How To Choose A VR Headset
With the news about upcoming VR gadget releases, it seems that virtual reality is soon to become a strong competitor to the actual reality we live in. For now though, while there is still time before major gadget releases, it may be reasonable to go through a few basic factors that may help you make the right choice.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Quite often we talk about virtual reality and 3D as if the notions are interchangeable. However, they are not exactly the same. 3D is simply an environment where we can have a three-dimensional view of the world. Virtual reality, on the other hand, puts your right in the center of this environment, letting us experience everything from a first-person view.
The environment you dive in when using VR gear can be fictional, as well as real. It can be a game with a whole word of graphics created just for you to have a challenging adventure, or a street in Paris that you can walk along as part of a VR sightseeing tour.
You can experience all of the above by putting on a VR headset, which is typically equipped with accelerometers and gyroscopes, so that it can track the movements of your head and know which way you are looking. The images are then presented accordingly, so you get the feeling that you are actually in the middle of a complete and real environment that exists everywhere around you.
What types of VR headsets are out there?
As virtual reality is quickly developing as a standalone industry, more and more companies are entering the market and we are sure to see an abundance of gadgets hit the stands in the nearest future. so weather its viewing the VR Swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, exploring the moon and exotic locations, or enjoying 3D movies and games, there is an option for everyone with 3D headsets
Despite all these options, there are still just two main groups to classify these 3D headsets into.
If you want to try out virtual reality and see if this is something you may get interested in, it could be a good idea to start small. Smartphone VR headsets, like Google Cardboard, offer just that – and at a very affordable price. This is an important factor, as you wouldn’t want to spend over $1000 on VR gear, only to find out that this type of entertainment is not for you.
The headset itself is basically just a frame where you insert your phone so that it is placed directly in front of your eyes. It also includes a set of lenses, a divider in between them and a magnetic button to control your smartphone (since you will have no access to it inside the headset).
There are more robust plastic versions which fit most phones and with the added padding and head straps are much more user friendly and make a great option if you want something that is comfy to ware and will last, many of these can be picked up for under $20. Sync you smartphone with a Bluetooth controller and you can play games or navigate 3D apps as well as enjoy 3D side by side movies. The bonus is you wont have any leads making it a totally portable experience.
The other type of a VR headset needs to be connected to the PC for it to manufacture the virtual environment. Think Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. With these guys, you could also use trackers and hand controllers, expanding your virtual experience to a wide array of movements and touch.
Naturally, VR headsets of this type will be more pricey. For instance, Oculus Rift Development Kits goes for $350. then you need a machine that can run the the system which will all start to add up.
Some other headsets can play 3D side by side movies from direct inputs such as HDMI leads or memory cards, other may have be connected to consoles or run things like Android so you can download 3D games or apps. While some of these headsets like the Oculus rift and may tether you to one place you should get a smother VR experience, which will come in key for playing graphic heavy games such as those available with Sony’s VR headset designed to partner with a PlayStation.
What to look for in a VR headset?
The screen. As your virtual experience will still have to be lived through a screen – it’s only natural that a good display will make that experience better. Make sure the screen has a good resolution and a high number of pixels per inch – to avoid blurring.
When using a smartphone VR headset, your smartphone screen will play a big part in how your VR fun goes. If your phone has an OLED display, things will go smoother.
Comfort and portability. Depending on where, how and what for you plan to use the headset, you may also want to consider how heavy it is (especially, if you plan to wear it for a lengthy period of time) and how easy it is to take it around (if you want to be escape reality on a long-haul flight).
Content. Even the coolest VR headset will be gathering dust in the corner, if you have nothing to do with it. While there are already lots of apps available for your Google Cardboard, you may have to wait and see what options the more serious headsets will offer, before making a choice in favor of one or the other.
Price. It all goes back to how much you are willing to spare. You could have your first try with a simple Cardboard-type set, and them move on to something more substantial when you are ready.
Check out what VR gadgetry has to offer here.