Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Are Already 50 Percent Off

Posted on January 19, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Windows 10 with 49 Comments

Once described as the “next wave,” Windows Mixed Reality is already heading for the bargain bin just three months after its initial release. But there’s a silver lining to this development: At roughly $200, a Windows Mixed Reality headset is pretty close to “no-brainer” territory.

What’s not clear is whether these prices are permanent or just a temporary sale. So if you were on the fence with regards to buying one, now is the time to jump. Here’s what’s available:

(Note: These are affiliate links, but to my knowledge, Amazon.com is the only place offering them at these prices right now.)

My advice is to get the HP, as these devices—which all come with the Motion Controllers too—are basically identical from a specifications/functionality perspective. You might as well save as much as you can.

As for the fate of Windows Mixed Reality, I don’t see the platform disappearing even if these prices are permanent. I’ve never seen this as “the next wave,” as Microsoft claimed for quite some time. (It’s since backed away from that.) But it really is pretty good, and as I noted previously, the addition of SteamVR compatibility does put it over the top. The next cheapest PC-based VR headset, the Oculus Rift, is about $400 now.

Go forth and save, yon VR fans.

 

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Comments (50)

50 responses to “Windows Mixed Reality Headsets Are Already 50 Percent Off”

  1. SocialDanny123

    I think it's important to note that Windows MR is doing quite well. Microsoft has 5% of the PC VR market from December. That's quite impressive in such a short amount of time. This is just Microsoft and OEMs aggressively competing.

  2. glenn8878

    They need a bundle package to move the product. Microsoft’s accessories are mismanaged. There’s no coherent strategy. Still fuming on how they allowed Kinect to die before it can be offered and marketed for the PC. It’s a bad sign for Microsoft that mobile is STILL where the action is.

  3. JudaZuk

    I wonder why? could it be the same reason all VR headsets have dropped in price ..because no one buys them ..because VR is pointless. They (tech media and manufacturers) have tried desperately to make VR a thing for 3 - 4 years now ..it is not working.

  4. Usman

    If only those price point come to this side of the pond

  5. PurpleDisciple

    Over here it's still full price. For 50% off I'd pick it up in addition to my existing setup, just to check out the next Band/Zune/Kin/likely Hololens.


  6. wright_is

    Can I throw Excel "up on the wall" and make a big panorama spreadsheet? I thought that might be an interesting way of doing things. It would save on multiple monitors.

    But otherwise, I don't see a use for it, personally.

  7. Bats

    This clearly, not a good sign. Quite frankly, I am not surprised as I even predicted quite some time back, when this platform was announced as reasons for this existence made no sense at....particularly at that price point. Think about it. If Oculus Rift was a spectacular fail, this was heading in that direction as well. Who is actually going to buy a $400+ PC Accessory and "Clothing" accessory to enhance his or her computing experience? For Gamers? Yes. Casual users? No.


    Microsoft's Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality are basically the same thing.....in the eyes of the regular and normal people. Of course, Microsoft is late to the game ALREADY! Virtual Reality headsets on mobile end is already evolving to the point of being phone-free. Not that it's a big deal, but the platform has already improved. With Microsoft's "hybrid" platform, it's not only WIRED to a source, but that source is a full fledged computer. This, without question, is strictly a niche device.


  8. chrisrut

    I don't think price is the issue. I find the product interesting enough I might have already sprung for one at retail but for the fact I have no machines capable of running it. I'll upgrade to a G8 NUC when available, but no rush, and perhaps by then second gen headsets will provide far higher resolution. So, this rates "nice to have." It would be fun to play with but provides no compelling reason to upgrade now. I wonder how many other early adopter types find themselves in the same boat?

  9. ponsaelius

    I am at the "what's the point?" stage. The current Google ads showing the Pixel 2 AR with Star Wars characters seems to be something, like stickers and emojis, that the mobile first world would find interesting. Doing a sort of Second Life thing on your PC doesn't really get me.


    VR for Xbox One could be a thing.

  10. Ugur

    It makes sense that they get lowered in pricing since the Rift was lowered in pricing and the whole notion of the Windows MR VR headsets was that yes, they don't have an as big eco system yet, but in return they cost way less than Rift and Vive.

    Well, that then of course wasn't the case anymore when the Rift was lowered in price, so then these have to get lowered in price, too of course.


    Besides that, the more important point is i think that among the current Windows MR VR headsets the Samsung Odyssey is far superior on several important aspects than all of the others.

    So anyone halfway interested in them should totally buy that one, and i imagine many heard about that and so the others likely also likely can't sell well at the same price as the better headsets.

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to Ugur:

      Exactly. Plus some of these competitors already announced their next gen headsets expected to be much improved from now. There isn't any differentiation here, and the whole category is still very nichy. As long as none of these players overestimated demand they should be alright (I suspect these "OEM" headsets are probably closer to white label with Microsoft footing much of the economics anyways, at this point).

      The game right now is not to lose market positioning/mindshare, still very early days. What will matter is the pace of developing the tech and use cases (particularly AR) until/if it hits relevant mass market convenience factors for consumers and/or utility on the enterprise side. If the tech doesn't get better it goes nowhere.

