Samsung appears to be developing a followup to its Odyssey VR headset which launched late last year. A ‘Samsung HMD Odyssey+’ sporting a new model number has appeared in FCC documentation, suggesting that the device is nearing a launch-ready state.

While Samsung has had a strong presence in the mobile VR space for many years thanks to its Gear VR headset, the company launched its first PC VR headset, the HMD Odyssey, back in November of 2017 as part of Microsoft’s Windows VR platform.

Now an improved version of the headset appears to be in the works. FCC documentation filed by Samsung reveals a headset called the HMD Odyssey+, sporting model number XE800ZBA (the original Odyssey is XE800ZAA).

A draft label shows the Odyssey+ name and model number | Image courtesy Samsung

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is tasked with certifying products with electromagnetic emissions to be safe and compatible with regulations. Products utilizing radio, WiFi, infrared, etc. need certification before they can be distributed for sale. Certification by the FCC marks one step closer to the launch of consumer electronics product.

Specifications found in the Odyssey+ documentation, which may not be final, don’t show any obvious major changes from the original model, with the Odyssey+ apparently featuring the same 1,440 × 1,600 resolution per eye and 110 degree field of view. However the display is indicated as ‘AMOLED+SFS’; it isn’t clear what SFS stands for in this case, and we haven’t seen that acronym used regarding the original headset. One guess is that it could be related to the ‘Anti SDE’ technology that Samsung has been working on.

The specs also mention ‘Wider Eye box, Wider Part of Nose, Anti-fog’, which may be the crux of the Odyssey+’s improvements, suggesting lenses with a larger ‘sweet spot’, a more comfortable nose opening, and features to reduce lens fogging. Indeed, a comparison of an image from the Odyssey+ documentation and the original Odyssey appears to show some differences in the headset’s nose area:

Some differences in the nose area can be seen between a diagram of the Odyssey+ (left) and original Odyssey (right) | Images courtesy Samsung

Interestingly, the Odyssey+ specs note platform support as ‘Windows MR / Steam VR’, while official specs of the original Odyssey don’t mention SteamVR at all. It’s most likely that this is simply a reference to the official Windows Mixed Reality plugin for SteamVR, which makes Windows VR headsets compatible with many SteamVR titles, but there’s a small chance that the Odyssey+ could offer native SteamVR compatibility out of the box.

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Aside from the publicly available documentation, Samsung, like many companies, has submitted a Confidentiality Request to keep the following FCC documents out of the public eye:

  • External photos
  • Internal photos
  • Test set-up photos
  • User manual

The original Odyssey headset has been critiqued for its hit-or-miss ergonomics, and it’s possible that there are changes to the fit and form of the Odyssey+ that aren’t reflected in the specs. We’ll have to wait and see. We’ve have reached out to Samsung for comment concerning the yet to be revealed headset.

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  • Oneben

    Love my Odyssey, but the fit is the trickiest part of it. Have to wear it crown style(not as designed) to fit my large head, and it can cause pressure and irritation to the nose. VERY happy to see them working on those flaws.

    • benz145

      I’ve had similar issues with it. I don’t envy headset designers — figuring out something that’s comfortable for such a wide range of potential head shapes and sizes, especially with the weight of VR headsets, must be an incredible challenge.

      • R FC

        This “+” could be the western fit model designed around larger head form, to suit the typically larger (wider face, larger volume) head / nose of western consumers?

        A number of other consumer products, typically sunglasses and cycle helmets, are manufactured in “asian fit” and “western fit” lines for this very purpose – Oakley sunglasses and Specialized helmets being two of the best examples.

        Hopefully, we will actually see the Odyssey in Europe this time around, there’s certainly a demand for this product as the lower tier WMR headsets do not have the manufacturing quality of Vive and Rift, and I will not buy a PC VR headset without physical IPD adjustment.

        Its possible for me to privately import one into the UK using an agent, but its a gamble buying electronics without warranty support.

  • Mythos88

    Very Interesting, the timing matches up well with that article in the Korean Times a few months ago that spoke about Samsung deepening their relationship with Microsoft and a new AR/VR hybrid headset in the works. The article said it would be revealed at the IFA conference in Berlin Aug 31 – Sep 6.

    • Dave

      What a load of BS. This is neither a AR/VR headset and doesn’t further the relationship with MS either. This is nothing more than a minor update to an existig headset. Don’t get me wrong I love Samsung and I’m very happy they are putting the effort in but when I read this article it sounded a lot more than what is was…

      • and may also be the reason why the Odyssey was never released in the EU and likely never will be. Though the + might.

