Acer Windows mixed reality. Acer Mixed Reality headset review

Getting Started with the New Acer Mixed Reality Headset

At Wintellect, we’ve been doing more and more work recently with Microsoft’s HoloLens device. But the HoloLens, at several thousand dollars, is an expensive proposition. Now Microsoft has broadened it’s strategy, rebranded it as “Windows Mixed Reality,” and has worked with hardware partners to come to market with an array of lower-priced headset options. One of the newest of these devices has just become available from Acer, and at only 299 retail price, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

This post will walk you through the installation process for the device step-by-step, showing you what to expect. And at the end, I will provide my conclusions about the device itself and the setup experience.

Spoiler alert: At a high level, my conclusions were:

1) The installation process (for me at least ) was easy and flawless, with no glitches.

2) The device itself is pretty cool, as was the experience.

3) We are seeing the start of a new future coming in Mixed Reality experiences, but this is only the beginning of a long road, and we are still just getting started.

So, with that said, here we go…

The Acer Headset

When you open the box, it is simplicity itself. There is the headset, a tiny set of instructions (one page), and that’s it. The headset has two cable coming out of it on the right side: an HDMI connector, and a USB connector, both on about a 10-foot cord. That’s right, this is not a HoloLens; you must be connected to a computer to use it, like most other VR (Virtual Reality) or MR (Mixed Reality) devices.

To start installation is simplicity itself: plug in the two cables, and the setup program will install and launch, and you’re off to the races. A few things to make note of at this point:

1) On the left side of the device, there is one extra jack you can use to plug in your own audio headset or earbuds. That’s how you will hear sound. I just used the same earbuds I use for my iPhone.

2) Suffice it to say, your basic old laptop likely won’t cut it. It may work, but without a fast processor and good graphics card, you may not be very happy. These things need power! (Note: more on this later).

3) Everything going on is reflected on the screen on your computer, so when you start out you don’t have to have the headset on. You will follow the instructions on the computer screen, which I have screenshots of below.

The first thing I did, of course, is put my headset on anyway, because it’s cool. Here’s a picture below. Trailing off the back right side behind me you can just see the cable hanging off.

And by the way, none of the new devices (nor the existing HoloLens device) have come out with any controllers yet. However, for the Acer, you can connect a Bluetooth Xbox controller, which is what I did.

And finally, if you want to get a look at what programming for Windows Mixed Reality devices is like, check out this public GitHub repo for a step by step hands-on-lab that Wintellect built for Microsoft:

The Installation Process

As I said earlier, once you plug I the device, the setup program will install and pop up. You get an initial splash screen and a Terms of Service screen. Just click through them.

The next thing it will do is check out your computer, to make sure it has the horsepower needed to run the device. Luckily, mine did. For reference, I have an HP Z-Book Mobile Workstation, with a fairly strong graphics card. Even so, my impression is that it was barely enough. The installation went smoothly, but there were minor lags from time to time while using it, and the fan it my laptop went full blast the entire time. Also, there is more info (really good, understandable info) available if you click the link in the picture below that says “Learn more.” It takes you to a web page that very clearly tells you what you need in terms of hardware. One thing it told me is that because I don’t have a “discrete” graphics card (instead, I have an “integrated” GPU in my laptop), the frame rate automatically drops from 90Hz to 60Hz). So it’s pretty highly recommended to use this with a desktop PC and not a laptop. However, I’ve seen these devices used with higher end “gamer” laptops and the experience seemed quite good. For myself, though, I will have to work with what I have. And luckily, I made the minimum requirements.

You can find these details at the following URL:

Once you get passed the hardware requirements screen, you get a very brief introduction to the device itself, as you can see in the screenshot below. Once again, it’s clear that this is a pretty simple device (thus the 299 price). Once item of note, those sensors you see in the picture? They’re important! It means that, unlike some other devices on the market, the headset can see and map the space around you. In other words, it can find the floor and walls. This is nice, as some other devices actually require you to have sensor stands that you put around your room to do this. With the Acer, the device has this capability built in.

Okay. Finally all the preludes are done, and it’s time for the nitty gritty of the device configuration. First, the setup asks you to enter your height, and then stand in the middle of the space you are going to operate in while holding the device at eye level. It wants to start understanding the environment around you, and this first step will help it determine where the floor is. After all, you don’t want to end up floating in the air or starting out half under the ground once you get going.

Then, the final step in the setup of the device: mapping out the boundary of your space. If you’ve used the HoloLens before (a much more powerful and sophisticated device), you might be surprised. With the HoloLens, you simply stand there and slowly turn in a circle, and the HoloLens maps out your entire room (floor, ceiling, walls, and furniture) on its own. With the Acer, however, you physically walk the device around the boundaries of your room to do this. And remember, you only have a 10 foot cord. A colleague of mine actually uses a backpack mounted computer and battery pack with a wireless HDMI port, so he can be mobile and walk around larger spaces. It’s very cool, but let’s face it, most of us will not have this ability.

Once you’re done, you get a picture if the boundaries of your physical space. Let me repeat that: your PHYSICAL space, not your VIRTUAL space. Once you put the headset on, your virtual environment can be limitless; you can be speeding around in outer space in your rocket ship, or on top of Mount Everest. But since you don’t want to be walking around and crashing into the very real walls and furniture in your physical world, the device wants to map that out so you can see (inside the virtual world) where the real world boundaries are.

And BOOM, you’re done. The next screen you see is a startup simulation of a house that you can roam through. It is indeed very cool. You can throw up a browser window, or watch a movie floating in the air. You can go upstairs and downstairs. You can launch other holographic apps and games. And you can manipulate your environment, perhaps adding or moving around furniture, or “teleporting” to other places.

And that “real world boundary” we mapped out? That’s shown by that shimmery screen of dotted lights along the right side of the picture below. That’s one of the walls in my home office. You can turn that off but you best be careful when you do.

And that’s it. The whole process took me maybe 5-10 mins to do, and most of that because I was taking notes and trying to be very careful not to make some kind of mistake. But the reality was it was simple and painless.

Additionally – although not discussed here – I also took one of my Xbox Bluetooth controllers and connected it to my laptop, which made it available as an input control for the headset (no additional configuration necessary). So as I played around I had keyboard, mouse, and Xbox controller available to me as input controls. The purpose-built controllers have not yet come to market as of the time of this post.

