Samsung HMD Odyssey

This is Samsung’s attempt at high-resolution VR

Windows Mixed Reality does not support poorer VR than market leaders.

For some of us, working virtual reality has long been a wish dream, but nobody can be ahead of what technology can deliver.

Only when Oculus Rift and HTC Vive came on a couple of years ago could we start talking about VR with acceptable quality and price tag.

And with the newly tested HTC Vive Pro , we can seriously talk about getting closer to good VR.

Still, it is not only pink clouds and rainbows on the horizon. Vive Pro is not exactly affordable, and setting it up is not very easy – here we have to mount base stations and look after wires and link boxes.

As such, it’s okay to know that Vive Pro is not the only VR visor that offers the resolution 2880 x 1600 pixels. In the same class we also find a slightly simpler and less expensive thing: Samsung HMD Odyssey .

HMD is short for the “Head Mounted Display”, and makes it easier to understand what it’s all about.

No external sensors

Samsung has thought a bit different when it comes to technology in the Odyssey set. Unlike Oculus and Vive, they have been able to use external sensors to track the space placement.

In the Vive universe, we know these sensors as base stations, while Oculus simply calls them sensors. In any case, they are tasked to “see” where the VR visor and any controllers are in a predefined room.

With Odyssey it works differently. Here it is rather the HMD itself, which, with the help of cameras and sensors, even fits into where the room is. At the same time it acts as an external sensor for the controls.

The technology is good enough for this to work both horizontally and vertically. So it does not just mean that you can twist your head or turn around, but also bend down or get up into the virtual world.

The benefits of this are obvious. It means less hardware and easier setup – we still need a calibration and metering process, but at least we need to place out sensors. Potentially, it also means lower price.

Neither is there any linkbox like Vive, from Odyssey there is one cable that splits into two towards the end. It simply connects to HDMI and USB 3.0. With Windows 10, software and drivers are automatically downloaded.

Note, however, that the input signals from the controls require the PC to have Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. It is still possible to use the headset without this, but then you must instruct yourself to control with an Xbox controller, alternatively mouse and keyboard.

But if you have the blue in place, it’s a slight matter to pair the two controls with your computer. Overall, we get a simpler and more “plug-and-play” experience than we are used to with VR.

It’s obvious that Microsoft is doing something that goes well with the software. Odyssey’s software platform is Windows Mixed Reality . This is a term that in practice covers both virtual and expanded reality – VR and AR – and most in between.

This allows the Odyssey set to be used just like an Oculus Rift or Vive, and ” Windows Mixed Reality for SteamVR ” also allows you to run all compatible games in your Steam library.

In other words, neither do you need Vive or Oculus to have fun with VR in Steam. But the other hardware requirements are the same, so you still need a pretty PC with processor and graphics card that meets the requirements .

It is also possible to download and / or purchase software from the Microsoft Store, which is also embedded in Windows 10.

If Odyssey works on a Mac, we have not had the opportunity to test, but as far as we know, this headset does not support anything other than Mixed Reality, so you’ll need to install Windows on that Mac.

An HMD and two controllers

The fact that the Samsung HMD Odyssey is so cool is that there are not so many parts it is talking about. In the box we got on loans from Digital Impuls in Oslo there were three things: the headset and two hand controllers.

The two controls are asymmetrical and adapted to each hand, so you can not switch freely, as with Vive. The advantage is that you do not have any confusion about which controls are going.

Besides those that are visible here, the controller also has a trigger and “grip button” on the underside.

It can also be argued that the controls have a better and more compact design than those that mention Vive. At the same time, they are not as small and elegant as Oculus’ smack Touch-controllers .

Samsung has also put in place an additional joystick for the thumb when we compare them with the controls for Vive. But they are not rechargeable – each of them powered by two AA batteries, which must eventually be replaced.

With a rigid but adjustable frame and soft upholstery, the headset has all the prerequisites for maintaining good balance and comfort, but we who come straight from a Vive Pro mean that Odyssey does not quite reach this.

The HMD is easy to put on and adjust, but is not as good to wear as Vive Pro.

The headset is designed to sit lower in the neck than Vive, but it is only a habit. What the undersigned had more problems with was how the headset put some of the weight just above the nose – something that unfortunately caused a sense of having busmen in the nostrils.

Another thing is that it is not possible to move the mask to fit glasses, such as Vive and the new Vive Pro – with HMD Odyssey, you have to use lenses if you do not have perfect vision. However, it is at least possible to adjust the lenses to suit people with different distances between the eyes.

The HMD has a fixed headphone and no audio output, so it is not recommended that you use any other solution. Fortunately, the headphones are both comfortable and have decent sound, so this does not necessarily have to be negative.

