🏆 [Comparison] Best Virtual Reality headsets | 2021

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Tere Vida Mombiela
@terevidamombiela

Summary

  • Comparison of the main virtual reality headsets
  • Best VR headsets for your needs
  • Features to consider when buying a VR headset
  • Oculus Rift S: the worthy successor of the Rift
  • HTC Vive Cosmos: a headset with mixed reviews
  • HTC VIVE Cosmos Elite: a VR headset that prioritizes precision
  • HTC Vive Pro: the 2nd generation for professionals and VR enthusiasts
  • Lynx: VR and AR in a powerful autonomous headset
  • Sony Playstation VR, the PS4 VR headset for gamers
  • Google Cardboard: the most economical iPhone / Android VR headset
  • Samsung Gear VR, the high-end mobile VR headset (for smartphones)
  • Lenovo Mirage Solo: a standalone QHD VR headset
  • Dell Visor: the most stylish Windows Mixed Reality headset
  • ASUS HC102: the Windows Mixed Reality headset that's really different
  • Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101: mixed reality according to Microsoft
  • HP VR1000: the cheapest and strongest WMR headset
  • Lenovo Explorer: the most comfortable Windows Mixed Reality headset
  • AUTONOMOUS VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS
  • Pico Neo CV: the autonomous and independent helmet
  • Oculus Go: the standalone Facebook headset that democratizes VR
  • HELMETS OF AUGMENTED REALITY
  • Vuzix Blade: the successor to the AR Google Glass glasses?
  • hololens
  • VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS PURCHASING GUIDE
  • What is a virtual reality headset?
  • How does it work?
  • What's the point ?
  • How to choose your virtual reality headset?
  • Screen
  • Tracking and scanning services
  • Compatibility
  • Contents
  • Design
  • Price
  • VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS ACCESSORIES
  • What are the accessories of VR headsets?
  • Oculus Touch
  • Striker VR
  • Vive Tracker
  • Samsung Gear VR controller
  • Twerking Butt
  • Omni

If you find yourself on this comparison, it is because you have already heard about it. Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Samsung VR, Playstation VR… These are all names that are probably familiar to you if you are a bit interested in virtual reality headsets. And that is the problem : there is a plethora of them. Between autonomous headsets, those operating via a smartphone or even models using augmented reality technology, we would almost get lost. Fortunately, your wanderings on the Internet have led you to the right place.





Comparison of the main virtual reality headsets

To help you find your way among all this diversity of offers, features and services, we have identified, referenced and compared all the VR headsets available or announced. You will find them all in our large comparative table, a little lower, preceded by our top most popular VR headsets in their sector. And if you still don't understand it, you can always consult our buying guide dedicated to virtual reality headsets. It will help you learn more about these devices, enlighten you on the criteria on which to compare them and find the right headset for you. 

Best VR headsets for your needs

Of course, the choice of a virtual reality headset must be established according to different criteria. The price is obviously an important factor which will guide your choice but it is also and above all necessary know your needs and the use you want to make of them. Some headsets are designed for gaming and other forms of entertainment, while others are designed for professional use.

There are three main categories of virtual reality headsets. Headsets connected to a PC or game console. They are the most efficient but also the most expensive. Autonomous headsets, more affordable and more practical, they are a little more limited in experience. Finally, VR headsets that work with a smartphone. Much more accessible, they are however quite limited but present a good gateway to discover the potential of virtual reality.


Features to consider when buying a VR headset

Screen resolution is a very important parameter. The higher this is, the greater the immersion will be. With a fairly low resolution like that of a smartphone, the grid and pixelation effect is significant. The screens are in fact placed very close to the eyes. The field of vision is also a significant factor. The more the field of vision is reduced, the more the "tunnel vision" effect is important. There is not yet a VR headset that offers a field of view that covers the whole of that of the human eye.


Find out if the headset also offers a Room Scale is a parameter to be taken into consideration in order to benefit from the movements in the experiments. Controllers and the possibilities offered by them are also very important for the interaction. Headphones and controllers with 6 degrees of freedom of movement will allow you to perform movements in six different directions and therefore ensure better immersion.

In terms of content, note that not all VR headsets are compatible with all applications of the market. For example, the Oculus Rift allows you to download games from the Oculus Store, while the HTC Vive is limited to the Steam catalog. Depending on the games and software that interest you, it is therefore important to check which headsets are compatible with this content.

Also note that for VR headsets connecting to a PC, the power and characteristics of the PC are to be taken into account. It is very possible that you have to boost your computer with a more powerful video card, for example, to be able to use the headphones.


On the contrary, if you opt for a standalone VR headset, it becomes essential to check its technical sheet. The processor and RAM determine the power of the headset, while the battery defines its autonomy. Performance therefore varies a lot from one device to another.

