Samsung was among the companies that launched Windows Mixed Reality headsets as part of Microsoft’s bit VR push last year. The Samsung Odyssey was well-reviewed compared to other Windows head mounted displays (HMDs), but it was also more expensive. Now, Samsung has announced an improved version of the Odyssey called the Odyssey+, and it keeps the same $499 price tag.
At first glance, the Odyssey+ seems like the same device Samsung rolled out last year. However, the company has gone to great pains to illustrate how it’s taking user feedback into account. For example, the nose guard has widened from 32mm to 40mm, which should be more comfortable for long periods of use. Similarly, the eye box is 146mm instead of 138mm. The HMD now uses “premium cooling fabric” to keep temperatures more manageable and prevent eyepiece fogging. The hardware is also slightly lighter because of it (1.31 pounds vs. 1.41 pounds for the old version).
The Odyssey+ uses dual 3.5-inch OLED displays, one for each eye. The resolution is the same 1440 x 1600 from last year, but Samsung says the panel should look much better in practice. As anyone who has spent time using VR can tell you, the “screen door effect” is a persistent issue. This crosshatch pattern in the image comes from the arrangement of subpixels in OLED panels. The Odyssey+ debuts Samsung’s new Anti-Screen Door Effect (Anti-SDE) technology to lessen that distortion.
Samsung hasn’t gone into detail on how anti-SDE works, but it does say the idea is the make the gaps between pixels less obvious. Thus, even when your face is an inch away, you’ll perceive the display as having a much higher resolution. The OLEDs have a pixel density of 616 pixels-per-inch (which is higher than a flagship smartphone), but anti-SDA gives them an effective pixel density of 1,233 pixels-per-inch. That should help ease the nausea and dizziness some people experience after prolonged VR use. The displays also have a new Inter-Pupillary Distance (IPD) wheel to change the distance between the displays. Again, that should help lessen discomfort in VR.
The Odyssey+ should be on sale now. It’s online at Samsung’s site, as well as in real life at Microsoft Stores. Keep in mind, you’ll need a Windows 10 PC with a Core i5 from the last few generations, 8GB of RAM, a DX12-compatible GPU, and at least one free USB 3.0 port.
Now read: Microsoft Had an Xbox VR Solution in the Works, But Killed the Project, Oculus Announces New Quest Standalone VR Headset at $399, and VR Market Expected to Improve Despite Sharp Decline in Sales