If you’re an avid fan of HBO’s Silicon Valley, you’ve probably heard Erlich Bachman say, “It’s a VR play! That’s the frothiest space in the Valley right now. Nobody understands it, but everybody wants in.”
It is not so new but we can say that it is not yet mainstream. Development for virtual reality (VR) headsets is still ongoing.
For quite some time now, we’ve been hearing about VR headsets. Google Cardboard and Oculus are a few that made some noise previously. I have tried both. Google Cardboard is literally made from cardboard, which you cut and fold to turn into a headset, where you can insert your smartphone to make it work as a VR headset. Meanwhile, Oculus is a more sophisticated variant. It is bulky, made from plastic, yet wearing it kind’a got me nauseous after some time.
A couple of weeks back, at Computex 2017 in Taiwan, I was able to try StarVR headset. It is Acer’s take in pushing the boundaries of VR gaming and entertainment. The StarVR headset offers extra-wide screens to fill up your peripheral vision. Soon, it will be made available in select IMAX Theaters in Taiwan. I’m not sure yet if it will roll out in the Philippines anytime soon.
Watch me try it out on the video below.
After trying it out, I can say that the StarVR headset is not as heavy as the Oculus that I tried before. Moreover, its ‘widescreen’ view definitely adds to its cinematic appeal. Also, it didn’t get me nauseous after playing a few minutes. I don’t if it’s just because I tried it for a short period of time or if the ‘widescreen’ view is so immersive and can truly mimic how we see things in real life. Still, I felt it was better.
Although not yet in its final form, we can expect more improvements on the StarVR headset. This is pretty exciting, imho.
But, wait… what is an MR headset?
A mixed reality (MR) headset is a result of Acer’s partnership with Microsoft. This headset will support Windows Mixed Reality. Unfortunately, the live demo at Computex 2017 was not yet the device’s and the software’s final build so we were not allowed to take a video of the experience.
In the demo, we had a short interaction with a floating astronaut. Also, we had an immersive glimpse of Machu Picchu, as if we were onboard a hot air balloon flying over the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Anyway, in simple terms, Acer’s MR headset is a budget headset which delivers high-fidelity VR. At the event, we were told that target date of roll out of this device is the end of the year, making it a perfect holiday gift.
Here’s what Acer’s MR headset looks like.
Trying it out, it looks and feels less bulky that the VR headsets I have tried. Also, apparently, it will be cheaper.
The Acer MR bundle has a starting price of $399. This will have the headset and two Windows MR motion controllers.
What do you think of Acer’s VR and MR headsets?