Oculus Quest 2: the best VR headset in all categories

With the Oculus Quest 2, available since October 13, 2020, Facebook has managed to establish its hegemony in the VR headset market. The first Quest was a great product, but this new model is even more successful.

Just like the first Quest, this is a autonomous virtual reality headset, without cables and without external sensor, including all the components necessary for its operation.


The performance is however greatly increased. For good reason, the device is equipped with a Snapdragon XR2 processor coupled with 6GB of RAM and the screen offers a definition of 1832 × 1920 pixels per eye. It's a real leap forward from the first Quest.

The design has also been revised, with a white color and the total abandonment of the fabric taking the dust for an all-plastic facade. The new strap, although it may seem more rudimentary than on the first model, is also very easy to adjust.

Like its predecessor, the Quest 2 can also be used as a PC VR headset thanks to the Oculus Link cable allowing it to be connected to a computer. The device will then use all the resources of the machine to offer performance worthy of a Rift S, and allow access to the complete Oculus Store catalog and the Steam platform.

Ce VR headset therefore has something to make everyone agree. In fact, Facebook simply abandoned its Rift range at the launch of Quest 2, judging that it had become unnecessary.

Cherry on the cake: this new model costs less than the first when it was launched. It is available for 349 €, which is 100 € less than the old Quest.

The only real downside is that it is now mandatory to log in to Facebook to use this headset. You will be forced to create an account to enter the VR ...

Screen: LCD
Resolution: 
1832 × 1920 pixels per eye
Refresh rate : 72Hz at launch, soon 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Eye Shop, Steam
Sortie:
 13th October
Price: 349 euros

Valve Index: the underdog of the creator of Steam

 

With the Index, Valve has put a real hit in the ant-hill of the VR headset market. Remember that the creator of Steam had already worked with HTC on the Vive, and is also the developer of the Lighthouse tracking system.This experience has allowed him to acquire real expertise, and this is felt when we Coats the Valve Index. The construction is of high quality, as is the integrated helmet, and the comfort is there although this device is heavier than average.

The controllers are one of the great strengths of this headset. They hang directly around the hand, so there is no need to hold them at all times. In addition, these accessories are customizable to fit the shape of your hand. The controls are pressure sensitive, which makes VR games even more immersive.

The LCD screen offers a wide variety of refresh rates depending on the power of your computer. In the future, the two cameras and the USB expansion port should allow a hardware update of the headset although nothing has been communicated about this at the moment.

Screen: LCD
FOV : 130 °
Resolution: 
1440 × 1600 per eye
Refresh rate : 80/90/120/144Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Steam
Sortie:
 June 2019
Price: 1079 euros

 

HP Reverb G2: one of the best images on the market

After a first contact with virtual reality through the Reverb G1 headset, HP returns with its latest product, the Reverb G2. This headset, developed in collaboration with Windows and Valve, focuses on the image to give today one of the products with the most beautiful display. With a resolution of 2160 per eye, HP has paid particular attention to its two LCD screens for a clear increase in quality. It's simple, in this price range, it's the best on the market. As with its predecessor, it uses Windows Mixed Reality Platform (WMR) to operate. As for Valve, the manufacturer of the Index has lent several of its technologies for the development of the device, including the speakers which are positioned a few centimeters from the ears for a good immersion.

With regard to comfort, the main point comes from the mechanical adjustment of the interpupillary distance (or IPD in English) so that the image adapts to all body types. This is a big step that should wipe out the image blur problems encountered with the previous model. Note also that the cable to connect it to a computer is 6 meters long, enough to give its users a certain freedom, without fear of taking their PC (or of being unplugged).

Screen: Dual LCD
FOV : 114 °
Resolution: 
2160 × 2160 per eye
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 4 cameras, 6DoF room scale
Contents : Headset and 6m cable, DisplayPort to mini-DisplayPort adapter, power adapter
Sortie:
 End 2020
Price: 610 euros (710 euros with controllers)

 

 

HTC Vive: one of the best PC VR headsets

Produced by HTC and Valve, HTC Vive is undeniably part of the top of this top. The technical characteristics are substantially identical to those of the Oculus Rift. Its advantage lies in its partnership with Valve, at the origin of the video game download platform Steam, a real heavyweight in the video game industry which can bring a lot of benefits to Vive users. Unlike the Rift, where lthe sensors were already included in the helmet, these are to be positioned outside.

Screen: Dual AMOLED
FOV : 110 °
Resolution: 
1080 × 1200 per eye
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF room scale
Contents : SteamViveport
Sortie:
 April 2016
Price: 599 euros

 

Oculus Rift S: the worthy successor of the Rift

 

Launched in 2016, the Oculus Rift was in need of a refreshThis will be the case with the Oculus Rift S. This helmet concentrates various welcome improvements over its predecessor. In particular, there is a single LCD screen offering 40% more pixels. New lenses will also correct one of the Rift's flaws. The strap has also been redesigned to be more comfortable. It will be rigid and quite similar to that of the PlayStation VR.

