Acer and Lenovo installed the camera mounts in plastic housings that protrude from the ends of their headsets. The Samsung Odyssey has a slanted front panel with integrated cameras for an elegant look. It would be difficult to quantify how durable this design is without risking damage to our test equipment, but we believe that Samsung’s design would better withstand shocks and damage. The camera body of the Acer and Lenovo headsets also consists of individual parts that could theoretically break if badly treated. The front panel on Samsung’s Headeet is all in one piece, so you’d have to drop it pretty hard to take it apart.
The Acer and Lenovo Windows MR headsets both have flip visors that many customers want for convenience, but also fear that their hinges may fail prematurely. Samsung avoided encountering warranty issues related to hinges by not including a hinge at all. Instead of the hinge, Samsung installed a spring-loaded relief system that allows you to pull the visor away from her face when you want to see her surroundings. The PlayStation VR HMD has a similar mechanism, but the design of Samsung has no trigger like that of Sony.
The Samsung Odyssey headset has a strong Halo style headband system with mechanical adjustment. This seems to be the standard solution for Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The forehead area of the headband has a large cushion that helps distribute the weight of the HMD evenly. The adjustment mechanism is an adjustment wheel located at the back of the headband. Turn the adjustment wheel to the left to extend the headband while turning it to the right to tighten it. When you tighten the dial, you will hear a satisfactory ratchet sound. If you release it, you will hear a single click and then it should turn without resistance. The mechanism here does not include a quick release to release the tension.
Every HMD we’ve tested so far includes removable and replaceable foam face pads and the Samsung Odyssey is no exception. However, most cushions are mounted directly onto the HMD’s rigid frame. Samsung’s design provides extra comfort in the form of a rubber seal between the plastic body and the foam cushion. The rubber seal is soft and malleable, which should theoretically allow the headset to sit comfortably on virtually any face. In practice, however, the visor is mounted too far away from the headband to even accentuate the rubber seal.
When we put on the odyssey, the face cushion barely touched our cheeks. As a result, we noticed a little light leakage from the sides. Samsung’s product designers had the foresight to include a pair of rubber flaps to prevent the light from penetrating around their nose, but they failed to design a system that would pull the visor firmly against their face. We would prefer a tight fit on our cheeks and no flaps on our nose in an HMD without a flap visor. We often use the nasal cleft in our cleft as a quick and dirty way to see the real world when we need to reach for our keyboard or an unmanned controller. To see our surroundings while wearing the odyssey, we had to pull the visor with the relief system away from our face.
Integrated audio system.
When Oculus released the Rift, we learned firsthand about the benefits of integrated audio via a VR headset. With built-in speakers, you don’t have to juggle with an extra device on your head and you have one less cable to mess around. In addition, a built-in microphone ensures that you always have access to voice communication.