The Windows Mixed Reality (MR) platform and accompanying headsets is designed to allow for a more affordable virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experience. The latest entrant in this space is Samsung, with its $499 Odyssey.
The lines between MR and VR are blurry, and it’s not easy to explain how MR is different from VR and AR. If we were to take a stab at an explanation, we’ll say that an MR experience is about bringing virtual objects into the real world, giving these virtual objects a sense of presence. VR is about experiencing a totally virtual world. AR offers more information for the real world.
So, you fending off a sabre-tooth tiger in a tropical jungle is VR, but you fighting a sabertooth tiger in your living room is MR. AR is when you can see, say, a digital version of a wiring diagram of your house overlaid over your room.
Now that we have that out of the way, here’s what’s Samsung Odyssey offers. The Odyssey, available on the Microsoft Store, offers dual-AMOLED screens at a resolution of 1,400 x 1,600 pixels each and a 110-degree field of view. This is a tad higher than the 1,400 x 1,400 pixels, 95-degree field of view you’d find on the Rift or the Vive.
The headset supports inside-out tracking and includes motion controllers. The inside-out tracking, unlike the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, doesn’t require complicated setups for enabling room-scale VR. The headset does all the tracking. It’s $499 asking price puts it $100 cheaper than the HTC Vive and the same as the Oculus Rift.
Microsoft has confirmed that the headset will be releasing on 6 November and support for it will added in the Fall Creators updates.
Headsets from Acer and Dell are also available, though they are cheaper at $399 and $359 respectively. These headsets use LCD screens, have a slightly smaller field of a view and a fractionally lower maximum resolution. The Samsung Odyssey is the only headset here with integrated headphones and dual-array mics.
Mixed reality headsets are compatible with the Windows Mixed Reality platform as well as Steam VR. To check if your PC is compatible with the platform, simply head here.