Notable difference, the Oculus Rift S will not use Room Scale but will be equipped with 5 cameras for tracking. The controllers will be very similar and will offer 6 degrees of freedom. Other minor improvements are also at the rendezvous. Note that the Rift catalog will be fully compatible with the Rift S. Here too, a powerful PC will be needed to operate the headset. The release date is scheduled for spring 2019.

Screen: LCD
FOV : Not communicated at the moment
Resolution: 
2.560 1.440 pixels x
Refresh rate : 80Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Eye Shop, Steam
Sortie:
 Expected in spring 2019
Price:
 399 dollars

 

HTC Vive Cosmos: a headset with mixed reviews

 

*

An issue that HTC has taken head on and promised to resolve through various updates. For many experts, the headset is judged as an excellent competitor to the Oculus Rift S. A very good choice for gamers who are looking for an advanced visual experience and comfort of use, provided they can afford it.

Screen: LCD
FOV : 110 degrés
Resolution: 
2.880 1.700 pixels x
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Steam
Sortie:
 3th October
Price:
 799 euros

Read reviews for the HTC Vive Cosmos

 

HTC VIVE Cosmos Elite: a VR headset that prioritizes precision

With this Elite version, HTC retains most of the characteristics of the Cosmos while correcting its flaws. We therefore have a 4,3-inch 90 Hz dual screen with a resolution of 1440 x 1700 pixels / eye.

The device comes with the bases and controllers of its predecessor, but can count on a new external facade. Thus, we gain in precision, even if it will be necessary to have a large enough play area to move freely.

Despite everything, this VR headset remains very expensive. But for a premium device, it can boast of having one of the highest resolutions. In addition, it comes with 6 months subscription offered to the VivePort Infinity platform and with a copy of Half-Life: Alyx.

Screen: LCD
FOV : 110 degrés
Resolution: 
2.880 1.700 pixels x
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Steam
Sortie:
 March 18, 2020
Price:
999 euros

 

HTC Vive Pro: the 2nd generation for professionals and VR enthusiasts

Still produced by HTC, this new generation of VR headset has better OLED screens as well as an integrated audio headset. More comfortable and offering better resolution, the HTC Vive Pro is however oriented towards professionals.. The headset is now available since April 2018. It also comes with an official adapter for wireless use. During CES 2019, HTC revealed the Vive Pro Eye: an HTC Vive Pro offering an Eye Tracking system.

Screen: OLED
FOV : 110 °
Resolution: 
1440 × 1600 per eye
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Steam, Viveport
Sortie:
 April 2018
Price: 1399 euros

 

Lynx: VR and AR in a powerful autonomous headset

 

 

Lynx is a French headset that offers both virtual reality and augmented reality. This standalone mixed reality headset is the very first to feature the Snapdragon XR2 processor. This processor is simply twice as powerful as the one on board the Oculus Quest, which is to say the potential offered by the Lynx headset. On the display side, performance is also part of the game with its two LCD screens 1.600 x 1.600 pixels and a refresh rate of 90 Hz. Innovative lenses are also used.

The Lynx is also the very first autonomous headset to offer photo-realistic virtual elements which are superimposed on the environment thanks to these 6 cameras which are used both for tracking and for mixed reality. The helmet also uses Eye-Tracking technology and a 5G module for extremely fast connectivity. With an introductory price of $ 1.499, the headset is primarily aimed at professionals. It will be launched in the second quarter of 2020.

Screen: LCD
FOV : 90 degrés
Resolution: 
1.600 1.600 pixels x
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Professional
Sortie:
 Second quarter 2020
Price:
 1.499 dollars

Sony Playstation VR, the PS4 VR headset for gamers

 

It's not just the PC in life. There is also the Playstation. Console players might wince at the glut of VR headsets for PCs. That they stop, because the Playstation VR of Sony was specially designed for the PS4, and has nothing to envy to its competitors. Very well made, it has the advantage to be the only one compatible with the Playstation for the moment. Disadvantage: it is probably not compatible with anything else ...

We also deplore an image quality inferior to that offered by headsets for PC, a tracking system and controllers that leave something to be desired, or the inability to play standing up. Despite everything, thanks to its PS4 compatibility and a very good catalog of games, the PSVR is the best-selling “high-end” VR headset to this day far ahead of the Rift and Vive.

Screen: OLED
FOV : 100 °
Resolution: 
960 × 1080 per eye
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Contents : PlayStation Store
Sortie:
 November 2017
Price: 159,90 euros

 

Google Cardboard: the most economical iPhone / Android VR headset

Normally, from the sight of the product, you should have understood why Google's Cardboard is the cheapest on the market. It is sold at 30 €, but it can be found at 2 € only. As a result, you should not expect a high quality product. The image quality offered by our smartphones is not yet there and the immersion of the helmet leaves much to be desired, due in particular to the lack of adjustments which allow light to filter through the sides. Not really the most comfortable model either. In short, an economical helmet that is especially interesting for those who would like to test virtual reality without putting too much hand in the wallet, or for developers who would like to create 3D applications and test them quickly.

