MSI VR-ready backpack now up for pre-order

A big drawback of high-end virtual reality headsets is that you have to be tethered to a powerful PC in order to use them, but hardware manufacturers are attempting to change this by creating VR-ready PCs which can be worn as backpacks. 

MSI, creator of high-end gaming hardware, has now made its own VR One Backpack PC available for pre-order. We’ve seen glimpses of this backpack before, but MSI has kept quiet on price tags and exact specifications until now.

Weighing just under 8 pounds, or around 3.6kg, the VR One is as light as a newborn baby. Unfortunately, this PC will be heavier on your wallet than it is on your back. 

Breaking free

Prices for the VR One start at $1,999 (around £1,595 /AU $2,650), which will get you the most basic model featuring a GeForce GTX 1060 GPU, 6GB of video memory, an Intel Core i7 processor and 256GB of SSD storage. 

The more powerful model costs a fair bit more at $2,299 (about £1,835 / AU $3,050) but with that you’ll get a more powerful GeForce GTX 1070 GPU, 8GB of video memory and double the SSD storage at 512GB.

Regardless of power, both models feature four USB 3.0 ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port, a mini DisplayPort and an HDMI 2.0 ports, as well as separate headphone and microphone jacks, Killer 1535 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity, and a pair of eight-cell batteries that will apparently provide enough power for around an hour and a half of gameplay each. 

Though it’s intended to enhance the experience of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, the VR One backpack can also be used as an extremely compact standalone desktop if you have a display for it. 

It seems that the VR industry is really focusing on solving the issue of being tethered to a desktop PC. As well as these backpack PC solutions, there’s also a device available for pre-order on HTC’s Chinese website that will make the Vive headset wire-free; for anyone who's already invested in a powerful VR-ready PC, separate accessories like this might be more attractive and less expensive options. 

The pricing for the VR One backpack is steep, but if you're willing to spend extra for the convenience it’s offering it can be pre-ordered via Newegg. Shipping for the basic model is expected to begin on November 30.

Emma Boyle

Emma Boyle is TechRadar’s ex-Gaming Editor, and is now a content developer and freelance journalist. She has written for magazines and websites including T3, Stuff and The Independent. Emma currently works as a Content Developer in Edinburgh.