Varjo today announced its latest high-end headsets, the XR-3 and VR-3, with a range of improvements including an expanded field of view, inside-out tracking, and a redesigned headstrap. While still expensive and definitely aimed at large enterprises, the new headsets also get a significant price reduction compared to prior models.

As far as XR headsets go, Varjo’s are quite unique. The company’s headsets use two displays for each eye: a high-density ‘focus’ display at the center, and a larger ‘context’ display to fill out the field of view to immersive levels. The two displays are blended together nearly seamlessly, allowing the very center of the field of view to achieve retina resolution that’s unmatched by any other headset on the market.

The company’s new XR-3 and VR-3 headsets—available for order today and due to start shipping in January—are based on the same concept, but push it further still by expanding the field of view of both the focus display (such that a larger area of the screen is retina resolution) and the context display (for a larger peripheral field of view). At the same time as expanding the field of view, the company has also boosted pixels per-degree across the board.

Boosted Field of View & Resolution

Image courtesy Varjo

Compared to the company’s prior headsets, the XR-3 and VR-3 expand the FoV of the focus display (retina resolution area) from 26° × 16° (30.5° diagonal) to 27° × 27° (38° diagonal). At the same time, the focus display’s resolution is boosted from 62 pixels per-degree to 71 pixels per-degree, offering even finer resolving power (assuming your vision is sharp enough to appreciate it). From a resolution standpoint, the focus display is 1,920 × 1,920 @ 90Hz (compared to 1,920 × 1,080 previously).

As for the context display in the periphery, the field of view is boosted from 87° horizontal on Varjo’s prior headsets to 115° horizontal, the company says. And while the context display hasn’t yet crossed the retina resolution threshold of 60 PPD, it gets its own significant boost from 14 PPD to ~30 PPD. In terms of resolution, that’s an upgrade from 1,440 × 1,600 to 2,880 × 2,720 (both at 90Hz).

Through-the-lens photo | Image courtesy Varjo

If you haven’t had a chance to look through Varjo’s headsets, it’s difficult to appreciate what all these numbers mean. For a coarse idea of relative resolving power we can consider the megapixels of the displays as compared to consumer headsets:

Headset Megapixels per-eye
Rift DK1 0.5
Rift DK2 1.0
Rift CV1 1.3
Vive Pro 2.3
Rift S 1.8
Quest 2.3
Index 2.3
Quest 2 3.5
Reverb G2 4.7
Varjo XR-3/VR-3 9.7

That is to say: that’s Varjo’s headsets are far beyond anything in the consumer realm. And of course we’d hope so… given what they cost.

Lower Price (but still pricey)

Image courtesy Varjo

While Varjo’s new headsets aren’t cheap by any means, the company has managed to significantly drop the price despite boosting specs. Here’s the breakdown:

Headset Varjo VR-2 Pro Varjo VR-3 Varjo XR-1 Varjo XR-3
Purchase Price $6,000 $3,200 $10,000 $5,500
Support (annual, required) $1,000 $800 $1,000 $1,500
Total $7,000 $4,000 $11,000 $7,000

Both headsets are available for order starting today, with shipments expected to begin in January.

Eye-tracking, Automatic IPD, & More

Image courtesy Varjo

There’s no doubt these headsets are expensive, but Varjo is loading them full of premium features.

Like the company’s prior headsets, the XR-3 and VR-3 both feature 200Hz eye-tracking tech developed in-house, which the company claims is the “world’s fastest and most accurate” integrated eye-tracking solution. Eye-tracking is also used for foveated rendering and automatic IPD adjustment, allowing the bi-convex lenses (not Fresnel) to align themselves with the user’s eyes for optimal clarity and comfort. Both headsets also include hand-tracking from Ultraleap.

XR-3 and VR-3 see a brand new industrial and ergonomic design, reducing weight by 40%, according to Varjo. The new headstrap uses a halo-like design with tightening dials on both the back and top strap.

Both headset’s displays also now boast pro-level color reproduction with 99% sRGB and 93% DCI-P3 color gamut.

Continue on Page 2: XR-3 is Built for High-quality Mixed Reality »

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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."
  • TechPassion

    Good and bad. Good that some company does this and corporations will be happy to use it. The expense for corporations is not significant. Bad is only the price, for grunts like we here :)

    • James Cobalt

      If they could get the price down to $2k and cut out that mandatory subscription, I think they’d have a chance in the prosumer/developer/artist markets.

      • This is the Lamborghini/McLaren of XR – why would they be interested in “a chance” at being a Volvo, or even a BMW? I for one think it’s great that they’re pushing the high end without too much regard to cost constraints.

        • James Cobalt

          Wasn’t implying they need to cripple the product to reach a wider market. Luxury tech consumer brands like Tesla and Apple are able to offer product ranges that can accommodate the middle class as well as enterprise and the 1%ers. You can get a Mac Mini for $700 or a Mac Pro for $30,000; but everything in the line benefits from a shared platform. The thread that ties Varjo’s products together is the retina overlay.

  • wheeler

    Is this the “extremely cool” VR HMD that you recently tweeted about?

    • 3872Orcs

      Here’s the tweet for anyone curious:

      Saw some extremely cool VR hardware that I can’t talk about yet (sorry), but in the back of my mind it’s software/content that’s still holding things back the most. Feels like the days of pre-iPhone smartphones; they knew *something* was there, but the apps were pretty terrible.

      • Karen Buenrostro

        Get $192 hourly from Google!… Yes this is Authentic since I just got my first payout and has been really amazing because it had been the most significant quantity of $24413 in a week…(b9573)… It seems Appears Unbelievable but you won’t forgive yourself if you do not check it >>>> |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||

    • Bob

      There are rumors flying around that next year something big will be revealed for the VR industry but I’m not entirely sure Ben is alluding to this one.

      • wheeler

        Do you have any more details on this rumors?

      • James Cobalt

        Samsung said they were going to release multiple XR products this year, and their design patents linked for some interesting looking HMDs, but nothing came of it. Maybe next year they’ll hit us with curved OLED HMDs…

    • benz145

      Yes indeed.

      • Sven Viking

        Will you be posting full impressions at some point?

        • benz145

          As soon as I’m able : )

  • psuedonymous

    Mobile foveated region tech is still MIA. Not a surprise given lack of a demo system or a viable design for a compact active optic, but all emotion of the concept seems to have been scrubbed from their website too.

  • Banjo-K

    Un aggeggio del genere farebbe comodo a Sony come PSVR2, ma a prezzi popolari però, s’intende!

  • Ratm

    Nice, finally a halo update. Two sides remaining and we are there.