Microsoft’s ‘Windows Mixed Reality’ platform has finally landed and the first batch of supported VR headsets are hitting the streets. I toured around the new Windows Fall Creators Update—which builds AR and VR support deep into the OS—with the Acer Mixed Reality Headset.

As usual, we’ll start with a general summary up top, and then expand into a deep dive further down. It’s worth noting that majority of this first batch of ‘Widows Mixed Reality’ VR headsets are built around a nearly identical lens/display/tracking camera foundation (which we understand to have stemmed from a Microsoft reference design). From that foundation, Microsoft’s partners, including Acer, have built the external look and feel of the headsets. So when it comes to specs and tracking performance, you can expect the headsets from Acer, Dell, Asus, HP, and Lenovo to be very similar.

The one major exception is Samsung’s Odyssey Windows VR headset which appears to have taken a more custom approach with unique lenses, displays, and integrated audio. Our hands-on preview of the Odyssey is here, and we expect to do a full review in time (though it doesn’t launch until early November).

Acer Windows VR Headset Review Summary

Photo by Road to VR

Right up front here I want to dispel any confusion that Microsoft has seeded with their non-conformist use of the term ‘Mixed Reality’. Although the Acer ‘Windows Mixed Reality’ VR headset has cameras on the front—the sort you might expect would provide pass-through video for augmented reality—actually none of these first Windows Mixed Reality headsets do any form of augmented reality, they are VR headsets through and through. The confusion comes from Microsoft using ‘Mixed Reality’ as an umbrella term to describe a spectrum of AR and VR technology. So while these VR headsets don’t support AR (which many people call mixed reality), Microsoft is saying their platform does. Now that that’s out of the way…

With the launch of a range of VR headsets and the deployment of the Fall Creators Update, Microsoft has orchestrated an impressive initial take on immersive computing and VR-enabled Windows.

With regards to Acer’s first tethered VR headset (the AH101), there’s notable pros and cons that may tilt the scale one way or the other depending upon which things you value the most. Setup is truly a breeze with native support under Windows 10 and no external sensors required for tracking. Microsoft’s inside-out head tracking is top-notch, and while the motion controllers are useable (clunky ergonomic design notwithstanding), they might not make the grade for hardcore gamers or content creators demanding the most robust hand input.

Photo by Road to VR

The clarity looking through the lenses is a moderate step forward with improved sharpness and a reduced (but still visible) screen door effect. The ability to flip-up the visor to interact with the real-world without removing the headset is a big plus, but there are some ergonomic annoyances (including no integrated headphones or microphone, and a design which makes it difficult to stay in the sweet spot of the lenses) that prevent the headset from being the a clear-cut winner.

All-in-all, the net result of the headset doesn’t manage to break into ‘next-gen’ territory, but instead feels like reasonable competition to what’s come before. Price is critical to the equation, especially now that the Rift’s price matches the $400 price of the Acer Windows VR headset. Looking at the headsets alone, early-adopters are likely to have a tough choice on their hands, but the Rift has the overwhelming lead on content for now (though between forthcoming Steam support and the possibility of Revive unlocking Oculus games for Windows VR headsets, things could change rather quickly).

When it comes to using the headset, the ‘Cliff House’ is the Windows VR equivalent of the desktop, a virtual space where you can place icons for immersive apps, and run traditional Windows applications as floating windows that can be placed around the environment as you desire. Having a ‘place’ to return to between diving into immersive apps, and one in which you can do traditional computing tasks (like browsing the web, downloading new apps, watching movies, etc), feels quite natural.

The space and its functions feel largely polished and stable, but the UX design is understandably clunky (and likely will be for some time, as the whole of the AR/VR industry matures the design language of immersive computing) but the foundation that Microsoft set for the future shouldn’t be underestimated. If the company can stick it out and nurture their investment while VR’s user base grows, they will have something significant on their hands.

Captured by Road to VR

However, Microsoft has much catching up to do in the VR app department, with a mere 47 immersive apps available for their platform at the time of writing, and only three or four of VR’s most recognizable hits. Support for Steam’s VR library has been promised (and is much needed), but early adopters will need to wait until this December to get access.

