Best VR Headsets in 2018
Oculus Connect 5 is taking place in San Jose, California on September 26-27th at the McEnery Convention Center. OC5 celebrates the last 5 years of virtual reality breakthroughs and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come in the next five years.
Last year, Oculus Go, a $199 standalone VR headset, has blown people’s minds. Standalone virtual reality headsets are an all-in-one device that can power virtual reality on their own, with no computer or phone tethering needed. This year, Oculus is going to announce Santa Cruz, a new high-powered standalone headset – an upgraded version of the Go with 6DoF tracking. It is rumored that the Oculus team will spend a considerable amount of time discussing Project Santa Cruz at the event in California.
It seems Oculus plan to launch a higher-end mobile virtual reality headset for the masses. A step up from an Oculus Go for those that want more power, much better tracking for immersive games and experiences.
As of right now, all of these details are NOT confirmed and subject to change as Santa Cruz is still very much in the prototype phase. But, we do know that the Santa Cruz features four ultra-wide cameras on the leading edges that perform the inside-out positional tracking, as well as tracking the 6DOF controllers.
According to Chris Pruet, Oculus’ Head of Development Engineering, mentioned at GDC 2018, the headset’s thermal design allows the processor to run at higher clock rates than any device he’s seen before. Dominic Brennan from Road to VR estimates that Santa Cruz is using the same 1,440 × 1,600 displays that are also found in the Samsung Odyssey and Vive Pro headsets.
According to UploadVR, citing independent sources, Oculus is targeting a Santa Cruz release date for Q1 2019 but the world will really find out on the 26th and 27th at OC5.For those of you that will not be able to attend in San Jose, California you can watch the event live streamed in virtual reality on your Oculus Go or Samsung Gear VR!
“We’ve streamed a fair number of different types of live events in Venues, like concerts, comedy nights, and sports, but OC5 brings us both live keynotes and esports, which are new for us. Each new event creates new challenges and learning opportunities for us, as we try to capture the right vibe, get the right framing and viewpoints, and really convey the ambiance of the real-world event in Venues,” said Mike LeBeau, Oculus Product Manager and London Site Lead. To learn more about the Oculus Connect 5 event and Project Santa Cruz head to the official Oculus website.
Before OC5, you have to know the best VR headsets so that you can compare them with Oculus Go and Oculus Santa Cruz to find the best fits. There are three types of VR headsets: mobile, premium mobile, and tethered. While you have likely heard about these big names, what we have below will give you a more comprehensive idea about them!
Best VR Headsets for iPhone and Android
Just like its official slogan claimed, “Experience virtual reality in a simple, fun, and affordable way.” Google Cardboard, developed by Google for the promotion of the VR concept, is indeed made up of cardboard, and in different sizes for compatibility with different smartphones. It was first distributed to attendants at the 2014 Google I/O meeting as a gift. Then, at 2015 I/O meeting, Google announced the 2nd generation of Cardboard, as well as details of its parameters and production skills, making it possible for the general public to DIY their own VR device. The easiest application of the device is to view panoramas and videos. In addition, Google has launched a number of VR games on the Google Play store, such as the Titans of Space and Deep Space Battle. Regarding Google Cardboard’s low cost (as low as $15, with an even cheaper alternative – VeeR VR Google Cardboard), you probably should not set your expectations too high, but it is enough for you to experience the basics of VR. Google Cardboard is a fun, inexpensive way to turn nearly any iPhone or Android phone into a virtual reality viewer; however, the simplistic setup means your experience won’t come close to what high-end VR goggles like Oculus or Gear VR can provide.
The new Google Daydream View raised its price from $79 to $99. It has nicer fabric and a bit more weight than its predecessor. Although the new Daydream View is slightly heavier than its predecessor, it is still comfortable. The headset is made with a breathable fabric that makes it super soft and light. The headset’s interior is lined with a thicker layer of foam than any headset. Outside of the lenses and interior framework, the entirety of its insides is made of plush foam wrapped in soft, breathable fabric. It comes in different colors, including charcoal, fog and coral, so you can choose the one that matches your style.
Google has expanded the field of view (FOV) from 90 degrees to 100 degrees, which makes a world of difference. Instead of using smartphone’s speakers, the Daydream View requires you to pull out a pair of cans or buds in order to hear the action.
In addition to the original Pixel and Pixel XL, the VR headset works with the Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, Note 8, Huawei Mate 9, ZTE Axon 7, LG V30, Motorola Moto Z, Z2 and Asus ZenFone AR.
Among the available products of premium mobile VR headsets, Samsung’s owns the best reputation so far for its great user experience. Its basic functions are very similar to Google Cardboard’s. However, Samsung Gear VR has an easy-to-use touch pad and is quite light-weighted, so you can play and watch more comfortably. Moreover, Samsung has been constantly improving user experience, including room for eyeglasses and more padding for extra comfort and durability. Price ranges from $60 to $100, which is rather affordable, compared with Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. One downside though, is that the device is only compatible with the Samsung’s Galaxy series smartphones.
