TEST - Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101: the VR headset that's easy to use, but hard to appreciate

Who I am
Steven L. Kent
@stevenl.kent

Summary

  • Unboxing du Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101
  • Installing the AH101 VR headset
  • Design and ergonomics of the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset AH101
  • Features and performance of the AH101 virtual reality headset
  • Acer's Windows Mixed Reality headset against the competition
  • Conclusion
  • notation
    • 4.8

Brand: Acer
Model: Windows Mixed Reality AH101
Category: Virtual reality headset
Login: cables USB et HDMI
Price: 449,00€
Availability: immediate



Unboxing du Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101

The Acer Windows Mixed Reality is adorned with a nice finery at the time of delivery. A Black Box which gives a glimpse of its content with a fine and very discreet design. If the blue writing is a bit obvious, it is not present enough not to be annoying. Inside, these are two boxes of the same color that we discover. They above all serve as protection to everything they contain:  the helmet on one side, the controllers on the other.

What surprises the most when opening these boxes, it is the few objects that we find there. In the smallest, the controllers are only accompanied by two pairs of batteries. The biggest offer meanwhile the headset and its USB and HDMI cables. Far from being a negative point, this light content indicates easier than average installation. Faced with a competition adept with cable armies, a neophyte will be less intimidated by opening the Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101.


Installing the AH101 VR headset


The installation is both so natural and fast that she could almost do without a paragraph. It is indeed enough to connect the USB and HDMI cables on his computer. A application Windows Mixed Reality will then launch, with several easy-to-follow directions. After a few clicks, it will only be left “Bind” his controllers so that they are spotted by the AH101. It is again a extreme simplicity, since it is just necessary press the Windows button () controllers. Finally, we move on to last visual adjustments and earphone connection to finally enjoy his VR headset. Regarding the detection of the environment, it does without external sensors. A double-edged function as we will see later.

Design and ergonomics of the Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset AH101

In its design, the Acer headset stands out directly by a much more showy color than its competitors. Where Oculus and others Vive often choose a sober black, here is a very bright blue that is offered. An aspect that may not appeal to everyone, but which offers a made less austere than other ranges. However, its shape is not the most suitable for comfortable long-term use. Heavier at the front than at the back, we see ourselves obliged to tighten the helmet more than reason so that he does not move. Quickly unpleasant, this defect becomes really annoying after prolonged use.


Among these same construction defects, we find in particular the foam supposed to make the experience more enjoyable. If this is the case for short sessions, irritation comes after less than an hour of use. The fault of a low quality material (the foam did not hold in place) only bad fixing of the object on the head.


We are on the other hand pleasantly surprised by the freedom of movement offered by the helmet. It is quite light and does not strain the neck or shoulders. As indicated above, it only has very few cables. There is therefore no risk of tripping over or being embarrassed in the middle of the game. It should also be noted the possibility of raise the visor rather than the whole helmet. A very positive point if it did not cause a big lack of stabilityToo bad also that the audio is not integrated and that you have to plug in headphones or earphones to enjoy the sound.

Side controllers, no complaints about the product from Acer. If the “circle of sensors” is a bit large compared to the rest, the controllers are nevertheless very light. After more games sessions, we don't feel any particular fatigue no irritation in the hands. We can even say that these controllers are rather pretty once lit, a bit like garlands at your fingertips. If less rigid joysticks would have been appreciated, they respond well to commands, like the rest of the buttons. No big difference from the competition is to be noted, but the efficiency is the same.


Features and performance of the AH101 virtual reality headset

Where the Acer Windows Mixed Reality directly stands out is in its helmet integrated sensor system. No cameras to place around you here: everything happens at your head. Knowing this, la motion recognition is really impressive. Even in games involving wide and fast movements, the controllers were still detected. The hands were perfectly transcribed in space, as well as with products using external devices.


This absence, however, prevents define an exact playing area. Thus, the creation of Acer had great difficulty in finding one's bearings in a room that is too large. For example, it will be impossible for you to avoid projectiles, since the helmet will not be able to know where you are in space. If we are talking about a “rich man's problem” here, we advise you to not be in a room that is too large. However, we note the possibility of selecting a way of playing, either sitting or standing. An option that does not seem so incredible, but that allows simplify your life at the time of launching.

