Skip to main content

Razer OSVR Hacker Developer Kit 1.4 Review

The Razer OSVR HDK 1.4 offers VR on a budget. The HMD features a lower resolution than the typical VR systems, which lowers the GPU requirements for VR gaming, but can a 60Hz 1080p display really deliver a compelling VR experience?

Health, Safety & Maintenance

Health & Safety Warnings

OSVR packs its user guide with warnings that are similar to what Oculus says about the Rift. In short, the HMD shouldn’t be used by anyone with a history of epileptic seizure or blackouts. You should also avoid it if you habitually suffer from severe dizziness or motion sickness while watching TV or playing certain games. Consult your doctor before using the hardware if you are pregnant or elderly, and especially if you suffer from a heart condition.

OSVR takes the same approach to kids as Oculus, too. Children under the age of 13 shouldn’t use the OSVR HMD because it can purportedly affect their development. And no matter your age, you should be regulating your usage and taking regular breaks. It's just especially important for the young ones.

The OSVR HMD doesn’t offer any form of Chaperone system like HTC's Vive, even when it's operating through SteamVR. OSVR recommends seated experiences only.

Maintenance

OSVR doesn’t say much about maintenance. Use the included air puffer and brush to clean dust off of the lenses. However, you aren't given any guidance for cleaning the lenses if they get smudged with grease from your face. The instructions simply suggest that you “keep your face clean and dry when wearing the HMD.” That’s a lot easier said than done.

The lack of a microfiber cloth to wipe the lenses is shortsighted. Yes, keeping your face clean is always good advice, but the lenses will inevitably get dirty, especially if you adjust them too close in the first place. Without a bundled cloth, many people will likely turn to more abrasive materials like paper towels, possibly leading to scratched optics.

Replacement Parts

The OSVR HDK can be upgraded. You will eventually be able to swap in higher-resolution displays, better optics, and faceplates with other functions. The foam gasket is also removable, so you should be able to purchase replacements when the original starts to deteriorate. Parts aren’t available yet, but we've heard this feature touted over and over. The OSVR HDK 1.4 also gives you the option to swap in experimental hardware if you like to tinker.


MORE: The Oculus Rift Review


MORE: The HTC Vive Review

MORE: The Past, Present, And Future Of VR And AR: The Pioneers Speak

  • Jeff Fx
    > can a 60Hz 1080p display really deliver a compelling VR experience?

    If you can get games to work with it, maybe, if you haven't experienced modern VR and aren't susceptible to VR sickness.

    I had an eMagin 800x600 per eye VR system a decade ago, and it was pretty good for people who don't get VR sick, until Nvidia dropped support and it became useless.

    I'd recommend saving up for a Vive, the only full-VR system available today. Buying a low-quality alternative to something nice rarely turns out well. you'll just wind up junking it and spending the money on what you really wanted later.
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    The only thing worse than having buyers remorse after buying an $800 VR setup like the Vive is having buyers remorse after doing the "responsible" thing and finding out that it isn't what you really want...then flushing that "savings" down the toilet when you go and buy what you should have bought in the first place...
    Reply
  • John Nemesh
    Wish I could edit posts...just for the record, I have ZERO buyers remorse with the Vive!
    Reply
  • alidan
    Personally, all i want of vr is 3d, and track my head, that's it, no room scale no controllers, just simple sensors because what i want is a sit down experience with my head acting as a camera input, especially for racing games.
    Reply
  • picture_perfect
    Sounds like a "me too" effort by Razer. I don't see much point in any more VR systems right now because the technology cap has already been hit by Oculus/Valve. Until computer performance increases we probably won't see much better. Well we might, but this isn't it.
    Reply
  • caustin582
    I'm a Vive owner and while I have been pretty happy with my purchase, if there's one thing I could change it would be for it to have a higher resolution. Even at 1080x1200 per eye the individual pixels are easily visible and the image looks nowhere near as sharp as when I'm gaming on my old 1080p monitor. When the screen takes up such a wide field of view, the resolution needs to go way up in order to compensate.

    So it's kind of crazy to me that some companies think they can put out a good HMD that only splits a 1080p screen across both eyes. It might be worth it as a super-budget option for $99, but at $300 it's not all that cheap. Like it's not something most people are just going to buy on a whim and then happy forget about after they realize it looks ugly and makes them sick. Hate to be a downer but this really seems like the worst of both worlds. If you want a quick, cheap VR experience, you can build or buy a Google Cardboard. If you want the real thing, save up a little while longer and get an Oculus or Vive (or just wait until those are $300).
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Thanks for the review, but just skimming the first page, I'm surprised not to see any mention of the HDK2.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    18272515 said:
    Wish I could edit posts...
    You can in the forums. Just follow the link at the top of the comments.

    18272741 said:
    Sounds like a "me too" effort by Razer. I don't see much point in any more VR systems right now because the technology cap has already been hit by Oculus/Valve.
    Um, it was more of a "me first" effort, with the initial version beating them to market by about a year. I think the author dropped the ball on explaining HDKs origin and backstory. Although it's touched upon, in the last page, I think the rest of the review would've been better served by covering it in a little more depth, right up front. Otherwise, it's not clear why the product compares so poorly with Vive and Rift. It was made to compete with Oculus DK/DK2-era hardware. And the whole review should've been prefaced with the caveat that they're basically reviewing an obsolete product (see above point about HDK2).

    I'm also puzzled as to why you feel there's only room for 2 players, in this young and dynamic market. Would you say that about any other aspect of computer hardware? (true that, defacto, we have 2 players in CPUs and discrete GPUs, but that's more an issue of cost to enter those markets vs. upside potential).

    I'm really glad to see a low-cost solution in between phones and the premium PC HMDs. Maybe 1.4 isn't yet a compelling value offering, but I think there's definitely room for other players and other segments in this market than Vive/Rift.
    Reply
  • JakeWearingKhakis
    Shoulda waited for the HDK2 to review really
    Reply
  • kamhagh
    Doesn't look good :S even my 2k note 4 looks ridicules, I know you can't compare them ut you can compare the pixels :S my view is filled with dots

    BTW: why are all vr games stupid space games? :|
    Reply