– – — – –

Acer Windows VR Headset In-depth Review

Table of Contents

Note: This review is based on hardware meeting the Windows Mixed Reality ‘Ultra’ specification which has the headset’s display running at 90Hz. The Windows VR headsets can also operate on a much lower minimum specification, which runs the display at 60Hz, though we haven’t tested that mode in-depth yet. Details on ‘Ultra’ vs. minimum spec here.

PSA: All of the Windows VR headsets launching this month require a bluetooth 4.0 connection for the Windows VR Motion Controllers. Many desktop computers don’t have bluetooth built in; we picked up this bluetooth adapter [Amazon] which has worked flawlessly.


Display & Lenses

Photo by Road to VR

As the least expensive offering in the Windows VR headset lineup at $400 (with bundled controllers), Acer’s first VR headset packs a display with a claimed 1,440 × 1,440 per-eye resolution and ~100 degree field of view. There’s a notable increase in sharpness compared the Rift and Vive’s 1,080 × 1,200 per-eye resolution.

The ‘screen door effect’ is reduced but still visible, perhaps partly owed to the LCD display which in some ways has a more uniform screen door structure than the PenTile subpixel layout of the Rift and Vive. When combined with the excellent lack of mura (inconsistencies in color and brightness from one pixel to the next) though, the net effect is a reasonable step up in clarity, but not something many would call ‘next-gen’. LCD displays aren’t exactly typically known for fast pixel switching times, which makes it harder to make use of low-persistence to reduce ghosting; quick head movements reveal quite a bit of ghosting when combined with high-contrast scene elements, but it isn’t so bad that you’re likely to notice it much unless you’re looking for it; saccades hide this artifact quite effectively.

When it comes the lenses, we’re looking at Fresnel with medium grit ridges (between the Rift {fine} and the Vive {coarse}); expect to see god ray artifacts in high contrast scenes. The headset makes it easy to get your eyes very close to the lenses (but not so easy to keep them there, more on that below) which results in a field of view which falls well into the same class as the Rift & Vive.

Headset Design & Ergonomics

Photo by Road to VR

The headset’s design and materials inspire more of a practical/toy feel than a premium product. The visor feels solid enough, though the head mount that holds it in place feels somewhat flimsy at its thinnest parts. For its plastic feel though, the Acer Windows VR headset is quite light and comfortable for long-term use. It’s well-balanced and even after more than an hour of continuous use I didn’t get that usual feeling of having a brick hanging off the front of my face.

Unfortunately the particulars of the design mean it can be difficult (borderline frustrating) to keep your eyes in the small sweet spot of the lenses. It feels as if the headset’s fit was designed without consideration of the weight of the cord; its weight essentially means the headset is always off-balance to the right side, necessitating counter-tilting and tightening the headstrap more than you should need to. It seems they should have had the cord come out the center of the back strap.

The lack of integrated headphones is a shame, and feels like a step backward compared to the Rift and the Vive (with Deluxe Audio Strap). You’ll need to plug in your own 3.5mm headphones, or use a wireless pair. This is partly mitigated by the Acer VR headset’s flip-up visor which is on a hinge and can snap into an upward position, letting you easily see the real world without removing the headset. While the head mount didn’t seem to interfere with the geometry of a few different pair of overhead headphones that I tested, the tether routing point is directly over your right ear which means the cable is likely to tug and push annoyingly on larger headphones. It seems earbuds might be ideal for the Acer Windows VR headset.

The tether routing point is directly over your right ear and may put the cables in an awkward spot if you’ve got bulky headphones. | Photo by Road to VR

Being able to flip-up the visor is a huge plus, making it easier to find and manage your headphones, controllers, and tether, and generally reducing the pain point of needing to take off a headset and put it back on every time you need to take a quick action outside of the headset. I would be thrilled to see more headsets follow this trend.

The flip-up visor also makes putting on the headset quick and easy. I found myself starting with the visor in its flipped-up state, putting the lenses right up to my eyes, and then flipping the head mount down behind my head. This approach makes it easy to hone in on the sweet spot of the lenses right off the bat, but as I mentioned before, the headset frustratingly has trouble staying there. I found myself frequently needing to make adjustments to maintain good visual clarity.

