ASUS has revealed new details about its upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headset, including specifications and price--essentially everything except for timing.

Microsoft is gearing up for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, which will introduce the company’s virtual reality platform: Windows Mixed Reality. Leading up to IFA in Berlin, Microsoft invited journalists to test out the Windows MR motion controllers, which may have kick-started a chain reaction of announcements from Windows MR hardware partners. On Monday, Dell revealed its aptly named Visor HMD. Tuesday, Acer spoke briefly of its Windows Mixed Reality HMD, though it didn’t reveal anything we didn’t already know about the bright blue headset. And now today, ASUS played its mixed reality hand.

ASUS HC102 Windows Mixed Reality Headset Specifications
Display 2x LCD
Resolution 2880x1200 (combined)
1440x1440 (per eye)
Refresh Rate 90 Hz
FOV 95°
Sensors Gyroscope: 6 degrees of freedom tracking
Position Tracking Inside-Out Camera (x2)
Audio 3.5mm Audio Jack
Controls Microsoft Motion Controllers
Launch Price €449 (w/ Motion Controllers)

Unlike Dell, ASUS didn’t give its HMD a fancy name. It's simply the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset. It offers dual 1440 x 1440 pixel displays (for a total of 2880 x 1440) that operate at up to 90Hz. The HMD also includes the typical sensors you would expect, such as a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer. Microsoft’s Windows MR platform offers inside-out tracking (6DoF) systems that don’t require external cameras, and each Windows MR HMD features two front-facing cameras that provide spatial tracking for the unit. The ASUS headset also includes a proximity sensor. We’re not yet sure if that’s standard equipment for Windows MR headsets or a unique feature of the ASUS HMD.

ASUS said it focused on designing a headset that would offer good hygiene. Room-scale VR games get you up and moving, and it’s not uncommon to break a sweat while playing an active game. ASUS said that the face cushion on its Windows MR headset is made of a fast-drying material with an anti-bacterial coating on the surface.

The Windows MR platform is billed as a productivity platform as much as it is an entertainment platform. Microsoft sees a future where you’ll do your work within VR and then play games in VR with the same hardware. ASUS made sure that its headset is comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It features a “balanced crown” design, which takes the pressure off of your cheeks and nose and distributes the weight between your forehead and the back of your head. Also, the headset weighs less than 400g, so it should put minimal stress on your neck.

ASUS didn’t say when it would release the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset, though it said the hardware would sell with Microsoft’s motion controllers for €449. The company didn’t reveal the US price. Dell’s Visor headset is scheduled for an October release, and we imagine that ASUS would shoot for a similar launch window.

Kevin Carbotte contributed to this report

Source: ASUS

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  • cfenton - Thursday, August 31, 2017 - link

    Have you guys had a chance to use one of these things (from any brand)? No external cameras sounds cool, but can it provide the same level of tracking accuracy?
  • Mancave VR - Thursday, August 31, 2017 - link

    Yes and yes... though I have experienced tracking glitches they were no more no less then that of the Oculus Rift
  • PseudoKnight - Thursday, August 31, 2017 - link

    I'm also curious about the tracking accuracy. In the past inside-out tracking has been much worse, depending on the environment and especially without tracking markers. Reviews should also make note of the sensor shadows, particularly behind the user. There are many games that have features that utilize behind-the-back controls, and others that benefit from them. I imagine developers can work around this, though, if these catch on. However, people really seem to like grabbing, shielding, or shooting things outside their view. It creates world and hand persistence. Some have noted that the other sensors may be able to fill that gap with enough accuracy while the hand is temporarily out of view. We'll see.

    I'm also curious about the lenses. The resolution is higher, but I've heard the lenses are worse, leading to more distortion when looking off center and a more visible screen door effect.

    It's all about the reviews, ultimately.
  • edzieba - Friday, September 1, 2017 - link

    The tracking is going to be equivalent to or below Hololens, which puts it just below 'adequate' from my experience with the current crop of devices (Hololens, Rift, Vive). The Windows Mixed Reality HMDs lack the depth-sensing cameras of Hololens and rely purely on RGB and nIR optical cameras, so will have less robust tracking. Hololens' tracking is just barely adequate for it;s very low field of view (in all but the most carefully structure environments it there will be plenty of tracking 'judder' of objects intended to be locked in place in world-coords), so with the larger field of view of the Windows Mixed Reality HMDs I expect tracking to be below adequate unless you keep head movements slow and only operate in environments arranged to inside-out tracking (no moving objects, no repeating patterns, lots of clutter at multiple distances from the user for parallax, no bright light sources, no reflective surfaces).

    The lenses do not have any IPD adjustment, so you're back to the days of the DK1 & DK2 where unless your IPD happens to match the fixed lens separation, you will find it impossible to get both eyes in focus and undistorted at the same time.
  • wrkingclass_hero - Thursday, August 31, 2017 - link

    It's funny that they said that they focused on designing a headset that offers good hygene... I've heard reports of people getting herpes on their faces from wearing contaminated vr headsets at conventions/press events.
  • TesseractOrion - Saturday, September 2, 2017 - link

    Urban myth...

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