The first VR headset for Window’s recently announced Holographic platform is almost here, and according to a report by The Verge, it’s going to cost between $300 and $400 when it goes on sale later this year.

Ramping up for CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Lenovo has revealed their newest entry into the world of VR, a yet unnamed headset sporting an impressive dual 1440 × 1440 OLED displays, a PlayStation VR-style halo strap system, and dual cameras that allow for room-scale positional tracking.

Lenovo told The Verge the price of the new VR headset isn’t fixed just yet, but should be “closer to $300.”

Not much else is known about the headset, but Lenovo maintains they’ll be targeting a final weight of around 350g, about 200g lighter than the HTC Vive and 100g lighter than the Oculus Rift. The headset shown to The Verge wasn’t working, so no information is currently available on field-of-view or whether the impressive sounding dual 1440 displays really deliver a better picture than the specially treated, albeit lower resolution 1080 × 1200 dual OLEDs in both the Rift and Vive.

Lenovo’s headset, while not officially confirmed, looks to employ computer vision for the purpose of positionally tracking the headset, effectively letting you play in a room-scale area without the need of external apparatus/sensors like PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive currently use. If tracking proves to be reliable, Lenovo’s new headset could be a serious contender in the burgeoning VR hardware market.

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vr-headsets-microsoft

In the initial announcement of the Holographic platform back in October, Terry Myerson, Microsoft executive VP of Windows and Devices, says that VR headsets created by OEMs conforming to the company’s new Windows 10-based platform “will be the first and only to ship with inside-out, 6-degrees of freedom sensors.”

More Windows Holographic headsets are said to come in 2017 from HP, Asus, Acer and Dell.


We’re currently at CES in Las Vegas, so check back for previews, hands-ons and all the latest AR/VR news.

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  • Torben Bojer Christensen

    This might just herald the good news, that at least someday we will see the end of the unsympathetic proprietary bullshit / the Oculus modus operandi …and truly see PC-VR as free as we want it to be :-)

    • matnojje

      I just wonder how they will get chaperone to work without sensors/lighthouses.

      • Kyle Morrison

        Windows holographic maps the room and uses it as reference. I would think that balance would need to implement something on their end to access that room data and display it’s grid as a chaperone.

      • Ian Shook

        I’d imagine a 5 minute “scan your space” step. And then it would know where you are and define the boundaries that way. Same as the Hololens.

      • Jeroen-bart Engelen

        I think it’s for seated experiences only. I’m also a little worried they want to release it this year, and didn’t have a working prototype available.

        • Rogue_Transfer

          No, they’ve stated it’s for room-scale. Using the two inbuilt tracking cameras on the front of the headset.

          • Bruce Thompson

            Yes, roomscale with no controller. Amazing tech… /s

          • Texazzpete

            Roomscale with no external cameras IS amazing tech. Don’t be daft.

          • Rogue_Transfer

            The controllers are being left to other third parties to produce to Microsoft’s Hololens controller standard.

            Yes, controllers are the big question – there’s been mention of 3DOF, 6DOF ones. Even camera tracked ones for roomscale, but Microsoft haven’t yet cleared up what their VR standard controllers will be like.

      • Bruce Thompson

        They won’t – that’s how.

    • Sponge Bob

      “free” as in “beer” ?

      who’s paying for your free beer ?

      • WyrdestGeek

        I think Torben meant free as in open/freedom. As in non-proprietary.

    • care package

      It already is free as you want it to be. You are free to choose to buy Oculus products or not.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Wow don’t cry too hard over a few titles you can’t get to work with Revive…

  • Sponge Bob

    So China and Taiwan are at the forefront of cutting-edge VR technology, with US based Facebook/Oculus making inferior products

    Bu-ha-ha :) :) :)

    • George Vieira IV

      Don’t get your hopes up until someone actually tries it. Many have claimed better specs but none have delivered.

    • hyperskyper

      It isn’t very surprising if you ask me.

    • Jim Cherry

      considering vive and rift source their parts from china does it matter who had the original design.

    • brandon9271

      China can make things cheap by stealing other peoples ideas. None of that pesky R&D to pay for. Slave labor doesn’t hurt either. ;)

    • Armando Tavares

      In what way is, the place where the device is made, important? Or gives any clues about quality, specs, whatever……???

      This kind of comment blows my mind.