On my face at least, the visor creates an excellent seal with no light leak whatsoever. The one downside to this is that the foam around the nose pinches my nose slightly shut, reducing the my usual air intake. It’s a feeling that is incredibly uncomfortable to me after more than a few minutes of use. I promise that, if your face is anything like mine, you will consider just cutting out that section of foam with scissors. A bit of light leak around the nose is worth the feeling of regular breathing capacity.

Controller Design & Ergonomics

Photo by Road to VR

The ergonomic feel of the Windows Mixed Reality controllers makes them come off as a bit of a late addition, and leaves me waiting to go back to Touch or perhaps even the Vive controllers. They’re fairly large and unbalanced, and their big tracking rings are likely to bump into each other during moments of near-field hand interactions. The build quality feels a little cheap, especially the connection from the controller to the tracking ring, which flexes easily and doesn’t inspire much confidence in durability in the event of an accidental drop.

Size comparison of Touch (left) and the Windows Mixed Reality controller (right) | Photo by Road to VR

Both controllers have a trackpad and thumbstick which is an odd choice, and the placement of the pair doesn’t feel quite right for how your thumb naturally wants to rest (right between the two it turns out). The ‘grip button’ is truly a binary click-button, and feels more like an extra button than a ‘grab’. It’s quite small and can be a little awkward to press, depending upon how you’re gripping the controller (which is usually determined by whether you’re primarily using the stick or the trackpad). On the other hand, the trigger is of the squishy variety, though it isn’t clear yet if it is truly analog of not.

Continued on Page 2: Experience »

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • JesperL

    I dont have time for 3 pages. Where is the score? Where is the summary? where are the pros and cons? – Its a review with no conslusion?

    • benz145
      • JesperL

        ROFL – yeah.. Thats not a link, so its a headline for another wall of text. Someone should learn the meaning of the word “Summary”

        • Tyriel

          You probably used more time writing than reading.. just saying

          • Dave

            Not true, at that point you’re already ticked off and gone into anger mode lol!

        • Terrence Giggy

          Did you read the first two paragraphs?

          “As usual, we’ll start with a general summary up top, and then expand into a deep dive further down.”

        • benz145

          It’s ~500 words. There’s only so much condensing that can be done before losing important detail. IMO If you’re really considering buying this headset, I would hope that you’d invest the 2.5 minutes it would take to read 500 words rather than relying on a numerical score or a short and unnuanced list of pros and cons.

          • JesperL

            That is my point – Im not considering buying, so I dont want to read it all. But I would still like a short summary and a score. That would tell me if it is worth looking more into.
            A review provides information to others about the product. A score would give a hint to those in doubt, if its worth spending time on reading. A summary would support the score.
            And maybe 500 words is not that much. But when splatterd out over 3 pages with a lot of photos, and other text in between, then its not just a quick read.
            Benz145 – are you the auther? then take some constructive critique, instead of feeling insulted and defending the article. Its not like its a major doctorate! (pardon typos, English is not my first language)

          • benz145

            Yes I’m the author. I appreciate the critique and don’t feel insulted, I’m trying to explain that the present structured is purposeful (including the lack of score).

            I think the length of the summary is suitable for a product that brings a lot of new stuff to the VR landscape (the summary is only 500 words and right at the top, not across multiple pages). With smaller purchases, it’s fine to slap a score and a one paragraph summary on something and call it a day, but with a more expensive product and one that has a lot of facets and is in many ways brand new, too short of a summary doesn’t do much good.

            I’d encourage you to read the summary and let me know if you still felt it had too much detail.

          • Rook

            IF you dont have time to read this, you dont have time for VR, simples

          • Jeff Thomas

            Have you ever heard of skim reading?

          • Dave

            Thanks Benz – you of course right.

            I do find the style of the website limiting. The article column is so short! I get the feeling this simplifies the responsive design but on a desktop surely if can be a bit nicer to see the article on one page than have something small like 500 words over three pages…

            I also find a great deal of inconsitency with the presentation of the reviews although this one’s content isn’t too bad a more traditional ordering of sections would be a more welcome I think. For example the summary at the top to me is not a conclusion which indicates pros and cons and final thoughts with comparisons to the wider competition.