Samsung Gear VR, the high-end mobile VR headset (for smartphones)

 

Here we enter the part of mobile VR headsets, which means that it's actually your smartphone that gives the illusion of 3D. While most of these models offer perfect image quality, Samsung's Gear VR plays on quality. Available for a hundred euros, it offers good immersion and good responsiveness but is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S6, S7, Note 5 and 7. It also has the advantage of offering access to the Oculus Store.

In March 2017, Samsung presented a new iteration of its Gear VR to accompany the release of its new flagship, the Galaxy S8. The helmet does not change drastically but will now be delivered with a bluetooth controller.

 

Lenovo Mirage Solo: a standalone QHD VR headset

In fact, this Lenovo VR headset is far from perfect. Thus, it suffers from a particularly poor application ecosystem. In addition, the surface of the tracking area is limited to only 1 m2.

Despite everything, the device offers in return more than interesting characteristics for a stand-alone model. Thus, we benefit from a system with 6 degrees of freedom, 3D sound, a 110-degree field of view as well as a QHD display (2560 x 1440).

It also includes Google Daydream which allows access to many VR content, including videos on YouTube. However, few of them support position tracking. Thus, the beautiful technical sheet of this model remains quite untapped in practice.

Finally, we note a 3 h autonomy.

Screen: LCD
FOV : 110 °
Resolution: 2560 x 1440
Sortie: 
Price: From €

Dell Visor: the most stylish Windows Mixed Reality headset

Without a doubt, the Dell Visor will be the helmet the most aesthetically cared for from the Windows Mixed Reality range. It is equipped with a sweatband which supports the front and back of the head. More hygienic than a classic headband, the inside of the helmet is easy to clean after each use.

Dell found the solution at recurring problem with VR headsets, Namely cables which intertwine in the legs of the users. With the push of a button, you can decide to run the cable front or back so you never get tripped up. Available at the end of the year for 510 euros. Hopefully for Dell the delay will not be too hard to catch up with compared to other brands that have already released their own WMR headphones, such as Acer for example.

Screen: LCD
Cable : 4 meters
FOV : 105 °
Resolution: 2880 x 1440
Sortie: 17th October
Price: From 510 €

ASUS HC102: the Windows Mixed Reality headset that's really different

Screen: LCD
Cable : 4 meters
FOV : 105 °
Resolution: 2880 x 1440
Sortie: Spring 2018
Price: From 449 €

 

Acer Windows Mixed Reality AH101: mixed reality according to Microsoft

With new update operating system sounds Windows 10Microsoft relies on virtual reality and augmented reality. To support developers, the Redmond firm, in partnership with the manufacturer Acer, offers a developer edition of a mixed reality headset. The device has two liquid crystal displays with a resolution of 1440 × 1440 pixels each one 90Hz refresh rate (native). 

Screen: LCD
Cable : 4 meters
FOV : 105 °
Resolution: 2880 x 1440

HP VR1000: the cheapest and strongest WMR headset

Si WMR helmets are more alike than the other, HP still managed to stand out thanks to a shock argument: a lower price than the competition. Indeed, headsets from Asus, Acer, and Lenovo are at 449 euros against only 349 euros for this WMR helmet. HP also scores points for the quality of the materials used to manufacture the product. Just like the Dell Visor, the headband of the headset is fully covered with sweat-wicking fleece. In addition, for practical matters, HDMI cable can be detached for storage. A solid helmet, of good quality and less expensive than the competition, released at the end of 2018

Screen: LCD
Cable :
4 meters
FOV :
105 °
Resolution:
2880 x 1440
Sortie: 
Available
Price:
From 349 €

 

Lenovo Explorer: the most comfortable Windows Mixed Reality headset

Again, WMR helmets all look the same, hard to tell apart, especially with identical specs. However, this virtual reality headset offers a fully padded headband for more user comfort. Always with the idea of ​​improving the gaming experience, the brand has decided to integrate more fan in its helmet to better circulate the air and therefore sweat less during gaming sessions.

Screen: LCD
Cable :
4 meters
FOV :
105 °
Resolution:
2880 x 1440
Sortie: 
Available
Price:
From 349 €

 

AUTONOMOUS VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS

Pico Neo CV: the autonomous and independent helmet

A newcomer to the VR headset market, the Chinese Pico has chosen to strike a blow by offering a completely autonomous helmet. Forget the PC and its string of cables or the smartphone and its average autonomy. Pico is betting on a helmet which most of the hardware has been relocated to a wired controller connected to the headphones. Turning under a fork d’Android, the Pico Neo CV should be able to benefit from the VR applications available on the PlayStore as well as from dedicated software. Note that, not content with being independent, the Pico Neo can also be connected to a PC to take advantage of the tracking kit developed by the brand. 

