Samsung’s new headset is the costliest member of the Home windows MR household, coming in at $499 (about £377, AU$635). However, it’s the one one to incorporate built-in headphones with spatial audio. It’ll additionally ship with two movement controllers when it releases on November 6.
[Replace: The Samsung HMD Odyssey value has simply seen a $100 low cost within the US. Buyers will discover the headset is now $399 at Samsung.com, the Microsoft Retailer and on Amazon. The value discount comes some weeks after a handful of different Home windows 10 Combined Actuality headsets noticed value drops. Now, the Samsung HMD Odyssey and two controller bundle might be yours at a 20% low cost.]
Due to the headphones, paired controllers and the headset’s excellent visuals, the Samsung HMD Odyssey is probably the most full machine within the Home windows MR household. We tried the Odyssey, Acer Combined Actuality Head-Mounted Show and the Dell Visor at Microsoft’s press occasion (Asus, Lenovo and HP are additionally releasing Home windows MR headsets), and Samsung’s stood head-and-shoulders above the Visor and simply edged out Acer’s still-impressive providing.
Whereas not precisely on par with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive when it comes to sheer graphics rendering (although fairly darn shut) and construct high quality, the Samsung HMD Odyssey is price contemplating if you wish to keep throughout the Home windows ecosystem and personal a appropriate PC.
In a vacuum, Samsung’s latest machine didn’t blow me away, but when made to decide on between headsets for Home windows MR, I would decide the Odyssey to take the journey with.
So far as design goes, the Samsung HMD Odyssey is nothing to get enthusiastic about. It’s black with no colour accents in any respect. It bears a detailed resemblance to the LG SteamVR headset we noticed again at GDC 2017, even right down to the tiered headband that goes throughout your brow.
The visor, extra rounded than LG’s, is shiny and, other than some engravings, that’s the one aptitude on an in any other case matte black machine.
The headset additionally has a considerably price range high quality to it, which could possibly be owing to its light-weight really feel (it weights 645g, or simply beneath 1.5 kilos). To be trustworthy, we weren’t bothered by the cheap impression it left, because the headset didn’t really feel flimsy or poorly made; plus, it was tremendous snug to put on. Nevertheless, should you’re spending $500 on a tool, it’s your decision one thing that feels a bit extra substantial.
The visor doesn’t flip all the best way up like Acer’s design, although it lifts up and ahead sufficient so that you can slide the contraption simply over your head. To tighten the machine, you scroll slightly dial on the again. The built-in AKG headphones slide down and, earlier than you understand it, you’re immersed within the Home windows Combined Actuality world.
As talked about, the Samsung HMD Odyssey is exceptionally snug. It feels as if we may put on it simply for a prolonged interval with out experiencing neck pressure or growing that cinching feeling across the skull that different headsets are likely to induce.
Of the three gadgets we in contrast at Microsoft’s press occasion, Acer’s was the lightest (it weighs 350g), however Samsung’s was general probably the most nice to put on.
The standout options of the Samsung HMD Odyssey are its twin AMOLED shows. The screens pop with a decision of 1,440 x 1,600 pixels per aspect and a refresh fee of between 90 to 60Hz. The Acer Combined Actuality HMD, by comparability, has a decision of 1,440 x 1,440 per lens with a 90Hz refresh fee.
On paper, the numbers appear shut. In actuality, nonetheless, Samsung’s visuals are buttery easy with an added vividness to the colours that’s noticeable. Acer’s visuals had been barely extra muted and only a contact extra tough. The AMOLED show tech, which Samsung is thought for on its Galaxy telephones, clearly makes a distinction. And, in comparison with the Dell Visor, which has visuals with a boring and much more pronounced ragged high quality to them, the Samsung HMD Odyssey is undoubtedly superior.
Contained in the headset, our demos ran about as easily as we’ve seen on any digital or augmented actuality machine, with zero stutter or lag through the expertise. We had been taken into the Cliff Home, which acts as a house base inside Home windows MR from which you leap into completely different experiences, resembling Halo Recruit and Transfer, a inventive app that permits you to paint within the air utilizing the controllers.
Cliff Home is damaged into completely different sectors, and also you ‘teleport’ between them by flicking the analog stick and urgent the set off button on the controllers. This operate works successfully. A trackpad on the controllers allows you to scroll by webpages (that was the one use for it we had been made aware of). Once you need to exit an expertise, you hit the Home windows button on the controllers, and also you’re immediately taken again house.
All in all, the controllers work fantastic, although they aren’t as intuitive to make use of and don’t really feel nearly as good within the hand because the Oculus Contact controller.
With cameras for six-degrees-of-freedom, or 6DOF, and inside-out monitoring constructed contained in the headset, shifting round throughout the digital world felt pure. You don’t have to fret about exterior sensors; all the things is self-contained, which is likely one of the benefits Microsoft touts for the Home windows Combined Actuality platform over Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
However, whereas inside-out monitoring gives comfort in not having to outfit a room for VR, as you do with HTC Vive, the latter’s room-scale Chaperone system is useful at maintaining you from working into objects. Home windows MR doesn’t have the identical potential, and we needed to be pulled again from a stand a number of occasions, and even bonked it (not arduous) with the controller on one or two events.
Lack of room-scale monitoring isn’t the Achilles’ heel of Home windows MR, however when you’ve tried HTC Vive and see these blue outlines telling you a wall is shut by, it’s obvious when the characteristic is lacking. Much more to the purpose, you run into extra stuff or come in peril of doing so when it’s not there.
6DOF and inside-out monitoring offer you a way of area inside a VR realm, however there’s an unmistakable separation from the digital world and what’s happening outdoors the visor that leaves you feeling slightly bit weak.
As for the headphones, these sound crisp; Cortana rang by our ears with useful instructions, and music and characters’ voices got here by with readability throughout demos. Not like the Acer and Dell headsets, which require donning separate headsets in true accent trend, the spatial audio on the Samsung HMD Odyssey make it really feel like a whole Home windows MR machine.
Transfer over, Acer Combined Actuality HMD. There’s a brand new ruler of the Home windows Combined Actuality realm, and its title is Samsung HMD Odyssey.
The place Samsung’s headset stands out from Acer particularly is within the shows; the Odyssey’s visuals are simply that a lot smoother and extra vibrant than Acer’s that, whereas something however dangerous, the latter’s lack the identical punch.
Samsung HMD Odyssey gives a enjoyable, eye-popping joyride into the world of digital actuality, and whereas its price falls on this aspect of ‘perhaps I shouldn’t,’ the built-in spatial audio provides a completeness to the system that the opposite Home windows MR gadgets lack.
Ought to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive be nervous? HTC Vive could also be secure for now due to its industry-leading room-scale monitoring characteristic, however Oculus Rift ought to watch its again. We discover the Odyssey to be extra snug to put on than Rift, and this editor didn’t expertise the nausea she normally does after only a few minutes in Rift’s worlds.
What’s extra, as with the opposite Home windows Combined Actuality headsets, accessibility is a trademark of the Samsung HMD Odyssey. There aren’t any exterior sensors to arrange, and whereas the higher-end rivals require a top-end PC to run VR experiences, a tool as light-weight as an Ultrabook can generate Home windows MR worlds. Although the Oculus Rift headset and controller bundle prices the identical because the Odyssey, there’s the marginally much less seen price of the accompanying gaming rig that comes into play for an Oculus.
Nonetheless, though Samsung has put ahead a worthy competitor to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, these gadgets have a powerful maintain available on the market, and it might be tough for the Odyssey, or any Home windows MR machine, to interrupt by. Not that Microsoft gained’t attempt, in fact.