          • benz145

            Thanks Dave, I really appreciate your feedback. I’m not disregarding your input; I will explain to you how we think about this, so that we can have a productive discussion : )

            The reason we split up longer articles into multiple pages is to try to give some sense of ‘place’ to the reader, otherwise they scroll down and see that there’s no end in sight, and they also don’t have a good idea of where they’re headed. We break big articles up in logical places so that when you scroll down a bit to get some context for where the article is heading you can immediately see where the next major section is and the topic—and thus decide if you want to continue reading to get there. It’s the same reason why headers for specific sections are useful (they provide a sense of ‘place’ within the article, and aid in skimming so the reader can find the sections most relevant to them).

            It’s a ~3,000 article across three pages, so about 1,000 words per page. A standard typed page is about 450 words at 12 point font and single spacing, plus our pieces get even longer (inch wise) since we throw in photos and videos, so we’ve actually got quite a bit more down on one page than a standard typed page.

            What would be ideal is to have a drop-down selector at the top and bottom of the page to make navigation between pages even easier. We’ve wanted to do something like this but haven’t found a suitable plug-in yet. The Table of Contents toward the top of the first page aims to do something like that, though it isn’t perfect.

            As for the structure, I’ve tried to be relatively consistent, but you’re right that there could be some improvements there. It’s challenging because of how quickly VR is changing over time. If you think about a review for a smartphone today, it’s going to be pretty standard and simple (ie: screen, speed, camera, battery life) since they are relatively mature devices which aren’t changing drastically from one to the next. When it comes to VR headsets, the tech is changing to quickly that it’s harder to be as consistent, for instance, Vive was the first system to introduce a boundary system, and so that was important to talk about in that review. Since then, every major VR headset has a adopted a similar system, and most people understand how they work, so in future reviews it isn’t quite as important to detail that feature.

            Generally speaking, for hardware reviews I try to split things among two major sections: Hardware and Experience. I think that’s important because the look/feel and on-paper specs of the device can be drastically different from the actual experience of using VR since it engages our perceptual systems so much.

    • dk

      in the creators update the edge browser has a pretty cool text to speech option that pretty awesome on the fly settings including speed …….there r a few things I hate about edge …but it has some neat stuff too

    • doug

      A copy editor didn’t have time for it, either.

  • polysix

    This sounds, frankly, awful. And is exactly full of the kind of design issues Oculus tried hard to avoid on the rift. I mean ffs if you’re going to release a HMD in a post rift world then at leas try to match it on quality, pref surpass it, don’t just go for bigger numbers and forget all about the fit and finish. LCDS? yuck. Those controllers? bluergh. Sony Style headcracker? Ok but actually I prefer the rift’s one handed soft on/off vs my ex-PSVR now even with a little extra face weight.

    • Bryan Ischo

      It doesn’t sound awful to me. It sounds like a product with some pros and cons when compared to other head sets. Your hyperbole does you no favors.

  • Jean-Sebastien Perron

    So it is cheap 4 years old deprecated tech at premium price. MS goal was to make people hate VR to kill it. Welcome to VR past. Only uninformed dumb people will buy this.

    • Ian Shook

      Tell us how you really feel.

    • NooYawker

      “Vive is dead, step into the dark side of the Oculus.”
      Talk about dumb and uninformed.

    • Rogue Transfer

      PS: Your immature declarations and fanboyism does you no favours and makes people sceptical of your recommendations.

    • Foreign Devil

      Working inside out tracking is actually still cutting edge. . thus why it is not in the current Rift or Vive

      • Jean-Sebastien Perron

        Inside out tracking does not track hands everywhere : only inside the field of view, not behind and not on both sides at the same time. And worst of all, it will never track your feet, while oculus with enough lights could track your whole body like they do with motion capture.

        • beestee

          Santa Cruz inside-out tracks hands pretty much anywhere you would care to reach. Vive inside-out wands track everywhere by use of cameras in the wands.

          Just as possible to track feet as any other solution. Just put wireless cameras on your feet. You would have to do the exact same thing with Vive.

  • Sofian

    Not bad but overpriced.

