Best Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Windows Central 2019

Windows Mixed Reality has been evolving over the years and now offers some excellent choice for PCVR. While our top pick is the Samsung Odyssey+ due to the balance of price and quality, there are headsets from manufacturers like HP and Lenovo that add even more to the market.

Best Overall: Samsung Odyssey+

The Samsung Odyssey+ has the highest-resolution display of all WMR headsets, its field of view (FOV) is matched only by the Dell visor, and it has the standard maximum refresh rate of 90Hz. It also uses AMOLED technology rather than LCD for better contrast and color.

The headset has a lot in common with others, like the Oculus Rift, thanks to a svelte black finish and the adjustable halo headband that allows you to get a comfortable fit quickly. Unlike other headsets, however, the Odyssey+ features built-in AKG headphones, meaning you no longer have to deal with the extra cable and bulk of your own solution.

The Odyssey+ improves on the original Odyssey's design by adding "Anit-SDE Technology" that nearly eradicates the screen door effect, which is the fine-grain you see in your FOV when using most VR headsets. It's especially visible when the screen is black or very dark and can cause some severe eye strain since your eye is trying to focus on it instead of what's happening on screen.

Pros:

  • Almost no screen door effect
  • Wider headset for comfort
  • Great for glasses
  • Sleek black design

Cons:

  • Fingerprint magnet

The best of the best

Samsung Odyssey+

The upgrades from the former best make this the new best

The Odyssey+ dominates over every other WMR console thanks to all the tweaks Samsung made to the original Odyssey, which all but erases the screen door effect.

Best Value: HP WMR

The HP WMR, like a lot of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets, follows a specific pattern in its design and functionality. It really doesn't steer away from Microsoft's overall blueprint for what it says WMR headsets should be like, so while it's a boring option, it's not terrible. The Charcoal color hides a multitude of design ugliness, and the head strap is at least well made and comfortable.

While it may not be the nicest thing to look at, the HP ticks all the right boxes in terms of usability and cost — most importantly cost. One of the biggest barriers to VR gaming is the price of the headsets and the HP makes VR gaming a possible reality for a lot more people, as long as they can afford a PC.

Of the headsets I have used that don't have the overhead strap, the HP is one of the nicest. The padding is extremely thick so it has very little outside light bleed, and the ratchet strap actually feels completely secure.

The only issue with the padding is the thickness can cause the headset to fog over, making playing in any warm environment pretty darn sweaty. I recommend you keep a window open with a bit of breeze if you can to help mitigate this issue.

Pros:

  • Extremely cheap
  • Ratchet head strap
  • Simple setup

Cons:

  • Creaky plastic

Best Value

HP WMR

This cheapest entry in WMR

The HP Windows Mixed Reality headset is the cheapest headset around. It's similar to almost all the other headsets on this list except the Odyssey+, so it's perfectly fine to go for the least expensive.

Best Lenovo HMD: Lenovo Explorer

Lenovo has a reputation for making solid electronics and its Windows Mixed Reality headset is no exception. It weighs just 360 grams (12.5oz) since it's made from durable plastics and almost nothing else. When coupled with a well-balanced strap, it feels almost like wearing a pair of headphones, not a bulky VR headset. You can easily spend hours with them on without the neck fatigue sometimes gained from VR.

The only slight worry with the Explorer is how thin the face casket feels. As the main contact point with your body, it should really be a quality piece and unfortunately, it doesn't live up to expectations. There are however replacement, third-party versions that you can purchase, so it's a small problem overall.

The Lenovo is a good all-around headset and of course, if you own a Lenovo PC then having the Explorer just makes sense. Why not get a matching set?

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Good balance

Cons:

  • The foam feels a little thin.

Best Lenovo HMD

Lenovo Explorer

One of the lightest headsets you can wear

The Lenovo Explorer is a paired down, lightweight version of a WMR headset. This makes it a joy to have on your face — it doesn't weigh you down in the way a lot of headsets can.

