Hands-On: Take A Look At The HP ‘Windows Mixed Reality’ VR Headset

by David Jagneaux • August 1st, 2017

Today was an exciting day for the UploadVR Editorial Team because today we got our hands on some new VR hardware. Last year it felt like a new piece of tech was launching every other month, but it’s actually been a while since we got some fresh plastic to strap on our face. Luckily, Microsoft and HP are here to save the day with the developer kit of the upcoming HP “Windows Mixed Reality” VR headset.

Microsoft’s “Mixed Reality” initiative is the evolution of Windows Holographic, with the intention for the company to support a variety of headsets with a single operating system from AR headsets like HoloLens to VR headsets like this one from HP. The way Microsoft frames it, “Mixed Reality” is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of gadgets, including this VR headset.

Here you can see a size comparison of the HTC Vive (left), HP Windows VR headset (middle), and the Oculus Rift (right).

We’ll have thoughts on the HP Windows VR headset soon enough. A quick rundown of the specs tells us that it comes with two lenses that sport 1440×1440 resolutions each (making it 2880×1440 combined) with an up to 90Hz refresh rate (if paired with an HDMI 2.0 port.) The cable is 4 meters long and the field of view measures at 95 degrees horizontally. You can check out the official website for more details on the headset and recommended hardware specifications.

We cracked open the box and snapped some pictures of the headset below so you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Stay tuned for more thoughts from us as we check it out over the coming days! And if you’re a developer working on something for Windows VR, be sure to let us know at [email protected] or down in the comments below!

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  • Mane Vr

    looks nice just need to know about the games now

    • jerome

      its not a game device, you can play games, but the first usage is mixed reality and extended office.

      • Adam

        like hell it’s not, I won’t buy this unless I can use it with steamVR

        • We reached out to our Microsoft rep about SteamVR support and they’re not ready to answer that at this time. That would be great, though, especially once the motion controllers become available!

          • Adam

            Thanks!

        • Jim Cherry

          Even if it worked with steamvr i would recommend you wait for gen 2. almost no chance the controls would translate well this early.

          • Adam

            I want this primarily for use with the DCS world flight sim. Most of what I need is the ability to look around smoothly and easily just by moving my head, not motion controls or anything. As long as the head-tracking is solid, I’ll be okay.

  • Xron

    A bit low fov…

    • Doctor Bambi

      If I had to guess, they are keeping fov down and bumping up resolution so as to make text crisp and legible.

      • I’d agree. Since the default environment lets you pin productivity apps like a virtual office having clarity for text seems more important.

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    It’s a shame that this will launch to the general public a year and a half after Rift/Vive, and yet it has a cord.

    • PrymeFactor

      You expected wireless for $299?

      This has a single cord, and no need for external trackers. Yet you whine, especially considering the price.

      • Jim Cherry

        its not the consumers job to ask for the reasonable ;}

    • The lack of external tracking cameras though is a big step, imo.

      • Smokey_the_Bear

        I agree, but a bigger step is wireless. With the Rift on sale, they have stole a lot of the thunder behind these headsets.

    • care package

      much higher resolution then Rift/Vive, and as already stated, inside out tracking are two pretty big steps. So far I haven’t heard anyone raving over current wireless (video transmitting from PC to headset) tech.

    • Duane Locsin

      And same or slightly smaller fov, resolutions etc.

      Seems more like late to market or catching up.

      Maybe pc manufacturers are afraid of getting stung like AV manufacturers when it came to the death of ‘3D’.

  • Raghavendra Kopalle

    Hope there is a detailed review coming. I have a few queries if you could cover –
    1. Heard the screen door effect is more than Vive/Rift. How bad is it? Does the choice of lcd over oled panels make a big difference?
    2. What are the barest min PC specs for a developer & end user? Microsoft/HP/Acer websites mention specs equivalent to Rift but all along their media statements have been it can work off integrated graphics.
    3. What is the present app ecosystem like? Yes it is a dev edition, but other than the MR home where you can walk around a virtual room & pin Windows app to walls, I haven’t seen any other demos which showcase real 3D content. It would be great if that can be covered a bit.
    4. How easy or difficult it is to port an existing Vive/Rift app to this?
    Thanks!

    • Walextheone

      Really great questions! Like to know more about thoose too.