  • Duane Aakre

    Does it have some kind of chaperone system to keep you from smacking the controllers (or yourself) into walls or furniture?

    • benz145

      Yes, you use your headset during the setup process to trace the outline of your playspace. It’s rendered as a simple 3D outline when you get close to the edge, and then there’s some additional lines that show up on the plane of the playspace walls as your controller or head gets especially close.

      • Duane Aakre

        Thanks for the reply. It seems like something that is necessary, but it wasn’t mentioned in the original review.

        • benz145

          You’re right, though it’s pretty much the standard by now; I don’t think it would be smart for any company to launch an immersive product without such a safeguard in place!

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      Or my flatscreen :(

  • Doctor Bambi

    Another fantastically detailed hardware review, much appreciated.
    I find it odd that none of the big players have implemented a compelling VR centric keyboard. Especially here in Cliffhouse, I was hoping MS would have spent some time making that as painless as possible. Obviously, nothing will replace an actual keyboard, but we got along well enough with our thumbs on smartphones. There should be a similarly acceptable replacement in VR.

    • beestee

      Where’s my xylophone keyboard?

    • benz145

      Thanks @doctorbambi:disqus, glad folks appreciate the deep dive!

  • MadMax1998

    “The feel of the Windows Mixed Reality controllers feel like a bit of a
    late addition and leave me waiting to go back to Touch or perhaps even
    the Vive controllers.”
    Did nobody proof-read this review? There are pretty big errors in there. Just saying…

    • MadMax1998

      To add something like a sensible comment on the article here… in MS’s shoes I would have engineered a way to add Lighthouse tracking to the controllers, as an optional upgrade way for hardcore users to get more mileage out of them. Start with inside-out tracking (still providing the benefit of “on-the-go VR”), but give people an option to increase their quality of experience.

      • Armando Tavares

        All the ‘lighthousing’ they need is a camera on top of the computer screen. Nothing fancy, no space age stuff needed… just a wide fov camera siting on top of your computer screen to do the tracking when the device can’t/wont.

        Maybe even go as far as doubling it’s use as a tracking and normal camera?

        • benz145

          I also think this hybrid/optional add-on approach for an external sensor would be a smart idea for the subset of people who will demand more reliable tracking. This would likely necessitate some alterations to the geometry of the controller’s tracking ring.

    • benz145

      Yes, two people actually. But at 3,100 words, things slip through the cracks sometimes. 10 mistakes would be a ~0.3% error rate.

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention, it shall be fixed.

  • guest

    Cliff House, Piss House. The Micro soft dicks only wish they could piss that far! Has anyone done a teardown yet so we can get these running on Linux (and pass through some of the video).

    • Armando Tavares

      Linux evangelist? :)

  • Ombra Alberto

    If the Tracker controller is not perfect. It’s not worth giving 400 dollars.

    First the tracking then the visual quality.
    Visual quality not far superior to Vive and Rift.

    • Tyriel

      I tried it for pretty long at an event at the Microsoft store NY, this, the dell and the HP, tracking is totally comparable to vive and oculus (that I both own). I was pretty impressed also by the controllers (even if the lack in ergonomics), I wasn’t really able to notice during the demos when they weren’t tracking. The only down site of the dell was the FOW, I wish I was able to get closer to the lenses, but there was no option.
      About the see through I’m pretty sure they use very low resolution cameras, and that make sense because it is gonna be less data to process, so a see through will be barely usable..
      I’m totally sold on the inside out tracking, (VR on the go will be possible) but I will wait for the Samsung one, that have better ergonomic controllers and better lenses and screens.
      With steam VR on the Way probably I will sell my Vive (after using it for Fallout VR of course :P ) but this is another story :P

      PS: let’s don’t forget that these headsets will bring VR support for a lot of more pc ( hi end specs are considered a NVidia 960 )

      • Evgeni Zharsky

        The Samsung odyssey will use the exact same controllers. Where are you getting info that they will have better controllers ?

        • Tyriel

          :up Microsoft event

          • Evgeni Zharsky

            Don’t see it

          • Colin

            I think the Samsung Odyssey controllers are almost identical but slightly different (corners look a little more curved and less angular)

          • benz145

            Yup they are ever so slightly different, a tiny bit more comfortable, but the ergonomics are still a long way from Touch.

