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Wearable Tech

Samsung's leaked Odyssey+ headset: A reboot for Microsoft's VR ambitions?

We'd heard Samsung had more headsets on the way -- but we didn't expect this.

The original Samsung Odyssey.

Microsoft

I thought the original $499 Samsung Odyssey might be the Windows VR headset to beat -- but VR in general hasn't been an immediately huge success, and we've barely heard a peep out of Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality since we discovered the first round of headsets were kind of a mixed bag to begin with. Mostly, we've seen price cuts.

But as Variety and Road to VR discovered earlier today, Samsung doesn't seem to have given up on the idea just yet. Thanks to a filing at the FCC, we now know the company has been working on a new Samsung Odyssey+ headset, model number XE800ZBA.

odyssey-specs
Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

As you might expect from the "+" branding, it appears to be a refresh more than an update, providing wearers with the same 110-degree field of view, 3.5-inch twin AMOLED screens with 1,440x1,600 effective resolution per eye, and array of sensors. 

The differences might be the newly "SFS"-ified screens -- whatever that means -- as well as a "wider eye box" and "wider part of nose" referenced in the documentation. All of those are likely to make it more comfortable to wear. 

samsung-odyssey

Road to VR put together this comparison of the newly leaked FCC image of the Odyssey+, and the original Odyssey. It shows different padding and spacing for the places your eyes and nose tend to go.

Juxtaposition by Road to VR

And because it mentions having both HDMI and USB connectivity, it sounds like Samsung probably hasn't adopted a single USB Type-C cable yet, though that might soon become the industry standard.

That said, there is one thing in the leak to potentially get excited about: a callout that the Odyssey+ might specifically support Steam VR natively, instead of relying on Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality to play Steam VR games. Perhaps that means users could adopt Valve's superior Lighthouse controllers for more reliable tracking in 3D space. 

Or maybe the Odyssey+ signals a new wave of Windows Mixed Reality with better tracked controllers for everyone. That'd be pretty nice.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll one day see a Windows VR headset with Xbox support. We're still bummed that Microsoft broke that promise.

One last note: Samsung is still rumored to have a wireless AR/VR combo headset coming, too.

Samsung didn't immediately reply to request for comment. Microsoft didn't immediately comment.

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