      • Sponge Bob

        It is apparently important to Trump voters…

        “Make America great again” :):):)

  • bschuler

    When Microsoft announced these cheapo Windows 10 VR headsets, and said they would be made by many manufacturers. I knew instantly they would all be trying to stand out from each other by trying crazy dumb things. Obviously this was Lenovo’s attempt. I highly doubt the tracking works very well and would not trust playing it near stairs. If I was one of these companies.. I would do a special Blue Light VR.. that automatically changes the color tint of the screen when it’s close to bedtime, so you can fall asleep easier. PT Barnum would be proud.

    • Kyle Morrison

      Why would you be doing anything in VR next to stairs?

    • hyperskyper

      When you announced that you wanted to use VR on stairs, I instantly knew that you were an idiot.

    • Rainfox Wolfstone

      Microsoft licenced their inside out tracking from Hololens to their OEM partners, there is a spec for it being shared among them

  • Really?

    Oculus failed. too much work to set up cost too much and take up so much space

    • Get Schwifty!

      I have to ask… how is this discussion on Lenovo’s design about Oculus specifically? Nothing screams mindless fanboy than attacking a vendor in a discussion about.. another vendor….

      • Mike Handles

        Not to mention the ridiculous points being made.

      • Really?

        Oculus failed lenovo is the vr we wanted.price is cheap,no extra setup for positional tracking and better resolution.i never buy the oculus rift becsuse i just didn’t have the space recommend for positional tracking so yea failed.

        • Mike Handles

          Lets not count our chickens just yet. Right now its just words and a non-working demo unit.

      • Armando Tavares

        Actually what you just did cries mindless fanboy even more if ya ask me.

        It’s like someone creating a new OS and then be mad when people start talking about Windows in articles about the new OS.

        Of course whatever device surfaces now will be compared to the ONLY TWO that are being sold (for computer anyway). Heck…. even the frigin article does it. Why can’t we???

  • care package

    inside out tracking is great ‘n all but how does it track motion controls, and will there be motion controls.

    • Dave

      …you use inside out tracking – it worked in the headset. Surely a couple of small cameras can be used in the motion controller as well…

      • Sponge Bob

        “Surely a couple of small cameras can be used in the motion controller as well…”

        Bu-ha-ha-harrre-harrr :)l:-):)))(*^%)(*%(*&%(%(*%(*%(%(

        • That isn’t an unreasonable assumption. As long as the processing is in the headset and not the computer, a similar tracking setup could be used for each hand. I’d imagine they’d have to be all wired to the computer for power though, so more cables.

          Alternatively, although admittedly not perfect, a Leap Motion, or something similar, could track the hands. Having experimented with this in my own software development, I can so it works…. most of the time… within limits…. (shrug)

    • Sean Lumly

      I would imagine that since the user is mostly concerned with the function of their hands when they are in view, the cameras on the HMD (if they have a wide enough FoV) should be able to see VR props, making them trackable relative to the position of the HMD.

      Of course, with no mention of motion controls at the product debut, one has to wonder if they will be a part of Lenovo’s HMD.

      • care package

        you actually reminded me of the Leap motion tech that’s getting embedded in mobile VR units. If that’s how it get’s done which is the most practicle, then insdie out tracking is better suited for mobile VR. Mobile VR is very limited of course in performance.

    • sntxrrr

      I think all these Win HMDs will operate like Hololens so you can use basic hand gestures like a pinch combined with gaze selection. So no hand tracking, far from ideal.
      If these headsets are successful it may slow down the development of games for motion controllers. Let’s hope that will not be the case.

  • Ian Shook

    Where’s that cord going? Battery on the Hip?

    • Rogue_Transfer

      I believe that’ll be going to the PC – since these headsets are meant to be for wired PC VR/AR.

      • Mike Handles

        Ah that’s too bad. Imagine a cord that thick going all the way back to a PC pulling on one side of your head; annoying.

        • Armando Tavares

          Sure…. because having to deal with wireless lagging, lugging around a heavy battery pack or, if you don’t want the heavy battery, dealing with a Low battery warning every hour or so wont be annoying at all.

          Add the fact that in 2 years time the battery will be f**** up and you’ll have to buy a new one or keep it connected to be able to use the device (like a lot of people do with laptops) and the cable thing starts sounding, less annoying? :)

          • Mike Handles

            I more meant that it was pulling on the side of your head instead of straight back like the Rift, Vive and others. Necks tend to be better at dealing with balanced weight on the sides, not quite as sensitive front and back.

  • Nigerian Wizard

    if its locked to Windows 10 then its a no go for me.

    • hyperskyper

      You’re missing out!

      • Mike Handles

        Is Windows 10 decent for gaming now? Any experience with it and VR? I’ve been thinking about making the switch when my new GPU comes in.

