While the HoloLens embodies Microsoft’s vision of mixed reality, a great many manufacturers have also brought out their own mixed reality headsets. Foremost amongst these are of course Acer, Dell, Lenovo and HP.
However, the most impressive headset of the lot is undoubtedly Samsung’s HMD Odyssey.
An Excellent effort
Our impressions confirm what is really a general feeling among those who have tested the Samsung HMD Odyssey. The headset is a step above other mixed reality headsets, both in terms of features, and in quality of manufacture.
The know-how of the Korean giant is evident from the moment you open the box. The product gives one a feeling of being very robust – and that’s in addition to its impeccable finish. The visual and sound clarity has to be experienced to be believed.
Particular care has been taken with regard to its ergonomics, and this is something that is apparent from the moment you put on the headset.
Earphones and integrated microphone
The Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset stands out from the competition with a microphone, and integrated headphones. The headphones are from the prestigious brand AKG.
While it is, of course, possible to use conventional headphones with most mixed reality headsets, having the headphones and microphone incorporated into the Samsung Odyssey simplifies the amount of equipment that you have to wear in virtual reality, reduces cords, and decreases the total weight on your head.
The controllers are also reasonably ergonomic, though not exceptionally so
They are slightly more comfortable to take in one’s hand than the standard controllers of other mixed reality headsets but do not attain the levels of comfort of Oculus touch controllers.
Excellent display quality
Samsung’s dedication to quality is also reflected in the HMD Odyssey screens, which use OLED technology and which each boast a resolution of 1440 x 1600, this opposed to a resolution of 1440 x 1440 in most other mixed reality headsets.
The OLED technology ensures that there are no after images on the screens, and can prevent nausea associated with some mixed reality and virtual reality headsets. The field of view is 110 degrees, which on par with the best headsets on the market today.
Comparisons with the Rift and the Vive
Each headset has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset, like all mixed reality headsets, has the significant advantage of not requiring external sensors to function.
All you have to do is take it out of the box and connect it to a computer running Windows 10. There’s a short software update and you are ready to go.
This makes the Samsung Odyssey much easier to use than the Vive, for example, and much easier to carry around as well. It goes without saying that the Samsung Odyssey far outclasses the resolutions of the classic Vive.
One advantage that the Vive has over the Samsung Odyssey is with the controllers. The Samsung Odyssey’s controllers are tracked by the camera in front of the headset, which means that it is not possible to track an object that is outside their field of view.
So long as your controllers remain in the field of view of the headset’s cameras, the tracking is absolutely perfect.
For applications that are designed for the Samsung Odyssey headset, this is rarely a problem, as consideration for this limitation in tracking is built into the application design.
However, it does remain a limitation when compared with the Vive.
Minimum Specifications for the Samsung Odyssey
You’ll need an Intel i5 6300 processor or higher, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 or higher. You’ll also need 8GB of RAM, Windows 8 or Windows 10 as your operating system, two USB ports and an HDMI port.
Microsoft signs a deal with Steam
Microsoft has forged partnerships with good many software vendors, and perhaps the foremost of these is Valve. The SteamVR platform will, therefore, be compatible with Windows mixed reality headsets.
This allows the Samsung Odyssey to actually go all out in competition with the Vive.
Play Oculus Rift exclusive games in Windows mixed reality with Revive
LibreVR’s Revive app, originally designed to allow HTC Vive users to play Oculus Rift games, is perfectly compatible with Windows mixed reality headsets, and will allow you to play the entire Oculus Rift library <on your Samsung Odyssey mixed reality headset.
For those who weren’t aware of Revive, its been in development since around 2016. It started out with Jules Cross, a VR enthusiast, working on the project in his spare time, but the project has since received funding from Oculus’ founder.
Should you buy the Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset?
The headset is vastly superior to most of the other headsets on the market and offers a visual clarity that outclasses the classic Vive.
It also offers excellent 3D soundscapes, and the ergonomics will allow you to experience hours of comfortable play.
While the controllers do not match the controllers of the Vive for tracking, the fact that you don’t have to set up base stations or light houses, and can simply plug in the headset and start using it is actually a considerable convenience.
Go for it, because this headset is real value for money.