Know More About The Best VR (Virtual Reality) Headsets of 2017

Virtual reality headset is the hottest trends and with 2017 it is only going to be a year when the virtual reality takes off to a new height.

The Virtual Reality Is Upon Us

In the year 2016, the virtual reality took off and now it is going to be even bigger. All the big names in the virtual reality have launched their own VR platforms. However, whether it is going to be accepted and get widely established is yet to be seen. Virtual reality is an amazing way of putting a person somewhere else through the power of technology. It uses a motion tracking system and a headset to let a person look around a virtual space which seems to exist. Virtual reality is a promising technology that has existed for a decade but failed to catch on.

However, with the current wave of virtual reality, it is going to change. Oculus has recently launched a consumer-ready Rift, while Valve and HTC are not far behind as they have also come up with stream-friendly Vive. Sony has also launched VR, the excellent PlayStation and Samsung has continued to improve its Gear VR. There are a large number of headsets available at a different price and power spectrum. Want to know more about them? Let’s delve right into it!!

Mobile or Tethered – What To Choose?

The Modern virtual reality headset can easily be categorized under one of the following categories – Tethered or Mobile. While the mobile headsets are shells with lenses, the tethered headsets are physically connected with a desktop.

Mobile headsets have space where your smartphone can easily be placed. The screen is separated by lenses into two images for the eyes, thus it turns your smartphone into virtual reality device. Some examples of mobile headsets include the Google daydream View and Samsung Gear VR. These are inexpensive and costs less than $100. As all the processing will be done on your mobile phone, therefore, it eliminates the requirement of connecting any wired on the headset.

But not all phones are designed according to the gadget and thus it is not possible to get the best picture quality even with the help of special lenses. Qualcomm showed off some interesting Snapdragon 835-powered prototype headsets at CES that help you walk around the virtual space without plugging it into anything or without installing sensors around your house.

On the other hand, tethered headsets, such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, needs to be physically connected to a desktop or a laptop. The attached cables make the tethered headsets a bit weird, however, after putting together all video processing in a box, there is no need to strap it on your face. In other words, your virtual experience with tethered headsets can be extremely complex. Using a dedicated display instead of a smartphone as well as using built-in motion sensor drastically improves the head tracking and image fidelity.

Another factor that plays an important role is the price involved. The least expensive model – PS VR will cost you approximately $400 along with $60 to $160 accessories to make it work really well. The Oculus Rift cost approximately $600 and comes with a simple Xbox One Gamepad and a remote. You need to spend other $200 to get your hands on Oculus Touch. Here the most expensive model is the HTC Vive as it will cost you something around $800 and comes with the most comprehensive package. The Vive and Rift both requires a powerful personal computer to run and the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4.

Sony PlayStation VR

The current Editors’ Choice for Virtual reality is the Sony PlayStation VR as it offers the most polished and an easy-to-use tethered VR experience. Moreover, it also comes with a reasonable price tag. It gives you the freedom to play proprietary titles on it such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. However, you can easily play any PS4 game in the theater mode. You are bound to get impressed by the VR games you will be playing on Sony PS VR. It also requires some additional investment to function to its full capacity.

For the headset to work properly, you need to buy a PlayStation Camera and a PlayStation Move Controller bundle for motion controls. However, for a price of $400 for a headset, it is still an economical option.

HTC Vive

A comprehensive package, HTC Vive includes two motion controllers, a headset, and two base stations, to define the whole room VR area. This is amazing and is the only virtual reality system that easily tracks your movement across the 10-foot cube. It also comes with a set of motion controller that is more advanced than the PlayStation Move. However, with a price tag of $800, it is really hard to get past. Moreover, the PC-tethered VR system like the Vive needs a lot of power, with the company recommending at least a GeForce GTX 970 GPU or an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU.

Oculus Rift

One word that has become synonymous with Virtual Reality is Oculus Rift. The retail version of Oculus Rift is out and it is much more advanced and expensive than the developer kits. From a technical point of view, the headset has a striking similarity with the Vive. The Oculus Rift cost $200 less than the Vive and lacks the Vive’s whole room VR. If you are looking forward to motion control, you need to append another $200 for the Oculus Controller.

Samsung Gear VR

One of the most accessible and polished VR system to get your hands on is the Samsung Gear VR. To use this gear, you need to have a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone, which is a limiting factor. This narrow downs the potential users as only those people will buy this gear that have a compatible phone. This $100 Gear VR features a pass-through connector to keep the phone charged, controls that have been built into the headset and it is extremely comfortable to wear. Samsung collaborated with Oculus to design the gear’s software ecosystem, which is already equipped with a handful of applications and games.

At MWC, the company (Samsung) announced a new Gear VR headset which includes a controller but has still not announced its availability or detailed pricing.

Google Daydream View

Google Cardboard and the Google Daydream are similar in concept. The Daydream costs approximately $79 and you need to put your phone in this inexpensive device. The Daydream view works as your display because of the set of lenses which separates the screen in two images. All the action is controlled by a pairable remote that needs to be held in the hand. Finding apps that work great with it is an advantage; however, the software library is light and is not compatible with Google Cardboard Applications.

Windows 10 VR Headsets

The recent announcement made by Microsoft about the partnership with multiple hardware manufacturers is exciting news as the company is determined to offer a variety of Windows 10-compatible VR headsets against its competitors – the Vive and Oculus Rift. The Windows 10-compatible VR headsets will use an outward-facing sensor to sense motion, in order to eliminate the need for external cameras. The Microsoft headset will start at $299 and the confirmed partners are – Lenovo, Dell, Asus, HP, and Acer. However, the specifications and availability have still not been revealed.

