Black Friday is nearly here, and while the stores are soon to be jam-packed with people hoping to get a great deal on this year’s must-buys, online sales have already begun for the newest entries into the world of VR hardware. Microsoft’s Windows “Mixed Reality” headsets are now on sale for up to $100, bringing the cheapest among them to just $300.

The sale is going on until 11:59 PM PST on November 27, 2017 (your local time), and is only available in Microsoft retail and online store in the US and Canada. The deal includes both the headset and wireless motion controllers.

Besides the Samsung Odyssey, which features higher resolution displays and integrated audio from AKG, every headset listed above is basically the same in terms of specs, save a few ergonomic and aesthetic differences. We’ve listed the basic specs and also Samsung Odyssey specs at the bottom of the article.

Image courtesy Microsoft

What sets these apart from other VR headsets on the market though is the ability to do inside-out positional tracking, which means you don’t have to put up sensors or basestations to have a room-scale VR experience. Not only that, but Microsoft says the headsets work on integrated graphics cards, albeit for less intense functions like using your standard Windows-flavored productivity tools, or watching a video in your own private cinema.

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If you’re looking to use the headset for gaming though, you’re in luck. Microsoft recently pushed support for SteamVR compatibility, so you can buy and play VR games from VR’s largest digital marketplace, Steam. Remember, you’ll need a sufficiently powerful computer to run more graphically intensive applications though, so you might want to at very least have a computer that meets these specs published by Microsoft.

Oh, and don’t be confused by the “Mixed Reality” naming scheme. These are definitely VR headsets with no appreciative use for augmented reality (AR) like the company’s HoloLens headset.

from left to right: Lenovo, Acer, Dell, HP – image courtesy Microsoft

Basic Headset Specs

  • Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
  • 2.89” diagonal display size (x2)
  • Front hinged display, so you can flip the headset up while working
  • Up to 105 degrees horizontal field of view
  • Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz (native)
  • Built-in audio out and microphone support through 3.5mm jack
  • Single cable with HDMI 2.0 (display) and USB 3.0 (data) for connectivity
  • Inside-out tracking
  • 4.00m cable

Samsung Odyssey Specs

  • Resolution: 2880 x 1600
  • Display: AMOLED
  • Refresh rate: Up to 90Hz
  • Field of view: Up to 110˚
  • Integrated AKG headphones and dual array mics
Image courtesy Samsung

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  • CYBΞRNΔUŦ

    Personally, I would go with the Lenovo. From what I’ve seen it has the best reviews, and it is the least expensive.

    • Lucidfeuer

      Doesn’t seem coherent.

    • dk

      either that or the samsung ……there isn’t a real difference between the lenovo and the other cheap ones

  • Mythos88

    Will have to call Microsoft to get my Samsung Odyssey partially refunded.

    • Evgeni Zharsky

      ok

    • You do that.

      • Mythos88

        it was a tip to others to let them know they can do that. Not everyone knows

  • Ombra Alberto

    Big price battle. I expect Oculus to lower the price by another $ 50 in the coming weeks.

    • David Herrington

      You may be correct, but since they already lowered their price, I wouldn’t expect them to have another price drop in the next coming weeks as this would say, “Microsoft’s pricing directly affects our pricing.” Which of course they don’t want insinuate.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Don’t count on it, maybe for black Friday and cybermonday only..

  • q23main

    Whoah! Nice pricing on the Lenovo one! Shame MS doesn’t care for VR in my region of Europe at all…

    • Armando Tavares

      Europe will come third I guess. 1.US/Canada/UK, 2.Japan/Korea/China, 3. Mainland Europe.

      Depending on how well they sell, you’ll probably have to wait, like, 2 years before you see any of these at a local retailer. Still didn’t happen for Oculus/Vive though….. but, in Win MR’s case, we’re dealing with hardware retailing monsters.

      Maybe by then, you get a nice price drop.

      • Mythos88

        There were MR headsets for sale in Europe from the beginning

        • Armando Tavares

          I’m talking about «local retail». I’m talking about getting out of your home, take a short drive and pick one up. Tell me where…

  • NooYawker

    These things will probably outsell the Vive or Rift because there’s no sensor setup involved and it’s priced to move. But I think a lot of people are going to realize their laptop or family PC won’t run it.

    • I would agree that anything less than a i5 Kaby Lake with Iris 620 does not run very well. The good thing is an i3 system with a GTX1050 (or AMD equivalent) runs most UWP VR apps really well. Sadly, SteamVR/MSXR still needs a 1060 or better.

  • beldron

    Please make a review of the Odyssey!

    I’d like to know if the downside of incomplete inside out tracking can be outvalued by the better screen FOV and resolution, when compared to a Vive.