The Best Virtual Reality Headsets Out There
We already gave you our take on the best AR glasses of 2020 (so far!). But what if you’re stuck at home and looking for a way to explore new places? Or wishing you could escape to a new world? If so, this is the perfect time to consider your options in the realm of virtual reality (VR) headsets!
Here are echoAR’s top choices of VR headsets that would really elevate your gaming and movie experience during quarantine:
1. Oculus Quest
The current gold standard when it comes to VR headsets. This sleek all-in-one user-friendly tetherless gaming headset delivers a fully immersive experience for individuals looking to really get a sense of what VR is all about. Oculus Quest requires no tedious setup or syncing with other devices and has a large library of VR games available for download directly from the headset itself. While the headset comes with two controllers, Oculus Quest’s latest software update introduced new gesture-recognition capabilities that allow you to enjoy many VR games hands free. We just wish the battery would last longer.
Calling all gamer out there! The PlayStation VR by Sony links to your PS4 console to provide a truly unique gaming expire. With a collection of over 200 games (many of them exclusive), a movie-watching mode and a social share-screen option, the PS VR is the perfect addition to your PlayStation. The headset was sold separately in the past but today, it is bundled with two PlayStation Move motion controllers, the PlayStation Camera and two games. Next month Sony is expected to release a new bundle with the highly anticipated Marvel’s Iron Man VR game. We only wish this one wasn’t tethered and had better resolution.
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Are you addicted to playing games (ahem.. ahem.. Animal Crossing) on your Nintendo Switch? Well, this simple DIY headset is a great option for a fun and affordable VR headset for family and friends to share. All you need is a Nintendo Switch, Joy-Con controllers, and some creativity to set up this DIY cardboard project on your own. We know it’s a basic headset and the resolution is a bit poor but if you love VR as well as arts & crafts, this is the headset for you.
This is another great option if you are fine with being tethered. HTC Vive Cosmos is HTC’s newest VR headset for everyday users (as opposed to the more expensive Pro version for professionals). This PC-tethered VR headset offers better-resolution display and improved tracking compared to the first Vive headset. It is also the first to offer a flip-up display and removable face plates (and we’re kinda into the blue colors!). However, make sure you have a powerful computer to back you up and the cash to spare. Although it is an investment, it is worth it for VR enthusiasts looking for an paralleled VR experience.
5. Valve Index
It’s too expensive, tethered, and requires a lot of set up but we had to include Valve Index on the list since it represents a big step forward in the world of VR headsets and controllers. Valve Index introduces pressure-sensitive “knuckle” controllers that track all five fingers as well as external “base station” boxes to better map the space around you. It has great audio and the widest field-of-view display compared to any other consumer VR headset out there.
Valve Index can be purchased via the Steam Store $999 as part of a full kit that includes the headset, two controllers, to base stations and the game Half-Life: Alyx (or $749 without the base stations).
6. HP Reverb G2
This recently announced VR headset, build by HP in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, is already available for pre-order. Described by HP as the “no-compromise VR headset,” the HP Reverb G2 offers higher resolution and better options and tracking volume compared to other tethered options in the market. Its audio system is the same one offered as part as the Value Index yet it comes at a lower price point. However, it doesn’t seem that HP Reverb G2 would support hand tracking and the Microsoft Mix Reality controllers accompanying the headset, while sporting a new design, have the same battery life as previous versions.
HP Reverb G2 is available for pre-order in the US at $599.99 from HP’s exclusive distributor, Connection, with the first headsets expected to be shipped soon.
This beast of a headset has a 210 degrees horizontal field-of-view (StarVR claims it has achieved human vision field-of-view!) as well as a custom AMOLED display containing 16 million subpixels. StarVR One is currently being sold exclusively to enterprise customers in Japan and Taiwan through specific distributors for a price tag of close to $3,200, with it’s launch in the US and Europe yet to come.
This headset is unfortunately only available to enterprise-level clients but we were lucky enough to try it during the last CES trade show and were really impressed. Pico Neo 2 Eye offers outstanding 4K resolution as well as build-in eye-tracking capabilities and even allows you to stream PS VR content.
Pico New 2 Eye is currently available only to businesses for around $900 on Pico’s website.
For an initial price tag of $4,995, this really isn’t your typical headset but our good friends at the RLab gave us the opportunity to check it out. Aimed at VR professionals, Varjo VR-2 offers an incredibly high resolution as well as better focus display compared to other headsets. Pro users can benefit from this this headset during their downtime since Varjo VR-2 will supports all their Steam VR applications. This headset also allows you to switch between VR and AR modes.
Varjo VR-2 is available on Varjo’s website for $4,995. A Pro version that includes hand-tracking is also available for $5,995.
This last one on our list is really just a prototype at this stage but echoAR had the opportunity to check it out during the last CES trade show. Panasonic VR is a set of beautiful Ultra HD steampunk-inspired VR glasses, smaller than any VR headset currently available in the market. This unique headset comes equipped with two earbuds but suffers from a relevantly narrow field of view (only 70 degrees).
Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know on our Slack channel.
echoAR (http://www.echoAR.xyz; Techstars ’19) is a cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that provides tools and server-side infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy AR/VR apps and experiences.