Scroll down a little bit more and I’ll give you my personal conclusions on this process.

acer, windows, mixed, reality


So what are my thoughts on the overall experience, and the device itself? These are all just personal opinions, but here you go.

1) The installation process (for me at least) was easy and flawless, with no glitches. It took just a few to several minutes to complete, with honestly not one question of the type “Hmmm, which choice should I select, and what are the implications?” Plus, when setup is complete, you’re popped right into an initial virtual environment to play with. Good experience all around. My only complaint would be that once that happens, there is pretty much no guidance on how to manipulate the environment and do things. It took a lot of clicking around and some frustration to figure most things out (I’m still in learning mode here). There really should be a tutorial that that pops up immediately upon first use.

2) The device itself is pretty cool, as was the experience. Again, this is a VERY basic device. Basically just two lenses and two sensors around the plastic casing. Still, it was comfortable to where (except for the tether, but that’s par for the course these days except for HoloLens). I also did have fun with the (again very basic) sample apps that were available out of the box. No issues with the device so far.

3) Compute power. It’s high. I have a fairly high end laptop that I tried this on and it was basically maxed out. I think it will be a long road until we can get high end MR/VR/AR working on common consumer hardware, especially since the device demands will in my opinion increase faster than the compute and GPU power.

4) We’re just at the beginning of the road here. It’s very obvious to me that:

a. We are seeing the start of what I believe is (and I don’t think this is hyperbole) a revolution in holographic technology, with an accompanying impact on business and society. We are taking the first baby steps, but are also at what I think is a first inflection point where the technology is just starting to come to a place where useful and practical things can be done. Now that we’re there, I believe the industry will start to take off as other tech industries have once they reach that critical point.

b. However, the other side of the coin is that the current set of devices are JUST beginning to be something that you can get interested in and have fun using. Don’t expect to start doing your work via holographic headset yet. For now, except for the most targeted use cases (think: aviation engine mechanic, for instance), and for those with money to burn to create the applications for it, this still remains a mostly future technology. By that I really mean that the consumerization of holographic technology is not yet here. At lwast not quite.

HoloLens Vs Acer Headset

Before I get going, it’s incredibly important to state that this is a completely apples to oranges comparison, so I’m only adding this section for those who have experienced one device but not the other. These devices are targeted at completely different markets and offer completely different experiences, and with completely different price points. You cannot make any kind of honest head to head comparison for those reasons. However, in terms of differences, I thought it may be helpful to outline some of them.

Price: 3,000 for HoloLens vs 299 for the Acer. This is a10x difference. Enough said

Applications on one will work on the other. You can write once, an work across all Windows Mixed Reality devices. You do have to take some things into consideration, such as input gestures and the like, but for the most part, you are programming a single app.

Tetherless vs tethered. A big difference. With the HoloLens, all the computing power is in the headset; it’s truly a remarkable display of technology if you get into the geek aspects of it. The Acer is much more basic. Being freed from the tether to you computer is a huge deal. But you will also pay a huge price for that benefit.

Audio. The HoloLens has it integrated into the device. For the Acer, you must supply your own additional audio headset or earbuds

AR (Augmented Reality) vs VR (Virtual Reality). Another big difference between the two devices, and one that highlights there different purposes. With the HoloLens, you see your own physical reality augmented by the holographic display. With the Acer (a VR devices), you are completely immersed in a virtual environment, separate from your own.

Features and capabilities. Because of the AR aspect for HoloLens, it actually includes a set of sophisticated features beyond what the Acer VR headset provides. Some examples include sophisticated environment mapping, object mapping, and the ability to use gestures from the users (hand motions) as input.

Acer Mixed Reality headset review

Acer gives us a decent first glimpse into the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem with an affordable, plug-and-play HMD. The platform needs a lot more games, and they’re on their way, but until that happens the Oculus Rift can be picked up for the same price, while more promising Windows MR headsets are also rolling out – which leaves us with more hope for Mixed Reality than Acer’s way into it.

  • Mixed Reality lacks software
  • Design can impact viewing quality
  • Controller tracking can be spotty

The Acer Mixed Reality headset is just one of several portals into Microsoft’s brand spanking new virtual reality ecosystem, which it confusingly refers to as Windows Mixed Reality. That might seem like a contradiction, and Microsoft has muddied the definitions a little here, but all you need to know is that this is definitely VR; there’s no way of seeing through the headset into the real world, at least not yet.

Microsoft does bring the real and virtual together in some other unique ways, which we’ll delve into a little later on, but for all intents and purposes this is a virtual reality headset, and the platform as a whole – made of VR headsets from Asus, Lenovo and others too – is going head to head against the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

But things have changed a little since Microsoft first promised powerful and affordable VR, so is it still a tempting proposition? Does it match its biggest rivals on power and value? Read on and find out.

Acer Mixed Reality headset: Design, controllers and tracking

Look, if I came knocking on your door and told you that Acer had made a VR headset, you would probably a) call the cops and b) picture a very unimaginatively designed VR HMD. And you’d be right on both accounts. Acer’s blue helmet is totally fine – not ugly, not beautiful – and about as inspired as its name, but to be honest, with these things designed to be worn in the privacy of the home, does anyone really care that much about how they look? Newsflash: you’re always going to look stupid with a VR headset on.

How they feel is a different matter, of course, and I’m glad to find that Acer’s model is more comfortable than it looks. It’s light, and the weight that it does have is distributed across the headband so you don’t feel pressure against your face. Yes, it’s very plastic; it’s also practical. After long play sessions I still felt like I could happily go on, where in some cases with VR I’ve felt like my head needed to take a rest.

Here’s a really cool thing though: You can flip that front visor up too if you want to check your phone/apologise to the dog for stepping on it, without lifting the headset off entirely. It’s a great feature that you won’t find on any of the other major headsets outside of Mixed Reality right now.

On the back of the strap is a dialer, similar to one you’ll find on other headsets, which lets you adjust the tightness. On Acer‘s I’ve found that to be particularly important, as the design makes it hard to maintain the sweet spot. I often have to adjust it slightly when the image begins to blur in order to find that point of clarity again. The Vive, for example, does a better job of hugging to my head.

