MSI’s VR One Backpack PC Can Now Be Pre-Ordered For $2000

by Jamie Feltham • November 11th, 2016

MSI wants to make virtual reality mobile by taking its new PC and strapping it to your back. From this week, you can pre-order that PC.

The VR One, as the backpack PC is called, can now be pre-ordered on Newegg. The lower-end model, which features a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and an Intel i7 processor, costs $1999 and starts shipping on November 30th. The higher-end model features a GTX 1070 and 512GB SSD costs $2,299, though the site doesn’t list a shipping date for it. We’ve reached out to MSI to confirm that all the the info listed on the site is accurate.

Each device has a battery life of around an hour and a half, and features swappable batteries. They weigh in at 3.6Kg.

As the name suggests, the VR One is designed specifically for VR headsets. For now, it’s best suited to HTC Vive users, as it allows you to walk around environments with roomscale tracking without the Vive’s wire tugging behind your head as you walk further away from a standard rig. The kit may also appeal to Oculus Rift users looking to set up their own roomscale environments when the Oculus Touch controllers and extra sensors launch early next month.

The real question is if these backpacks are a genuine solution for wireless VR that enthusiasts will accept in the short term. That question was cast further into doubt yesterday as HTC and TYPCAST announced an upgrade kit for the HTC Vive that made it wireless. MSI isn’t the only one in this niche space, though, with Alienware and XMG also presenting VR backpacks throughout 2016.

In the long-term, we’ll look to standalone headsets like the Santa Cruz prototype from Oculus, and mobile VR solutions like Google’s new Daydream ecosystem, to bring wireless VR to the masses.

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