Ever since Microsoft announced their new biometric authentication options for Windows 10 the buzz has been pretty enthusiastic about the feature.
There is something pretty cool about just looking at your computer and having your identity verified through facial recognition and being granted access to your system.
Windows Hello also supports fingerprint validation as part of its feature set but that is not a new identification method for Windows users because we have had that capability since earlier versions of Windows.
So last year when I learned that the hardware, the Intel RealSense F200 DevKit camera, and the software drivers were finally going to come together and enable the use of Windows Hello and its facial recognition capabilities I was pretty excited.
Apparently many of you were as well because the video I did in July 2015 has since garnered over 135K views over on YouTube and continues to be the number one result when you search for windows hello on the video service.
It actually makes a lot of sense because up until that time we had never seen a demo of Windows Hello by anyone except on stages where Microsoft was showing the feature during a demo.
Since then a lot more first and third party devices have arrived with the right hardware in them to support facial recognition with Windows Hello and that is good however, not everyone is in the market for a new device.
That is where hardware manufacturers should be coming in and providing third party peripherals to support Windows Hello and its facial recognition capabilities but in the past 11 months we have only seen two brief mentions of forthcoming hardware. One was just announced during COMPUTEX 2016 and that was the MouseComputer Windows Hello camera (no info on availability) and the Razer Stargazer (expected in Q2 of 2016 - which ends in about nine days).
With the lack of Windows Hello hardware for existing PC owners to purchase it is no wonder that the F200 last year and the new SR300 this year both sold out very quickly despite just being developer kit cameras.
Users want the cool whiz bang features and many of them want them yesterday.
So if you want the capability of using Windows Hello facial recognition with your existing Windows 10 system your only option, as of today, is the Intel RealSense SR300 DevKit Camera.
Luckily the price is only $99 compared the the F200 which sold for $120 last year and although Intel is offering the SR300 as a pre-order it only took me two weeks to receive the device.
Windows 10 has the drivers for these cameras built in so no need to install the Intel RealSense SDK to get them up and running.
Now here is the real piece of news about this hardware.
According to Intel these cameras only work on Intel based systems but for the last year I have been using the F200 on my main Windows 10 system which is a home built AMD hardware. Since receiving the new SR300 I can also confirm that it works just fine on that same hardware.
Performance wise the range of detection for the SR300 is greatly improved compared to its predecessor. Using the F200 I would have to lean forward in my office chair to be recognized however, with the SR300 I can remain back in my chair and Windows Hello will see me and log me directly into Windows 10.
So if you are ready for some Windows Hello facial recognition on your own hardware and are tired of waiting then you may want to seriously consider the SR300 from Intel.
This gallery contains image of unboxing the Intel SR300, one Windows Hello settings page image and then a handful of Lock Screen images showing how Windows Hello responds in a different situations.
Those should also help answer some questions about how Windows Hello works in some common situations.
Of course, if you have questions that are not covered let me know in the comments and I will help to address those as well.