The majority of Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headsets from partners like HP, Dell, and Lenovo, have already hit the market, but one Microsoft partner has been conspicuously absent: ASUS. The company is rectifying that today by making its headset, dubbed the ASUS Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 (yeah, pretty catchy), available to order for $429 (opens in new tab) (via The Verge).
ASUS's headset doesn't deviate much from the standard WMR formula. The headset features (opens in new tab) a 1440x1440 per-eye resolution, totaling 2880x1440 combined, with a 90Hz LCD panel. The field of view comes in at 95 degrees and the headset sports the same inside-out tracking as its WMR brethren, which means it doesn't require setting up any external sensors to track positioning.
Where ASUS's offering does set itself apart is in its design, which is eye-catching, to say the least. The front of the headset is made of a polygon-laden surface that looks neat but is likely to be polarizing. Compared to the other WMR headsets on the market, however, it definitely stands out.
ASUS's Windows Mixed Reality Headset HC102 isn't yet available on the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab), nor has it appeared on ASUS' own store (opens in new tab) for that matter. However, those in the U.S. can currently place orders at B&H Photo (opens in new tab), while those in the UK can order one at eBuyer for £429.99 (opens in new tab) (via TechRadar).
Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to email@example.com.
I honestly thought this was out already.
How do the motion tracking compare to the external sensors used with the Rift and Vive?
It is very reliable.
The only issue is under very dim lighting, which causes the sensors to have a hard time seeing the floor and walls. This can be prevented by having a lamp in the room.
Why would someone buy this model when almost all the other ones can be bought for less than $300 on Amazon these days?
They all have the same specs (except the Samsung headset).
Build quality's the big key. My reasoning, vs. all the competition: HP and Lenovo: There is no such thing as a price advantage with these companies. I will not buy from them under any circumstances. After HP's horrendous customer support and Lenovo's decision to sell computers to consumers with pre-installed adware, these two companies can jump in a lake...of fire. Acer: This is about build quality. Their device is ugly, cheap, and priced to fit that. If you're just interested in getting into the platform on a budget, it's fine. Me, I'm fine spending the $100-200 extra for something with better materials and comfort, which it sounds like the ASUS device really excels at. Dell: I mostly just hate the white plastic. It's hard to say that's worth a $140 upcharge from Dell to ASUS, but seeing as it's something of a long-term investment, I might be willing to pay the fee. That, and since the GPU market is such a nightmare these days, the price parity might be more tenable by the time I can actually find a video card worth buying. Samsung: Depending on when you're buying, this thing can cost as much, if not more, than the ASUS. What's more, its user guide explicitly states that it isn't glasses-friendly (though glasses wearers have said they get by fine with the Odyssey). I wear glasses, so if Samsung thinks I shouldn't use their device, I won't. Plus, the ASUS has better aesthetics, which is obviously just my opinion on the looks. I'll also note that the ASUS device seems to be the lightest of the bunch. It's stated weight is 14.1 ounces. Dell's Visor is listed at 20.8 oz. Samsung's Odyssey is listed at 22.7 oz. The Acer HMD is listed at 29.9 oz.
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