HP and Acer VR Headsets Available For Pre-Order Today Starting At $300

by Ian Hamilton • May 11th, 2017
HP and Acer kits are super light and convenient but use LCD screens

VR headset developer kits from Acer and HP that work with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 mixed reality platform will be available for pre-order today starting at around $300.

The hardware of the headsets themselves likely won’t change between when these systems start shipping to developers and when they are marketed toward consumers in a push planned for the holidays this year, according to Microsoft. Software and content of course will be lacking until then, and the Windows operating system itself is still evolving to fully support mixed reality at the core of the system. This means that to actually do anything with the headsets before the consumer push you’d need to be a developer, use Windows in a development mode and program software yourself for the kit.

Both HP and Acer headsets feature LCD displays which are expected to be less expensive than the OLED displays used in Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive. Those more expensive screens provide smooth and comfortable visuals for most users, and some of these benefits may be lacking on Acer and HP systems. I tried the Acer development edition headset during a demo at Microsoft’s Build conference this week and noticed a kind of stutter to the visuals when moving my head backward and forward or my whole body to the right and left. It is unclear the reason for the stutter — a different writer for Upload tried the headset recently at an event in New York and described a “motion-blur when you moved around — creating a fuzziness to the graphics.”

An interview late last year with Microsoft’s Alex Kipman indicated the company intends to support partners building headsets with a variety of specifications. Those partners include the previously mentioned Acer and HP as well as ASUS, Dell, Lenovo and 3Glasses. If OLED screens similar to what Vive and Rift use for smoother visuals are included in any of those headsets it is likely they’ll be more expensive overall than the $300 Acer system. All the headsets are powered by a Windows 10 PC.

Microsoft is also announcing Motion Controllers with full six degrees of freedom that will be offered as a bundle with the Acer headset later this year for around $400. If trying to compare to the $600 Rift and Touch bundle, we would note there are likely going to be significant differences in how these controllers perform compared with those used by the Vive and Rift — mainly due to the nature of the widely different tracking methods. So while this Microsoft-powered Acer bundle is $200 cheaper than the Rift and Touch, and will be more convenient since the headset and controllers don’t require external cameras or laser emitting boxes to work, there are still likely to be significant differences in the applications that are best suited for the varying hardware.

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  • mellott124

    How about links to the pre-order pages?

    • Nicholas Hirsch

      +1

  • yexi

    I don’t trust in Inside-out tracking on a closed headset…
    In my opinion, this is the thing that make the ‘kind of stutter to the visuals’ effect.

    I try the hololens and It work very well for AR applications (except the FOV) but not on VR… you always have a little delay on the projected images, and sometime, if you move too fast or look at a unified colored wall, you can lose tracking for some seconds.
    It’s not a big deal when your calendar is not correctly display for 2sec, but it can be very annoying (and make people sick) if your move is not perfectly and immediately detected…

    • Ben Orona

      There’s no delay on the projected images on HoloLens unless the GPU / CPU is overloaded which is easy to do if you aren’t careful when programming your app or game. The bottleneck is not in the tracking. The tracking on HoloLens is just as good as Vive. (I have both) But these new headsets are different so I will have to wait and see if they are as perfect as Vive / HoloLens at tracking.

    • Jorgie

      I think you are spreading FUD. The “motion to photons” delay on inside-out-tracking can be just as fast as the outside-in-tracking on the Vive and Rift. I have been following this for a while now and no one is reporting this as systemic problem with inside-out-tracking.