          • Tyriel

            Sure thing, the Touch are still TOP right now. I think and hope Microsoft will come up with some good controllers with the xbox version ( finger crossed for it)

      • hugolima

        people are also forgetting that to have room scale vr with the rift you need to spend an additional 60$ or 100€ for an extra sensor, not needed in wmr. Also the rift and vive hmd are not readlly available in most of European countries and are more expensive than in US, and I expect wmr oem’s will change this.

        • bobzdar

          Room scale up to 12’x12′ or so is fine with 2 sensors, only needed for larger setups. I don’t see getting rid of an Oculus for one of the MR headsets, slight visual clarity increase for slight tracking decrease at best. I could see an inside out headset with ~ 50′ wireless being worthwhile upgrade as you could potentially go out on a tennis court or in a gym and run around. As it stands it’s more of a sideways move, you’re still tethered to a computer, tracking is slightly worse, visuals have less screen door but more ghosting, setup is slightly easier. Oculus has much better software selection, and imo software is much more important at this point than minor hardware variations.

      • JoeCoder

        You and I must have read different reviews. This seems horrible to me. Windows VR sounds like a lousy option. On the other hand, the LG SteamVR sounds like a real winner. Of course I only have the Oculus at this point, but I’m very happy with it.

        • Tyriel

          I was talking about a personal experience trying those and not about the review (that btw it’s very good). I don’t know about the LG because I never tried it (and seems kind of a mirage from ages :P ), but this MR headsets are not even trying to be “premium” like an oculus or a vive, the Samsung will, let’s see.
          Anyway I can see more the future in a good inside out tracking than in cameras or lighthouses, but this is just my personal opinion.

          • Dave

            Inside out tracking is the way forward. Expect to see it in ‘all’ new headsets going forward apart from HTC… Thats why I was supprised HTC have invested so heavily in the lighthouses which look silly now. Coverage will improve, it’s just a case of adding more cameras (on the side) and better software but the mechanic is totally sound.

            Samsung specification do look good, what a pity you can’t buy it in europe which is daft as thats probably 50% of the market gone. Somebody as Samsung must be a complete idiot.

  • John Horn

    Not having support for Steam VR is a huge dealbreaker. In any case, a few more pixels does not make it “next gen” or “2nd gen.” I think the next gen will have to have eye tracking and foveated rendering. Only *after* they add that, can they in good conscience add higher resolutions. Foveated rendering is the one thing which will allow for much higher resolutions, due to the gains made towards performance.

    Until then, I would say that Samsung Odyssey is probably as close as you’re gonna get to 2nd gen. Looking forward to tests of it.

    • Caven

      That lack of SteamVR is only temporary. Microsoft and Valve are working to make the Mixed Reality headsets work with SteamVR.

    • Avatar Roku

      SteamVR support is already available to some people in preview. There is a video from Chad Carter on YouTube demoing SteamVR with Windows MR headset/controllers. It looks near complete and I’m guessing will be out to many people starting next month. I agree the Samsung headset looks great, I just wish it was lighter and that you could flip up the lens like all the other WMR headsets.

    • John Horn

      Yeah, I also wish Samsung Odyssey had flip-up. But if it’s comfortable enough, and sturdy enough when fastened.. the total package of it might very well be worth an upgrade from a Vive for me. The resolution is certainly a big step up.

    • Armando Tavares

      These will have Steam VR support before the end of the year…. < 2 months? So… what are you talking about?

      And a «few more pixels», even though not making these 2nd gen, do make a huge difference when you try to read stuff.

      These devices are aimed at a much broader use and audience. They wont be as good as Rift or Vive when it comes to gaming but in other stuff will be just as good or, in some cases, better (text related stuff comes to mind).

  • Hivemind9000

    Seems the only advantage these new headsets have over Oculus and Vive is inside-out tracking? Offset by the huge disadvantage of not having anywhere near the same amount of content. For the same price. Who would buy these?

