VR is on the rise. There are more and more VR kits, a bunch of games and apps are in development but one problem is still left unresolved. It’s the mobility. You can’t just put your rig on the back and start enjoying VR experience. Current laptops are either too under-powered to be used as mobile stations or they are just too expensive. And, let’s be honest, if you buy a gaming laptop, it will be just too heavy to carry it around while enjoying some VR game, not to mention pretty humble battery life and the inability for that battery to be quickly replaced. Well, it seems that some manufacturers thought about that particular problem, and the solution they offer is called PC backpack, light enough to be carried around, powerful enough to offer full VR experience, with the option of hot-swapping the battery in order to expand the time before you must hook them to a charger.
Some will say that mobile VR kits, like Samsung’s Gear VR, are already here, ready to solve that problem. But they use smartphone computing power for VR, and that’s just not enough at the moment. Mobile VR games are too simple, graphically unattractive, and just can’t offer an experience that can match the games coming out for Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. So, either you’ll be mobile and left with a pretty basic mobile VR, or you’ll be constrained to your room, unable to move around much but with enough power to enjoy proper VR games. Well, not exactly because MSI and HP announced devices they are calling PC backpacks.
MSI PC backpack, dubbed MSI Backpack PC (okay, it’s not really creative) comes with an Intel Core i7 CPU and NVidia GTX980 graphics card, offering users mobility and power in one package. HP also announced PC backpack, named The Omen X by HP VR PC, but HP didn’t talk much about components. The main feature of HP’s PC backpack is that it will sport a swappable battery, offering users one hour of up time per one battery. Not much, but if you have, let’s say, two replacement batteries that’ll mean pretty respectful three hours before you must look for a charger.
Another good thing is that both backpacks will weigh less than 10 pounds, meaning that your back won’t be crushed after a couple of hours of serious gaming. HP will also offer a wireless display, keyboard, and mouse, enabling users to interact with it as with a regular PC. Omen X really looks stunning, with gentle curves and a look of a relatively small gaming console; unlike MSI’s solution that looks just too cumbersome, like a huge hiking backpack.
So will we find ourselves playing video games outside( just imagine playing Fallout 4 in VR, being inside Wasteland, while outside), wearing our PC backpacks and VR kits? Well, if the price is right, that actually can happen. But, the first generation of PC backpacks will probably sport a price that will be just too high for most people. I mean, you pay a couple of hundred bucks for VR kit, and almost a thousand for PC that’s decent enough for VR gaming; you won’t be thinking of spending the same amount of money just to be mobile. It seems that we’ll have to wait until the idea of PC backpacks become more refined before they hit the mainstream market. Until then, they will be just another expensive toy for people that want to have a premiere VR experience.