Dell throws its hat into the VR ring, with its own mixed reality headset: the Dell Visor
The shared Windows Mixed Reality Platform is starting to pick up steam. While the term is still ill-defined – the idea is to bridge the gap between the physical reality and the virtual one – there are a handful of new devices that now fall under Windows’ VR umbrella.
The first, Acer’s Development Edition headset, was launched at the start of the year, but at IFA 2017 we’ve got our hands on a few more of these new mixed-reality headsets. Asus, Acer, HP and Lenovo have all thrown their hat in the ring, but this is Dell’s first stab at budget VR, and the Dell Visor ticks all the right boxes.
Dell Visor UK price, release date and specifications
- Price: £350 (£100 for controllers)
- Release date: “Coming months”
Dell Visor review: Design, key features and first impressions
Properly demoed for the first time at IFA 2017, the Dell Visor is an interesting one. Price-wise, it undercuts most well-known VR headsets such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift by a hefty margin. It’s no surprise Dell has been working on one, either – the company first made the announcement a year ago – but now I’ve had the chance to try it on, I can tell this does everything right.
I’m still not entirely sold on the idea of mixed reality, mind you. Dell, like the others, stresses that it’s all about moving virtual objects as if they were physical, blending the real world with the virtual one, but I’m not convinced. This is virtual reality through and through.
Back to the headset, and it’s a lightweight little thing that fits comfortably around my head. My glasses weren’t an issue either, thanks to the flip-up front visor – something Oculus needs to take note of. In short: the Visor is plenty roomy and fits snug on the head – precisely what you need from a VR headset.
Dell’s Visor utilises the same technology used in the Microsoft HoloLens, including inside-out tracking cameras. Like the others under the same platform, the headset itself can scan surroundings and place it in the virtual world – just scan your office and you can view it through the lenses. There’s not much to say here, the tech just works, and the potential for future applications is there.
Where the Visor stands out from, say, Asus’ headset is in its separate controllers. Complete with six degrees of movement in the 3D space, these set of Dell Visor controllers are equipped with haptic feedback, and tracked by sensors embedded in the headset itself. No external sensors required.
Dell Visor review: Verdict
Dell’s Visor headset is an impressive one. It has heaps of potential in both business and healthcare sectors, as well as wide-ranging consumer applications. Its potential reach is huge but, and this is the sticking point, its competitors are just as noteworthy.
If Dell had decided to bundle the controllers in with the headset at no extra cost, this would have been a no-brainer. But since they’re an extra £100 on top of the £350 asking price, the Visor doesn’t quite have the leg-up it sorely needs.
In the end, it’s basically a “blindly throw the dart at the dartboard” type situation: all the mixed-reality headsets I’ve seen so far appear to serve their purpose, with very little to differentiate between them.