August 31, 2017 // 11 a.m.
Asus has officially joined the ranks of Windows Mixed Reality implementers, announcing an augmented reality headset to compete with those from Acer, Dell, and HP.
Designed around the same augmented reality concept as Microsoft's high-priced HoloLens but using cheaper components, the Windows Mixed Reality platform was announced in October last year with the promise of dual-use VR and AR headsets starting at $299 (around £231 excluding taxes). Earlier this month Acer and HP became the first to take orders for their Windows Mixed Reality devices, albeit in 'developer edition' form. Dell soon followed suit, and now Asus has announced that it too is working on a Windows Mixed Reality headset it unimaginatively calls the Asus Windows Mixed Reality Headset.
Speaking to the gathered audience at the IFA event in Germany this week, Asus vice president Eric Chen followed his company's unveiling of new two-in-one laptops with the augmented reality device: 'I am also thrilled about our collaboration with Microsoft and to be at the forefront of technology with the Asus Windows Mixed Reality Headset,' he claimed, 'that enables users to explore real and virtual worlds like never before.'
According to Asus, the headset includes the usual raft of Windows Mixed Reality technologies: Inside-out sensing based on an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and dual cameras provides six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) positional tracking without the need for external sensors, a 1,440 x 1,440 resolution, and a 90Hz refresh rate. Asus also boasted of its lightweight nature - under 400g - and the use of 'premium antibacterial cushioned materials and a balanced-crown design that reduces pressure on the nose and face' for extended wear.
Full availability was not confirmed during the event, but Asus has indicated that the device will retail for €449 (around £415 inc. VAT) with a pair of motion-tracked controllers included, putting it below the regular selling price of the currently-discounted Oculus Rift and HTC Vive but with significantly lower specifications.