Virtual reality’s finally here and it has come to stay and forever change the reality we live in. And no, we’re not exaggerating. Their present and future applications are so diverse you would have to living under a rock not to see their potential to revolutionize this world. It’s ok if you don’t know what we’re talking about – as far as the general public is concerned, this technology is relatively new.
For this reason, not everyone is yet aware of the countless possibilities it offers in so many diverse fields. For starters, they have already begun to completely transform the world of video games. If you’re interested in enjoying the unique experience of virtual reality, a good way to start is with VR goggles. As always, we advise you to be well informed about your options when investing in a piece of technology.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best virtual reality headsets on the market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about virtual reality goggles
- 3.1 What are virtual reality glasses exactly?
- 3.2 What are the main applications of virtual reality headsets?
- 3.3 What are the advantages and disadvantages of virtual reality glasses?
- 3.4 What are the different types of virtual reality headsets available on the market?
- 3.5 How do virtual reality glasses work?
- 3.6 What are common accessories for VR goggles?
- 3.7 What multimedia content is already available and adapted for VR headsets?
- 3.8 Who should have virtual reality goggles?
- 3.9 How much do virtual reality glasses cost on average?
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- Virtual reality headsets allow you to enjoy a totally immersive experience.
- Virtual reality has already a wide range of applications in varying fields, and more are constantly being developed.
- For now, its most widespread use is in the leisure category. More specifically, the world of video games – their use has been adopted in both computer games and gaming consoles.
- Broadly speaking, virtual reality glasses can be divided into two categories: high-performance devices and VR goggles that you can use with just a mobile phone.
Ranking: The best virtual reality headsets on the market
Here’s our comprehensive ranking of the top five virtual reality eyewear devices available to you. We have made this product selection taking into consideration the different needs different users may have. The one thing they all have in common: they are all high quality products.
No. 1: HTC, VIVE
Without a doubt, the best VR glasses on the market. With them, you will be able to enjoy the best possible virtual reality experience. They have two tracking systems that accurately follow your position to recreate it in the game. These goggles have 360º tracking with Room Scale, gyrocompass and accelerometers. For greater immersion, it comes with two controllers so you can bring both hands into play.
These VR glasses come with an integrated Dual AMOLED 3.6″ screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1200 pixels per eye at 90 Hz. Because they allow for wireless connection, it’s battery guarantees at least 4 hours of intense, continued use. It should also be noted, they include Fallout 4. The price of this product is in line with it’s quality and is unfortunately not within reach of all pockets. Those who can afford it, definitely consider it investment.
No. 2: Sony, Playstation VR
Sony’s commitment to virtual reality comes in the form of goggles that feature a 5.7″ OLED display which offers hyper-realistic environments and a subversive experience. The 360° viewing angle ensures you are allowed a wide field of view in all directions. These glasses also have a built-in microphone to communicate during gaming sessions.
With a resolution of 120 fps, these virtual reality goggles from Sony ensure super-smooth graphics. They also have 3D audio, so you’ll be able to accurately perceive the direction of the sound and where it’s coming from. With dual lenses and 3D depth sensors, the PlayStation Camera follows the position of the VR headset for seamless translation into the game. This product has nothing but outstanding reviews from gamers all over.
No. 3: Samsung, Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR glasses integrate proximity sensors, an accelerometer, and gyroscope technology. Even though they require a smartphone for use, they come with the Oculus Rift technology, which guarantees a quality VR experience. For this reason, its price is considerably higher than that of other models made for mobile phones.
They have an OLED screen which has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a field of view of 101º. These Samsung Gear VR headsets are specially designed to use with some of the brand’s own devices. With that in mind, it is advisable to always check that they are compatible with the device or devices you plan to use them with.
No. 4: Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift is one of the reference items and standard setters in the field of virtual reality glasses. It has a dual OLED screen, with a combined resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels and a 110º field of view. In addition, it incorporates the following sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and constellation.
For greater immersion into the games, these goggles come with headphones and Touch Controllers. The latter can be connected to the PC via DVI or USB ports. However, in order to use them, the machine has to meet some really demanding tech requirements. Their use requires NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or similar graphics capabilities and a processor of Intel Core i5-4590 or higher.
