Best Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Windows Central 2020
Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) has evolved over the last couple of years and now has to offer some impressive hardware for PC-based VR. Our top pick overall is the Samsung HMD Odyssey+, a premium system made even better by a significant drop in price that puts it closer in line with some of the more budget-friendly options out there. If it's not quite what you're looking for, there are a couple of headsets from HP that will better appeal to those looking to spend as little as possible, and those who want the best possible picture and comfort.
Best Overall: Samsung HMD Odyssey+
Like the original Odyssey head-mounted display (HMD), the updated Odyssey+ features dual 3.5-inch AMOLED displays with a 90Hz refresh rate and 1440x1660 resolution in each eye, for a combined 2880x1600 picture. Samsung has cut down on screen-door effect (SDE) — the grid of lines you can sometimes see over the picture — with new technology that doubles the 616 pixels-per-inch (PPI) provided by the native resolution. It has a wide 110-degree field-of-view (FOV) that cuts down on the feeling of looking into a tunnel, and built-in AKG headphones on the headband up the immersion.
The Odyssey+ has been tweaked with a wider nose guard and eye box, ultimately giving your face more room and making it easier to wear for anyone with prescription frames. It's an overall comfortable fit, and the adjustable headband has ample padding on the inside ring to prevent discomfort during long play sessions. Physical interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustments are also possible thanks to a built-in dial.
Buying the Odyssey+ also nets you two Samsung motion controllers with custom grips that better fit the hand than standard controllers. Previously, the price of the Odyssey+ put it out of reach of a lot of people who didn't want to break the bank with a VR setup, but a recent price drop that seems to be sticking knocks more than 50% off the regular price. If you've been waiting to get in on WMR and want one of the best headsets possible, it's never been a better time.
- Dual AMOLED displays with combined 2880x1600 resolution
- Comfortable build with built-in audio
- Manual IPD adjustments possible
- Price has never been better
- 110-degree FOV and 90Hz refresh rate
- Still not the most budget-friendly HMD available
- Lower resolution than HP Reverb
High-end WMR at a great price
Thanks to a significant drop in price, the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is no doubt where most people will turn for WMR.
Best Upgrade: HP Reverb
The Reverb is HP's second go at a WMR headset, bringing some impressive specs that put it above all other options. It has dual 2.9-inch LCD displays, each with a 2160x2160 resolution. Combined, that's an impressive 4320x2160 resolution, well higher than what the Odyssey+ has to offer while still retaining a 90Hz refresh rate. The only issue here is that some might prefer the contrast AMOLED offers, but in our experience, the LCD technology delivers a stunning picture. FOV is also slightly wider at 114 degrees compared to our top pick.
Instead of the halo headband common with WMR hardware, the Reverb uses a strap system more akin to what was on the original HTC Vive. Adjustable support runs along the top and sides of the head, and built-in headphones (which are removable) are included. The Reverb is overall the most comfortable headset to wear, especially thanks to a weight of just 500 grams. Unfortunately, IPD adjustments are handled at the software level like the Oculus Rift S. For many people, this poses no problem, but if your pupils are further apart than what's within the set range, you'll no doubt experience discomfort.
So why isn't the HP Reverb our top overall pick if it beats out the Odyssey+ in so many ways? It's considerably more expensive — about $370 more after the recent Samsung price drop — and the added FOV and higher resolution don't look as appealing when you can save so much money. The Reverb is a great upgrade pick, but only if you have a wallet ready to take a significant hit. Included are two motion controllers for the full WMR experience.
- Wider 114-degree FOV with 90Hz refresh rate
- Dual 2.9-inch LCDs with combined 4320x2160 resolution
- Comfortable, light construction
- Built-in (removable) headphones
- Comparatively quite expensive
- No manual IPD adjustments
- Some might prefer AMOLED over LCD
Performance and style
If you want the absolute best WMR headset on the market and don't mind paying a premium price, go with the HP Reverb.
Best Budget: HP HMD
HP's first go at a WMR headset was many people's first foray into VR, and it's still a solid option if you'd like to spend as little as possible. It has a respectable combined 2880x1440 resolution (1440x1440 each) from dual 2.9-inch LCDs, with up to a 90Hz refresh rate to match our top picks. The FOV is lower at 95 degrees.
The HP HMD uses a halo headband support system with the adjustment knob on the back, and for the most part, it's comfortable to use for extended play periods. There's no built-in audio here, but you can connect your own headphones with the included 3.5mm audio jack. For those who like to check their surroundings or quickly hit a few keyboard keys, the display box is on a hinge so that you can quickly flip it up and down without messing up the overall fit. Unfortunately, there's no physical IPD adjustment option here. Like the Reverb, it's handled with software.
Despite its shortcomings compared to our top picks, HP's standard HMD still delivers access to all the same content, and each headset comes with two motion controllers. You won't get a lot of the higher-end perks, but you also won't pay nearly as much.
- Best price you'll find for a new WMR system
- Up to a 90Hz refresh rate
- Dual 2.9-inch LCDs with combined 2880x1440 resolution
- Flip-up hinge on HMD
- Lower 95-degree FOV and lower resolution than top picks
- No built-in audio
- No manual IPD adjustments
Low-cost WMR that delivers access to all the same content
Want to try our WMR in the most budget-friendly way possible? HP's standard HMD will be a good fit.
Thanks to a significant price drop that cut away more than half the regular cost, Samsung's HMD Odyssey+ is easy to recommend as our top pick. Its dual AMOLED displays have a combined 2880x1600 resolution and 90Hz refresh rate, and a 110-degree FOV ups immersion.
There's hardly any SDE for a clear picture, and IPD adjustments can be made with a physical dial instead of relying on limited software. It's comfortable to wear for long periods and includes built-in audio from AKG headphones. The HP Reverb, our upgrade pick, beats it in a lot of head-to-head spec comparisons, but considering it's well less than half the price, the Odyssey+ is what most people should aim to get their hands on.
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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