Windows Mixed Reality HMDs

By Zach Dixon

Talk to Zach if you want to try one, he has a Lenovo Explorer.

Description

Microsoft, in partnership with several hardware manufacturers, has released a line of virtual reality headsets. They all utilize inside-out tracking and feature SteamVR compatibility through an official plugin. Performance requirements are much lower than other headsets, though those minimum requirements don't correspond to running SteamVR applications, for which the requirements are roughly equivalent to the Vive or Rift.

Inside-out tracking is based on Microsoft Hololens technology. It determines the HMD's position within an environment using a pair of cameras which simultaneously localize the headset and map the room. Controllers are tracked by the cameras using lights on the controllers.

Software Requirements

Minimum:

Processor

Intel Core i5 7200U (7th generation mobile) or better

GPU

Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 620, NVIDIA MX150/965M equivalent or better - must support DX12

Memory

8 GB RAM or more

Video output

HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer

USB port

1x USB 3.0 (Type A or Type C)

Operating system

Windows 10

Other

Bluetooth 4.0

Recommended:

GPU

NVIDIA GTX 960/1050 , AMD RX 460/560 equivalent or better

CPU

Intel Core i5 4590 , AMD Ryzen 5 1400 3.4Ghz equivalent or better

Variants

There are six variants of WMR headsets. Most of them are roughly equivalent, except the Samsung Odyssey which is a more premium device.

Acer Headset / Dell Visor / HP Headset / Lenovo Explorer

  • Resolution: 2880 x 1440

  • Display: LCD

  • Refresh rate: Up to 90Hz

  • Field of view: Up to 105°

  • 3.5mm audio jack

Samsung HMD Odyssey

  • Resolution: 2880 x 1600

  • Display: AMOLED

  • Refresh rate: Up to 90Hz

  • Field of view: Up to 110°

  • Integrated headphones, Dual array mics

Getting WMR Working on Non-Compatible PCs

Windows Mixed Reality devices can be run on Windows 10 PCs which don't meet the minimum requirements through a registry key edit. To do this, follow the steps below. Note that performance will likely be significantly impacted, and customer support is likely to be minimal. Note: This seems to have been broken for some people by a new Windows update. If that is the case, try also enabling Developer Mode in Windows Update Settings.

  1. Run WMR setup as normal until it no longer allows you to continue due to hardware requirements.

  2. Open the Registry Editor.

  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Holographic

  4. Right click on the right pane, and create a new DWORD 32 Bit.

  5. Name it AllowFailedSystemChecks.

  6. Double click the new key, and set its value to 1.

  7. Reopen the WMR portal and continue setup.