      • Mythos88

        I didn’t say it was. I said the timing would fit nicely with the article form a few months ago about those things. Just hoping.

    • Mythos88

      After learning more of its specs, this headset is not the wireless, AR/VR hybrid but at least it shows Samsung is still committed to WMR so perhaps they did come to an agreement with Microsoft about continued support of the platform

  • JDawg

    Hopefully they can also provide a better solution to the poor Microsoft controller tracking.

    • AaronFroom

      I’ve never had an issue with my Dell visor tracking, it’s the worst of the big 3 solutions on PC, but it’s far from bad. And often is really very good.

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      Tracking done by camera’s built-in to the headset (inside-out) is the correct way to do it. They just need more camera’s. Which is why I was excited to see that the Santa Cruz Prototype had 4 camera’s (instead of 2) on it.

      • Alorwin

        I’d like to see one or two more cameras, personally, on the head-band.

      • kontis

        The correct way to do it is the controller having it’s own cameras and not relying on the HMD.

        • G-man

          yeah that will never work. at least not without at least a decade of huge advancements in camera technology. you move your hands way fast than your head. a small camera is just going to pick up nothing but a blur. even a dslr ends up with useless pictures if you are moving it at all. trackings hands by putting cameras in your hands is just not a good idea.

  • Diego Lopez

    steamvr 2.0 tracking hype

    • benz145

      It would be nice, but highly unlikely that this headset includes SteamVR Tracking. Nothing found yet implies that it would.

  • GordoSan

    Yeah, I don’t think that this is the AR/VR headset, but rather, just an update. It would be cool if VirtualLink makes the cut though.

  • prg4mer

    Wait I just got my Odyssey a week ago. Did I make a mistake?

    • GordoSan

      Well, if you got it at $399 or less, not really. I’m guessing this one will retail for $499, just as your model did when it launched. That’s just a well-researched guess though

      • prg4mer

        I live in europe and the Odyssey is not avalable here. I bought it used from someone for 515€ (588$) which is still below average price.

        • dsadas

          man int sucks to live outside of USA when it comes to tech. HTC vive is 1100$ in my country and oculus is 700$. For if we compare the salaries that will mean 5000$ for the vive and 3500$ for oculus.

          • Bruce Banner

            dsadas I guess it depends where you live, and if the price in your country is really higher than the US, or is it the USD converted to your country’s own currency. I’m in Canada.. Vive original is $700, Oculus Rift is $529, and Samsung Odyssey is $650. All 3 from a local Microsoft Store, and before tax. From Microsoft Store USA… Vive original is $500 ($650 CAD), Oculus Rift is $400 ($525 CAD), and Samsung Odyssey is $500 ($650 CAD). It works out to be pretty much the same after the conversion.

  • Brian Brown

    “but there’s a small chance that the Odyssey+ could offer native SteamVR compatibility out of the box”

    Please let this be the case.

  • Patrick Bradley

    Still waiting on these to see the Australian market. From what I can see they are a good cheaper alternative to the vive or rift.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      This one isn’t really cheaper than the rift, and not much cheaper compared to the vive.

      • nullptr

        Vive Pro: HMD only 749$ further acessories required
        Odyssey: 499$ often 399$ nothing else required

        Both headsets same resolution -> comparable generation.

        so why exactly do you think it isn´t much cheaper compared to the Vive?

  • dk

    also the mic and volume buttons position is changed and the whole thing doesn’t look like it’s wider at the front

  • Zerofool

    Would be nice if it features removable cable, in case you need to replace it, or potentially use it with wireless adapter further down the line.

    • Oneben

      It’s kind of crazy all WMR headsets don’t have a replaceable cable in the first place, as half the appeal of inside out tracking is portability and easy of set up. All that movement and the cable is the first thing to break down.

  • I like the idea that anti-fogging is becoming something important. I have to put a big fan on my face to help with that. In the world of First-Person Point of View Drone flying, there’s a company called Fat Shark that makes one of the best pairs of HMD’s, and a big feature there is a small fan and duct that pulls out built-up moisture.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Hopefully this one does make it to europe. But it’s still a shame it doesn’t seem to have a flip-up vizor as most of the other MR headsets have.

  • Graham

    Pleeeeease come to the UK this time!!!!!!

  • bill carson

    Not impressed unless resolution is improved .

  • I hope that will be sold outside US, too. The anti-fog concept is very interesting… maybe it will be something that will make the lens more warm so that to prevent fogging

  • jarjarplinks

    If they can virtually eliminate SDE then that’s the biggest deal for me. The expected solution is simply upping the resolution, but surely a less brute force method is better to mitigate the parallel expense of ever increasing GPU power.