    I think this is a real missed opportunity. Microsoft should have specified optical cameras as well (I mean they are cheap as chips thanks to mobile phones) to allow a broader ranges of applications (AR/true MR). Would have opened up the opportunity for new innovations (like dipping your head down to “see-through” to you actual hands, keyboard and mouse when you really need to). I bet Microsoft specifically disallowed this in order to protect their overpriced Hololens. Shame.

    • Avatar Roku

      Higher resolution + Inside-out tracking is a huge advantage in many scenarios. Being able to just take the headset anywhere and play VR games is something not possible with the other systems. When you consider portable gaming laptops and VR backpacks this inside-out tracking is a huge advancement over Rift/Vive. I agree about opening up the cameras to video as well. I imagine that is coming in future iterations in the coming years. Microsoft believes AR and VR will eventually merge at some point which is why they are thinking ahead and calling this Mixed Reality. It’s going to be interesting to see what direction MS goes in with the next HoloLens.

      • Hivemind9000

        Sure, I can see the advantages of inside-out tracking, but the lack of content (right now at least) is a big turn off. The resolution is higher, but not significantly so (I’ve experienced 1280×1440 per eye resolution and it didn’t really look much different to the Oculus – needs to be 2K per eye to really change the game).

        I tend to use my mobile phone for portable VR experiences, so I think the portability benefit of inside-out is marginal – though I’m sure there are use cases for some people (LAN/VR parties perhaps?).

        I just thought they needed something more innovative to really tip the buying decision (and to properly live up to the name Mixed Reality – right now they are confusing the market). I’m not sure how much appetite the general public will have for buying successive headsets if they drip-feed us innovations.

        • AmiRami

          Well remember these are gen 1 devices and marketwise VR is still very much in its infancy. There is time and space for Microsft to grow these as time goes on.

          • Hivemind9000

            For the VR industry we should really be in the gen 2 timeframe (it has been over a year since other Gen 1 consumer devices shipped). Microsoft came late to the mobile OS market, and failed to innovate significantly enough to win consumers. They are late(ish) to the VR market as well – so I was hoping/expecting they would do something a little more ground-breaking to gain a foothold in this market – especially given their work in AR with the Hololens. VR/AR/MR capability would really have made a big impact – to me at least. AR/MR is predicted to be as big, if not bigger than VR. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a headset where both/all were possible?

          • lovethetech

            Day 1, no eco system will have in 10000s.
            there is no BIG guy in VR. selling less than a million in 2 years, is early to market? Is it late?
            MS Content with 20,000 win apps.
            every thing had not be 3D.

        • Greg

          I own the Samsung with 1,440 x 1,600 per eye and I think the resolution bump is clearly a noticeable difference. I can read super fine text 6 feet out in space. I only wish the device had a longer cable.

      • AmiRami

        I can’t wait to get my hands on a consumer ready hololens one day

      • JoeCoder

        That’s funny that you can’t take Oculus anywhere since I take it everywhere. Takes about 3 minutes to set up in a new location. The biggest problem here, which makes these useless for me, is the weak controller tracking (and the terrible controller design).

        • Henk Janssens

          No it takes more time. Everybody knows that. Even Windows MR would have a hard time setting up in 3 minutes.
          I guess with a Windows MR set you’ll do the setup in 1 minute.
          It’s funny that you seem to find the need to defend your Rift though you already know a Windows MR headset is better in almost everything. Wait a couple of weeks or months and you will have a Windows MR headset too ;)

    • PrymeFactor

      Probably people who know that it’s getting SteamVR support in December?

      Dismissing the inside-out tracking as ‘the only advantage’ makes no sense. It’s a massive advantage for convenience, ease of use and portability.

      To call the developer edition of Hololens ‘overpriced’ shows a lack of understanding of tech.

      • Hivemind9000

        I didn’t dismiss inside out tracking, just stating its advantages are slim for the average consumer. Oculus requires one sensor on you desk – not that great a hassle to set up. These new headsets are still tethered so they still limit you somewhat. Sure, once they have SteamVR support it will even things out. I was merely stating it’s not a great step forward, just an incremental one that may not make much difference to the average consumer. It will be interesting to see how well these sell.