No. 5: Oculus Go
These virtual reality glasses are completely autonomous, which means you don’t need to connect to a PC, console or smartphone for content. They have an LCD screen with a resolution of 5260 x 1440 pixels and a field of view of 86 degrees. In addition, these goggles come with an integrated accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer.
The only negative feedback is regarding it’s independent battery, as it only lasts one to two hours per charge. Remember the price tag before comparing its capabilities to those of more complex devices that hook up to external processors. It’s visuals and performance is accordance to it’s cost. Nonetheless, they are surprisingly light and very comfortable for a pair of stand-alone VR goggles. They are a great introductory item to the world of virtual reality and they are a lot cheaper than more sophisticated tech like the Oculus glasses.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about virtual reality goggles
When purchasing virtual reality glasses, it’s important to consider some relevant purchase criteria. Don’t forget that not all virtual reality glasses offer the same features and experiences. For this reason, in this section we answer the most frequently asked questions buyers have when purchasing virtual reality eyewear.
What are virtual reality glasses exactly?
Virtual reality goggles, also known as VR glasses, are devices made for visualizing virtual environments in three dimensions. They allow images created by a computer to be reproduced on a screen that is placed very close to the eyes. In some cases, the goggles actually project the image straight into the retina.
A cool feature of VR glasses that helps provide a more immersive experience is that head movement modifies the angle of the images that appear on the screen. Moreover, this technology provides a field of vision that is very similar to the natural human field of vision. All these features combined create a fully immersive experience, providing the sensation of reality.
What are the main applications of virtual reality headsets?
Its main application today is in the field of video games, for both computer and console games. When speaking of VR in gaming, PlayStation 4 deserves recognition for being a pioneer in making this technology available to the mainstream public. Even though VR technology is known almost exclusively in the gaming world, VR glasses actually have many more applications in diverse fields.
For example, in recent years a use for these goggles emerged in real estate – this technology allows buyers to take virtual tours of buildings, homes and other types of spaces remotely. They are also used to make virtual visits to museums and their use is increasing in the field of education. In medicine for example, they are used for medical training, surgical operations or treatment of phobias. It goes without saying their use has spread to many fields – one of the most obvious being industrial design.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of virtual reality glasses?
The increasing number of applications for virtual reality and the numerous advantages it brings to so many diverse fields, make VR technology very appealing. Nonetheless, at this point in time, it still comes with drawbacks. In the following table, we briefly summarize the main advantages and disadvantages of using VR glasses.
What are the different types of virtual reality headsets available on the market?
VR goggles can be distinguished into two main categories: high-performance devices and those that work with mobile phones. High-performance devices come with their own display and sensors and require external equipment like a computer or gaming console. With these goggles, you will enjoy a high-quality, fully immersive experience.
In contrast, the visuals from VR glasses made for smartphones are of considerably lower quality. Keep in mind this is in part because these types of goggles don’t come with their own integrated screen and sensors, but most importantly because the graphic card and processors in mobile phones are a lot less powerful than those in computers and consoles. All this also means that these styles are much cheaper and thus way more accessible to the general public.
|High-performance devices||They have their own integrated display. They need to connect to a very powerful machine, whether it’s a computer or a gaming console. They offer great image quality. They allow for much more immersive experiences and their price tag is also much higher. They need cables to connect, although wireless equipment is beginning to be developed.|
|Devices that require a mobile phone||They use the mobile phone display. They offer lower image quality and experiences are much less immersive. Their price point is much cheaper. Nonetheless, you will still be able to find devices from reputable brands for around 40 bucks.|
How do virtual reality glasses work?
As far as VR goggles tech goes, we can distinguish between two types of virtual reality glasses: high-performance devices and smartphone operated devices. As previously mentioned, high-performance devices have their own display and sensors and require to be connected to external equipment, either a computer or a console. This setup allows you to enjoy a fully immersive, hyper-realistic experience.
