SimulaVR, the startup behind its own open-source VR Linux distro, is creating a VR headset that aims to bring the full power of a PC to the standalone format. The powerful little standalone is definitely going to cost a pretty penny though, as it’s set to include a detachable compute unit featuring the guts of an Intel 11th gen NUC, which sports a Core i7 mobile processor.

It’s been about a month since we first learned about Simula One, a headset that’s squarely targeted at developers and people who want to use Linux natively on a virtual screen for work (re: not gamers or consumers). Now the company has released price and specs ahead of its Kickstarter campaign, which is slated to launch at some point this month.

Here’s are Simula One’s specs as they stand now:

  • Display: dual 2,448 x 2,448 per-eye LCDs at 90Hz, RGB stripe
  • Lenses: Triple-element non-Fresnel design
  • FOV: 100-degrees (estimated)
  • Sensors: Dual RGB cameras,
  • IPD range: 55 – 77 mm hardware adjustable
  • Ports: 1 USB4/Thunderbolt 4; 3-4 USB3.2 Gen 2 via USB-C with DisplayPort alt mode
  • Audio: 3.5mm jack, no microphone
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (4.70 GHz / 12M cache)
  • GPU: Integrated Iris XE Graphics
  • RAM: 16 GB (dual-channel)
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD

All of that PC hardware will come at a price though. Simula One is set to cost $2,799 for Kickstarter customers, which will then go up to $3,500 MSRP after the campaign has finished. Early birds will be able to snap up a limited number of headsets priced at $2,499.

With the Kickstarter campaign, SimulaVR hopes to raise $2.5 million, something SimulaVR founder George Singer says is the base amount the project needs in order to break even. While the initial ask of $2.5 million is undoubtedly large, the startup has presented a pretty convincing cost breakdown alongside a defense we simply don’t hear enough with these sorts of ambitious projects:

“We’ve noticed that other campaigns will sometimes target very small fundraising goals in order to easily beat them/not risk public failure. That is not the case with our campaign: it takes a higher amount of money to jumpstart an operation like this, and we’d rather be open & transparent with people about it up front.”

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Singer admits there is “a very real chance our Kickstarter campaign could fail,” which would force the company to either abandon Simula One or delay operations to search alterative funding though. We’ll just have to see how forgiving the Venn diagram of professional VR users and Linux devs are; Singer says the campaign needs to sell at least 892 units to break even.

Outside of the model mentioned above in the spec sheet, the campaign will also provide funding tiers for a tethered-only headset for consumers who want to provide their own computer, docking stations for office desks, and a more expensive headset made with finer materials.

There’s still no telling when the Kickstarter for Simula One will arrive. If you want to be notified right before it launches, you can subscribe to email updates here.

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  • mappo

    What possible reason is there to leave out the microphone and speakers?

    • Ad

      Didn’t see that, that’s kind of an issue since calls are important for productivity.

  • johnyjazz

    Iris XE is hardly the graphics you’d be happy with in a standalone PC

    • Hivemind9000

      They did say that they’re not targeting gamers, so perhaps it is enough?

      However, as a developer (on Windows and Linux) – which is who they say they’re targeting – I would hate to have this thing strapped to my face all day (would be interesting to see what the weight is like though). I really don’t think most people would use these for a work-based virtual desktop environment until the form factor and weight are something more like the nReal or maybe the new Panasonic VR glasses (whenever they will be released), while having Varjo-level resolution/FoV… (and we’re not quite there yet).

      • waetherman

        If they’re targeting it for work, it seems unnecessary to have such high on-board computing capability (with commensurate power requirements). I’d think it would be better to focus on a cloud-computing based system and leave the hardware as light and comfortable as possible.

  • VRFriend

    I wouldn’t pay more than 50 USD for this toy. Also, two front cameras is a joke in 2022.

    • The first part of the first sentence is stupid. The physical design does look a bit like a toy or at least like something from the ’70s, unfortunately. And I agree that any modern headset should have more than two cameras if anyone is to take the tracking seriously. Also for that price, it should have built-in speakers like those on the Valve Index and a mic imo.

  • brandon9271

    It’s looks like it was designed by Commodore in 1984. Lol Very retro design!

    • mappo

      The retro design is the best thing about it. I absolutely love it. It reminds me of the retro-futurism design in the Netflix show Maniac.

      • You are part of the problem. They have immediately designed themselves into a very small niche with a headset that looks like that. Despite what some people believe, how [expensive] hardware looks is actually important. The exact same headset specs inside a nicer shell would sell far more unit, and if they want to succeed then they can’t ignore these kinds of things.

        • MosBen

          But the headset is FOR a niche audience. This isn’t a headset that they’re trying to sell to a dad at Walmart looking for a cool birthday present for his kid. This is a headset targeted at Linux devs and for work, not games. They might be wrong, but I would guess that they believe that the retro look appeals to that niche.

          • Yes, but it’s now a niche of a niche. They’re not doing themselves any favours.

          • MosBen

            Or maybe their target audience likes that kind of design much more than the average consumer and they’re doing themselves lots of favors.

          • No

          • MosBen

            Says you. As I said previously, I suspect that Linux devs are probably overrepresented in the group that will enjoy the retro style, while others won’t care. The people who strongly oppose this look are probably not in the target market, or at least represent a small enough fraction that it doesn’t matter for a unit that’s not being produced in huge quantities to begin with.

    • And not is a good way, at least if they want it to see to more than a handful of 50 year olds.

      • david vincent

        So you’re the arbiter of taste around here…

        • Yes

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  • Ad

    I think this has a lot of value but I wish they could target a larger production run. That price is kind of crazy but if it could be half as much I think it would have a lot of potential. With the passthrough cameras and those displays it could be a pretty great use case. They’re building the OS around multiple displays by default, plus some extra functions like making a button on a little screen and pressing it with the leap motion hand tracking.

  • OK, that’s impressive power for a standalone, but dudes, it’s ugly. It looks like a white Tonka toy or something. You need to get someone in who knows good looking hardware design. I mean, maybe you’re those people who deny that how hardware looks is important, but you’d be wrong.

    • MosBen

      It looks like something out of the 70s intentionally. Many people like the retro look, and frankly I’d imaging that Linux devs are overrepresented in that group.

  • Interesting, but expensive. Anyway, I appreciate the honesty they have in describing their campaign

    • XRC

      Hardware is crazy expensive, the funds they aim to raise, very similar number as my abandoned controller project.

  • xyzs

    Wow the price and the fund they want are REALLY not shy. They will never succeed.
    It’s a shame, I thought they were more humble.

  • Jistuce

    Another insightful post full of intelligent content. Very proud of you.

  • Sofian

    The ugliest thing I ve seen in a long time, are the holes in the corners cameras or screws?

  • Chris

    We’re a few months away from the industry beginning its transition to pancake lenses+ microdisplays. From here on, any premium VR product shipping without pancake lenses + microdisplays is dead in the water. These headsets can be half the size as traditional VR lens systems.

  • ZarathustraDK

    People giving the design shit like strapping a Louis Vuitton box to your head would make you look any less like a spastic monkey playing Beat Saber. Function over form, people.

  • Keith James

    Looks uncomfortable…