        • Jim Cherry

          when upgrading os it should always be noted that most people upgrade all the pieces at once by getting a new pc. Even though upgrading to windows 10 is the easiest windows upgrade I’ve done that’s kind of damning with faint praise.

        • Cyrus Magnus

          It’s fine. They’ve fixed the majority of the ram issues that some games were running into, so now the win10 gen mem manager is, imo, better than win7.

          ymmv

        • hyperskyper

          I upgraded all of my computers to Windows 10 and I don’t regret it one bit. When it came out, GPU drivers were wonky but they work perfectly now. Windows 10 isn’t free anymore so staying on 7 or 8 would still be fine. If you don’t buy computers often and just upgrade every few years then Windows 10 would be a good purchase in my opinion. There will be no more separate updates after 10. You will continually get new features and security updates forever at no cost.

        • Texazzpete

          more than 50% of Steam gamers are now on Windows 10. It’s been decent for gaming for ages now…

        • John Horn

          Yes, Windows 10 is more than decent for gaming. It’s been that way for a while now. Especially as Win 10 is a prerequisite for Directx12. The knock-on benefits of DX12 won’t be immediately visible in this first generation of games supporting it. But as developers keep learning how to optimize for DX12, it will benefit everyone by a lot. DX11 is going to be dead as an API in a very short time. At least as short a time as people keep hanging on to it with Win7/8. DX11 has been a bane for AMD GPU’s, and only really benefitted Nvidia.

          Though honestly, I have a faint hope Vulkan API will grow a lot more than DX12, as Vulkan API is open source, and more OS-agnostic as it works on SteamOS/Linux as well as Windows. Until that happens, if it does happen, DX12 is the best way to get the most performance out of your CPU / GPU in gaming. And that benefit includes older GPUs/CPUs.

  • Rogue_Transfer

    More pressure for cheaper, lighter, higher spec’d VR headsets. All to the good. Whether they work as well or not, the general consumer will be more likely to buy them based on these factors and the pressure to reduce prices on last year’s VR headsets with lower (apparent) specs is increased. Perhaps, even speed up release of gen. 2 of the Vive and Rift.

    I still doubt the tracking will be as accurate as the Lighthouse system and how they will handle full motion controls well.

    Still, it’s very interesting and it’s hopeful that the VR market will expand to reach more people.

    • Get Schwifty!

      What is interesting is that so far no one else has done a “Lighthouse” style design but focusing on cameras…. kind of makes you wonder…

      • Sponge Bob

        “lighthouse” is dead for consumer-grade VR
        that’s why

        • Mike Handles

          It’ll be dead when its not being used anymore, there should be no rush to pronounce it before then. It also remains to be the most accurate tracking method to date, though be it by a slim margin.

          • Sponge Bob

            I said “consumer-grade” VR

            It will be used by gamers and the likes for sure, but for the rest 95% of us… who cares ?

            It’s the same situation as with Bluetooth computer mouse – they still produce wired mouse models for gamers who want to play high speed games with zero latency on their 2000$ PCs

            BTW, the wired computer mouse sells for like 100$ a piece

            I say “lighthouse is dead”

          • Mike Handles

            Vive is consumer grade; its being sold to consumers. Lighthouse may die soon in a consumer sense as you note, but its still alive and well today.

          • Sponge Bob

            when you say “lighthouse” you really mean high-speed rotating laser-projecting device
            those aren’t cheap by definition
            it’s like Lidar tech (which is expensive) with the only difference that Time-of-Flight is not measured explicitly, just time differences
            Cameras are getting better and better every day
            To beat camera-based solution those laser-scanning devices have to be made really really well – meaning $$$

          • Mike Handles

            I mean, I get what you’re saying, but my point is more that lighthouse or the high-speed rotating laser-projecting device isn’t dead.

            For now it’s an accurate and viable solution.

          • Rogue_Transfer

            Lidar is very different technology, since it does scanning measuring.

            Lighthouse is much cheaper and simpler to produce, as they don’t do any scanning – they’re dumb light emitters picked up by cheap photo-diodes relying on time taken since a received flash. They’re even getting simpler & cheaper to make with a single motor soon and a lot less components.

          • Sponge Bob

            LIdar is in fact different in that it explicitly measures time-of-flight in addition to registering angular position (it’s also a lot more $$$ than lighthouse)

            But I believe HTC uses custom FPGAs for real-time processing of
            detected light arrivals plus precision mechanics+optics = $$$
            and not simple to produce at all

            Cheaper than lidars fpgas but still

          • Rogue_Transfer

            Not as cheap as a web-camera to produce, granted. But that ignores the cost to develop more complex tracking software cameras require.

