VR headsets still haven’t caught on as a mainstream thing, and there are a lot of reasons for that — price, the PC hardware needed to power really good games, and the fact that hopping in and out of VR isn’t exactly the most convenient thing to do. Microsoft has tried to address price by spearheading mixed reality headsets, of the sort HP, Asus, Acer, Lenovo, and Dell are all introducing this year. They’ve mostly proven to be very similar, but Dell’s Visor might just be a cut above in design.
Like the others, the Dell Visor is a mixed reality headset — it’s got lenses and two displays for VR content, but has two external cameras to enable AR. Those cameras also help with tracking, making the light towers that the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift require unnecessary. And, like the other mixed reality headsets, the Visor has some advantages over those more expensive VR headsets — for one, the two 1440 x 1440 displays in front of each eye are higher resolution than those of the Vive or Rift.
Dell introduced the Visor earlier this week ahead of IFA, but I got to try it out a while back at Computex. Not only is it one of the most comfortable of the mixed reality headsets — it’s very well padded — but the front end can be lifted up like a visor when not in use. Being able to take yourself out of VR without taking the whole rig off (including headphones) is a nice touch, and a recognition that for most people, an hour or more of uninterrupted VR gameplay is simply unrealistic. The headset is also glasses-friendly, and has a nice weight distribution that makes the Visor a comfortable wear for longer periods of time.
With Steam games coming to the Windows 10 mixed reality platform, it’s suddenly looking like Microsoft has a very competitive VR platform on their hands. Headsets like the Dell Visor will be capable of some high-end experiences (body tracking will still be limited), while still being accessible to people with less powerful hardware who want to try out simple VR games or 360-degree videos. Still, the headsets aren’t exactly cheap — the Dell Visor is $350, plus another $100 for Microsoft’s VR touch controllers.
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