Finally we need to mention the wire. We are not a big fan of wire for VR, but given the data quantities to be transmitted, this must be this or an extra hot wireless connection . To good standards is in place, therefore, we must find ourselves in a wire to wander the legs into.

But with this product, the wire feels more in the way than in a Vive setup. It’s a meter shorter and is also connected directly to the computer – not via a link box. In practice, we therefore get closer to two meters shorter “umbilical cord” with the Odyssey.

Now it is possible that this is anyway at the limit of what this technology allows, but it is still a bit scary.

Nor does it mean that the spacecraft setup requires the game area to “draw” with the headset, and then the wiring will physically stop the amount of space around you.

A true VR experience

With Windows 10, as such, the setup itself is almost self-evident, and although the cord may be a little longer, this does not prevent a true VR experience.

In our eyes, the headset lacks comfort, but this is easy to forget as it holds almost impressive control of our movements. We turn around, popping, jumping and wandering without problems – this feels exactly as Vive delivers with its two base stations.

Unfortunately, we are not as impressed with the tracking of the controls, if luminous pricks are observed by the headset’s cameras and sensors. However, this requires controls to be within its “field of view”.

So, where competitors can set up multiple sensors or base stations, Odyssey will only get the moves if the HMD actually “sees” this. If one of the controls gets behind an arm, lifting too high, too low or too long, Odyssey loses control. Suddenly you can see a “hand” hover around in the loose air.

As such, high-speed and / or big arm-racing games, such as Beat Saber , can help with certain problems if you have an explosive game style. Here, however, it is quite possible to limit yourself a little.

But even in games or experiences where you essentially have your hands in front of you, it does not seem that technology always works as well as with Vive or Oculus competitors. The Samsung HMD Odyssey simply makes us feel a bit “shivering at the throw” at times. Then relatively simple tasks – like “laser pointers” on an object far away – feel unnecessarily difficult.

Fine visually it is quite good. It can of course be better, but here we have the same resolution as with the now-mentioned Vive Pro. Each eye receives its optical power from a 3.5-inch AMOLED display with 1440 x 1600 pixels – which means 2880 x 1600 pixels in total. The width of the field of view is 110 degrees, also the same as Vive.

But in a pure comparison test, where we are in the same virtual room and switching directly between the two headsets, we must say with the hand that Vive Pro is chopped sharper and has more contrasts to offer.

The Samsung HMD Odyssey, on the other hand, gives us a little less “tunnel vision”, but as mentioned, it is not possible for people who wear glasses.

Conclusion

Samsung HMD Odyssey is a VR Visor with support for Windows Mixed Reality. Full package consists of the headset and two asymmetric hand controllers.

The kit can be used with Windows 10’s own Mixed Reality portal, and can also run compatible Steam titles . Thus, we are talking about a product that could be an alternative to both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

However, HMD Odyssey differs from these because it does not depend on external sensors to track the location. This means that the setup itself will be easier and faster.

At the same time, it is clear that HMD Odyssey can not fully measure itself with the new Vive Pro. Samsung’s headset offers slightly less comfort, hand controls with a little less control and shorter conduit that limits the range. In addition, Vive Pro is a bit sharper, even though the two headsets on the paper are even in terms of visual.

Our draw against Vive Pro will be no less when we think that second generation base stations give Vive users even greater space and, not least, a cordless existence when the Vive Wireless Adapter comes to market until autumn.

Samsung HMD Odyssey will still fit better for anyone. Given how easy it is to set up and use, we’re talking about an extra portable and portable VR experience – great for those who travel a lot and may not have much space anyway.

Unfortunately, Samsung’s HMD is not available in the Norwegian market, so it must be imported. It should therefore be mentioned that it will be money to save on picking up a copy abroad – in the United States the list price is around $ 500 for the entire package.

A practical VR package, but not completely hassle-especially in space scales.”

Benefits

  • Simple setup
  • Decent comfort
  • Works with Steam
  • Fixed headphones
  • Well-functioning tracking of HMD

Things to think about

  • Fixed headphones
  • A little short line for space scales
  • Slightly uneven tracking of controls
  • The HMD can squeeze slightly towards the nose
  • Resolution, field of view and image quality can still be improved

Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Review

Extra

Video: SAMSUNG ODYSSEY WINDOWS MIXED REALITY Unboxing and First Review from an Oculus/Vive User

Video: Samsung Odyssey Mixed Reality Headset In-Depth Look – First Impressions

Skyrim VR on Samsung Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality

It’s time to play Skyrim VR again, this time running on a high resolution Samsung Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality headset and GTX 1080 Ti. In the part 3 of my The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR series, I’m taking the WMR high resolution 1440p Virtual Reality Samsung Odyssey HMD for an ultimate



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