When you are in the sweet spot, the picture stands up to the competition. A resolution of 1400 x 1400 per eye puts the Acer above the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PS VR, which all come in at 1080 x 1200 per eye – though Samsung’s Odyssey goes even higher at 1400 x 1600. The Acer also has a field of view of 95 degrees, which is slightly less than some other MR headsets and the Rift and Vive, but not dramatically.

Overall, the image quality has been surprisingly good. There’s still a bit of a screen door effect in the LCD when I stop and stare, but the higher resolution means it’s a bit less noticeable here. Like I said, it’s the challenge of keeping that sweet spot precise that’s the biggest negative here (and the answer seems to be to just make sure the dial is always turned as tight as possible without hurting yourself).

Then we have the controllers. These are bundled in with the headset and each have Acer’s logo emblazoned on the handle, but you’re going to get the same ones with whichever MR headset you buy. They look somewhere between the Oculus Touch and Vive wand controllers – with the build quality of neither. They feel a little more cheap and plasticky, although the sparkly lights that appear when they’re on are, admittedly, hypnotic. On each controller is a thumbstick, a touchpad (again, a combination of Vive and Touch features), an option button, a Windows button, a side button and a trigger.

So where are the external sensors to keep track of all this, you might ask? Well that’s the magic of Windows Mixed Reality: there aren’t any. All of the headsets have inside-out tracking, meaning you can walk around in VR without any fear of occlusion. You do still have to set up a play space, and you’ll see a grid appear in the VR world should you get too close to your parameters, but the added freedom makes Acer’s headset feel so much more accessible.

As for how the tracking compares to the Rift, Vive and PS VR, it’s, again, been surprisingly good. I’d had some demos with these headsets throughout the year, but this was my chance to push the limits a bit more. So far there has been only one occasion where I had suddenly shrunk and had to restart when the calibration went AWOL, but otherwise the head tracking has been smooth. Controller tracking has been a little more spotty, with them occasionally going off at funny angles, but nothing that’s had me alarmed. The tracking doesn’t feel quite as smooth and precise as the Oculus Touch or Vive wands, but if you haven’t used either of those before, I don’t think you’d feel disappointed here.

Acer Mixed Reality headset: What even is Windows Mixed Reality?

So, Microsoft explained this to us a while ago, but when it talks about Mixed Reality it’s referring to an entire platform, with HoloLens at one end and these VR headsets at the other. Over time, it sees this all converging – and it probably will – but for the here and now Mixed Reality on these headsets is just VR. They do have cameras on the front, but these are only for the purpose of tracking your movement, and chances are you won’t see any sort of passthrough feature soon.

There is, however, a sort of mixed…ness to the Cliff House, which is the name of the virtual home you’ll be living in when in Mixed Reality. Everything you do is booted up from here: apps live on walls and can be moved, and some have designated rooms: the living room has a huge TV for booting up 360 videos, but you can just as easily create a window elsewhere to perform the same function. This is your house; go nuts.

Naturally, as soon as I discovered the app store of holograms, objects such as chairs or animated animals that can be dragged and dropped at will, I became fully invested in decorating my new home.

What’s wrong, never seen three chimpanzees eating pizza on giant floating burgers before?

This is what I love about Cliff House, the freedom to just muck around, but be warned that chucking all those Windows and novelty food items about can get the place messy pretty quickly. Thankfully everything can be dismissed with a simple click of its little X icon. As far as movement goes, while you can walk around in your designated play space, you also use the controller thumbsticks to teleport short distances around the house. It’s a locomotion technique we’ve seen used in plenty of other games and experiences, and not once has it made me feel ill.

While none of this bridges the real and virtual worlds, it does bring the VR virtual and outside-of-VR virtual together. For example, I checked my emails and even sent one using one of the apps, then booted up Skype in another. All of this happened within the Cliff House experience, never once requiring me to take off the headset (I could log into my Microsoft and Gmail accounts in there, via a giant pop-up keyboard).

This is a glimpse into how Microsoft sees the future, where both productivity and fun happens in the virtual world.

Where Mixed Reality already deserves plaudits is in that ease of use Microsoft promised. Once you have the Fall Creators Edition, the Acer HMD is essentially plug-and-play. As soon as you’ve plugged it into the USB and HDMI, the Mixed Reality program will automatically boot. What’s more, setup is a breeze.

The minimum specs for Windows Mixed Reality are very reasonable too, helping to further lower the barrier of entry. In fact, there are two tiers of compatible PC: Mixed Reality Ready and Mixed Reality Ultra. At the standard level, which will be mostly for machines with integrated graphics, the frame rate sits at 60fps, while Ultra-level PCs will get 90 frames per second. Some games will only work on the latter, says Microsoft, and that’s the version I’ve tested on, so I can’t yet speak as to how the lower setting compares.

Acer Mixed Reality headset: Games, videos and more

Which brings me to the content, stuff that lives outside of emails and Microsoft apps. Right now, the games library is paltry, and that’s because the Mixed Reality ecosystem is only just getting off the ground. Some familiar titles have already made their way across, including Superhot, Fantastic Contraption, Space Pirate Trainer and the Jaunt VR app. The new Halo Recruit game, which is really just a target-practice demo, is also now available to download (for free) and play.

It’s slim pickings for now, but all expectations are that this will change quickly with most of these headsets rolling out before the holidays. This is only just getting off the ground remember, with Mixed Reality only arriving on Windows 10 a matter of days ago with the Fall Creators Update. We revisit most of our reviews on Wareable, but I’ll be coming back to this one sooner than I normally would because I appreciate it’s still very early days – and SteamVR is coming, which will open the door for a lot more games.

But there is an immediate problem I see, and it goes back to those changes that have happened since Microsoft first announced Mixed Reality. Oculus has been aggressive in its pricing over the past few months, and right now the Rift bundled with controllers costs 399 – the same as Acer’s HMD. Mixed reality was meant to be about an affordable alternative, but instead there’s a parity with the Rift. It’s still cheaper than the Vive (for now) but a lot of VR wannabes are going to compare this against Oculus, which is still the poster-child for VR. Acer can compete on ease of use and compatibility, but on games? Not yet.

So while Acer is offering a relatively low-priced way into VR, that price no longer seems as tasty as it once did. This headset is good, don’t get me wrong, but with all other options considered, I have more faith in the Mixed Reality platform than I do Acer’s portal into it.

Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign. and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) Headset and motion controllers review — a bright blue portal into the virtual world

Affordable VR may sound pretty impossible, but Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform intends to make it possible for everyone to enjoy VR, and Acer’s take on the WMR headset is an excellent example. It is affordable, but what about the experience though?