Devices that are used with smartphones don’t have their own screen and thus offer visuals of a much lower quality. In addition, mobile phones processors and graphic cards are of much lower capacity than those in computers and game consoles. This also means that their price is much more affordable, making them much more accessible to the general public.
What are common accessories for VR goggles?
If you’re thinking of using virtual reality glasses to play video games, you’ll probably need some extra accessories. When used for gaming, some virtual reality computers include small point-and-click controllers. The Playstation VR for example, is meant to be used with the PS4 Dual Shock Controls.
Nowadays, most virtual reality glasses are sold with a small remote. Another interesting accessory is the Oculus Touch Controllers, which give you the feeling that your virtual hands are your real hands. Moreover, some computers even use mobile phones as accessories for certain virtual reality applications.
What multimedia content is already available and adapted for VR headsets?
A few years ago, you could only enjoy a very limited selection of virtual reality games on consoles. Luckily, today’s reality is quite different, pun intended. A clear indicator that the popularity of VR has increased considerably in recent years is the exponential growth in the catalogue of games that are compatible with VR technology. What’s more, this experience is not only limited to people with powerful processors, today there are games and applications designed for consoles, computers or smartphones.
Some of the most interesting VR games are: Star Child, Far Home, Fallout 4 and Resident Evil 7. Beyond it’s recreational uses, there is also more and more educational content being created to take advantage and make full used of the many applications of virtual reality. One of the most popular programs under this category is Titans of Space, with which you can take a guided tour of the nearest space.
Who should have virtual reality goggles?
Virtual reality headsets may interest you if you play video games often and want to try a new gaming experience. Also if you want to watch movies or a series in a different way – don’t forget you can even benefit form this technology if you run a real estate business and want to offer a new kind of service to your clients.
How much do virtual reality glasses cost on average?
Virtual reality glasses come in a fairly wide price range. The price of high-end devices such as the Oculus Rift exceeds 500 CAD$ – some of the best device bundles are easily worth over a thousand dollars.
The price of Playstation VR is around 400 CAD$. Of course, there are VR units with lower price points and less features.
Virtual reality devices for mobile phones tend to be much cheaper. It’s even possible to find them for as cheap as 30 CAD$. In fact, the cheapest option of all is Googles cardboard virtual reality glasses. Yes, you read that right, cardboard. The Goggle Cardboard VR can be purchased for less than 20 bucks.
Next, we analyze the most important criteria you should consider before purchasing virtual reality eyewear. Use this “mini guide” at the time of purchase to define quality and price. This way, it will be easier for you to be satisfied with the purchase you make. Which in turn, will allow you to get more out of your investment.
- Intended use
- Field of vision
- System audio
- Size and shape
Virtually every model of virtual reality eyewear has been created specifically for a particular device. This forces you to first decide which equipment you want to use them with. And from there, make the final selection. This way, you will have a smaller offer of products to buy.
Today, the type of device that has best accommodated virtual reality glasses has been the personal computer which is used mainly for games. Something similar happens with the video-game consoles, ie: Playstation 4, and finally, we have mobile phones.
If you’re buying virtual reality glasses for your mobile phone, you need to make sure they’re compatible with your device. And they must be so both in size and in operating system. Lastly, it’s essential that your cellular device has a gyroscope – this is what will allow you to watch videos in three dimensions.
One of the most important criteria to consider when buying one of these devices is it’s intended use. This is because you don’t need the same glasses to play video games as you do to take a virtual tour of a museum for example. The same goes for how frequently you plan on using the device.
This is an aspect you may or may not have to consider, depending on the type of virtual reality glasses you’re getting. If you’re buying a device that is used with smartphones, you can skip this criterion, otherwise, we strongly suggest you pay close attention to the technology with which they are made. The best technology out there in this regard is OLED or AMOLED.
The resolution tells us how many pixels a screen can display. A pixel is the smallest part into which an image can be divided. Thus, the resolution is determined by the product’s width by height, resulting in an aspect ratio. However, the resolution should not be confused with the dimensions of the screen.
This is a fundamental parameter to keep in mind, since image definition will depend on the resolution capabilities of the device. As a point of reference, virtual reality glasses of the highest quality offer a minimum resolution of 1980 x 1080 pixels. It should be understood that cheaper gadgets and bundles won’t offer these values.
