Thursday morning at Microsoft’s Construct convention, the corporate announced the opening of pre-orders for 2 new VR dev kits. Builders within the US and Canada can now pre-order the Acer ($299) and HP ($329) Blended Reality headsets. Supply of the headsets is scheduled for August 2017. I used to be in a position to get fingers on with the dev package model of the Acer headset at Construct this week and arranged my ideas into broad classes beneath.
Acer VR Headset & Minimal PC specs
- 2x LCD shows, 1440 x 1440
- 2.89” diagonal display size (x2)
- Entrance hinged display
- 95 levels horizontal area of view
- Show refresh charge as much as 90 Hz (native)
- Constructed-in audio out and microphone help by means of three.5mm jack
- Single cable with HDMI 2.zero (display) and USB three.zero (knowledge) for connectivity
- Inside-out monitoring
- four.zero meter cable
- Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Proximity
- Dimensions (L x W x H) 195.eight x 94.eight x 106.59 mm
- Weight: 350 grams
Minimal PC Specs for Builders
Design & Consolation
The Acer headset is extremely gentle at 350 grams, or simply over three/four of a pound; since I’m used to larger PC headsets just like the Rift and Vive, it gave me an odd sensation to really feel immersed in VR with such little weight on my head. The headset includes a single inflexible ‘Halo style’ head strap that the display hangs off of within the entrance. One of many coolest options of this headset is its capacity to flip up out of the best way of your eyes on the level the place it connects to the top strap. For those who flip the display all the best way up away out of your face it clicks into place at brow degree, providing you with the flexibility to test in with the actual world. This lets you simply take prolonged breaks from VR whereas working at your desk or throughout a gaming session while you may wish to rapidly seize a drink or a snack.
I only wore the headset for round 5 to 10 minutes at a time throughout a number of completely different demos on the Construct convention so it’s robust to say what the long-term consolation is likely to be like. Nonetheless, the padding on the entrance of the headset strap appeared comfy sufficient and didn’t trouble me throughout my time with the headset on. There was one demo the place the top strap began to make the again of my head a bit sore however this might need been brought on by me tightening down the strap an excessive amount of or seating it too low on the again of my head. Tightening and releasing the strap was a bit unintuitive for me at first however I rapidly acquired use to it and located it straightforward sufficient by my second or third demo. It operates primarily like a snowboard binding coupled with a buckle that feeds the strap out and in of a locking mechanism.
I respect Acer going with a vibrant colourful design. Trying round my workplace in the mean time nearly each digital device in right here is black. My keyboard, mouse, monitor, audio system, Rift, Vive, printer, PC tower. Including some colour to my setting is a plus for this headset in my view. In the meanwhile it appears to be like just like the dev kits are only available for pre-order in blue, however Acer has additionally proven photographs of the headset in a vibrant purple model prior to now. I ponder in the event that they ended up pulling the purple model as a consequence of folks having flashbacks to the look of the previous View-Grasp, or for those who we’re actually fortunate, Digital Boy.
The intense blue colour, gentle weight, and low cost plastic really feel of a number of the headset’s supplies all make the Acer really feel a bit like a toy. However for $300 I’m keen to dwell with some loss in supplies high quality. I don’t really feel nice about making any sweeping judgements on the Acer’s consolation given I didn’t spend any prolonged durations within the headset. It may very well be that over longer durations their cheaper strap design may trigger consolation points. Nonetheless for the few instances I had the headset on I used to be capable of finding a very good comfy match.
Visible & Audio High quality
The Acer VR headset packs a 1440 x 1440 LCD display per-eye, with a refresh charge of 90Hz. I didn’t discover any display door impact and textual content seemed very legible. The draw back of the Acer’s visuals are its area of view and lens high quality. It makes use of fresnel lenses, and in keeping with its official specs it has a 95 levels horizontal area of view.
The Acer’s lenses simply can’t examine with the dearer headsets. They appeared to endure from a bit extra distortion across the edges, though if the headset is worn exactly in your ‘sweet spot’ you may not discover this. We don’t have direct measurements for comparability but, however it felt to me just like the Acer had a bit narrower FoV than both the Rift or the Vive. A few of which will have been as a result of decrease high quality lenses. Moreover I did have one pal on the convention complain that the LCD display within the Acer felt worse to him than the OLED shows within the Rift and Vive. I’ll want extra time within the headset to get a very good really feel for the standard of every.
So far as audio goes there have been two massive issues I observed. No built-in mic and no built-in headphones. Not one of the demos I attempted concerned voice communication, but when that they had I’d have wanted a mic connected to a pair of headphones for the reason that Acer audio jack handles each the audio and microphone help. Not having built-in headphones or a mic is a bummer as somebody who spends lots of time in social VR settings, however it’s an comprehensible transfer right here; enable users to supply their very own headphones and mic and preserve the value down as a lot as doable.
One of many exhibitors was good sufficient to let me futz round with the audio port, plugging and unplugging their set of headphones. I wished to check this as a result of the port appears considerably inconveniently situated above the left eye in between the faceplate and the Acer’s exterior blue defend. If in case you have giant fingers you may discover some issue plugging in your pair of headphones on this cramped house as I did.
General I discovered the visible and audio experience of the Acer headset to be a bit decrease high quality than the opposite main desktop VR systems. The decision seemed nice, the sector of view was a bit decrease than that of the Rift or Vive, and the lenses have been actually of poorer high quality than the upper finish headsets. However for $300, delivering a VR experience that actually isn’t that a lot worse than a better finish headset is admittedly spectacular.
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