            Considering current roomscale products with full controller support. A camera approach by Occulus – requires at least three cameras(3 x $80=$240 or 4 for $320) to approach two Lighthouses (2 x $135=$270). The price to consumers then becomes either just $30 extra or $50 cheaper, which makes claims of expense rather moot in current products.

            Although, it is worth pointing out that solid-state cameras are less prone to failure than moving parts. Though the Lighthouses are designed to have a 50,000 hour lifespan, which is pretty acceptable.

          • Sponge Bob

            Where did you get that 2 x $135=$270 figure ?
            Do they sell those lighthouses separately ?
            And why do you need 2 lighthouses btw ?

            In another thread there is discussion about Nolo tracker from Lyrobotix with just 1(!) lighthouse – all for 99$

            still, cameras are cheaper and more reliable (indoors)

            cameras can also potentially provide large-distance tracking (e.g. 100 m), if camera resolution is high enough and markers are clearly visible
            I’m not sure you can do it with lighthouse-like tech

          • Rogue_Transfer

            I got the costs direct from each manufacturer’s sites.
            Yes, they do.

            You only need two Lighthouses to give full roomscale tracking and avoid occlusion of the controllers from your back. You can use just one and it does very well(I use it regularly for seated like that), but you can lose tracking when you turn 180 degrees.

            The are problems with higher resolution cameras: data limits and significantly increased processing load, to the point where with just double the res each dimension, they’re dealing with 4 times the sensor information. You’re not going to get 100m tracking without a very lot of high-speed processing and high-speed sensor, that then becomes high-cost.

            You state cameras are cheaper and more reliable(indoors), yet the reality of actual prices to buy and reports on tracking reliability prove the opposite to consumers.

            I’m pretty sure you can’t provide a source for 100m camera tracking working to the speed and accuracy needed for VR. What is possible in the future, we can’t pretend is going to be a reality for VR when they can’t even get as much distance from camera tracking now.

            Remember, gen. 2 is only a year or two away. The data limits & processing issues with higher res cameras aren’t changing that fast without becoming much more costly and requiring costly onboard image processing.

            It’s clear your points are based on hopes and I hope I’m proven wrong and camera tracking does get sufficient accuracy and no drifting or spasmodic shifts in interpreted positions. But they’ve been trying to refine camera tracking image analysis software for decades and it’s still poor quality and needs more cameras without getting to the same level as Lighthouse technology for as much volume of space.

            “Lighthouse was designed from day one to be scalable, you can in principle concatenate tracking volumes without limit like cell towers.” – Alan Yates(@vk2ray) March 6, 2015: http://www.roadtovr.com/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-steam-vrs-lighthouse-tracking-system/3/

      • Rogue_Transfer

        Using web-cams is a cheap solution with a long history of poor tracking. It is error prone and the software is much more intricate & problematic. But very good for the hardware makers – they can make a high profit level reusing basic cameras.

        There was a reason Lighthouse was developed though – and that was because cameras weren’t considered good enough by Valve. It solved the tracking much better & further than ever before to date.

        We’ve yet to hear of any camera tracking that’s as good. I look forward though to ‘seeing’ the reports on how well these Hololens-related headsets perform with inside-out cameras. But I don’t think they’ll have the same all-round accuracy, though, here’s hoping they’ve cracked it(in camera troublesome circumstances – e.g. looking towards featureless floors/ceilings that lack any discernible marking point) after decades of inadequate camera tracking.

      • Rogue_Transfer

        Don’t forget, no one else has attempted releasing 360° room-scale tracking with controllers until a month or so ago. It’s early days, plus, Valve have still to open up the Lighthouse units themselves. To date, they’re only offering the sensors tech for peripherals to use, not the Lighthouse units.

        Still, it would be great if marker-less inside-out tracking was somehow completely solved(e.g. drift while looking at floor reported with the Oculus Santa-Cruz prototype). We’ll soon see more on all these other companies attempts that go with more cameras at CES and in Spring.

      • Jerald Doerr

        My guess is camera tracking is much cheaper and easier to design and manufacture… lighthouse setup looks like it would be a bi+{# to design, manufacture and assemble.. again just a guess…

    • Joel Penner

      Microsoft HoloLens does just fine for tracking. Impressive even.

      • Mike Handles

        Impressive for its function no doubt! but I think there’s another article on here that says it doesn’t do so hot when its close to the ground, which could introduce some problems when playing certain games.