Funky design looks refreshing Setup is as easy as it can get Good software support from community and developers Easy to wear and take off Controllers are very lightweight Battery life of the controllers is decent

A good entry point to VR, but you might want to wait out for the Acer OJO 500.


VR is probably the next frontier of your PC experience, but the high price point of most headsets does put it out of most people’s reach. The Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) platform has been around to somewhat change that, with more affordable headsets to make it easier for everyone to enjoy what Microsoft has in store for the virtual reality space. You also don’t need nearly as much space as you don’t need to install sensors around your play area to track your motion, as the sensors to track the position of the controllers are in the headset itself.

With that in mind, we got ourselves one of Acer’s Windows Mixed Reality (WMR) headset, complete with the controllers which work with it. Well, actually I was just addicted to Beat Saber and needed a way to play it without spending more than RM2000. So let’s see what does it offer.


The box is very minimalistic, with just the right amount of metallic blue offset against the black background. It’s quite a large one though, but that’s somewhat expected when you have to stash a full-sized headset AND controllers in the box.

So here’s everything in the box. You get the Acer WMR headset, two controllers, and some masks to let you share your headset with your friends without getting their gunk on your headset and of course, the usual documentation that you will ignore.


The Acer WMR headset definitely looks toyish with its blue-black aesthetics. If a darker shade of blue was used, perhaps it would have been better. As it is, it definitely looks a lot less premium than what the incumbents are offering, and even against its Windows MR cousins, it is probably the most immature looking one out there. I won’t say it looks bad, as I find it quite refreshing from the rest of my gear that comes in all shades of monochrome, but there is that niggling feeling that Acer could have done better here.

I have to mention that I changed the original pads to these pleather ones very quickly. The original ones are soft foam, so you can pretty much guess what happened with them once you sweat. They absorb them, and as any person with an inkling about hygiene would do, I washed them. In less than 5 washes, the foam separated from the velcro backing that held it to the headset. RIP Original Sponge Pads. Here you can see the Fresnel lenses, and they do not have any hardware adjustments for interpupillary distance (IPD), which we will talk more about in a moment.

The cute little controllers come packed with controls, and I do like their looks. The round thing looks like a UFO attached to the controllers, and they look even more like alien spaceships when you turn them on. The LEDs are bright but it’s not like you will see them anyway since your eyes will be staring at the displays in the headset.

User Experience

Setting up the Acer WMR headset was very simple. Since the platform is developed by Windows, as soon as you connect the USB and HDMI cables, Windows 10 will begin downloading the necessary files and fire up Mixed Reality Portal. Microsoft’s minimum requirements for the WMR headsets are surprisingly low, but I used my ROG Strix GL504GS throughout my testing.

acer, windows, mixed, reality

Now unlike some of the fancier VR headsets, the Acer WMR headset straps onto your noggin pretty easily. You can also flip up the display if you want to take a peek into the real world just to assure yourself that the world is still the same after immersing yourself in the virtual world. There’s only one dial at the back which you will use to adjust the fit of the entire headset. The good thing is that throughout my entire use I never had any discomfort from the well-padded Band, but more vigorous movement like bobbing my head along to the music in Beat Saber can cause it to slide a bit.

Some freeplay is probably acceptable if the sweet spot was a bit wider. Due to the use of Fresnel lens, you will be looking at a small sweet spot, where everything is clear. One slight nudge in any direction from the sweet spot is enough to make your whole world blurry. That’s worsened by the fact that there is no adjustments possible for the interpupilliary distance (IPD). There’s the ability to adjust it in software, but it doesn’t seem to fix anything. I managed to get most of my field of view clear, but the periphery of my vision was noticeably fuzzier than what I experienced with a HTC Vive.

While certain reviews did state that there was some ghosting in fast-paced scenes, I did try to get it by moving around more during my Beat Saber sessions, and I didn’t encounter any of it. Speaking of moving around, you have the option of setting up the Acer WMR headset to work with you in a static spot, or map out your play area. I didn’t have enough room, as the Windows Mixed Reality Portal will require at least 1.5 x 2.1 m of space. Yes, our office is actually quite small. On the bright side, this means that you can just bring your headset and controllers with you and experience VR anywhere you want. There’s no need for calibrating base stations and motion trackers, as all the motion tracking will be handled by the headset and controllers.

Now that we are on the topic of software, you can use the Acer WMR headset with games or applications that might call for the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Playing around in the Windows Mixed Reality’s Cliff House was pretty fun, and I did try browsing with Microsoft Edge and typing out messages to my mates in the virtual version of my office. Kinda novel at first but then it gets annoying. Nothing beats a physical keyboard for typing. Moving around is also pretty simple, as all you needed to do was move the joystick and you will be teleporting around your pad.

The controllers work via Bluetooth, and these controllers connect quite flawlessly to my ROG Strix GL504GS. Tracking is good as long as you are keep them in the 180° or so FoV of the headset in front of yourself. Go behind your head or swing your hands out to your sides and tracking may get wonky. I say may because it tracked pretty well in the beginning, before the weaker batteries caused it to lose tracking increasingly often whenever I swung my hands out to my sides.

The included batteries gave me around 11 hours of playtime. I know it said it was in low battery for quite some time, but it still worked fine for most of my slashing in Beat Saber, or my random mucking around in the Cliff House. I switched over to some new batteries around the 12-hour mark. Pretty good showing, but if you intend to use these more frequently, you might want to look into investing in some rechargeable AA batteries.


Is the Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset for you? Well it definitely seems like some sort of an experiment for Acer and also all the other brands involved in Microsoft’s WMR platform. The funky colors push me further in that direction, but as it stands, it is a pretty affordable way to experience VR. RM1700 is what counts as affordable, by the way.

One thing to note is that all my issues with the Acer Windows Mixed Reality has already been addressed with the Acer OJO 500 WMR headset. Down to the part where they replaced the sponge with washable padding, as well as adding physical adjustments for IPD. We have no idea how much it will cost here in Malaysia, but if you want a great experience with a WMR headset, you should probably wait for that. Meanwhile, do try out the Acer WMR headset first to see if your eyes actually fit the fixed IPD before spending on it. Third-party pads can be gotten for very cheap online, but if your eyes are either set too far apart or too close to each other with respect to the fixed IPD in the Acer WMR headset, you might find the experience a lot less satisfactory.