    • David D. Taylor

      Great questions. If I’ve understood other articles on Win MR headsets, it’s Rift Min specs for development, and Integrated Graphics is the target for consumers… If I’ve understood everything correctly… 🙂

      Can’t wait to hear more on the headsets!

    • Excellent questions – thank you!

  • poken1151

    Am I right in understanding there’s no way to adjust the PD value either, correct?

  • Klaas Kuperus

    I got the same one now at the office, will keep following your reports!

    • Let us know what you think! DM or email me some thoughts and links to anything you’re working on.

  • Covert Rain

    I would just like more clarification. I read that the this is actually closer to VR than AR and it’s a bit of a confusing marketing going on in terms of this unit.

    • Shawn MacDonell

      It is strictly a VR headset, it’s called a Windows Mixed Reality Headset due to the platform it operates with being Windows Mixed Reality. It’s a terribly misleading name for the misinformed but what can we do I guess, lmao.

    • Shawn’s explanation is pretty accurate. This is a VR headset with inside out cameras on the front but from what I’ve seen they don’t actually merge the digital and physical in any way. Not like the Intel one that has some merged reality features and nothing like an AR device such as HoloLens. It seems to be more of a platform name than a device name. They’re using “Mixed Reality” as an umbrella term for VR (Acer, HP headsets) and AR (HoloLens) as one family.

      • Jim Cherry

        there are 2 reasons for this branding one its not the branding anyone else uses just about everyone uses the vr or ar terms separately. two these headsets use the same inside out tracking as hololens so a lot of the development is implied to be similar. considering not many people in their right mind would buy a 3000 dollar hololens its ok to just ignore its existence as a prototype, as far consumers are concerned windows mixed reality is inside out tracking.

        • It still is confusing though. The dev sites all refer to the HP and Acer kits as “immersive headsets” which still delineates them from HoloLens. Personally, I’m not a big fan of using Mixed Reality as a platform term since it’s being used elsewhere already as a term to describe some other parts of the industry.

          • Peter Laurent

            If only they’d leave the name Mixed Reality to the green screen VR editing business and pick some other word like Blended Reality, Combined Reality, Merged Reality, Xbox Reality X One

  • rabs

    1) Overhead measurement: are Windows MR headset marketed for very simple scenes, or very efficient ? Could be tested with the same Unity scene built for each device (Windows MR, Oculus SDK, Steam VR) then looking at memory/CPU/GPU usage. Though it also depends on rendering target like supersampling and other stuff, witch lead to the next point.

    2) Readability measurement, for example a scene with vision test chart texture on a wall, and a mark on the floor. Also to compare to reference headsets.

    3) SDE, blackness, luminosity, god rays: in some dark, light and high contrast scenes.

    4) Motion blur when doing fast movements, especially in high contrast scenes.

    5) Tracking: extreme tests, like fast movements, aiming at close flat surfaces (walls, floor), putting the headset on a stool or floor and checking how much jitters there is…

  • Duane Locsin

    I’m all for other manufacturers to get into VR hardware, but I am wary about Microsoft’s involvement.

    MS screwed up with Kinect, Windows phone, Zune, (personally am not impressed with their Surface line)..

    As well the no attempt to have VR on their Xbox console which seems to be an easier fit (large install base, Sony seem ok with PSVR)

  • Christophe Le Bars

    The picture shows the huge difference in wideness between Vive and HP headset. Im afraid this device is clearly not dedicated for gaming

    • Yeah, I took notice of that too… especially the quote of “95° Horizontal”. My PSVR is 110°, if I’m not mistaken… personally, while I like my PSVR, I hate the effect of feeling like I’ve got ‘horse blinders’ on, and it seems that all of the currently available hardware is that way; though, I’ve read about Gameface’s upcoming HMD that supposedly uses a 120° FoV. Some people will like a narrower FoV for the sake of their stomachs, but me… I’m a VR junkie something fierce already and I’m of the opinion that I’d probably love an HMD that gave me zero blinder-effect (where through the unit, all you see is graphics and not the hardware).

  • Ted Joseph

    FOV is too low. They could have spent a few more dollars and went with a 130 or so FOV (something larger than the current 90 deg horizontal and 110 diagonal Oculus)… I love playing VR, but cant stand the blinders — it kills the immersion. Some sports games get away with it (hockey goalie for example), but either than being a goalie, the majority take you away from the immersion…