Field-of-view or FOV
The field of vision is the width of the field of vision occupied by the virtual image offered by virtual reality glasses. Logically, the bigger it is, the more immersion you will experience with them. The best VR units offer a 110º field of view that allows even peripheral vision to be covered.
This is the time difference between the when the user moves their head and how long it takes the system to react and readjust the image. In general, manufacturers try to reduce this delay as much as possible. It is important to keep in mind that excessive latency can lead to dizziness and a lesser sense of realism.
When choosing VR googles, you shouldn’t overlook the system’s built-in audio capabilities – especially if you plan to use them to play video games or watch movies. If these are your intended uses for the goggles, making sure they have built-in audio is fundamental to having the best experience, and if they offer 3D audio then that’s even better!
For this criterion, the first thing you have to consider is whether you want a wireless model or one that is connected by cable. In the case of wireless goggles, they usually require a mobile phone to act as a screen. However, even in these cases, standalone wireless equipment is already being developed and is becoming more and more available.
Wired VR headsets connect directly into your computer or gaming console. Logically, they are devices with much better overall performance and, therefore, their price is also much higher. Furthermore, when using these devices with computers, the computer needs to have very powerful processors that can run VR programs.
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If you’re going to buy virtual reality goggles to play video games, then this is something you can’t skip. To play, you’ll need controllers, pointers and sometimes even gloves to interact with the games. Remember that you’re not stuck using the accessories that come with the device, there are also many other products from other brands that are usually compatible with most models.
This criteria is not relevant for all models but for the equipments for which it is relevant, the battery life is a very important aspect to consider, and more so if you plan to give your goggles intense use. Nothing is more frustrating when you’re playing your favourite game, than having to cut the session short because you’re running out of power. Remember the unit of measure of this capacity is the milliamp per hour (mAh).
Some glasses come with elastic straps that press the lenses very hard against your face. This is meant to create a greater sense of immersion. Unfortunately, what it actually does sometimes is just keep you focused on how uncomfortable they are – you’ll be urging to take them off. Even though it may seem like a trivial aspect, we can’t deny that comfort is usually an aspect of outmost importance for people in general. So, why would it be any different in the case of VR glasses?
Without a doubt, you need to be comfortable and relaxed in order to enjoy the experience. Specially if you are going to dedicate long hours to playing your favourite video game.
Size and shape
This aspect is closely related to the previous one. So, our first advice regarding fit is to check that the bridge of the nose is wide enough. Similarly, make sure that the straps are adjustable and that they are made of a soft, elastic material.The area of the goggles that is placed on your face should have some kind of pad and it should not be made of hard materials, the most comfortable ones are made of malleable rubber.
Lastly, you should of course keep in mind their weight, don’t forget you’re going to wear them on your head. You don’t want to end up with neck pain or discomfort. In short, just make sure that above all, they are comfortable and practical, otherwise you won’t get much use out of them and when you do use them, the experience won’t be as good as it could be.
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When it comes to buying VR goggles, we advice that you opt for a more recognized and reputable brand. This way, you are guaranteed a quality product and good customer service. Although there are brands that offer VR glasses for very cheap, the sad truth is that their technology and performance leave a lot to be desired.
The Oculus VR is possibly the most recognized brand in the field of VR glasses. It is the creator of the famous Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses. Other important and prestigious brands in this sector include HTC, Samsung, Razer, Asus and Zeiss – and of course, Sony with its Playstation VR glasses which are specially developed for its famous gaming machine.
It’s been a while since VR technology ceased to be a matter of science fiction. Because it is an expensive technology, it seemed it was going to take some time to make it accessible to the general public. However, this technology has already arrived and it has done so to stay. Its applications are so many and and in such diverse fields that no one would bet on the contrary.
If you’re thinking of buying virtual reality glasses, there are a number of criteria you shouldn’t overlook. As with any piece of technology, price, quality and brand recognition will go hand in hand. Finally, remember that when buying VR goggles it’s important that you also take into account some of the important technical aspects we mentioned throughout this guide.
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