  11. Monte Constable

    Note the Samsung is not along them. I have a Lenovo and the Samsung. The Samsung is every bit as good as the Rift which I does at Best buy and close to the Vive. It is a superior VR experience with higher resolution and better build. The controllers are better than stock as well. And the WMR experience is good from the MS store and with Steam. And yes at 200 it is way easier to pick up than Rift or Vive gen 1 with similar guality to Rift. Granted MS needs to Market this better/at all

  12. PeteB

    Not surprised.


    There's no native content for these things, and the SteamVR compatibility mode has lots of problems - basically you're better off with a Vive or Oculus VR since developers will never update their games for WMR.


    Microsoft crapped on VR for years while touting AR and Hololens Hololens Hololens, that effort failed, and now their half assed VR initiative is also DOA.

  13. Tony Barrett

    The fact the prices have been cut across the board - even under the guise of a sale, does not look good. There's little content, the devices are bulky, with poor resolution and FoV and all need tethering to a very powerful PC. VR/AR appeals to a tiny fraction of the general population, and probably only ever will. I think the real answer is not that it's a 'no brainer', it's that for most, you've got 'no brain' if you spend you money on this stuff. Waste of time. Come back in 10 years when the tech has caught up to the promises.

  14. gregsedwards

    I really want to try out one of these, but I'd prefer if Microsoft at least made a reference model themselves. But you're right; at this price, why not give it a try? FWIW, I do think Mixed Reality is going to be a part of Windows moving forward, even if there's not quite an audience for it yet.


    Also, anyone using a WMR headset with their Surface Pro 4? I know the integrated Intel HD 520 graphics chip isn't technically supported, but I also know it's trivial to bypass the hardware checks, and get it working anyway. I've asked my local Microsoft Store whether I could bring in my SP4 and connect it to one of their demo units. If everything checks out, I'll probably get one just for goofing around.

  15. Waethorn

    Microsoft won't release HoloLens for the consumer market because they figure, and rightfully so, that they'll never hear the end of the comedic shots against the company for doing so. They can't afford to lose more of their already declining consumer reputation over new experimental technologies.

  16. mortarm

    Can any of these be used by those wearing glasses?

  17. jpwalters

    Can't tell if this just means there's a version 2.0 around the corner, or an acknowledgement that the price point wasn't tenable.

  18. illuminated

    VR headsets need better resolution. Current versions are like pre-historic VGA monitors where one could see pixels and space between them. Even keeping the same resolution but getting rid of gaps between pixels would help. Maybe some magic new technology in the pipeline is coming and OEMs have to get rid of old stuff? I really hope so.

  19. madthinus

    Nothing scream success like a 50% discount 3 months in. VR is not a thing....Sorry

  20. red.radar

    Not trying to be cheeky.. If i get one what does it do ?


    How do i sell this to the wife ?



    • gregsedwards

      In reply to red.radar:

      There are plenty of videos explaining WMR, but here's the TLDR version. ?


      There are two uses in Windows 10 at the moment: The first is the WMR Portal, which places you in a virtual space for interacting with your apps. Instead of looking at a flat desktop on your computer monitor(s), you are standing in a cliff house, with physical rooms in which you can move around. You can open apps, resize and pin windows to your walls, and place virtual objects (some interactive) around you. Basically, anything you can do in Windows on the desktop, you can do in WMR. The other scenario is running MR apps, such as virtual tours and VR games. There's recent integration with Steam VR, so you can access that marketplace and play those games through WMR as well.


      WMR works with a game controller, but you can (and should) also get the wireless motion controllers, which work with the headsets so the system can track your hand movements (that's what the little LED rings do). You can sort of walk around, but since the headsets are tethered, you generally use the controllers to sort of point where you want to go and then "warp" around.


  21. skborders

    It is not a bad price, but the real barrier is the cost of a VR/MR capable pc isn’t it?

  22. skane2600

    Like 3D, VR will remain a niche unless they can ditch the headgear.

  23. Waethorn

    Get your certified probably-but-mostly-maybe-sweat-free, almost-but-not-quite-preowned, body-odor-and-forehead-grease-sponge...I mean VR headset from Amazon's Neo-Guangzhou lice circus.


    Because ozone machines are unicorn fairy dust for the reclamation department.

  24. nbates66

    something to keep in mind, there are apparently some differences in the quality of the displays used between the different companies, as well as the field of view differences, think my pick to go for would be the dell (assuming one didn't go for the top end Samsung UMD), the HP unit's field of view is 95 degrees compared to 110 on the Dell and Samsung.

  25. rheuser

    I would buy one right away but I have to buy a new PC first. Just a few months ago I purchased an HP Spectre X360 15". It is a great PC but fails the test for supporting Mixed Reality. I cannot afford to buy another so soon. The question is why did HP deliver a $1500 PC last fall that could support Mixed Reality?

  26. Angusmatheson

    It does make the people who bought them for $450 just 1 month ago feels like chumps though.

  27. MutualCore

    Considering how more mature the Oculus & HTC Vive app stores are, I'm not surprised. Also is Microsoft even advertising these? As usual MS doesn't advertise a brand new category and it dies.

  28. tomzen

    I have vision problems and need a big screen to get work done. Does anyone know if a WMR headset would make it easier to work in Excel or other tools like Visual Studio or Power BI studio? Thanks.

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