The company, Microsoft has also been working on HoloLens, which is an Augmented Reality (AR) headset with a lot of potentials. However, here it must be remembered that VR is different from AR.

Name  Sony PlayStation VR  Oculus Rift  Samsung Gear VR  Google Daydream View
Lowest price $ 392.62   $ 799.99  $ 84.99 $ 78.77
Headset Type Tethered Tethered Mobile Mobile
Connections HDMI, USB 2.0 HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0 USB 2.0, USB 3.0 None
Resolution 960 by 1,080 (per eye) 1,080 by 1,200 (per eye) 2,560 by 1,440 Dependent on phone
Refresh Rate (Hz) 120 90 Not specified 60
Field of View (degrees) 100 110 Not specified Not specified
Sensors Motion, external visual positioning Motion, external visual positioning Motion, presence Motion
Controls DualShock 4, PlayStation Move Oculus Touch, Xbox One gamepad Onboard touchpad, Bluetooth controllers Handheld remote
Hardware Platform PlayStation 4 PC Android Google Daydream VR
Software Platform PlayStation 4 Oculus Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus  Android 7.0 Nougat

Sony PlayStation VR

Sony has finally come up with a virtual reality headset – Sony PlayStation VR. Priced at $399.99, this system can easily be used with PlayStation 4 and the new PS4 Pro. It is designed to leave the smartphone-based VR system far behind. The graphical capabilities of PS VR stand out as it offers the best combination of content, accessibility, and power. The headset is made out of white plastic with a visor that holds the electronics and it weights around 1.3 pounds. PS VR does not support whole-room motion tracking but it still demands a fair bit of space.

PROS CONS
      • Motion control support

      • Immersive VR experience

      • Works with non-VR apps and games

      • Low cost of entry compared to PC-based headsets

  • Requires PlayStation Camera

  • Less powerful than its competitors

  • Some motion-tracking problems experienced

$392.62 AT AMAZON

Sony PlayStation VR brings compelling and powerful virtual reality along with motion control support. Get your hands on this if amazing VR headset, if you are looking for something in your budget.

HTC Vive

The consumer-ready version of HTC Vive is finally here ad it is priced at $799. It is one of the most expensive systems however it comes equipped with the motion controller, a headset and external sensors. It is an impressive system that comes with enough interesting titles in Stream VR to make it worthwhile. HTC recommends using a PC with at least a Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290 GPU, an Intel i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 CPU, 4GB of RAM, HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 video output, a USB 2.0 port, and Windows 7 SP1 or above.

PROS CONS
  • Immersive experience

  • Includes motion controllers and external sensors for whole-room VR

  • Expensive

  • Tethered headset makes whole-room VR tricky

$799.99 AT AMAZON

HTC Vive is the most comprehensive virtual reality system available in the market. It is also one of the most expensive VR headsets.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift has finally arrived in the Virtual Reality. This much-hyped headset delivers what it promises. At a price of $599, Oculus has been able to justify the cost with more advanced technology. The Oculus Rift is fully functional if you have a computer that can easily handle it. The headset has a simple and understated design with a completely flat front panel. The Oculus Touch motion controllers are an optional addition, as it comes with some control options out of the box. Setting up this system is simple. First begin by downloading the Oculus setup software on your PC, then plug in the headset into the PC and sync the remote. Finally, pair the Xbox One wireless gamepad with the receiver.

PROS CONS
  • Immersive VR experience

  • Works with Oculus and SteamVR platforms

  • Comfortable, functional headset design

  • Expensive

  • No motion controls included

  • No whole-room VR

$789.95 AT AMAZON

 

Oculus Rift is known to deliver impressive virtual reality experience to the user. It comes with more compatible software than its competitor HTC Vive, however, it still lacks on motion controls.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung has come up with yet another virtual reality headset – Samsung Gear VR. This is a Google Cardboard-like plastic shell where a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone is placed to experience the virtual reality. Priced at $99.99, the latest Gear looks and feels similar to the previous version. No cables are included in the box except the micro USB-to-USB-C adapter cable. The headset is compatible with the Galaxy Note 5, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S7, and S7 Edge. So if you have any one of the above stated smartphones, you can enjoy the virtual world. Samsung has worked with Oculus to design this gear and thus the software is available only through the Oculus app.

PROS CONS
  • Comfortable to wear

  • Oculus-powered technology is well-developed

  • Good number of apps available

  • Requires one of four specific Samsung Galaxy smartphones

  • Still no killer app to make virtual reality a must-have

  • Potential thermal issues

$84.99 AT AMAZON

If you own a Samsung Gear VR compatible phone, this gear gives you a relatively inexpensive way to experience the virtual reality present right before you.

Google Daydream View

Google was once just a software company, but it has evolved a lot over the years. After Google home speaker and Pixel phones, the company has now come up with the beautifully designed Google Daydream View. At present this amazing VR headset is only compatible with Google’s Pixel XL and Pixel phones but in the near future, it will be compatible with various other smartphones as well. It comes with a little remote which is seen as an added advantage as it helps you control the VR experience in a far better manner as compared to side-of-the-head controls.

PROS CONS
  • More comfortable than other mobile VR headsets

  • Included remote control is easy to use

  • Affordable

Very little hardware and software support so far

$78.77 AT AMAZON

 

Want to get an entry to the virtual world in a comfortable manner? Pick up the Google Daydream View and dive right into it.

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