Image side, we are already much less impressed. On paper, the Acer Windows Mixed Reality promises beautiful things with its 1 x 440 px LCD screens per eye. A high definition that exceeds the competition, but with a field of view of only 100 °. You would think that the result would not be that much lower, but that would be wrong. Indeed, we end up with environments that can become particularly fuzzy, especially in full motion. In the end, the image is not the worst on the market, but is very disappointing compared to what one would have expected from the device. We also note that, despite a respectful practice, two dead pixels have managed to make their way onto the screen. So we can ask yourself questions about the strength of the helmet, especially if it is used for a long time.

Acer's Windows Mixed Reality headset against the competition

To start talking about competition, we must address the two behemoths of VR: the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. Regarding the first, the Acer Windows Mixed Reality goes with two advantages neat: the price and cables. Even if it requires less money than before, the helmet still approaching 700 euros. Its installation is also more complex and requires navigating between the wires, at the risk of tripping over one another. In exchange for these slight inconveniences, the Vive offers the best experience on the market. Whether in his precision of movements or in his image, it equals / exceeds what the Acer product offers.

On the Oculus Rift side, we can do the same thing as with the neighbor above: better image and at least equivalent precision. However, the price is clearly not the same since we here approaches that of AH101. There are also smaller controllersMore without motion recognition. Where the Oculus stands out is with the integration of an audio headset of good quality, absent from the competition. It can even be removed if you prefer to use another.

Finally, it is impossible to avoid the clash between the creation of Acer and other Windows Mixed Reality headsets. While each has specificities, there are nevertheless important similarities in everyone. The comfort is the main characteristic of these machines, with a headband always easily adjustable. For Asus (449 €) or Lenovo (449 €), it is above all the freshness which is in the spotlight. The first uses a antibacterial surface to avoid sweating, while the second takes advantage of many fans. The Dell Visor (510 €) wants to be first aesthetic and offers a more sophisticated and practical design than Acer's. Finally, the HP Windows Mixed Reality (399 €) is both the cheapest and most solid from the range.

Conclusion

Le Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101 offers in theory a lotMore fails to keep all promises. If the lightness of the helmet and its controllers first of all offers a comfortable experience, its foam spoils everything. While he has a almost independent visor, lack of stability that it causes cancels out its strengths. Same observation for low to medium quality materials which does not pay homage to the promised experience. However, its ease of installation and number of cables reduced to the extreme are very pleasant, especially for an amateur. We end up with a virtually ready-to-use VR headset when you take it out of the box. Too bad we can't find no integrated audio to complete the whole.

Sensor side, the creation of Acer is très impressive with a sacred clothe precise movement tracking without external cameras. The level is sufficient to compete with the competition, with less resources. Whether in action, with wide movements or not, hands are always located exactly. We are however disillusioned with the screen, he who seemed to offer a lot. If the resolution is higher than what is done elsewhere, the reduced angle ultimately only offers blurry moving images. Without going so far as to be illegible, the action sometimes becomes muddled and disappoints expectations.

Good points

  • Very precise motion recognition (without external cameras)
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Few cables

Negative points

  • No integrated headphones
  • A lack of comfort in the medium and long term
  • An image that tends to drool during movement
  • A visor that prevents good stability
  • Materials of questionable quality
  • Numerous bugs in rooms that are too large

notation

4.8

Installation : Without a doubt the strong point of this product. With only 2 cables (HDMI and USB), just plug them into a PC to start the installation. After a few manipulations, we are left with a helmet ready to be used, without the need for external cameras. An ease of preparation that is rarely found.

Design and Ergonomics : If it has some good ideas, the Acer WMR has trouble using them. Protective foam is welcome, until you realize that it irritates more than anything else. If the levers and the headset are light enough, the weight of the latter is poorly distributed and pushes to tighten the headband more than necessary. If the discomfort is not too present during short sessions, it is there as soon as the experience lasts a little.

Functionalities : If Acer misses its shot in one place, it is there. The visor becomes a real weight from the first practice. Starting from a good feeling, the possibility of lifting it makes everything unstable and unpleasant to wear. In a large room, it becomes downright impossible to use certain applications. The helmet tends to lose sight of our presence in space when we are not between 4 walls.

performances : The helmet offers a real roller-coaster performance. On the one hand, we can only salute its ability to follow movements only with the sensors it wears, without external cameras. On the other hand, its screens do not keep their promise. The image tends to drool as soon as a movement is intended to be a little too abrupt. The absence of audio is also a black point to be taken into account

Quality / price ratio : At 449 euros, we will avoid taking the Acer WMR. If it has certain qualities, we can find a much better Oculus Rift for an equivalent price. We will be more tempted by promotions around 250 euros, more representative of the quality of the device

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