Microsoft Build 2017: First look at Acer and HP Mixed Reality headsets

By Sameer Mitha | Published on 12 May 2017
Microsoft Build 2017: First look at Acer and HP Mixed Reality headsets
HIGHLIGHTS

At Build 2017, Microsoft announced that the Acer and HP Mixed Reality headsets will be available at $300 during holiday season 2017. Bundled with their motion controllers, the headsets could cost about $400. The headsets will work on Windows

It all becomes clear when you have the complete picture in front of you. Of course the average person cannot afford to spend $3000 on the HoloLens headset. But then again, the headset isn't exactly designed for home use. At Build 2017, when Microsoft demoed the industrial applications for the headset, it makes sense why one would consider it. Looking at a construction site and getting the final version of the project in front of you with the power of the HoloLens is a big deal. Looking at an empty stage and visualising what an artistic performance will look like is a big deal. However, all this is from an industrial perspective. What about the average joe sitting at home. For him we have the HP and Acer Mixed Reality headsets which are a lot cheaper than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and have the potential to give the PS VR a run for its money.

We have already seen the likes of 3Glasses, that lets you explore your current Windows apps in the virtual world. This is possible natively through Windows. No need to download any patch, app or software. So clearly, Windows 10 is VR ready. Add to it the fact that on stage, at Build 2017, it was announced that we should look forward to E3, for more on the Acer and HP headsets and our spider senses started tingling. Putting two and two together, it's evident that the headsets will work with the upcoming Project Scorpio. 

The price of Project Scorpio isn't announced, but if you look at the competition (and we will now shift to India prices) the PS4 is priced at about Rs 30,000 and the PS VR is priced at about Rs 40,000, so you are looking at spending Rs 70,000 to get a good VR experience. The HTC Vive is priced at a whopping Rs. 90,000+ in India, and that's the headset alone. Not including the behemoth of a PC you need to run it.

The Acer and HP headsets are looking to eliminate two key problems - price and controls. Considering the headsets will be priced at $300 (Rs. 20,000 directly converted) we think the headsets will be close to 30k when they launch in India. Having experienced the Acer VR headset, we can tell you that it isn't as vibrant as the HTC Vive (it could also be the resolution and textures of the content we were experiencing), but, it wasn't bad at all. It was fun. Add to it the fact that there are no cameras that need to be setup to sync the experience, you are looking at a device that can work as simply as plug and play. Also, the announced controllers won't need a camera or an external sensor to track movements, and that is a big step in the right direction. How it will work is something we will see at E3 or when the devices launch at the end of the year.

Overall, one thing is clear. Mixed reality is the future of entertainment. We have seen the likes of Smaaash bring this at an affordable rate to India. We don't consider the Google cardboard ripoffs to be a good experience, but the likes of Samsung Gear VR and Daydream give a pretty good VR experience. 

A good, mixed reality experience is just around the corner. It's not exactly affordable, but the fact that by 2018 you will have a bunch of headsets that you can buy without selling a kidney is a big deal. Are you ready to jump into the virtual world?

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Sameer Mitha

Sameer Mitha lives for gaming and technology is his muse. When he isn’t busy playing with gadgets or video games he delves into the world of fantasy novels.

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