Today at Computex 2017, the annual IT expo held in Taipei, Taiwan, Microsoft revealed more from their line-up of affordable Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ headsets, including Asus’ headset and an updated design from Dell.

While solid specs or pricing information aren’t available for either headset just yet, the company today revealed Asus’ headset which sports an interesting low-poly front cover panel. Microsoft says in their blogpost that the headset was designed with an ergonomically adjustable strap that can be adjusted with a single hand. The company further says that Asus is working with Microsoft to make the headset “fast, powerful, and ultra-light with a six degrees of freedom (DOF) tracked motion controller, for an incredible, immersive MR experience.”

The Windows 6 DOF motion controller was first announced at the company’s annual Build dev conference, and utilizes the headsets’ inside-out, positional tracking sensor tech.

image courtesy The Verge

Dell’s headset has undergone a noticeable change from when it was first publicly shown back at CES earlier this year, now featuring a remodeled front cover panel with indented sensor mounts and black head strap accents. Microsoft says the headset is designed by the same team that creates their premium XPS and Alienware PCs. The headset features cable routing, replaceable cushions and a halo-style headband with flip-up visor.

SEE ALSO
Windows VR Headsets Soon to Get Improved SteamVR Performance, New Home Environment

Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality (formerly called ‘Windows Holographic’) is the company’s immersive platform built on the foundation laid by their HoloLens AR headset. The platform features an operating environment—native to Windows 10 devices—that essentially allows compatible headsets to run any Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app. Microsoft says that a staggering 20,000 UWP apps are already available for Mixed Reality headsets. Compatible devices, first announced last December, include headsets from Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Chinese firm 3Glasses.

As for computer hardware specs, Microsoft and Intel have partnered on a platform specification for these headsets so they’ll be able to “scale across mainstream Intel architecture platforms natively on [Intel’s CPU-integrated] HD Graphics,” by the end of 2017. That means there’s no need for a high-end dedicated GPU like with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

Microsoft maintains that its Mixed Reality headsets will be available as early as holiday season. Acer ($299) and HP ($329) are now available for pre-order through the Microsoft Store for developers in the US (Acer, HP) and Canada (Acer, HP).

No concrete specifications have been published by either Dell or Asus regarding their respective headsets, although we wouldn’t be surprised if they look something like Acer and HP’s.

HP Headset Specs

  • Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
  • 2.89” diagonal display size (x2)
  • Front hinged display
  • Double padded headband and easy adjustment knob for all day comfort
  • 95 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
  • 4.00m/0.60m removable cable
  • Inside-out tracking
SEE ALSO
Acer Unveils New Business-friendly Windows VR Headset with Detachable Display

Acer Headset Specs

  • Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
  • 2.89” diagonal display size (x2)
  • Front hinged display
  • 95 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

Update 31/05/17 18:00ET: updated to include specs of HP and Acer headsets.

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  • Jim Cherry

    these may not raise the bar in terms of specs or experience but at least theyre trying to raise the bar in terms of aesthetics.

    • It will be interesting to see what other reputable Big brands come out with. I want to do my normal work in a MR world so anything that pushes the industry is good news.

    • Brent

      the resolution is higher than vive or oculus!

      • kontis

        And? LCDs always had better PPI than OLED and there are many HDMs with higher PPI than Vive and Rift, yet none of them are as good.

        It also doesn’t rise the bar, because there are already LCD HMDs with higher resolution than these Microsoft ones.

        • Brent

          We aren’t supposed to raise the bar! We are supposed to sell units!

      • Adrian Meredith

        So will the motion sickness! More than anything it’s the lack of pentile that will make the biggest difference

        • Andrew Jakobs

          Who says? Motion sickness hasn’t really got anything to do with the displays themselves, but rather with the crap lenses.. If you can’t correctly setup the lenses it will surely lead to motion sickness.. I have older VR headsets which have much lower resolution displays, much higher latency, but with some of them I can perfectly setup the lenses, and guess what… no motion sickness at all… and lack of pentile? the PSVR has RGB Oled instead of the pentile version the Vive/CV1 has, and that one looks perfect..

    • Joe Black

      And hopefully global availability. I’ve grown grey hairs waiting for Oculus and HTC to officially release in my country, but I can order a PS VR kit and have it delivered tomorrow, with limited warranty and all, if I cared to – A product released well after the Rift and Vive.

      Sony has sold over a million HMDs already because they released worldwide; While those yokels at HTC and Oculus are developing better head straps for their limited markets.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Well FOV° is a no-go, but the design is not unpractical and at least they’re trying…what should have been done a year ago. At this price I’ll probably order the one that stands out hoping they’re not all limited to the same specs.

