My Experience With Windows Mixed Reality Platform And Acer Headset

On Friday, I was able to get a 10 minute test ride with Acer’s new Windows Mixed Reality Headset (retail price is $399) using Microsoft’s new “mixed reality” platform. I put this in quotes because it’s just virtual reality. Microsoft claims that the platform is capable of augmented reality, but that “capable of” hasn’t turned into something tangible yet.

I was put in a physical game space that was all the way at the back of the store in a corner. The Acer headset was easy to put on, and the motion controllers worked well — very similar to how they work on the HTC Vive. My position was pretty well detected by the headset (without any huge motion tracking stations like previous VR headsets), and I didn’t bang into any walls. I wasn’t really worried; the Microsoft Store salesman was watching me very closely.

The screen door effect on the the Acer headset is still prominent as each eye views a 1440 x 1440 pixel resolution display. This resolution would be great on a smartphone display but not one that is right in front of your eye. Still, it wouldn’t matter if there was an exciting experience to make up for it.

Microsoft's Virtual Cliff House

I was put in front of Microsoft’s virtual home, the “Cliff House.” Transforming to different parts of the house and interacting with different apps was pretty simple, especially since I am used to virtual reality. Still, I think someone new to VR would compliment the ease of use as well.

The motion controllers are bulky, and don’t always track well. Perhaps I put the left controller out of the field of view more than the right since I had more trouble with the left. When I made sure that both controllers were in front of me, they survived in the virtual world.

I chose the Halo: Recruit app on the wall. I was impressed with the graphics, but I noticed there was some latency (which caused dizziness). Perhaps the HP desktop PC the headset was connected to didn’t have a powerful enough graphics card. In any case, I had to say “enough” and take the headset off.

If I found anything more interesting about the Windows VR experience, I would have tried to play other games (which there aren’t many of yet) or even watch a video. But I was bored, disappointed that I was bored, and left the experience hoping that Samsung’s HDM Odyssey headset, released next month, provides a better experience.  For now, I don’t believe Microsoft’s new “mixed reality” platform will take off. And I hope I’m wrong.

About Daryl

Daryl Deino has been a technology enthusiast since 1995 and has written for several newspapers and technology sites. Please reach him at [email protected]
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