Since the emergence of sci-fi, virtual reality has been on the table. These true-to-life forms of VR have helped to capture our imaginations since then. Interesting, isn’t it? Over the fleeting decades, there have been multiple attempts to make VR a groundbreaking venture in the technological space. Even though the world is not as advanced for the Matrix (by popular demand), the ridiculous availability of the technology coupled with its affordability means that the virtual world may soon become a concept that has come to stay.
The year 2016 marked the birth of the first set of VR headsets. Both HTC Vive headsets and Oculus Rift were pioneers in VR while each of them fought for recognition as the more supreme type. Although their launch was only two years ago, there haven’t been so many revisions in the OC VR hardware. However, standalone and software designs have taken center stage as the industry remains far-reaching.
With a focus on Oculus, they supposedly stated that they will end the first generation of VR headsets with the Quest model. Thus, the company made a standalone VR headset that is a fine line between the Go and the Rift. Hence, it seems the next generation VR headsets that are PC-dependent may not see the daylight soon enough.
However, the VR industry shows vivid signs of embracing standalone gear for better accessibility; and that is why the schedule of the VR headset launch has been desolate. So far, the virtual reality scope has become broader than gaming. More so, VR systems are available in various forms and are used for training, simulation, education, creative work, and 3D modeling.
The main aim of this article is to discuss the major advancements and improvements in all types of VR headsets namely – Google Daydream, HTC Vive Pro, and Oculus Rift.
Best VR (Virtual Reality) Headsets 2019 You Can Buy:
The main focus of Oculus Rift may be on improving the accessibility of the hardware of the VR headset as a way to push the boundaries of technology. However, a new report highlights that the company has no plan to upgrade the PC range in the coming year. Rift S, known as the modest refresh, introduces:
- Screen with higher resolution
- Inside-out tracking
Thus, this new version is definitely set to be another version of the Oculus Quest headset with an improvement of PC-tethering.
Even though HTC and Pimax have released more powerful hardware such as the Vive Pro, the main aim of Oculus is to develop the lower-end solutions. In 2018, the release of ‘Oculus Go’ preceded Oculus Quest. Both headsets feature no additional hardware for operation and without onboard processing and tracking. Despite the updated hardware, the visuals are not as impressive as the Rift which also has a PC-tethering option.
It was also anticipated that Oculus is supposed to work on the second generation of the Rift headset as an upgrade over the Quest, some reports suggest the case may be different. The Rift S purports a futuristic design while the Rift 2 has been shelved for the time being.
In the Rift S, we are expected to forget the external tracking cameras as seen in its predecessors. Instead, it will compete with the Oculus Quest by featuring a headset-mounted tracking sensor. While the setup process is rumored to be easier, the new upgrade may harbor some problems of controller occlusion.
Other upgrades are a display that is similar to the one in Oculus Quest – featuring 1600 x 1440 pixels for each eye and a total resolution that is excessive.
Price – $399
Promising Features – At present, Oculus versions feature a resolution of 1600 x 1440 per eye and future plans are in place to double the initial resolution.
Supported Games – Robo Call and Lone Echo are popular games on Oculus but users should gear up for enhanced games such as Catan VR, Ark Park, The American Dream, to mention a few.
HTC Vive Pro
The latest upgrade in the market for the HTC Vive series is the Vive Pro. A far better advancement over its predecessor, Vive Pro features a better design. Although there aren’t so many discrepancies between the two, the changes are notable. The inspirational structure of the HTC Vive Pro is the Deluxe Audio Strap.
- With a firmer head strap, you can adjust the dial from the back instead of the usual Velcro in the HTC Vive. Additionally, there is a built-in headphone that aids hearing because of the tilt so that you may be aware of your surroundings. There are also external sensors in the new upgrade. In addition, there are dual cameras instead of a singular central lens. With these, you can make pass-through videos with augmentation in the settings.
- The display is definitely the greatest update in Vive Pro. Instead of OLED, it uses AMOLED technology for dual panels. And the number of pixels is at a resounding 80%.
- Because Vive Pro runs at 2880 x 1600, the pixel density is much improved against the Vive. Thus, the objects appear more crisp and detailed from a striking distance which improves the immersion. Users can enjoy open and larger areas in limited physical space. Hence, you may see subpixels and a reduced screen-door effect.
