First impressions of Windows Mixed Reality developers kits a mixed bag

Microsoft today announced that the company will start shipping the first Windows Mixed Reality developer kits this month. They also allowed journalists at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco to try on the headsets, though they were not allowed to take photos or videos.

UploadVR have posted their first impressions, and it is a mixed bag, with some complaints and some elements Microsoft definitely got right.

Starting with the negatives, Ian Hamilton from UploadVR reports that the device was running at 60 fps, which resulted on considerable motion blur. Apparently this would not be an issue in the final developer kit, which would run at 90 fps.

The second significant issue was that the developer kit had a very short cord, which made it difficult to take real advantage of the 6 degree inside out tracking, which would potentially allow users to walk around the whole room, if only the cord would let them.

Talking about tracking, this apparently worked very well, with objects very stable in space. The headset was also very comfortable, and in particularly the ability to flip the headset up allowed Ian to easily pop into and out of the VR world.

Talking about this headset design feature, Ian noted:

I also found features in Microsoft’s gear I instantly wished were included in my Rift and Vive back at home. First, the flip up screen feature made me giggle with joy. One second I’m playing Forza on a big screen in VR streaming from an Xbox. Flip. Now I’m back in the real world chatting with the people there. Flip. Now I’m driving again. Flip. Back in the real world. It was effortless and nearly instant to switch between realities by simply flipping the screen up away from my face. This was far more convenient than removing the entire headset or even using the passthrough camera on Vive.

“We’re the most affordable, we’re the easiest to setup, and we’re the most comfortable,” Alex Kipman, Microsoft Technical Fellow, is quoted as saying.

Windows Mixed Reality also showed its versatility over other VR systems by allowing users to stick UWP apps to the walls of their VR home, allowing users to multi-task and access multiple apps at the same time,

Ian notes:

Access to all these apps in VR really highlights just how simplistic and limiting Steam and Oculus Home are when it comes to app selection. Within a few minutes of playing around in there, I really wanted something similar in the Rift or Vive.

The system did however crash on one occasion, requiring a full reboot.

Microsoft noted that Windows Mixed Reality supported a wide range of controllers, from the Xbox game controller to keyboards, to 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF) controls. Microsoft promised to discuss more about the OS at future developer meetups such as Build.

Microsoft will roll out the new development kit from Acer in phases, but the company didn’t reveal the price for the developer kit just yet. Developers also can’t buy a developer kit immediately just yet, but you can sign-up for more info regarding the Windows Mixed Reality from the official website here.

Read UploadVR’s full impressions here.

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