Screen: AMOLED
FOV : 102 °
Resolution: 
1500 × 1500 per eye
Refresh rate : 90Hz
Processor : Snapdragon 820 + 4Go RAM
Storage space : MicroSD up to 128GB
Autonomy : 2,5 hours
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF
Contents : Google Play
Sortie:
 January 2017
Price: 295 dollars

Oculus Go: the standalone Facebook headset that democratizes VR

 

The Oculus Go is a stand-alone VR headset, which works without needing to be connected to a PC or smartphone. All the components necessary for its operation are on board. Moreover, unlike to the Rift helmet, the Go bindings are made entirely of fabric, which is very comfortable to wear.

The Oculus Go is a very good standalone VR headset, perhaps even the best. Perfect for small purses who want to venture into virtual reality at a lower price. Facebook has won the gamble of a virtual reality headset with flying colors. Be careful, however, autonomous virtual reality headsets are not yet as good in terms of graphics and immersion as high-end helmets such as HTC Vive et Oculus Rift. No doubt, the release of this headset marked the year 2018 with regard to the democratization of VR.

Screen: LCD
Cable : 
without cable
FOV : 110 °
Resolution: 
1440 p
Sortie: 
Available
Go eye Prix version 32GB à 219€/ version 64GB à 269€
Autonomy : two hours for video games, two and a half hours for 360 ° video

Oculus Quest: A wireless and PC-less Oculus Rift

THEOculus Quest presented by Facebook will come out at Spring 2019. It will have the same game catalog as the Rift. A real revolution in the world of VR, we will finally have a high-end virtual reality headset that will work wirelessly and without a PC. A Oculus Rift autonomous. It will come with two controllers that provide 6 degrees of freedom of movement.

Screen: OLED
Cable :
 USB-C
FOV :?
Resolution: 
1600 × 1400 per eye
Sortie: 
Spring 2019
Oculus Quest Price: 399 dollars
Autonomy :?

HTC Vive Focus: the high-end standalone HTC VR headset

 

Available since early 2018 in China, the HTC Vive Focus has finally been launched globally in November 2018. However, at this time, it is only offered as a developer edition.

It is a standalone VR headset with a 3K definition AMOLED screen. It draws its power from a Snapdragon 835 mobile processor. Its main strength is a inside-out tracking system (without external sensors) 6DoF (six degrees freedom of movement). In fact, this device is presented more as a competitor of the Oculus Quest than as a rival of the Oculus Go. The applications are purchased on Viveport, the content store created by HTC.

Screen: AMOLED
FOV : 110 °
Resolution: 
2880 × 1600
Refresh rate : 75Hz
Processor : Snapdragon 835
Storage space : MicroSD up to 2TB
Autonomy : 3 hours
Tracking and scanning services : 6DoF Inside-Out
Contents : Viveport
Cable : USB-C
Sortie:
 November 2018
Price: 649 euros

HELMETS OF AUGMENTED REALITY

Vuzix Blade: the successor to the AR Google Glass glasses?

Since the appearance of Google Glass, the tech world began to dream of a chimera that bears the name of “augmented reality glasses”. Presented at CES 2018, the Vuzix Blade could well be the Grall so much hoped for from the AR world. In partnership with Amazon, the glasses integrate the intelligent assistant Alexa. They are able to display various information on the lenses such as the GPS track and certain notifications from the phone such as SMS and calls.

Screen: LCD
Camera : 8 Megapixel
FOV : ?
Resolution: ?
Weight: 85 grams
Sortie: 2018 current
Price: Starting at $ 1000

Microsoft's HoloLens: the augmented reality headset

We had to talk about it. Even if this comparison is mainly dedicated to virtual reality headsets, the augmented reality devices exist and are talked about in the same areas (video games, you guessed it). In this sector, it is difficult to miss theHoloLens, the headset created by Microsoft. Here, the virtual image is added to reality, giving the impression of evolving in the middle of particularly realistic holograms. Difficult to know all the possibilities in terms of video games, even if an advertising sport had already let us see a version of Minecraft in augmented reality.

Magic Leap One: the highly anticipated augmented reality glasses

 

The company develops since 2011 a secret augmented reality glasses project. After several fundraising events, each more incredible than the last, the company has promised wonders for these new augmented glasses. Since August 2018, the Magic Leap One is finally available in the United States. In the end, the device is not as convincing as expected. He fishes in particular by a disappointing field of vision. However, it is mostly the apps and content that developers will create for this headset that will determine its commercial success in a global launch.

VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS PURCHASING GUIDE

What is a virtual reality headset?

