At Microsoft’s IFA 2017 Keynote in Berlin they finally announced when the first Windows Mixed Reality branded VR HMDs would be released. That date is October 17th, the same day the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update becomes available. These Windows Mixed Reality headsets are currently only confirmed for PC, but hopefully it won’t be too long before Microsoft announce VR/MR for at least Xbox One X.
You can watch the Windows Mixed Reality parts of the keynote above, which includes confirmation that the VR HMDs do in fact use some of the next-generation Kinect technology from HoloLens. Sensors are embedded in the HMDs that enable the inside-out tracking by scanning the environment around you as you move and look around which tracks the movement and position in 3D space of your head. They also track the motion controllers which have lots of little white LEDs on them as tracking markers. Both the HMD and the motion controllers also have IMU chips to enhance the tracking accuracy.
The HMDs have two 1440 x 1440 LCD screens, athough it’s possible some of them now or in the future could use OLED screens. This gives them a total resolution of 2880 x 1440, which is considered 3K. They can run at both 60Hz (60fps) and 90Hz (90fps) depending on the specs of your PC or laptop. The FOV (field of view) for at least some of them is 105 degrees, but I noticed that the retailer PC World has both the Dell Visor and Lenovo Explorer listed as having 110 degrees.
As mentioned previously, instead of making the VR HMDs themselves, Microsoft has licensed the technology to other companies but they will all be branded “Windows Mixed Reality”. They will be available both with and without motion controllers, but I would advise buying a bundle with motion controllers as most games and apps will require them and it’s far more immersive using them. There will still be games and apps that require a joypad or keyboard and mouse though. The bundles with the motion controllers will cost between £399.99 (UK) / $399 (US) and £429 (UK) / $449 (US) depending on which make you buy. If you just buy a VR HMD without the motion controllers they are £100 / $100 less and presumably you can buy the motion controllers separately for that amount. The VR HMDs announced so far are:
Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset
£TBA (UK) / $399 (US) with motion controllers.
ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset
£TBA (UK) / $449 (US) with motion controllers
£429.99 (UK) / $449 (US) with motion controllers
HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset
£TBA (UK) / $429 (US) with motion controllers
£399.99 (UK) / $449 (US) with motion controllers
Although Windows Mixed Reality VR requires lower specs than other VR systems it still requires a decent PC or laptop. Plus if you want to run the HMDs at 90Hz instead of 60Hz you’ll need a quad-core CPU and a GPU with HDMI 2.0 or Display Port 1.2. Here are the minimum requirements:
You can also download this free Windows Mixed Reality PC Check tool to see if your system can run Windows Mixed Reality: https://www.microsoft.com/store/p/windows-mixed-reality-pc-check/9nzvl19n7cnc
Are you planning on getting a Windows Mixed Reality VR HMD? If so which one do you like the look of the most? Or are you going to wait and see if Microsoft either announces that these will support Xbox One X (and possibly standard Xbox Ones?) or makes an Xbox version? Let us know in the comments below or create a discussion in our (PC) Windows Mixed Reality VR General forum.