Edge of Innovation

Step into Mixed Reality with the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

Dean Evans Technology Writer Twitter

There’s arguably never been a better time to own a new PC. With new 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processors, laptops are faster, thinner and longer-lasting than ever before, while desktops are more powerful and versatile, offering unparalleled gaming and multitasking.

But with the Microsoft Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, those new PCs are about to get a whole lot better.

New apps, new functionality

Rolling out this October (and into 2018), the latest free Windows 10 upgrade adds a number of new features from new core applications to improved system performance. The new Photos app, for example, adds an array of filters, text and 3D effects, with improved support for annotations with digital ink.

My People, meanwhile, is a feature that encourages you to stay connected to the people you talk to the most by pinning their contact details to the Windows 10 taskbar. These shortcuts allow you to email or Skype contacts with a click or to share information (like photos) simply by dragging and dropping the appropriate file onto their icon.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
Enhanced pen support allows you to annotate/remix photos and videos. (Image: Microsoft).

Elsewhere there are boosts to Cortana (you can now tell her to shut down, restart or put your PC into sleep mode) and improvements to the Microsoft Edge browser. Game Mode gets a buff with toggled access to the mode itself, plus there’s faster game streaming using Mixer, improved multiplayer networking and real-time GPU usage monitoring.

Improved security and Mixed Reality

There are also some security enhancements worth mentioning, specifically a more robust Windows Defender Antivirus product. The anti-ransomware talents of the new Windows Defender Exploit Guard, meanwhile, should help to “protect files from unauthorised changes by nefarious applications and your applications from unknown exploits.”

As good as all of these upgrades are, the headline-grabbing feature of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is the Mixed Reality (MR) support. Several MR headsets have already broken cover from Acer, ASUS, Lenovo, Dell (see main image) and HP. Plug one into your PC and you can jump into virtual worlds with full six degrees of viewing freedom.

Windows 10 Fall Creators Update
The Mixed Reality Viewer enables you to see virtual objects using a PC camera. (Image: Microsoft)

While Mixed Reality isn’t designed to be a VR replacement, the early headgear does deliver a VR-style experience. But it does so with a cheaper price tag and no complicated sensor setups. Also, you don’t need to wear a set of goggles to take advantage of it. The Fall Creators Update also includes a Mixed Reality Viewer app, allowing you to view virtual objects in the real world via a PC webcam or laptop/tablet camera.

An 8th Gen experience

The newest laptops and 2 in 1s are ideal for powering a Mixed Reality experience. Machines like the Acer Spin 5, Lenovo Yoga 920 and Dell XPS 13 all have the processing muscle to handle an MR headset and feature cameras to make the most of the Mixed Reality Viewer.

As mentioned at the start of this article, there’s never been a better time to own a new PC, especially one with an 8th Gen Intel Core processor inside. They will power the latest games with barely a stutter, keep you productive, fuel your creativity, entertain you in 4K and, with the Windows Fall Creators Update, take you on a journey into new virtual worlds.

The Windows Fall Creators Update is rolling out now and will come pre-installed on any new Windows PC that you buy. Check out our recommended laptop and 2 in 1 upgrades here.

Main image credit: Dell Visor, Dell

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