- It also has a built-in headphone which is also detachable.
Price – Between $499 and $799
Promising Features – With the much-rumored eye-tracking device, users should get ready to experience enhanced social interactions with virtual reality. Other prospects are higher resolution, lower cost, and inside-out tracking. Since the new Viveport subscription service is almost in place, users will have access to VR content for every month.
Supported Games – Popular games on HTC Vive are Beat Saber, Transpose, Skyrim VR, and more.
Google Daydream View (2017)
For a long time, Google Daydream has been synonymous with a single controller but the horizon speaks of change. Google Daydream VR features a simultaneous multi-controller that is supportive of the software in the headsets. Now, users are able to choose the right or left controller – depending on the user’s dominant hand. Afterward, the software tracks input from both controllers.
However, not all the hardware features two controllers. And in these types, it will be easy and straightforward to port games from different VR platforms.
The benefit of the Google Daydream is found in the higher-end experience and full-on features that will provide the Android users with an indescribable VR experience.
- Better hardware and upgraded headset for smoother visuals
- Better heat management and a slick design
- Ease of sharing game experiences with friends and family
Even though the Google Daydream is the newest headset on this list, there are lots of contents it offers. There are many apps and games to keep your company while you daydream. If you want to duel against wizards or play some 360-degree videos, there is something for everyone. In this new headset, you may also play favorite app on Cardboard.
Price – Between $49 and $99 depending on the store.
Promising Features – With the much-rumored eye-tracking device, users should get ready to experience enhanced social interactions with virtual reality. Other prospects are higher resolution, lower cost, and inside-out tracking across all platforms.
Supported Games – Exemplary games include Claro, Hunter’s Gate, The Other Room, Beartopia, and these games will outlive 2019.
Samsung Gear VR
The best and cheapest method to enjoy virtual reality is with the Samsung Gear VR. So, you can own a Samsung smartphone and pair with a controller for an immersive experience.
- The new Samsung Gear VR is more compact than its predecessor. Although it has a monstrous size compared to Google Daydream and it presents advantageous points due to his size.
- With a top-mounted dial, you can adjust the optics and make your pictures appear better in view.
- The Samsung Gear VR helps to keep the lights out and the breathability of this headset is something to awe about. Since there are more vents beneath the eyes, it is easier to breathe even when thing get steamy. The cushion around the nose and eyes is more supportive and super cozy. For easy storage, you may install the controller holder in the head strap.
- The dark aesthetic of the new Samsung Gear VR matches the motion-enabled wand.
- The controller is powered by two AAA batteries alongside a volume rocker.
- The combination of a home button and a circular touchpad mimic the details at the side of the headset.
- There are many games on Gear VR with controller compatibility
Price – At the tune of $129, you may purchase the Samsung GearVR and it is inclusive of the accompanying controller and the updated headset. It is possible to find cheaper alternatives with extensive research.
Promising Features – Like other VRs, Samsung intends to step up its game to match similar VR features by promising upgrades such as lower cost, inside-out tracking, and a wireless platform.
Supported Games – Games include Star Wars, Augmented Empire, and Minecraft.
Google Cardboard is offered by Google at a relatively low cost. Since the design is available on Google – at no cost – anyone can purchase Google Cardboard in an assembled kit from the producers. In other case, users may build the Cardboard too.
The pros of owning a Cardboard include its low-cost nature, the large number of vendors, and the ease of setting up the headset.
Price – $25
Promising Features – The most interesting update about Cardboard is that it may be getting an upgrade to the plastic form – the reason why more people are looking forward to the design to bolster their VR experience.
Supported Games – Trinus VR, Hardcode VR, Voxel Fly VR, and more.
Even though it seems that the future of the next generation VR does no boast of headsets with sweat-resistant face cushions, ludicrous resolutions, and wireless hardware, there is a lot more to expect. This is the reason why there are more improvements to be made in the niche. However, another facet of next-generation VR is the amalgamation of rendering technologies, new standards, immersive input controls, and open APIs.
All the suggestions are futuristic features that may not be seen soon enough. On top of the agenda are an audience and ecosystem growth. More so, it will take years of consistency and bottlenecks to place these topnotch technologies in the eyes of the public. Yet, there are things to look forward to including a new generation of viable virtual reality that will be worth every penny and years of waiting.