The phenomenon of Virtual Reality is slowly, but surely, taking over the gaming world by storm. In the highly competitive industry of video games, many developers have released their own versions of Virtual Reality which comes in the form of a VR Headset.
The question is: which VR headset should you buy? Let us breakdown and look more closely at the VR headsets available in the market to make the best choice.
Among the many headsets developed, this review will discuss the most popular ones yet.
The “High-end” VR headsets
Starting off with the first modern VR headset to be developed, Oculus Rift that was purchased by Facebook is still one of the most popular choices.
WHY OCULUS RIFT?
- Highly versatile; works on a number of PC games
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Intrinsic, built-in audio
- Excellent quality of motion controls
WHY NOT OCULUS RIFT?
- Expensive ($600 without the game controllers, $800 with them)
- Does not provide a full-room VR experience
- Portability issue
- Requires a powerful computer hard drive
- Batteries have to be replaced once they run out
The development of HTC Vive redefined the entire whole-room VR experience. However, it still comes with a few downsides.
WHY HTC VIVE?
- Offers a whole-room VR experience
- Comes along with the controllers and additional accessories
- Excellent optics and a large field of vision
- Built-in 3D audio
- Strong motion-sensors
WHY NOT HTC VIVE?
- The most expensive VR headset available in the market in the US ($800)
- Portability issue
- Requires a powerful PC
- Bulky wiring
- Not as comfortable as its other competitors
PROJECT MORPHEUS/SONY PLAYSTATION VR
Sony has never failed to amuse us and has made some of the best contributions to the gaming industry. When Sony announced to release its own VR headset, we naturally expected it to be one of a kind. Sure enough, it does live up to its repute and name although some might say otherwise.
WHY SONY PLAYSTATION VR?
- Relatively cheaper ($400 in the US)
- Provides the full room VR experience
- Good quality visuals
WHY NOT SONY PLAYSTATION VR?
- Requires a PS4 to operate
- Does not have a wide selection of games
- Requires additional accessories for the full VR experience
The Avegant Glyph comes in a unique style and experience. Designed to look like headphones, the Avegant Glyph is actually another Virtual Reality platform.
WHY AVEGANT GLYPH?
- Unique and trendy
- Versatile; works on video games, movies and shows
- 360 degrees head-tracking
- Clear, bright display
WHY NOT AVEGANT GLYPH?
- Expensive (US $600)
- Not as immersive as other VR headsets and does not offer a full VR experience
The More Affordable VR Headsets
SAMSUNG GEAR VR
With the increasing popularity of Virtual Reality, Samsung, too, jumped on the bandwagon and created a VR headset.
WHY SAMSUNG GEAR VR?
- Comfortable even with glasses
- Sensitive motion controls
- Versatile; works on a number of applications as well as non-gaming apps such as Netflix
WHY NOT SAMSUNG GEAR VR?
- Works on a few Samsung models
- Memory storage issue
- Screen Door Effect present
- Poor positional tracking
While some may call it a toy, the Google Cardboard is a cheap alternative to the VR experience.
WHY GOOGLE CARDBOARD?
- Easy to use
WHY NOT GOOGLE CARDBOARD?
- Poor quality optics
- Limited applications
- Hardware limitations
GOOGLE DAYDREAM VIEW
Google Daydream View offers a fresher and better quality experience than its predecessor. Not only does it have an impressive system, it is also an affordable VR headset. However, there are some flaws that can’t be overlooked.
WHY GOOGLE DAYDREAM VIEW?
- High quality VR experience
- Sensitive motion controls
WHY NOT GOOGLE DAYDREAM VIEW?
- Limited software library
- Works on a few phone models
Despite being portable and cheaper, the Samsung and Google VR headsets don’t allow the full, immersive VR experience that a user is looking for. Moreover, these VR headsets that work with smartphones act as a pair of goggles that enlarge the view of the screen so it depends upon the phone how good your VR experience will be. VR technology, as yet, is not a priority of mobile companies so these headsets lack the full potential of Virtual Reality. From an economical point of view, these headsets would do the job for you, but if you’re a more passionate gamer in search of the best there is, then the list narrows down to the Rift, Vive and Project Morpheus.
Since the Oculus Rift was the first of its kind, it has been the most sought for VR headset. But recently there has been a steady rise in popularity of the PSVR and Vive as well in the United States, even more than the Rift. Because the Rift does not come with its game controllers and the PSVR is only useful for those who own a PlayStation 4 with the selective number of games, HTC Vive is the clear winner. The price tag on HTC Vive although may seem overwhelming but it is definitely worth the buy.
THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY
New developers with better consoles and VR experience are emerging every year like Microsoft, Intel Project Alloy and Impression Pi to name a few. Clearly, the era of Virtual Reality has only just started.