        I’ve been in this industry since the Oculus DK1, and I do understand tech. Currently the Hololens is not priced for the consumer (not by a long shot). It’s currently targeted at industry. These new headsets had the potential to bring an entry-level AR/MR platform into the consumer price bracket. I’m sure it will come, but wonder why they didn’t include such capability in this iteration of headsets (especially as it’s Microsoft’s big entry into this market space). Just seems like a missed opportunity, that’s all.

        And why do you have to be so salty in your comments? I’m just asking/discussing this out of interest.

        • indi01

          I agree, I think it was ok to launch VR hardware but they should have included some AR functionality, even some rudimentary hand tracking would have been enough.

    • Henk Janssens

      SteamVR is available now with early access. For everybody else it will be christmas time.

  • Avatar Roku

    I think MS will do fine in this space if they open Windows Mixed Reality up to Xbox One X next year and make all of the games and headsets cross compatible on PC and Xbox. Hopefully the Microsoft Store VR games will eventually all become Xbox Play Anywhere titles. It’s a real shame that Xbox One X wasn’t designed more with VR in mind. A simple HDMI-out on the front of the console would’ve made it perfect for adding all of these WMR headsets.

    • beestee

      I’ve pre-ordered the Samsung Odessey in anticipation of 2 things. I plan to buy a new laptop or tablet soon that can run it, and I have an Xbox One X pre-ordered also.

      I also wish Microsoft would be more forthcoming with info about VR support on the One X. I already have Rift, so I should be covered whichever direction they take, but it would be nice to know for sure.

  • flamaest

    Any word on the scratch resistance of the lenses? Rift lenses can scratch by just a quick sneeze. They are horribly not scratch resistant.

    • benz145

      This I did not test : P

      • Michael

        And be careful on testing that. I don’t think you want to ruin your toy. lol

    • Caven

      Does this still apply to CV1? I remember DK2 lenses being so infamously bad that a lot of people were putting screen protectors on the lenses. I decided to go that route and still managed to put a minor scratch on one lens while preparing to apply the screen protectors.

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      How does one scratch the lens?

    • Jad

      You sneeze with your eyes?

  • D3stroyah

    so many unnecessary comments.

    You should have stopped reading at “no ipd hardware adjustment and no mic”.
    These MR hmds deserve only one thing: shame.

    aaand i’m not even sure “mura” affects lcd..i bet they did totally nothing to fix it.

    • Fidel

      This! The one big advantage is voice control and they didnt include a mic?! Wtf…
      I think the summery should reflect more these crictical design flaws. It is not really in the Rift/Vive Market…

      • Michael

        It’s the Acer…. other HMDs have other options. lol

    • benz145

      When I say mura, I’m talking about brightness and color consistency from one pixel to the next.

    • Henk Janssens

      They all have software IPD adjustment. The Samsung has mic build in (and hardware IPD adjustment)

  • Lucidfeuer

    Baffling, more than a year after “consumer” version and 5 years after the original Oculus campaign, inside-out tracking is the only thing they’re capable of implementing to a product that is not even an actual practical pro/consumer yet and far from it?

  • Rook

    Was going to get a samsung one of these, Australias not getting them. And now looking at the review of this with the sweet spot being terrible and pinching nose / No IPD is a bad thing! All the rest I dont mind.

    I think ill stick with my DK2 for a while it still works just fine, till later on next year

    • Henk Janssens

      It has software IPD.

  • Anony Anonymous

    Somebody try it with linux!

  • theonlyrealconan

    There is no way I would recommend getting anything that still had a noticeable SDE or 110 or less FOV, this late in the game.

    • benz145

      There’s 0 VR headsets on the market today without noticeable SDE.

  • Superlong review, maybe the best I’ve ever read about this device! Thank you for writing it! It’s very interesting that christmas lights can ruin the controllers’ tracking ahah

  • Arkadius Brand

    Please stop comparing these new headsets to old Rift with LOW resolution and lots of other design problems (and very cheap build quality). Low resolution image and low quality lens is a deal braker when talking about Rift. I worked with Rift and know what I am talking about here. Even if they decide to sell Rift for 300 EUR it is not worth to buy it.

    • benz145

      If you think the Rift is poorly built next to the Acer headset/controllers, I find it hard to accept your claim that you know what you’re talking about with regards to the pros/cons of these two headsets.