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This $449 ASUS Mixed Reality headset looks rather gorgeous

The ASUS Mixed Reality Headset sports an "digital industrial" design language, sporting an outer design comprised of 3D polygons. The headset itself comes with all the standard Windows Mixed Reality features, including front-facing cameras for spatial awareness and room tracking, and the Microsoft-approved controllers.

ASUS touted Windows Mixed Reality's ease of use when compared to the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, saying that set up takes only 10 minutes, and no external sensors are required. ASUS and Microsoft claims that there are already 20,000 Mixed Reality capable apps (native to the Universal Windows Platform), and the company re-affirmed that Mixed Reality will support SteamVR in the future, bringing a huge array of games to the platform.

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The ASUS headset comes with a 3K resolution and a 90 Hz refresh rate, with the aim of reducing motion sickness issues. It also comes with anti-bacterial fabrics for its headband to make headset sharing a little more hygienic, with quick-drying properties for easy cleaning. The visor can also be retracted upwards 90 degrees to make switching between Mixed Reality and old fashioned analog reality easy.

This certainly looks like one of the more impressive Mixed Reality headsets on the scene right now. At $449 dollars, it's priced slightly higher than the competing Oculus Rift, but quite a lot less than the HTC Vive.

Whether or not Microsoft actually follows through with Mixed Reality or abandons it in a couple of years remains to be seen, but with impressive support from PC OEMs across the board, it looks as though Redmond might have a fighting chance.

Keep it locked to Windows Central for all the latest coming out of IFA 2017.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • If that's what passes for gorgeous, then you have low standards.  That's no different the other dozen or so big, bulky, ugly goggles out there. The industry has a LONG way to go before "gorgeous".
  • You're not going outside in it so what does it really matter?
  • Sorry.
  • With Steam VR coming.. How will the VR experience be different from Rift or Vive?
  • Difference being you can "minimize" the game and get access to a HoloLens-like AR experience without taking the headset off or using something clunky like those VR desktops.
  • I don't understand how VR games will work with an AR headset, to me the two are mutually exclusive experiences! I agree with Jez, it's the best looking of the headsets so far.
  • This is a Mixed Reality headset. Inside, there will be a full VR experience, but it also lets you use Windows UWP apps as Holograms, like HoloLens, and maps out the real world within the virtual world. It's a bit of both. A VR app will be like playing a full screen video game, then you can basically minimize that game and sit in a virtual living room, that is mapped to the real world. In that mode it's like HoloLens, but cheaper, and without the letter box effect.
  • Thanks for explaining. I thought MR was the new name for AR, so I must've missed something. What's the benefit of having a VR headset in a world where MR headsets can do both? Assuming the 'full screen video game' you mention is the same experience as the VR experience Rift/Vive/PSVR gives.
  • Mixed Reality headsets basically work like this: When using VR, the two front cameras have their vision disabled so you cannot "see" the world around you, giving you a standard, fully immersed VR experience just like any other VR headset. That is how Steam VR and other VR software is possible. When using AR/Mixed Reality, the two front camera vision is enabled, allowing you to "see" the environment around you, giving you a headmounted Hololens like AR experience along with the additional sensors in the headset. A lot of people have the same misunderstaning of what the Mixed Reality headsets do and how they are basically advanced VR headsets with extra sensors and the ability to "see" through the visor to enable AR or Mixed Reality (utilizing extra sensors in the headset). Someone correct me if I am wrong but from everything that I have researched, this is what I have found out.    
  • It seems the first wave of headsets do not support video-stream-based augmented reality using stereoscopic cameras in front of the headset. The Cliff House is provided as a replacement to the real world available in HoloLens when using MR apps.
    The two sensors are not even exposed as cameras and might not even support RGB, they could be limited to room scanning and  peripherals positionning only.
    So for all purposes, these headsets are VR-only, with inside-out tracking. Gestures recognition could be supported later or not, and software see-through might not even be possible at all. The Windows Mixed Reality platform gets its name from the achitecture that allows it to handle both VR and AR/MR headsets. Basically the software works the same, and only adapts to the connected headset being see-through or occluded. This also means software that integrate into the real world (HoloLens-like) could instead integrate into the Cliff House desktop environment without any modification, and interacting with the provided VR environment instead of the real world mapped by the sensors. Later, you could be possible to have games expose their own virtual environments to other apps, making it possible to use other apps while gaming. For example, using Skype with the HoloLens features such as having the other party drawing on surfaces of your world, showing you how to do something within a game.
  • I just don't get it. Most of the people criticize VR Lenses based purely on their appearance. Something that looks pretty to someone may be ugly to the other. Wise people will look for the functionality not just looks.
  • Deus Ex vibe
  • Imagine if Microsoft opens up Hololens 2.0 and their wand controllers to OEMs like this? I would love to see OEMs compete on design and price with HoloLens-style devices. It would be cool if some of them were ARM and some of them Intel too, but all of them had the basic tracking, display, and HPU 2.0 specs. One design I would like to see is to move the batteries/HPU to a normal looking belt and run a thin power cable up under your shirt. That would take the weight and size out of the glasses and displace it to a less noticeable place.
  • I actually like the HoloLens design A LOT if only it's FoV wouldn't be like a fraction of a Vive/Rift ( though I wouldn't mind if it's price were a fraction of theirs ;D )
  • I see a lot of buzz about lower hardware requirements. In a game such as Elite Dangerous would the VR hardware requirements be the same or lower? If it's lower I'll preorder one!