What if we got off to a good start? What is a VR headset for example? In the jargon, VR (sometimes referred to as RV, because English speakers always do everything backwards) refers to the technology of Virtual reality.

Stop right away if you start to think about the Matrix. Remember the helmets offering an immersive, three-dimensional virtual reality vision from when you were little? Well that's it. The concept is not new, since the most geeks among you may have already tried the Virtual Boy, one of the first VR headsets offered by Nintendo… in 1995. We are no longer there today . The technology allows create a realistic and (almost) latency-free virtual environment, which explains the glut of supply.

How does it work?

Without surprise, the 3D printing is simulated by a slight shift of certain elements of the image on each of the two eyes. This is enough to give the user the impression of being in another place, a fictitious reality. By adding motion detectors in the process, it even becomes possible to visit this virtual universe and explore every corner of it. For a long time, the main problem with this kind of device was the latency between the movement of the head and the reaction of the image. Today, this delay has been reduced so much that it is imperceptible, creating the illusion of a true reality.

That being said, not all VR headsets work the same. Some even differ radically from others. Generally, we can divide them into three big families :

VR headsets for PC and console

- PC VR headsets are the most popular devices among the general public. As an example, we can cite the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, or the PlayStation VR. These helmets connect to a computer or console in order to exploit its resources: processor, graphics card, storage space… in fact, this category of devices is the one that delivers the most performance. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. Not only are these high-end headsets expensive, they also require a powerful PC to operate.

Cardboards or VR headsets for smartphones

- On the other hand, we find so-called cardboard systems. These helmets are much more affordable than those of other categories, since they do not embed any technology. The principle is use the user's smartphone as a VR headset screenThe structure of the cardboard allows the phone to be placed in front of the viewer's eyes and to separate the received image in two. With the help of a special application, which will broadcast two slightly shifted images, we find the illusion of the 3D of classic VR headsets. The motion detectors and the phone's gyroscope complete the immersion to immerse the user in his virtual reality. If these devices are much more accessible and easy to use than the first category, it is not surprising to realize that their performances are less impressive and less oriented towards gaming. Anyway, with the emergence of stand-alone VR headsets, IDC predicts the imminent demise of this category of devices.

“Autonomous” VR headsets

- Standalone VR headsets are the newest category of VR headsets. These are “all-in-one” devices that work without needing to be connected to a computer or smartphone. The screen, processor, graphics card, battery, storage space and even the tracking system are directly on board. This type of device is therefore much easier and more comfortable to use. Just put the headset on your head to immerse yourself in VR. It is also a more affordable solution, since there is no need to invest in a smartphone or a PC. At the moment, the graphics quality is lower than that of PC headsets. However, technology is advancing fast. A few years from now, it's likely that standalone headsets will rival the best PC headsets available today.

What's the point ?

What is a video game console for? To have fun, quite simply. In the same vein, the virtual reality headset is the fantasy of every gamer for decades. It's not difficult to understand all the potential they offer to the film or video game industry in terms of immersion. These devices make it possible to "dive" into a video game, and offer new gameplay possibilities that developers are just starting to explore.

However, it's not just the entertainment world that this technology interestsTraining is one of the circles most affected by these devices. There are already several training applications today in heavy industry or hazardous operations. Firefighters already use it, as do all those working in the field of nuclear sites, refineries or oil platforms.

In the school education sector, VR is also used more and more. It allows for example to relive scenes from history, to perform physics / chemistry experiments in a virtual laboratory, or to explore different geographic regions without leaving the classroom.

Virtual reality is also widely used in the health sector. It has been discovered that VR can replace anesthesia by allowing the patient to be distracted during an operation. It can also allow doctors and surgeons to train under realistic conditions.

Another professional sector to be interested in VR headsets is that of the distribution. Real estate agencies, for example, have already started offering apartment tours without moving from your chair, all through VR headsets. In the same vein, architects could present their project to their clients even before starting the first work. It is also rumored that travel agencies could offer 3D tours of hotels or tourist sites to interested parties.

In the real estate sector, more and more agencies are using VR to show their clients properties. In the field of journalism, virtual reality is used to create immersive documentaries and reports more likely to generate viewer empathy than traditional media.

As you can see, VR headsets are finding their way into all industries. This technology is set to change the world. Despite everything for now, the two main areas of application are video games and pornography. Indeed, in the field of X movies, VR allows the viewer to immerse themselves in a scene to experience it in first person. This type of content has been incredibly successful, so much so that the industry is now investing colossal sums in it.

How to choose your virtual reality headset?

It's just VR headsets, there are plenty of them. In addition to the technology used, the compatibility of devices, the content offered and the price often differ from one model to another. It's not enough to have a comparative table in front of you, you still need to know the different selection criteria.

Screen

THEscreen is one of the most important parts of a VR headset, since it represents the door that will allow the user to enter virtual reality. While a good screen will give you the illusion of being immersed in another reality, a bad screen may instead give you nausea or a headache.

