There are now five Windows Mixed Reality HMDs ready for pre-order ahead of the October 17 launch of the Windows Fall Creators Update, and you’ll notice a certain amount of parity between them all. This is on purpose; Microsoft is applying the same paradigm to these headsets as we’ve seen on PCs for many years. That is, you build a platform with a range of specifications, and various OEMs build their own hardware on that platform within that range.
There are, in fact, just a few differences within the Windows Mixed Reality platform that may inform which headset you end up buying. Below is a handy chart comparing the specs of all six HMDs. (Note that the Asus HMD is the only one not yet ready for preorder, but we've included it here because we know some details about it.)
Note that we’re still awaiting full specifications, so there are some blank cells below. We’ll add more information as it becomes available.
|Display Res||2880 x 1440 (1440 x 1440 per eye)||2880 x 1440 (1440 x 1440 per eye)||2880 x 1440 (1440 x 1440 per eye)||2880 x 1440 (1440 x 1440 per eye)||2880 x 1440 (1440 x 1440 per eye)||2880 x 1600 (1440 x 1600 per eye)|
|Refresh Rate||Up to 90 Hz||Up to 90 Hz||Up to 90 Hz||--||Up to 90 Hz||Up to 90 Hz|
|FoV||95 degrees||95 degrees||110 degrees||95 degrees||105 degrees||110 degrees|
|Audio||3.5mm Combo Jack||3.5mm Combo Jack||--||3.5mm Combo Jack||3.5mm Combo Jack|
-Built-in spatial AKG headphones
|Tracking||6DoF, Inside out||6DoF, Inside out||6DoF, Inside out||6DoF, Inside out||6DoF, Inside out||6DoF, Inside out|
-Cable is 4m
|--||2-in-1 HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 cable||2-in-1 HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 cable||2-in-1 HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0 cable|
-Magnetometer -Proximity Sensor
-Magnetometer -Proximity Sensor
|Dimensions||195.8 x 94.8 x 106.59mm||--||210 x 330mm (W x L)||127.8 x 338.8 x 176mm||--||202 x 131 x 111mm (WxDxH)|
|OS Support||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update||Windows 10 Fall Creators Update|
|Misc.||Bundled with 2 motion controllers||-Bundled with 2 motion controllers|
-Face cushion has fast-drying, antibacterial coating
|Option to bundle with 2 motion controllers||Bundled with 2 motion controllers||-Option to bundle with 2 motion controllers|
-Cortana voice control
-Keyboard and mouse input support
|Bundled with 2 motion controllers|
|Availability||Oct 17||Unannounced||Oct 17||Oct 17||Oct 17||Nov 6|
Note that all of these HMDs have the same display resolution and (maximum), refresh rate, and display type--except for the Samsung Odyssey, which has a superior resolution 2880 x 1600 (1440 x 1600 per eye) and an AMOLED display instead of an LCD. It also ties Dell for the best FoV, at 110 degrees, compared to most of the other devices’ 95 degrees. The Lenovo Explorer isn’t far behind, though, at 105 degrees FoV.
The devices are slightly different sizes and weights, too, so if those aspects of your preferred HMD are of concern, you may want to take a look at those differences. Of particular note is the HP HMD, which tops the scales at 834.6g, which is more than twice the weight of some of the other models. The Samsung Odyssey is (so far) the second heaviest, weighing in at 645g.
Only the Dell Visor is available either in a bundle with a pair of Windows Mixed Reality motion controllers or as just a base HMD. This is an intriguing move, because we’ve demoed a number of WMR experiences using an Xbox controller, and although the motion controllers are superior for many uses, the Xbox controller is not a bad input tool. It will just significantly limit what you can do with an HMD.
The table above shows that the Lenovo Explorer supports not just the motion controllers and an Xbox controller, but keyboard/mouse input and Cortana-powered voice commands. We're unsure at this time which (if any) of the other HMDs offer the same. We suspect that some do.
Of course, when you get down to it, you’re going to be looking at price concerns. Surprisingly, there’s a big of price disparity here. The Acer and Lenovo HMDs look to be the best value, at $400. The Samsung device is a full $100 more expensive, at $500, which is presumably a markup because of the display and higher-quality audio setup.
The Dell and HP headsets split the difference at $450 each, although the base Dell Visor is the least expensive way you can get into a Windows MR headset at $350.
You can also pick up a pair of the motion controllers separately for $100.