grams||399 grams||TBC||834 grams||380 grams||645 grams|
|Release Date||Out Now||TBC||Out Now||Out Now||Out Now||Out now|
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Chris Stead is an award winning content creation and design specialist that dabbles in all subjects, but is best known for his work in technology, entertainment and gaming. When not writing, he can be found among the waves of the Northern Beaches.
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