It’s a good headset if you find the fixed IPD acceptable, as most of the shortcomings like the short-lived padding around the eyes can be overcome quite easily. The fit might be an issue if you are planning on some vigorous motions in the virtual world, but if you are going to use it for games like Beat Saber, you aren’t going to face too big of a problem. Overall, i would say not bad for something that costs just a bit more than half the price of a HTC Vive headset.

Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset First Impressions

Acer’s Acer Windows Mixed Reality headset and motion controllers arrived today, giving me my first in-depth look at Microsoft’s latest platform push.

So there are a few things going on here: Acer’s hardware, which seems durable and well-made. And then Microsoft’s software platform, Windows Mixed Reality, which seems a bit immature to me.

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So let’s start with the good news: Acer’s Windows Mixed Reality headset, which comes with two motion controllers, is on the affordable end of the Windows Mixed Reality spectrum, coming in at 399. I see little reason to consider other, more expensive devices: The Acer headset includes a nice hinged display, which allows you to flip up the headset so you can see the real world easily when needed.

And it is as comfortable as it can be, given the bulky, occluded nature of such devices. There’s a handy dial on the back of the headset for getting the right fit, and it stays in place well.

Setup is as simple as it can be, too, given the amount of hardware and configuration that’s required for VR.

Assuming you have a powerful enough Windows 10 PC—and I do, thanks to an HP gaming rig review unit with a Core i7 processor, dual NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics cards, 16 GB of RAM, and speedy SSD storage—you just need to plug the headset via both HDMI (video-in) and USB (power) and, optionally, to a pair of headphones, which will provide more immersive sound. This will launch the Mixed Reality Portal app on the PC, which will guide you through pairing the two motion controllers and getting started via a wizard-like app. The whole process took me 10 or 15 minutes.

Once you are up and running, Cortana will guide you through a short tutorial in which you learn how to navigate around virtual spaces using your gaze and the motion controllers. (You can optionally use a mouse or gamepad instead, but I haven’t tried that yet.) You have a choice between using a big space in your room or just sitting or standing in front of the PC. I chose the latter for now to get started more quickly.

Ultimately, you’ll arrive at a virtual home that is used to launch various apps and games. You can access a floating Start menu here—via a Windows button on either controller—and can pin apps and games to walls, and place hologram objects like lamps and pictures around the home to decorate if you’d like.

I quickly worked through most the built-in experiences, which include the Store, so you can find more VR apps and games, Groove for music, Movies TV for immersive 360-degree videos, Photos, Skype, Microsoft Edge, and a few others. Each worked as expected, and while some experiences were more interesting than others—those immersive 360-degree videos are always pretty cool—there were no real surprises.

I like that Microsoft has formally made VR part of the Windows platform, and we’ve already seen the positive impact that this move has had on competitors, which are now lowering and promising less complex set-ups with future products. But the Windows Mixed Reality suffers from a few obvious problems, and it’s not clear when—or even if—all of these will be addressed.

The most obvious is that chicken-and-egg issue where there aren’t enough users to attract top-tier developers who might create truly first-class VR experiences, while convincing customers to buy into a platform with so few interesting VR experiences is likewise problematic.

The bulky nature of these headsets is a turn-off too, and while I’m not sure VR or AR will be a mainstream computing experience anytime soon, morphing these tethered headsets into glasses would make a huge difference. They’re just too much for most people, I think.

The price doesn’t help, either: While I’m sure the 399 price tag is justified by the components, that’s a lot of money to ask for something that is currently this limited.

And the resolution—1440 x 1440 in each screen, one for each eye—is very low. Noticeably low. When I pull off the headset and see the same view on my PC’s screen—you can mirror what the headset is seeing in the Mixed Reality Portal app—it’s like going from a 320 x 240 YouTube video to 4K. It’s immediately noticeable.

Is Windows Mixed Reality “better” than phone-based VR systems like Google Daydream View? Yes and no. Phone-based VR is far more portable, for sure, and while the resolution is low there as well, it doesn’t seem far off, visually. But phones get hot when used in this manner, and I’m sure battery life suffers. So your choices aren’t great: Mobility with heat and battery life problems vs. lack of mobility and tethered to an expensive PC with a bulky headset. Pick your poison.

Basically, you need to take a long-term view to see the real impact of Windows Mixed Reality. Now that this platform is simply part of Windows, it can evolve and improve with Windows. And it will only get better over time. In the meantime, Microsoft has done a good job of letting Windows users access VR/AR-type experiences, including 3D, on their normal 2D displays.

Also, Windows Mixed Reality—and the HoloLens which inspired it—are the basis for some interesting UX improvements coming to 2D Windows; for example, the light-based selection effects we see in the Fluent Design System. Put simply, this is one step forward on a long journey.

I’ll keep exploring Windows Mixed Reality. I have some games to buy and try, and I really do enjoy the immersive 360-degree videos. There’s also that free-roaming room setup to try. But I’ll also be watching to see how this platform evolves, both in Redstone 4 and in future Windows 10 versions. Whatever it’s state of readiness today, Windows Mixed Reality is part of Windows now, and it may take on a bigger role in the future.

Conversation 31 Комментарии и мнения владельцев

So the launcher is basically MS BOB/VR? Interesting choice…

In reply to Brazbit:

You don’t get it, do you? This is the Hololens platform. Since you can’t see your actual room, it put a virtual one instead. But when you use a Hololens, that virtual lamp and those apps would be in your actual room. MS intends in the future to have a headset that can transform to an AR device and a VR device by making the lens opaque or transparent. Now does it make sense?

In reply to NazmusLabs:

I understand that just fine. For Hololens this makes sense and is a natural interface. For VR it is highly inefficient to have to search through a virtual house to find which room you left Netflix in. There’s a reason why Bob never took off.

As for holograms, they are an awesome idea for AR but in VR they are nothing as the entire space is not real.

I’m excited for Hololens style AR. VR, however, holds little to no appeal for me.