Several elements must be taken into account. First of all, screen definition. This is the number of pixels that the screen is capable of displaying. The higher the definition, the more detailed the image.

We must also take into account the FoV (Field of View) which is simply translated by field of vision. As you can see, the FoV determines the field of vision covered by the VR headset and therefore the quantity of elements that the user can see simultaneously. With too low FoV, the user is likely to see the real world on the sides of the screen. On the contrary, a large FoV guarantees a more realistic display and maximum immersion.

Finally, the refresh rate of the screen is very important. This is the frequency at which the screen changes images. The display will therefore be smoother and more detailed if this rate is higher.

Tracking and scanning services

The tracking system of a VR headset determines how the user's movements and position will be tracked. The first generation VR headsets (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PSVR…) were based on external sensors to be placed in the room.

However, newer headsets like the Oculus Quest rely on a inside-out tracking system. This means that tracking is provided by sensors and cameras directly integrated into the helmet. There is therefore no longer any need for external sensors.

On distingue le tracking 3DoF du tracking 6DoF. 3DoF tracking offers freedom of movement to 3 degrees, while 6DoF tracking extends this freedom to six degrees. The possibilities for interaction and the feeling of immersion are therefore clearly greater in the second case.

Be careful, however: some helmets offer a 6DoF tracking system, but their controllers are limited to 3DoF. The user can therefore move his head freely, but interactions with the controller are severely limited.

Finally, the best VR headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift offer a tracking ” Room Scale “ at 360 degrees. This means the user can move freely across a room, and even turn around. His movements will continue to be followed and transcribed in the VR. In general, Room-Scale requires several sensors placed all around the room or Inside-Out type tracking.

Compatibility

It is  the point to look at first. Gamers already know that before buying a game, there are a few checks that need to be done. The compatibility with its console or the minimum configuration required by its computer are the most telling examples. The same process should apply before purchasing a virtual reality headset.

Some models will only be compatible with certain machines. The Sony Morpheus is ideal for PS4 players for example, while the Oculus will only work on bikes running Windows 7 at least. Likewise, depending on the size of certain cardboards, not all smartphones will be compatible with all models. For that, we can't help you. It's up to you to check which headphones your equipment is compatible with.

Contents

Who says differences in brands means differences in services. Here it is the park of applications offered that it will be necessary to monitor, because from one support to another, it will not necessarily be the same.

You should know that Oculus is currently the only manufacturer to offer a catalog of exclusive video games for its various helmets. For its part, Valve allows access to the SteamVR catalog to all the different headsets for PC. If you want to be able to access all the applications, it is better to opt for an Oculus Rift.

The choice is a little easier about mobile headsets, since the compatible applications depend on the smartphone (which, normally, should already be in your possession). However, only Samsung smartphones can access the Gear VR Oculus Store catalog, and only “Daydream-Ready” smartphones can access the Google Daydream platform application catalog.

Design

The design of a VR headset can vary enormously, not only from an aesthetic point of view, but also functionally.

Entry-level VR headset

Thus, the most affordable models come in the form of a pair of lenses retained by a structure sometimes made of cardboard. A smartphone will stick to the lenses.

In this category, we obviously count the Google Cardboard. If these devices can be acquired for a few euros, it should be noted that they offer very limited functionalities, especially the 360 ° video viewing. In addition, they are not very comfortable and are not suitable for prolonged use.

Mid-range VR headset

Where the Google Cardboard simply acts as a VR cover for a smartphone, a mid-range headset will offer more advanced features. Thus, some include additional sensors or even integrated screens.

Here, we are talking about devices of the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR or Homido type. Unlike inexpensive models or models of higher ranges, the build quality varies enormously from one product to another. It will therefore be necessary to try a device or at least see tests before buying one.

High-end VR headset

Finally, there are the models sold at high prices that offer an experience that far exceeds the calculation capabilities of a smartphone. We count here the Oculus, HTC Vive and other PlayStation VR.

So far, only these helmets offer a tracking de position, the best graphics and screens with high resolution. In addition, they are more comfortable.

Price

Obviously, the price of VR headsets is a criterion to take into account. Little advice to give here: look at your budget and adapt your choice accordingly. If you just want to experience virtual reality, there is no need to rush to the most high-end models. On the other hand, if you are sure you want to use your headphones on a daily basis for pure gaming, a PC headset is preferable so as not to be disappointed with the performance.

Generally, headsets for PC and console are the most expensive, and smartphone headsets are the cheapest. Stand-alone headsets, on the other hand, don't require the purchase of a console, PC, or smartphone, and so are ultimately more affordable if you don't have the necessary equipment for other types of devices.

A bonus is to be added to all the accessories provided for the type of helmet. A controller, glove, or mask can dramatically increase the gaming experience but add a few numbers to the rating. Ideally, their purchase should be planned before getting the helmet.