Best Acer HMD: Acer WMR

The quality, shape, and internal specs are basically uniform across the Windows Mixed Reality headset range. If you buy a Lenovo, the HP, or this Acer model, you're essentially getting the exact same device, just with little tweaks to the design.

Acer went with a striking Blue color that I love, with an angular accent that reminds me of sports cars from the 1980s. When you attach awesome googly eyes to it, as we did, you end up with a really cool looking device.

I didn't really like the strap on the Acer though. Something about the positioning or the lack of weight at the back made it feel really front heavy. It started to feel ungainly very quickly when I was using for physical activities.

However, if you want to stick with the Acer ecosystem and want a headset that looks different than the rest, then you should check this out.

Pros:

  • Blue!
  • Easy to attach googly eyes
  • Removable face foam

Cons:

  • Unbalanced

Best Acer HMD

Acer WMR

Googly eyes are a winner

With its angular design and striking color, the Acer WMR is a good choice for those who want to stand out. It felt a little front heavy to me, but for shorter sessions, it's perfectly good.

Best HP HMD: HP Reverb

While HP makes one of the best value WMR headsets, it also make a high-end HMD that is perhaps one of the best we have seen. With a per-eye resolution of 2160x2160 software looks fantastic, and the new lens design — it's now squared off rather than round — increases your Field of View and reduces the blurring effect you get from the rounder lenses.

The entire body of the Reverb has been remade, making it a far nicer looking HMD than even the Odyssey+, with a premium cloth finish and a really nice over-the-head strap. HP has even thought about the users who like to use their own headphones by allowing room under the strap for overhead cans. This is huge, as immersion makes VR great, and having a bad headphone setup becomes uncomfortable quick.

The new design has removed the flip-up design of other WMR headsets but with the new peek feature that is available from WMR — peek allows you to look through the headset cameras to see the outside world — having the flip up design is less important.

Honestly, the only reason the HP Reverb is not our best overall is the price. At $650 it is far and away the most expensive WMR we've seen. It is a premium product, designed for prosumers and enterprise applications, but it's a little pricey for the average user.

Pros:

  • Striking design
  • Room for headphones underneath
  • Good balance
  • Excellent Field of View

Cons:

  • Higher cost.
  • Doesn't flip up

Best HP HMD

HP Reverb (2019)

Super comfortable, super HD

HP's Reverb headset is designed for professional environments but also for prosumers and addicts of WMR. The high resolution and refresh rates deliver an exciting VR experience for only slightly more money than the first-generation headsets.

Best Dell HMD: Dell Visor

The Dell Visor is one of the nicer looking headsets in the Mixed Reality range. Using the same kind of glossy plastic that makes the Samsung Odyssey stand out — the Visor opts for white instead of black — the Dell feels more premium than other HMDs. I think it's an excellent look.

One little design consideration that I enjoy is the removal of the padding on the side of the Visor. Because there is a sizeable gap there is room to put a pair of headphones under the strap instead of over it. This makes it far easier to have immersive sound and have a comfortable headset at the same time.

Of course, the lack of padding can cause a little slippage if you are playing over long periods of time, so you may need to adjust it every now and then, but it doesn't happen enough to be unmanageable.

Pros:

-Premium quality components -Room for headphones

Cons:

  • Can slide down your face a little

Best Dell HMD

Dell Visor

A cut above

The Dell Visor proves that Windows Mixed Reality doesn't have to look exactly the same, every time. Its striking shape and color make it worth the extra few dollars. Plus, there's a gap so you can use your own headphones.

Bottom line

By creating a headset that pretty much fixes one of the worst issues in modern VR, the Samsung Odyssey+ has elevated itself to the best Windows Mixed Reality headset you can buy on the market right now. No screen door is a huge deal and makes it well worth the price.

The new HP Reverb is a fantastic device as well, the only thing letting it down is the price. If you can afford to splash out on the Reverb though, you probably should.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

James Bricknell has loved Virtual Reality since before the Lawnmower Man. He can normally be found deep in the Rec Room or killing blocks in Beat Saber

Cale Hunt is our resident VR expert. If you want to know about it Cale has done it. For hours. In four different headsets.

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