In reply to Brazbit:

I believe you misunderstood what I wanted to say. And apologies for my bad wording. What I was referring to was the recent announcement by Alex Kipman that hinted at a all in one viser that has lens that can become opaque or transparent on demand. Essentially, one device can do both VR and AR (hence the platform is called mixed reality) My guess is that is the next generation of hololens Microsoft is working on. That is the only reason for having this ms bob like environment in these VR headsets. The goal is your viser can switch to the real world and ms Bob world on demand and you won’t lose your holograms. That is why this makes sense. If I didn’t now about the recent announcement, I would be like you in asking why this virtual environment exists on the VR space. That is why I asked if you don’t get it. I presumed you were not aware of the most recent announcement. 🙂

In reply to NazmusLabs:

This is exactly right, These particular headsets are VR only, but the platform is MR and will support AR, VR and (dare I say it) convertible devices. I am betting the AR devices are still a little ways off, and if MS flounders the platform then they will never come, but with any luck we will see them before the end of 2018.

but the new Xbox, will it have these capabilities? All I have read are its only PC right now.

In reply to mocavo67:

It was promoted as being VR capable for a while, but recently MS has said that it doesn’t want to put any pressure on devs for a system thats still nowhere near being mainstream. So while the One X is certainly powerful enough, there are no plans for any HMDs to work with it.

I’m disappointed that Windows Mixed Reality won’t work on Surface Pro 4, apparently due to the Intel Graphics 520 driver not being WDDM 2.2-compliant. I didn’t expect a spectacular experience on a machine without a discrete GPU, but c’mon, it’s by no means an ancient setup. Intel has said they don’t plan on making a WDDM 2.2 driver. Is this something Microsoft can budge on?

In reply to gregsedwards:

Surface Book 2 seems designed to support Windows VR at 90hz. Supposedly the ‘halo’ PC you should get to have the best VR experience on the market w/o custom building your own PC.

Low resolution is not a great look for VR, really. 400 is still a lot.

Hey Paul what about the Steam VR compatibility? Is that there yet? That would make it a much more reasonable expense since its a pretty large VR library.

In reply to NazmusLabs:

I hate to be a Negative Nancy, but I bought a 950xl when I heard that Android apps for W10M were confirmed. Though I do believe they’ll pull through this time, I’m not buying a headset until they release it for consumers (not just insiders).

As a product designer who has designed and shipped products, I can safely say that after confirming a feature, all the work is still ahead, lol.

This brings back some memories! When I was in school in the early 90’s, I got to take a VR class taught by Dr. Robert Geist at Clemson University. We did our development on SGI Indy workstations. Most of the time, we worked in 2D with monitors. From time to time, we’d get to take our work into special labs with SGI Indy workstations connected to hardware mounted overhead to track us and the tethered VR headset that we wore. The headset simply housed the displays sitting in front of your eyes. The tracking was accomplished with magnetic fields. We all wondered if it was safe for long term use, but never hesitated to jump on the opportunity to play in the lab. It was just so cool.

It would take many, many hours to process reasonably real scenes with textures and realistic lighting to prepare them for display in the VR world. To reduce this, we mostly worked with wire frames. There was just no way to produce truly realistic looking VR worlds in real-time. But the immersiveness was still so cool. Remember, this was the early 90’s. Computers were just beginning to hit mainstream users. Those that had access to computers up to that point were mostly using character-based UI’s from mainframe and minis.

On one occasion, a few of us got to go to a lab where grad students built and ran VR environments on an SGI Onyx machine (yes, one machine). The Onyx was a 100,000 plus machine; whereas, the Indy’s were 10,000 machines. The processing power of the Onyx was amazing back then. It could bake scenes much faster and render the VR world much more smoothly than the Indy. It was incredible! At least we thought it was.

acer, windows, mixed, reality

Seeing these realistic VR scenes with AR on roughly 2000 of hardware and no need for special tracking devices mounted above is amazing to me. It’s also a little sad at the same time. We really haven’t come all that far in roughly 25 years.

The true potential of this is training and design (and, of course, entertainment). At least, that’s what we thought it was in the early 90’s and the reason we got grants that allowed the purchase of the expensive hardware. For this to become commonplace, it must get to complete immersion with untethered hardware at affordable price points. I’ve often wondered why the headsets can’t be wireless while the real processing is done in the wirelessly tethered machine. Seems this would give better than HoloLens experiences at a much cheaper price. I suppose there just isn’t enough bandwidth for this yet.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Paul, if the resolution is too low as you say, then there is potential reason to get a more expensive VR headset — Samsung’s set has higher resolution. Regarding the App problem, the obvious thing is Microsoft need to build several/a few more reference Apps. If they truly believe this is the future blah, blah, then go the extra mile to kick start the thing. Show, don’t tell. But that is where they are going with stuff like AltSpaceVR, I hope they have more in the bag. At this point you need just enough stuff to get the early adopter sets, then developers join, then users join, and its on. But still it will be a slow climb until the really usable technology shows up.

My guess is Microsoft Stores will be slightly reconfigured to emphasize the VR headsets with ‘ultra’ PCs like Surface Book 2 and HP Elite x360, Dell XPS. At least if they’re Smart.

I find the resolution fine personally. I have the Dell Visor and watching videos in the viewing room of the Cliff House is pretty epic, almost like being at the cinema.

Paul, can you write up more on the VR experience? I’m interested in it from a business perspective. For example this looks like a modern Windows Desktop. So can I multi-task? or is it run and app, stop run another app… etc. Do only UWP apps work or can I run desktop apps?

How does it compare with the up and coming VR Dashboard. Can I multi-task and run desktop apps there?

In reply to Byron_Adams:

Are you still using Window 8? All modern apps run cam multi task fine and doesn’t need to run in full screen like metro apps in Win8. I can answer your questions: the apps cam run in a Window and they float or can be attached to walls in your virtual worlds. You can run as many apps simultaneously so you want. Win32 apps work fine with this: these have confirmed STEAM VR support, which is Win32 Desktop tech.

BTW, why do they have chairs and sofas in this make believe house.

Welcome Paul Thurrott.

Golly, look a nice place to sit …


In reply to Roger Ramjet:

There’s sofas and shelves scattered round the Cliff House which are useful to change the view height of certain things, as you can teleport onto the surface at the height of the specific furniture. E.g the theatre room bit with a cinematic screen has sofa and raised shelf behind it that provide that sense of having a good seat in the cinema. If these weren’t there you would be watching content on the massive screen from the ground level.

So, wasn’t it the case that Microsoft was working to include compatibility with SteamVR with their mixed reality headets?

