Lenovo Explorer Windows Mixed Reality Headset

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The Lenovo Explorer is the first consumer product in the new Windows Mixed Reality platform. It sits alongside two almost identical developer editions from HP and Acer, but the Lenovo has been made to the quality and comfort standards that consumers expect rather than the early-adopter fudgery that developers sometimes have to deal with.

PROS
  • Inside Out Tracking
  • Easy to Set Up
  • High Quality Hardware and Software
CONS
  • Low Specification Mode Limited to 60Hz

VRS Review

VRS OVERALL RATING
Recomended Not Recomended

The Lenovo Explorer is the first consumer product in the new Windows Mixed Reality platform. It sits alongside two almost identical developer editions from HP and Acer, but the Lenovo has been made to the quality and comfort standards that consumers expect rather than the early-adopter fudgery that developers sometimes have to deal with.

While it has a slightly smaller FOV of 105 degrees (compared to the Oculus and Vive’s 110), there’s quite a number of features that make it an exciting alternative.

The design of these headsets follow a reference that was co-developed with Microsoft. It includes a flip-up hinged design that’s reminiscent of the Sony PSVR. It means that you can quickly get back to reality without constantly having to remove the whole HMD. The Lenovo also uses a comfortable and convenient single headband design, so if you do have to share or frequently remove and resize it, there’s not much hassle.

While it looks  more or less like a traditional HMD, the two front-facing cameras give away its mixed reality nature. While the Explorer can be used as a normal VR headset, it can also use Microsoft’s impressive engine to shift to AR or sophisticated mixed-reality applications.

The system requirements for AAA VR come pretty close to matching what we’ve already seen for the Oculus and Vive. Basically any “VR-certified” computer will work just fine here. If you had a developer’s edition then the requirements are significantly higher, but not for this consumer edition. Don’t get any ideas about using this as a developers kit either, since it won’t work. Besides, the developer’s editions are cheaper than the consumer model, albeit not quite as well-made.

There’s also a lower-tier of requirements for simple AR and VR uses such as virtual desktops. Here an iGPU like the Intel 620 will work, but the HMD will clock down to 60Hz and you won’t get much joy from AAA VR or AR.

Surprisingly Valve (patrons of the Vive) have announced that these HMDs are compatible with Steam VR, but right now you’ll be out of luck with any Oculus applications. Still, Microsoft seems to be onto something with these relatively affordable, practical and comfortable jack-of-all trade units.

SPECIFICATIONS

Display LCD
Panel size 2.89” X2
Resolution 1440x1440x2
Refresh rate 90Hz
Field of view 105°
Sensors 6 Degrees of Freedom Motion Tracking, Inside Out Tracking
Connections HDMI, USB 3.0, Audio Out
Audio Built in Audio-Out

SCORES IN DETAIL

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