There’s no doubt about it: Asus’ Windows Mixed Reality headset looks badass.
Its polygonal front face plate makes the headset look much higher end than other Windows MR offerings, but it also has thoughtful details for comfort and ease of use as well as surprisingly good performance.
Shown at IFA in Berlin starting September 1, the Asus MR headset will not be released October 17 alongside many other Windows headsets. Instead, the release date has been pushed back to the spring of 2018.
Windows MR headsets also include options from Acer ($299), HP ($329), Dell ($349.99) and Lenovo ($350). Although a U.S. price for the Asus headset has yet to be announced, the European price will be €449. So, the U.S. price is likely around $500, including the motion controllers.
Although the headset from Asus looks different from the other models, many of its internal specs are the same:
- 2.89-inch diagonal display size, x2
- Two high-resolution 1440×1440 liquid crystal displays
- Display refresh rate up to 90 Hz
- 95 degrees horizontal field of view
- 3.5mm jack for microphone support and built-in audio out
Like other Windows MR headsets, the Asus headset will feature inside-out tracking, rather than external sensors, by utilizing two cameras located on the headset.
Inside out tracking makes it a bit easier to move around a space (though you will still be tethered via a single cable with HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 inputs for display and data connectivity), as well as cheaper than the additional tracking gear required by the Vive and Rift. Although there’s some fear that inside-out tracking may limit the user’s range of identifiable motion, with the Asus headset and controllers, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The front-mounted cameras on the headset will be able to locate the headset’s Microsoft-designed motion controllers via the halo of 32 small LEDs located on the controllers. Although the controllers’ form factor is similar to Rift and Vive controllers with joysticks and triggers on each controller, they also feature a touchpad and windows key.
The Asus headset will also have a crown design to mitigate “VR Face” and a front hinged display for easily flipping up the headset to view the real world without removing the crown. It will also have a quick-drying anti-bacterial face pad to make use a bit more comfortable and sharing a little less gross.
The Asus headset also feels a bit lighter than its competitors, weighing about 400 grams.
All of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets will require a PC running Windows 10 (with compatible PCs starting for as little as $499).