I’m really happy making tradingas my part time because it really helped me increased my income. And it’s the best because I’m tradingin the comfort of my own home. This is great. Search SuperiorTradingSystem to know more.

I think porn will likely be the killer app for the majority of mainstream VR adopters until more apps are released. Sure flying around the world or space in 360 degree VR would be cool but that didn’t drive DVD and Blu Ray adoption either lol.

Porn will get them in the door if these devices are priced low enough.

Could this be a replacement in the future for multiple monitors? We currently run 3 to 6 monitors on each desk, I would think, having the ability to plaster application Windows all over the wall and throw them around in front of you, even have less used Windows behind you, so you turn around to see them, might be interesting. It is certainly how I envisage VR on Windows back in the mid 90s.

In reply to wright_is:I agree. And think heads up display possibilities.

But again, this resolution is limiting – as were the 640×480 color monitors back in the day… Gotta start somewhere.

This whole cliff house approach to interacting with Windows is just stupid. And wasteful. Just throw up the virtual screens, right in front of me with a way to pull FOCUS to a particular app. THAT’S IT. Anything else is just annoying and a waste of processing and time. There’s nothing attractive or useful about generating a horrible fake ‘house’ that serves NO purpose whatsoever. Who thinks this idiotic stuff up?

I’ve said it before, these devices are too expensive with too many requirements (space, controllers, tethering, very high spec PC etc). Headsets are still uncomfortable and hot, the apps are extremely limited (and mostly pointless). The VR ‘experience’ is very much a single person thing, so has almost no family appeal. The resolution and field of few are still way too low to be considered life-like and the whole thing can be very disorientating. If you have a bad experience, or feel sick, you’ll likely never use it again.

For the casual user, the whole VR/AR platform is a non-starter. Gamers will have more fun, but they they probably have PC’s of the required spec already. MS has once again, probably promised a lot to their ‘partners’ to get them all on-board, but I think sales are going to be extremely low, and it will eventually be one more experiment doomed for failure. The only time VR/AR will really work will be when they finally invent the glasses free holodeck, and then nobody will be able to afford one of those either.

So utterly STUPID that they’ve gone back to the 90’s virtual room UI crap.

Did they get the morons who designed the Packard Bell Navigator UI for Windows 3.1 to do this abomination?

Microsoft says minimum system i5, 8GB, GPU that docent sound too awful 399 headset. dosent sound all that bad, for a beginners for … Windows Mixed Reality minimum PC hardware compatibility guidelines ….

try looking on you tube for alan kay Croquet demo 2 this is Smalltalk / squeak in 2003,,

Smalltalk / squeak the stuff xerox used for there Alto computer which Steve jobs.saw. and made a facsimile of in the form of Lisa followed by the Macintosh, then Microsoft made a facsimile of the mac in the form of Windows.

while your at it look on you tube for Jordan Explores: Active Worlds! this is even older. they should make a version for Microsoft mixed reality,, it was great fun, telephoning around, talking to all the people in it back in 2001, you could even make your own buildings, powerful stuff ,, and all most forgotten.

About author

Paul Thurrott

Paul Thurrott is an award-winning technology journalist and blogger with over 20 years of industry experience and the author of over 25 books. He is the News Director for the Petri IT Knowledgebase, the major domo at, and the co-host of three tech podcasts: Windows Weekly with Leo Laporte and Mary Jo Foley, What the Tech with Andrew Zarian, and First Ring Daily with Brad Sams. He was formerly the senior technology analyst at Windows IT Pro and the creator of the SuperSite for Windows.

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Review: Acer’s 400 Windows VR Headset And Controllers

I had a strange feeling the first time I packed the Acer VR headset into a bag with two hand controllers, a laptop and earbuds, and realized that’s all I needed to enjoy a walk-around virtual world. It was a bit like when you pat your s for your phone only to realize you’re already holding it in your hand — panic, followed by intense relief.

No cameras or base stations to lug around and arrange is certainly a huge step forward for VR and a major selling point of headsets like Acer’s based on Microsoft’s tracking technology. But there are other considerations as well. Here’s what I encountered with Acer’s entry level consumer VR headset running on Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality platform.

Comfort and Fitting

I found it difficult to get the Acer headset fitting as snugly on my head as a Vive or a Rift.

I pushed the lenses up to my eyes holding the headset in my hands so everything looked crisp and wide, but couldn’t recreate that seemingly perfect fit using just the headband and dial behind my head to tighten it. I couldn’t seem to get the perfect fit that maximized both the sweet focused spot on the lenses as well as my field of view. Getting the headband resting at just the right position though provided a good enough sweet spot and wide angle. Every face is different, of course, and so your mileage may vary here. There’s also notably no adjustment with this headset to space the screens out so they are centered in front of each of your eyes.

Acer lists the headset’s weight as 1.35 pounds, which is more than a Rift, but Acer balances the weight more on the forehead than the face compared with Rift and Vive. That seems to make the weight less noticeable overall. All around where the headset touches your face and head there’s soft fabric meant to absorb sweat. I didn’t notice too much light leaking in from the outside.


The Windows tracking system requires decent lighting during the setup process. In daylight hours I could get reliable tracking in my home with just light coming in from the unblocked Windows.

The Microsoft Windows platform has players define their play space using the headset itself to trace the edges — much the same way Rift and Vive users do using their controllers. With Acer headset in hand, you keep it pointed at the computer as you walk around the play space. When it is time to enter VR, you put on the headset and look around until the system recognizes your space and puts you into the cliff house home area.

When your hands or head come near the edges of the play space little white circles on the virtual wall indicate you’re entering uncharted territory.

The very first VR app I installed form the Windows Store was Space Pirate Trainer, and initially I found it to be basically the same game I enjoyed with Vive and Rift. As testing progressed though and I became more comfortable with shooting in the virtual world, I started to notice small gaps in the tracking that seemed to have a small effect on my overall gameplay. The best example of this is a very specific defensive position I find myself using in Space Pirate Trainer.

With my left hand, I hold a shield tightly to my left side to block incoming fire from that direction. I turn my head to the right and extend my right arm to fire at enemies in that direction. To avoid incoming fire from the right while keeping myself protected to the left, I use my legs to re-position my entire body without moving my arms from their relative positions. This is something I do all the time in a Rift and Vive. Unfortunately, I found myself killed pretty quickly doing this in the Acer headset.

