Samsung is doing its best Miley Cyrus impression—entering the Windows VR scene like a wrecking ball with its Odyssey HMD. Announced in partnership with Microsoft, the Odyssey sets itself apart from other mixed reality headsets by upping the ante with 3.5-inch OLED display panels and more pixels.
The displays on the Odyssey use the same technology found in Samsung's crisp AMOLED smartphones. They offer viewers a combined 2880x1600 resolution (1440x1600 per eye) at 90Hz, serving up more pixels than even the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, both of which check in at 2160x1200 (1200x1080 per eye).
Samsung's Odyssey is part of an initial group of mixed reality headsets based on Microsoft's reference design. Microsoft is making a big push into mixed reality territory with its Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and has lined up devices from the likes of Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and Lenovo. Samsung joins that group with an intriguing option of its own.
"The Samsung HMD Odyssey is a high performing headset designed to provide the most immersive Windows Mixed Reality experience," said YG Choi, Senior Vice President of PC Business Team, Samsung Electronics. "With the widest field of view, built-in spatial sound and easy setup, the Samsung HMD Odyssey transports consumers to incredible virtual reality experiences."
That field of view Choi references is up to 110 degrees. The headset also features integrated AKG headphones with support for 360-degree spatial audio, giving it another leg up on the competition.
Like other recent entries into the mixed reality headset space, the Odyssey uses inside-out tracking, negating the need for external cameras. It also has built-in microphones for barking commands at Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant.
This is quite a different beast than Samsung's Gear VR, which is powered by Oculus and requires a Galaxy smartphone. The Odyssey is Samsung's play at the premium category, and it has a price tag to match—$499, same as the Rift.
The Odyssey is up for preorder at the Microsoft Store, with a release date scheduled for November 6. Microsoft's Fall Creators Update will start doling out to Windows 10 PCs on October 17.