While you can theoretically use Windows Mixed Reality without using the Bluetooth controllers, that’s only true in the same way that you could, theoretically, use Windows without a keyboard. Little wonder, then, that if you buy a WMR headset from the Microsoft Store, they all come bundled with controllers. And, aside from the manufacturer’s logos, they’re all identical. That’s fine, because they’re comfortable to hold and look suitably futuristic, with the dots of light sprinkled around the edges lighting up to show they’re on and connected. In contrast to the simple console-style controllers of the Oculus Rift, there’s a panoply of controls here. There’s a touchpad, a thumbstick, plus various buttons at the back and side.
All these controls shift function depending on the game and environment, which should make using them deeply confusing – and sometimes we struggled to remember which button to press – but in practice, they’re surprisingly intuitive. It helps that the commonly used trigger is sensibly mounted at the rear. What’s universally annoying, though, is the way the controllers chew through batteries. Microsoft supplies four AA batteries, two per controller, but they’ll need replacing after a few hours of use.
Aside from the manufacturer’s logos, all WMR controllers are identical