Let’s face it: VR headset are pretty damn clunky. And by clunky, I mean ugly.
But Asus’ new VR headset — which the company positions as a “mixed reality” headset — is actually quite snazzy. It’ll still make you look like a dork, but at least you’ll be a dork with refined taste.
The device, officially called the Asus Windows Mixed Reality Headset (yeah, it won’t win awards for most imaginative name ever), has a patterned front panel that makes it stand out from other designs we’ve seen. It’s also quite smaller on the head than, say, HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, and weighs less than 400 grams. The front panel can easily be flipped up when you want to get out of the virtual world and get back into the real one. Finally, the surfaces are antibacterial and the materials are quick-drying, which will make those moments when you hand over a sweaty headset over to the next person a bit more bearable.
Specs-wise, the Mixed Reality Headset has a 2,880 x 1,440 pixel (3K) resolution, which is higher than most competitors (but not the recently introduced Dell Visor), and a 90Hz refresh rate. It also has something Asus calls “inside out tracking,” meaning it doesn’t need outside cameras or sensors to track your movements. Instead, it uses LED lights on the device’s controllers, two front-facing cameras and built-in sensors, including a gyroscope, a magnetometer and an accelerometer to track how you’re moving through the virtual world.
Asus claims the entire system can be set up within 10 minutes, and you’re ready to immerse in VR (or MR, if you will). The system taps into Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem which has more than 20,000 apps.
The Asus Windows Mixed Reality Headset will cost 449 euros — that’s $535, though we don’t know the exact price in the U.S. The release date for the device has not yet been announced.