This year’s CES in Las Vegas has seen virtual reality (VR) hardware announcements from the likes of Shiftall (a Panasonic subsidiary) and Sony (officially naming PlayStation VR2). One headset that’s gone under the radar is the XTAL 3, the latest high-end incarnation from VRgineers. Aiming squarely at enterprise and military clients, the XTAL 3 comes in two editions starting from just under $9K USD.
VRgineers’ XTAL has always focused its efforts towards wide field of view (FoV) applications, flight simulators in particular. That’s why the company boasts clients including the U.S. Air Force, NASA and BAE Systems among others. Designed in cooperation with Air Force pilots, the XTAL 3 will come in VR and mixed reality (MR) configurations – similar to Varjo’s latest devices – with both offering two 4K resolution displays (3840×2160 per eye), a 75Hz refresh rate at 4K (120Hz at QHD), eye tracking, inside-out tracking, and an Auto IPD adjustment range of 60-76 mm.
After that, the specifications do start to differ due to the XTAL 3 MR’s capabilities. For example, the XTAL 3 VR offers a 180° horizontal and 90° vertical FoV, whilst the MR edition is slightly less at 170° horizontal. With a pair of 4K cameras, the XTAL 3 MR headset does weigh in at 700g, 100g heavier than its VR sibling.
“The central cover of the headset is removable and reconfigurable, making it possible to change the headset from purely virtual to mixed reality, or replace inside-out tracking with ULTRALEAP hand tracking,” says CEO and co-founder Marek Polcak in a statement. “We can assure all our clients that the XTAL 3 will be compatible with all existing and future technologies they might need while maintaining the highest levels of comfort and convenience.”
“Our new one-dot calibration removes the biggest obstacle to the wide adoption of foveated rendering technology. The major bottleneck has always been the time-consuming calibration process necessary before every use of the foveated rendering feature,” Polcak explains. “The XTAL 3 calibration process uses unique one-dot calibration that creates a virtual mathematical model of the user’s face allowing us to calculate precise calibration formulas for eye tracking.”
So how much does all this cost? Well, the XTAL 3 VR starts from $8,900 USD excluding taxes whilst the XTAL 3 MR comes in at a rather more substantial $11,500. Making it quite the purchase if you want the ultimate Microsoft Flight Simulator experience.
VRgineers hasn’t solely been working on the new XTAL 3 either. In December, social VR platform Somnium Space released new details regarding its own standalone headset that’s being built in collaboration with VRgineers. This consumer-grade headset is expected to arrive in Q4 2022.