    • Lucidfeuer

      @R2VR it’ll be great to display the base specs by the way:

      SPECIFICATIONS
      Two high-resolution liquid crystal displays at 1440 x 1440
      2.89” diagonal display size (x2)
      Front hinged display
      Double padded headband and easy adjustment knob for all day comfort
      95 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
      4.00m/0.60m removable cable
      Inside-out tracking

      • Raphael

        Really? It’s been a year and this is the best they can do? 1440 x 1440?
        95 FOV? really?
        90hz? we should be at 140 by now. We’ve had 90 for a year so obviously someone isn’t doing their job.

        • Master E

          I think this is also why there are boatloads of jobs in VR right now in companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple.

          And that’s just the big hitters

          There are definitly a lot of shoulds, but not the people, expertise, and money to go around to make it happen

          Since there finally seems to be financial gain available with this era of VR, we are only now starting to see companies apply resources to improve the tech.

          • Lucidfeuer

            I highly disagree. They are not searching for people, expertise and money, they have them all and simply do not want spend a dime making a product that will sell, not that they seem to realise it won’t because suddenly the market laws seems to have been suspended magically for VR.

            There are tons of solution available for all the compulsory missing component of VR (in fact these Microsoft headset are an example of how, OF COURSE, external see-through camera have always been an integral component of VR headset, like inside-out tracking, like AR, like hand-tracking, eye-tracking etc…), they just think that they can get away with selling shit following the same smartphone retention strategy for VR, except smartphone have been a real practical product since the first iPhone, no VR headset is yet.

          • Master E

            I like the cell phone analogy and that would explain their basic consumerism approach with lackluster hardware and missing components that should be standard.

            And I do agree that it’s not financially worthwhile (in general), but I do feel we’ve seen some sparks in the $$ return that are making it so that these big hitters are taking some sort of chance whereas smaller companies just can’t get it out fast enough.

            My basic reasoning for expertise is purely based on that I work in the Bay Area at a major company, and get to hear on a weekly basis the amount of job availability at various companies. Lot of people changing teams and also not knowing a solid $$ end goal and or plan to coordinate a team to get there in some cases.

            A matter of opinion. Though if you go on a job site such as “indeed” (one site) I haven’t seen this many jobs available in a field in a while. If there were strong enough teams or it was financially booming we’d probably see less opportunity.

        • NooYawker

          Well considering the price of these devices I think the specs are fine.

          • Caven

            I think what Raphael is getting at is that someone must have hacked Lucidfeuer’s Disqus account.;)

        • Buddydudeguy

          VR needs higher render quality and higher FOV. 90hz is absolutely fine. Do you even have a HMD? Why would you ask for 140hz?

          • Lucidfeuer

            Except for ghosting/shadowing, yeah it’s fine for now. FOV is not, at all, not as a spec but for humans.

        • Lucidfeuer

          Resolution: Ok. Latency: Ok. FOV: never was fucking okay since the DK1 (which had a 100° FOV) 4 years ago. So it was even more of a let-down for the CV1/Vive but again, poor that kool-aid as a shampoo over your head however you want the number speaks, rightfully so.

        • Brent

          It lowers cost! We need more consumable costs!

      • What you’ve qouted are specs from HP and Acer headsets. I wouldn’t be surprised if these are exactly the specs for both Asus and Dell headsets though. Either that or they’re very close.

        I will update to include this information, of course with the proviso that no official spec list has been published by Asus/Dell.

        Thanks!

        • Lucidfeuer

          Thanks. Yes I guess these are all base on the same standard specs which is a shame because it brings little differentiation further invalidating the fragmentation.

    • Raphael

      Have u noticed a tendency to say this or that should have been done a long time ago? Or the tendency to say this or that tech is available now and it’s being held back? You know… we should have had 8k per eye VR in 1990. It didn’t happen because people got lazy. We should have had Oculus DK2 10 years ago but that didn’t happen because drugs.

      Continuing on in this line of always bitching…

      “Well FOV° is a no-go” << good boy. FOV is utter pish.

      "but the design is not unpractical and at least they're trying.." << here u slip up. Should read: "we should have had this kind of design 5 years ago along with foveated rendering and 8k per eye.

      • Lucidfeuer

        It’s so funny to see you ramble with your limited worldviews and comprehension that makes you project very simplistic and caricatural views on arguments you don’t grasp. But I wish you the best buddy.

    • Brent

      how is it a nogo this is for consumers!

      • Lucidfeuer

        for humans, not just consumers.