        • Joel Penner

          Why would you be near the ground? Having actually used a HoloLens, your comment makes no sense.

          • Mike Handles

            You missed my point.. Not sure why you’d be near the ground with a hololens; absolutely, but the comment I made was on the use of hololens like tracking for VR applications; in which there are many games that involve being near the ground. Fantastic Contraption and Budget Cuts are the first two that come to mind.

  • ✨EnkrowX✨

    Neat, although being designed for Windows 10 VR I wonder how well it would work for gaming.

  • Mike Handles

    I really want to hear more about the lenses.. Too bad there wasn’t a working headset. I’m also wondering how this two camera tracking setup holds up when you’re crawling around looking down at the floor as you sometimes do in budget cuts?

    All in all, I’m more excited to hear from HTC and Oculus.

    • Sponge Bob

      HTC and Oculus are both dead

      • Mike Handles

        Hahahaha, touche

    • Jim Cherry

      on the note of budget cuts how will these headsets work with current experiences designed for outside in tracking will devs be incentivized to update their stuff simply because the addressable market will be hypothetically larger

  • Jim Cherry

    A lot of people on here assuming this is a major contender in vr gaming due to the specs fail to realize Lenovo the biggest pc maker globally didn’t get there by even aiming at consumers let alone gamers. Maybe this headset will launch under the idea (consumer) brand or some new brand for vr ar. But it could easily launch under the think(business) brand.

    • Mike Handles

      Good point, though they did decide to share it at the Consumer Electronics Show so its not too far fetch for one to assume its going to be geared towards consumers.

      Edit: Major contender in VR gaming, ah yes.. probably not directly aimed at that

    • Armando Tavares

      Assuming this will be aimed at gaming is just as ludicrous as assuming the opposite.

      As I type this, there is already another device in the consumer market, within this price range, that’s aimed at gaming. What makes you believe Lenovo’s device wont/can’t??

  • Richard Fox

    Lower res and weak tracking: pass the sick bag.

    • Jim Cherry

      lower res than what exactly

  • Fret

    I’m wondering how they will solve hand input. It would be very impressive if they could solve finger tracking with the inside-out tracking cameras, but unlikely

    • Sponge Bob

      leap motion controller does it already, sort of…

      wtf needs to track all 10 fingers btw ?

  • Tomasz Dowgielewicz

    “Lenovo’s headset, while not officially confirmed, looks to employ computer vision for the purpose of positionally tracking the headset” So they didn’t solve problem yet. I will wait with grats after release date

  • Armando Tavares

    Been saying this FOR AGES: Oculus/Vive did it the wrong way… and both are about to be slapped down. They can now;

    1. Do nothing and trust in how awesome they are (and die)
    2. Adapt (YES!! I’m talking about price) and make good use of the head start they have.
    3. React to the onslaught that’s coming their way, going ‘Apple’ and start blocking everything left and right (and still die)

    I hope they chose option 2.

    (Incoming fanboy hate in 3, 2, 1… :P)

    2017 will be HUGE for VR. I’m looking forward for a working prototype of this device as well as news from the rest of the companies (ASUS, DELL, HP, ACER) that are on board with Microsoft on this project.

    All in all this is AMAZING news. It blows my mind how a lot of people behave like Oculus/Vive shareholders and try to dismiss this in any way shape or form. How silly will you naysayers feel once this actually hits the consumer market…. *sigh*

    • sntxrrr

      The inside-out tracking works amazingly well in Hololens but I’m not sure if it will be good enough for VR.
      In the short term I imagine Oculus and Vive will try to market themselves as offering a more complete solution (with solid tracking and hand controllers) but that might not be enough. It will be interesting to see how this all develops.

  • Why is it called “room scale” when it is not restricted by external sensors?

    • Sponge Bob

      because it can only work inside of a small (and known) room :):):):)

      like Santacrus prototype from oculus which is shown to track itself inside-out, but only in one particular showroom…. surprise, surprise

      same story here

      when you in a big hall with white walls and no pictures on those walls then forget about it

      Thus, “room-scale” :):):)

  • Jerald Doerr

    I hope Revive will support mix and mach hardware… Like this HMD with vive or oculus controllers..

    • wheeler

      These HMDs will just need an OpenVR wrapper (if they don’t already support OpenVR). Beauty of open standards.

  • dr3yec

    Yeah i was going to get a rift for the right deal but I think I will wait for these other choices.

  • Sponge Bob

    And WHERE is that inside-out position-tracking computation takes place ???

    Inside headset itself OR on the PC-side ?

    That is the question to ask