VIRTUAL REALITY HELMETS ACCESSORIES

What are the accessories of VR headsets?

Oculus Touch

Company Name : Oculus VR

Support: Oculus Rift

Description: The Oculus Touch is a product compatible with the commercial version of the Rift. It is a pair of controllers placed in each of the hands and acting as a motion detector to improve the immersion of users.

Price: 119 euros

Date de sortie: December 6, 2016

Striker VR

Company Name : Striker VR

Support: Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, potentially other compatibility

Description: The Striker VR Riffle, as the name suggests, is an assault rifle with haptic feedback technology that promises to deliver unparalleled immersion in shooter games.

Price: still unknown, pre-orders should start in Q2017 XNUMX

Date de sortie: still unknown

Vive Tracker

Company Name : HTC

Support: HTC Vive

Description: The Vive Tracker is an accessory to be installed on an object and which will allow it to be tracked so that it is converted into an object with which we can interact in VR.

Price: 119 euros

Date de sortie: March 27, 2017

Samsung Gear VR controller

Company Name : Samsung

Support: Gear VR 2016 and 2017

Description: Samsung's bluetooth controller comes standard with the 2017 version of its Gear VR. Owners of older generations of the helmet can however acquire it alone. The controller proposes to deport the buttons located on the edge of the Gear VR headset: there is thus a directional touchpad, which hides four directional buttons, a back button and a home key, two volume adjustment buttons and a trigger, it is not present on helmets. Finally, the controller houses a motion sensor in addition to those present in the helmet to improve the feeling of immersion.

Price: the Samsung controller is available alone at a price of 39 euros.

Date de sortie: available

Twerking Butt

Company Name : Pornhub

Support: Cyberskin VR (and possibly other mobile headsets, to be confirmed)

Description: Twerking Butt redefines the very essence of virtual porn. This is a robotic pair of buttocks simulating authentic posteriors. Skin texture, temperature, massager, vibrator, Twerking ... everything is meant to be realistic

Price: the Twerking Butt is available in two versions: 499 € for the classic version and 799 € for the deluxe version, the only one to have the twerking function.

Date de sortie: available

Omni

Company Name : Virtuix

Support: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and some mobile headsets via Omni Bluetooth

Description: The Omni mat puts the player at the heart of the action by allowing them to sit, walk, run, jump in real life so that the game carries out its movements

Price: 640 € for the carpet set, pair of shoes, trackers to put on the shoes, the seat belt

Date de sortie: December 2015

👓 What is a virtual reality headset?

A virtual reality headset is a device that is worn like a mask and that places a screen right in front of the eyes. This allows the user to be immersed in multimedia content that occupies the entire vision. Reality as perceived by the human eye is replaced by what is transmitted by the screen of the helmet. If today virtual reality is often associated with video games, it is nevertheless used by other sectors. Thus, different categories of professionals use it for training or therapy, among other things.

📦 What are the different types of virtual reality headsets?

Over time, virtual reality headsets have evolved to differentiate into two main categories. On the one hand, there are headsets connected to a computer or a game console. These embed a screen and sensors to position the helmet in space. The computer takes care of all the calculation part. On the other side are the stand-alone helmets. They also integrate all the necessary components such as processors, memory and a battery. Their power is generally less efficient than that of a PC equipped for virtual reality. However, they offer more freedom. Before that, some headsets were just boxes with a lens made to accommodate smartphones.

🎮 Can I run all games on all headsets?

Video games designed for virtual reality are by nature rather demanding in performance. They usually need a well-equipped machine with components like a powerful processor and graphics card. So, by having a computer with a gamer config and a virtual reality headset connected to the PC, all games will be able to run on it. On the other hand, stand-alone headsets do not yet offer such a level of performance and are limited by their components which are equivalent to those found on high-end smartphones. Not all games will be offered on these models.

💸 What is the average price of a virtual reality headset?

Virtual reality headsets have varying prices. Also, it is important to define the use you want to make of it before going to the purchase box. Depending on whether you want the best picture definition, be able to use it anywhere and anytime, or just play in your living room, the price can go from one to double. In general, the price of the device goes up according to the quality of the screen. Large resolutions like those offered by headsets from Chinese manufacturer Pimax will come at a high price as Oculus manages to sell its standalone headset at a very competitive price. Count from 250 to 300 euros for the first price and 1000 to 1500 euros for the top of the range.

🤔 What are the constraints of virtual reality?

Although virtual reality is a field that is evolving rapidly in recent times, it does not escape a few limitations that are holding back its mass adoption. The price may appear high in the first place, especially for headsets that require a computer with a powerful configuration on the side. The other factor most often cited is nausea caused by image movement associated with motion sickness. Finally, the definition of the screens is not yet up to that of the eye, which perceives all the defects at such a close distance.



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