        • Brent

          It lowers cost! The whole point is to push units!

          • Lucidfeuer

            If marketing was that easy…but as you know, you can’t push shit product no matter how much marketing you do.

    • Sponge Bob

      I predict they’ll suck as true “VR” headsets because of inferior head tracking

  • Casey

    “As for computer hardware specs, Microsoft and Intel have partnered on a platform specification for these headsets so they’ll be able to “scale across mainstream Intel architecture platforms natively on [Intel’s CPU-integrated] HD Graphics,” by the end of 2017. That means there’s no need for a high-end dedicated GPU like with the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.”

    … I don’t really get it. Does this mean that almost any computer can use these headsets?

    • J.C.

      It means don’t expect much from the experiences. These are NOT rivals to the Vive/Rift.

      • daveinpublic

        Which is probably why they have higher resolution than the Rift/Vive. They’re targeting productivity more than the others, and you can’t do anything productive with the current resolution. The graphics may not be quiet as good, but the resolution is higher plus the field of view is lower to increase pixel density.

        • Sponge Bob

          for productivity tracking is a must

      • Diego Cesaretti

        Yes they are… Regular people will buy this bundled in Walmarts… The content it’s going to come to this headsets even before than vive or Oculus remember my words.. Look at psvr… Best selling hmd… Lots of good content with even lower specs than this…

    • kontis

      No, it’s just a big giant pile of BS. These headsets will have HIGHER CPU requirements when running the same experiences/games, because the computer vision algorithms for SLAM-like markerless tracking are far, far more complex and resource intensive than Rift’s tracking and especially Vive’s tracking.

      But most journalists don’t care and just repeat that Microsoft’s BS.

      If IntelHD is enough to run MR Microsoft content then it will be even easier to run on the Rift/Vive.

      • Diego Cesaretti

        Well hololens does it pretty well with an atom inside… I don’t think that the tracking is that resource intensive…

        • Bryan Ischo

          Hololens tracking is not even close to good enough for VR though. Jitter or lost tracking on objects projected in the room won’t make you sick. Jitter and lost tracking on your own field of view will make you sick.

          • Diego Cesaretti

            Hololens is two years old, this has much improved tech inside, I’ve read a lot of hands on on this tech and no one has complained about the tracking, and also very few complains about hololens tracking out there… Don’t forget nor vive or rift have perfect tracking, both have issues..

          • Sponge Bob

            compared to inside-out both rift and vive have perfect tracking

        • Sponge Bob

          inside-out can’t compete with light house or even camera based. Period.
          it will translate to inferior VR experience
          that why they call it MR headsets

      • Sponge Bob

        The BIG question iI have is this:

        If you start walking somewhere inside a room, can you return to exact same place (to a few mm accuracy) with inside-out SLAM???
        Orientation is easy, but position in the middle of a room to mm accuracy ?
        I do not believe

        • Diego Cesaretti

          Why not? People talk about this issues like there’s a monkey solving it… Some of the best engenieers of the planet are working on this… Intel, Microsoft, Oculus itself is working on this and don’t be confused Oculus next device WILL HAVE INSIDE OUT TRACKING, if it’s good enough for advanced robotics and self driving cars it’s good enough for VR….

    • Adrian Meredith

      It uses a kind of hard coded foveated rendering in that only the very centre is full resolution the rest is very blurry. Also intel hd is only for the most basic of experience e.g. gear vr class vr

  • SharingIsCool
  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea
  • Jonathan Arnold

    Did I miss the part where these “mixed reality” headsets actually do mixed reality?

    • yexi

      It seems that now, ‘mixed reality’ mean ‘Environment scanned’.

      I find it strange too, but all big companies use it this way, so it will become the norm.

      • IMO any descriptor of reality should be from the human’s perspective, not the technology’s. It’s too bad they’re muddling terms and making what is already confusing to consumers even more so.

        • Agree with the name mess, I hate it too. I think they use the term “mixed reality” since their Windows 10 platform spans from augmented reality (HoloLens) to virtual reality (Dell & Acer headsets)

      • Jack H

        Same with “holographic” becoming the name for Microsoft augmented reality.

  • Ted Joseph

    I am loving VR currently, but the 100 deg FOV really pulls you out of the experience. I read articles daily waiting for a company to announce a 180 deg FOV (ala Starbreeze) type headset with inside out tracking. When this arrives, I will purchase the next gen headset. Cant wait for it!

    • Brent

      But how does that lower cost

  • Sponge Bob

    so can we put light house to garbage can… or not yet ???
    or oculus 2 or 3 cameras for that matter ???

    anyone really compared those with inside-out ???