I will have to do more controlled testing of games like Space Pirate Trainer and Superhot to see just how significant the difference is between the inside-out Microsoft tracking on Acer, which uses two forward facing cameras, and the outside-in tracking from Rift and Vive that relies on hardware outside the play area to pinpoint the position of hands and headset at all times. I believe that while the Acer headset’s tracking cameras have a wide field of view, like all Microsoft-based headsets, there are edge use cases where this can impact situational awareness and highly competitive gameplay. In other words, the most competitive VR buyers may want outside-in tracking (Rift or Vive) to cover those unusual body positions while casual gamers may be fine with the current inside-out designs (Acer, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell) powered by Microsoft’s technology.

Of course, people starting fresh with Microsoft’s headsets as their first VR experience might get used to the headset’s tracking limitations pretty quickly and play around them, while people making the jump from Vive or Rift might find themselves occasionally frustrated. Plus, over time developers may be able to improve their apps to account for the different approaches to tracking arm and head movements. This premise will need to be more thoroughly examined in controlled testing I haven’t had time to do yet.

The takeaway here is that while it is a huge convenience not needing to carefully arrange tracking hardware around a room, as is the case with Rift and Vive, there are new things to think about with Acer and headsets like it using Microsoft’s technology. You have to make sure you don’t move your body in a way that extends beyond the tracking capabilities of the headset.

Content Availability

Microsoft is still working on its OpenVR driver that will bring Steam compatibility to Acer and other Windows-based headsets. The company is only releasing the driver to developers right now, so it’s not possible yet to test the hundreds of VR-ready apps already on Steam with Acer’s hardware. With that in mind, there’s a relatively short list of notable content available through the Microsoft Windows Store.

At the time of this writing, the stars are Space Pirate Trainer, Fantastic Contraption, Arizona Sunshine and Superhot — not a bad launch library on its own but a year and a half after Oculus and Vive launched it is also not nearly the depth of quality software you could find on Steam or the Oculus Store.

As a side note here, the notable exclusive Microsoft announced for the Windows headsets — Halo Recruit — is a pretty disappointing demo experience.


It was a little stressful the first time I tried flipping the headset up — worried I might break it by trying to access one of the other big selling points of this design. I applied a little more force than I was comfortable using and it snapped into place away from the eyes. It’s easy to keep the headband in place while flipping up the display to look at your keyboard or talk to other people in the room. Being able to switch back and forth between reality and VR so quickly is a very nice addition, particularly for developers, but given the limits I encountered getting the headband’s positioning just right I’m left pondering the trade-off here between flip-up headset and crisp visuals. I’d prefer the latter.

Headphones connect to a standard headphone jack, which supports a microphone. It is located conveniently right where the headset’s cord passes through a loop on the right side of the headband. There’s a 13-foot cable that does a decent job of offering freedom of movement, though a few more feet would have been appreciated to move around larger rooms. It connects to an open USB 3.0 port and HDMI (2.0 recommended).

It includes two 2.89-inch LCD displays featuring a 1440 x 1440 per eye resolution that edges out Rift and Vive in number of pixels. The LCD is effectively low-persistence, using “impulse backlighting” to make the visuals appear smoother and closer to what you might see with an OLED display. Depending on the power of your PC running the headset it runs at either 60 or 90 frames per second, with that lower specification bringing the visuals closer to what you’d see in a mobile VR headset like Daydream or Gear VR.

The Windows motion controllers feel a little more cheaply made than Vive wands or Oculus Touch, and they’re pretty bulky in comparison — each taking two AA batteries. They connect easily over bluetooth, with the button to activate the wireless connection hidden inside the battery compartment. They feature both analog sticks and touchpads, but the dearth of launch content available makes it hard to get a good grasp of just how developers will use them in comparison to Rift and Vive controllers. Trigger and grip buttons are in pretty good positions but smaller hands might find the controllers a tad big.

There’s still a screen-door effect (where it looks like you’re seeing the virtual world through the squares of a screen door) with the Acer display, but it doesn’t appear dramatically worse or better than on a Rift or Vive. I didn’t notice any god-rays (where light can seem to pop through the clouds in a distracting way) nor did I notice glare from the Acer lenses, which is the subject of some criticism on the Rift. We’ll have to wait and see how Samsung’s Odyssey HMD compares to the displays inside the Acer as the Samsung headset features an OLED display with the same inside-out tracking.

The biggest issue with the optics and visuals with the Acer HMD is positioning that fitting to get the best possible picture even through active movement.


Acer’s HMD and controllers are priced at 400, which is perfectly in line with Rift and its controllers during the holiday season. That makes this the decision facing most interested VR early adopters — Rift or Acer? If you’re weighing Acer against the other Windows-based HMDs like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Asus you’ll have to wait for our in-depth impressions of those headsets for a more educated recommendation there.

I don’t want to discount the HTC Vive, which offers fantastic room-scale tracking using a system that doesn’t need to be plugged into your computer. The most competitive VR gamer who needs perfect tracking no matter what they’re doing, with a large room to play inside for maximum immersion, is still going to think heavily about getting a Vive. Though that system is also 200 more expensive than both Acer’s HMD and Oculus Rift.

Between Rift and Acer, though, there are benefits to each decision. With Rift you get integrated audio and microphone in a great-fitting headset that provides crisp visuals and access to the largest content library from both Steam and the Oculus. But with Rift you’ve got to set up these pesky cameras all around the room and occasionally the lenses leave you seeing god rays. With Acer you get a simpler setup that makes it easier to get into and out of VR, but you might occasionally notice the tracking limits.

Are you going to use a VR headset more that can pack easily into a bag and take with you (Acer)? Or do you want one that more reliably produces a crisp picture because it straps so firmly to your head (Rift)? I’d be tempted toward recommending the crisp picture and snug fit of Rift, but it may be more a question of how you plan to use the hardware. If you want to take VR with you to a lot of places and show other people, especially if you have a VR-ready laptop or are a developer, then Acer might be better. If you want a solid system you don’t plan to move from your desk or living room (and don’t mind the USB cords snaking around your walls), then Rift is probably the better choice.

Overall though, while I found it to be a solid HMD, the entry level 400 Acer headset leaves enough open questions (how will unmodified Steam games work with the inside-out tracking solution?) that a wait-and-see approach might be a good call for some potential buyers.