October 4, 2017 // 11:22 a.m.
Samsung has announced its entry into the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem, the Samsung HMD [Head Mounted Display] Odyssey, and it's breaking the mould by offering considerably higher specifications than the competition.
Samsung is no stranger to virtual reality. The company's partnership with Facebook-owned Oculus VR on a smartphone-driven, head-mounted display dubbed the Gear VR leaked back in July 2014 and was official by September, though has made the company the target of a lawsuit surrounding work carried out on the project by Id Software co-founder John Carmack. The Samsung HMD Odyssey, however, is something very different: a surprisingly high-end entry into the new Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem.
'The Samsung HMD Odyssey is a high performing headset designed to provide the most immersive Windows Mixed Reality experience,' crows YG Choi, senior vice president of Samsung Electronics' PC business team. 'With the widest field of view, built-in spatial sound and easy setup, the Samsung HMD Odyssey transports consumers to incredible virtual reality experiences.'
The specifications would appear to confirm Choi's boasts: the dual-3.5" AMOLED display system offers per-eye resolutions of 1,440 x 1,600 at 90Hz or 60Hz depending on the capabilities of the PC driving them and a 110-degree field of view - an upgrade over the 1,440 x 1,440 displays and 95-degree field of view offered by its immediate competition from HP, Acer, Asus, and Lenovo. The headset also includes a pair of depth-sensing cameras for six degrees of freedom (6DOF) head tracking, a six-axis accelerometer, six-axis gyrometer, a three-axis magnetic compass, proximity sensor, and an interpupillary distance sensor capable of adjusting the Fresnel lenses within a 60-72mm range. Audio is delivered by integrated AKG-branded headphones with '360-degree spatial sound' and a microphone array with integration with Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant system.
As well as the headset itself, Samsung is launching a pair of motion-tracking controllers. Each 160g-weight controller includes a clickable touchpad, dedicated menu button, trigger, and thumbstick, and come complete with six-axis accelerometer and gyrometer as well as the same three-axis compass as the headset itself. Power is provided by a pair of AA batteries in each controller, Samsung has confirmed.
Pre-orders for the headset have opened in the US now at $499, which is likely to equate to a £499 retail price in the UK. More information is available on the official website.