Lenovo just showed us its first VR headset, a prototype device that works with Microsoft’s Windows Holographic platform. Next to other tethered PC headsets like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, it’s noticeably smaller and lighter — Lenovo says it’s targeting around 350g for the final product’s weight versus the Vive’s 555g. The design is also pretty comfortable, taking heavy inspiration from PlayStation VR’s approach and suspending the lenses in front of the user’s eyes rather than securing them in place with a strap.
The headset uses two 1440 x 1440 OLED panels for its display, making it higher resolution than both the Rift and the Vive. Unfortunately the prototype isn’t functional just yet, so we can’t comment on how this works out in practice — there’s more to VR image quality than pure screen resolution.
Another question is how well its tracking works; it uses inside-out, six degrees-of-freedom tracking, which means there’s no external camera necessary, but the tech is yet to ship in a product and we’re not sure how Windows Holographic’s implementation will work out. Lenovo also isn’t producing any motion controllers for the headset, instead relying on third-party options that will be manufactured to the Windows Holographic specification.
As for what you’ll actually be able to do with this headset, Lenovo says that every Windows Store application will work in a theater-style floating viewer mode, and some HoloLens software will also be converted to the platform. Lenovo’s headset has two cameras on the front, meaning that mixed-reality applications are possible even without the HoloLens’ optical projection capability. (The image quality from those cameras is, of course, an open question.)
The still-unnamed headset will ship sometime this year for between $300 and $400 — Lenovo says the price isn’t set in stone but it’ll be “closer to $300.”