Virtual reality is a fascinating new technology that lets you explore a virtual space with nothing but a headset and motion tracker.
Recently, it has been gaining popularity due to its games and experiences. But, it’s still in flux with its headsets and accessories coming and going. Therefore, there is a limited range of headsets available on the market such as Meta, HTC, and PSVR.
We tested and reviewed all the major headsets. Here’s what you need to know about them as well as general information about virtual reality.
In this post, we will go over:
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Before we answer this question, there are some things you need to understand about modern VR headsets.
There are two types of headsets, tethered and standalone.
Tethered are the most common ones such as:
What makes them different from standalone headsets is that you need to physically connect them to your PC or console.
The biggest con about them is that their cables might be hard to manage and the whole setup can be a little more complex.
However, the experience is much more refined since the external sensors, motion sensing controllers, and outward-facing cameras provide six degrees of freedom.
But, before you decide to buy a tethered headset, don’t forget to make sure you have a powerful PC to run them. In the case of PSVR, you’ll need a Playstation 4 or Playstation 5.
As you might have guessed, standalone headsets are cordless and do not need an external device for processing. For this reason, you can enjoy VR with complete physical freedom.
Examples of standalone headsets are Oculus or Meta Quest 2. For more information, you can check out our post on Oculus here.
Moreover, if you’re a beginner, we suggest you read our complete post on headsets here.
Phone-based VR headsets use your mobile to serve as both the system behind the processing and the display.
They used to be quite common since Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR allowed you to experience VR for under $150 as long as you have a compatible phone.
However, these headsets are not as popular today especially because Google and Samsung both discontinued their headsets.
Therefore, we suggest you do not invest in one. Although these headsets are cheap, the software ecosystem and support for them are almost negligible.
Some of the best augmented reality headsets we’ve tested are the Microsoft HoloLens and the Magic Leap One.
But, how are they different from VR headsets?
The biggest difference between AR and VR headsets is the lens.
AR headsets use transparent lenses that allow you to look at the environment instead of completely replacing your vision with computer-generated images.
This way, they project images over what you’re looking at. These images are designed to match your surroundings and interact with the area around you. For example, you can make a web browser pop up in the middle of the room.
You can also read more about AR in our post about virtual reality.
Virtual reality has applications far broader than just gaming and entertainment. It is being used in education, medicine, business, planning, and manufacturing.
However, it is still a niche prospect and does not come without its problems. Therefore, it’s important to stay informed about the pros and cons of a new technology before you invest your time and money into it.
We also have more articles on VR that you can read here. We cover everything from VR guides, issues, experience and more.