- Room scaling: Yes
- Motion controls: Yes
- Minimum system requirements: Intel HD 620 graphics or greater, Intel Core i57200U CPU or greater, 8GB RAM
- Price: Depends on headset
Windows Mixed Reality is Microsoft’s shiny new augmented and virtual reality platform. It’s baked directly into the company’s Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Edition software, and is compatible with a number of different headsets – including the Acer Headset (£400 with controllers), the Lenovo Explorer (£400 with controllers), the Dell Visor (£380 with controllers), and the HP Headset (£380 with controllers).
The reference design comes with a variety of perks, including fairly minimal system requirements and a nifty tracking solution that reduces the number of cable connections you need.
If all you want to do is check out interactive experiences, watch VR and 360 movies, or do basic office and web browsing in VR, you’ll simply need a PC or laptop with an Intel Core i5 7200U CPU, 8GB of RAM and Intel HD 620 graphics.
For intensive tasks such as 3D gaming you’ll need more powerful hardware, but the specs offer a much more wallet-friendly entry point to VR than other PC solutions. The competing Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both require a dedicated GPU (Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or higher) to run.
The setup process, too, is pain-free since Windows Mixed Reality headsets don’t require external sensors. Instead, the headsets use two front-facing cameras and IME sensors in the headset and controllers to track their wearer’s position and surroundings.
The downside is that the headset tech doesn’t currently match the Oculus or Vive for a couple of key reasons. First, the dual 2880 x 1440 LCDs with a 90Hz refresh rate and 105-degree field-of-view optics aren’t as vibrant as the Vive and Oculus OLED panels. This, plus a few teething issues with the Windows software’s tracking, makes the headset feel a little less polished than its more established competition.
Nevertheless, if you’re on a budget and don’t want to clutter your house with VR sensors then Windows Mixed Reality remains a fantastic option.