The Gear VR headset has 101 degrees of FOV and weighs 345 g. Its companion app features a huge VR library but is unable to track movements in a room. The new version is added with a wireless controller compared to its predecessors, which makes the app infinitely easier to navigate than when only a head-mounted touchpad was available.
Merge VR goggles is made from allegedly “marshmallow soft” and “drop-tested” antimicrobial material with adjustable lenses. The product line has 10 colors available. The headset has 96 degrees of FOV. It is not just a headset, but a content portal, with stories, games and experiences.
You need to download the Google Cardboard app to start using the googles. Adults may want to help children to set up because it requires heavy lifting on how to pair everything together.
iDudu Virtual Reality glasses are made of good quality plastic with excellent workmanship and elegant design. The improved leather material around the eye area and headband to make it comfortable to wear while watching movies or playing games. Pupil distance and focal distance could be adjustable, fits for eye-sight below 800 degrees. The front cover is adsorbed by the magnet, easily to be removed, make the phone cool while using, and great for ventilation for long use.
The iDudu headset has a 120-degree large FOV, and surprisingly suitable for people within and 0– 400-degree hyperopia. It has three adjustable straps for flexible wear, and is padded around the nose bridge and face foam protector with perforated leather.
Best Standalone VR Headsets
In 2012 the only way to have experienced virtual reality was with a high-powered computer and headset. This dynamic presented a problem for consumers, who had to spend a considerable amount of money on both items to jump in virtual reality. Price limits accessibility and increased accessibility means a bigger market for VR startups and investors to fund and grow and create amazing content for the metaverse.
Unless high-powered computers will drop significantly in price tomorrow, a new solution must be birthed. Introducing the industry’s latest and greatest attempt at opening the door towards mainstream affordable virtual reality that still features considerable performance, standalone! Standalone virtual reality headsets are an all-in-one device that can power virtual reality on their own, with no computer or phone needed.
In December 2017, IDEALENS officially launched the third generation of VR all-in-one HMD IDEALENS K3 basic and VR education scheme at the Education Equipment Exhibition in China. During the CES, IDEALENS released the reference market price of K3 basic for USD 499.
IDEALENS plans to partner with the leading human-computer interaction technology company Leap Motion to embed its next generation hand tracking technology in IDEALENS K3-E headset. This inside-out tracking system operates without a controller or base station that most VR sets require, enabling students to explore the virtual world in a more natural way. In addition, IDEALENS K3 system supports Cardboard and Android applications, which allows users to have a fully immersive viewing experience anytime anywhere.
Initiated as an independent company and acquired by Facebook in 2014, Oculus started developing Rift all the way back in 2012. Compared with the mobile headsets, Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display provides a view of higher resolution and broader field, in addition to its integrated headphones which provide a 3D audio effect. The sensor can normally sit on a desk, allowing you to use the device while sitting, standing, or walking around the same room. In June 2015, Oculus revealed that a successor to the Rift is likely to be released in around 2–3 years from the Rift release.
Released in April 2016, HTC Vive is one of the most premium VR headsets on the market with a relatively high price if $799. However, you do get more for what you pay, as the Vive captures your action accurately with low latency, so you can walk or move around more freely while wearing the headset, bringing a better experience of immersion. Besides, the bundle includes two controllers, the Lighthouse base stations, some ear buds plus games copies, creating a whole “VR-room” environment for users.
As the name suggests, PS VR is customized for PlayStation 4 platform, which would “redefine your expectations of immersion in gaming”. However, while PS VR’s sole compatibility with PS4 limits its audience, it also has great advantage as there will be a large number of exclusive games in the future. Thus, it is worth purchasing to those planning on getting PS4 at some point. Up until today, Sony has sold nearly one million Playstation VR headsets.
Facebook announced a new VR headset, the Oculus Go at the Oculus Connect 4 keynote. No official tech specs have reported by Facebook. But we do know that the headset will have three degrees of freedom (DOF) and a resolution of 2560 x 1440.
At $200 it is more accessible than all other high-end VR headsets. Many customers will lean more towards the cheaper option if it can guarantee a great experience.
Additionally, there is a considerable amount of content for the Oculus Go. The Oculus online store has various virtual reality experiences that aren’t on Viveport. Oculus Go seems like a great beginner device for those who want to start using VR. According to Facebook the Oculus Go will launch in early 2018.
Will Oculus deliver a great experience without burning a hole in your wallet?
Lenovo’s headset was announced after Google cancelled their deal with HTC to bring out a standalone headset. This headset features a nice sleek daydream design and 110 degrees FOV which is identical to the PSVR, Oculus Rift, and HTC vive. 2,560 × 1,440 Resolution which is approximately the same resolution for the Gear VR and Daydream compatible phones.
Google and Lenovo are building a 7 hour battery life using extra storage on the headset itself as well as a thermal dissipation system that will not make overheating an issue. Lenovo’s Mirage Solo features World freedom allowing the headset to track its position in 3D space using inside-out positional tracking using front-facing cameras.
Believe it or not the Mirage Solo weighs more than the PSVR, Vive, and Oculus Rift. Despite the headset’s positional tracking the controller itself unfortunately only has rotation sensors and no position tracking.
The Neo is the first All-in-One VR headset to incorporate 6DoF hand controllers using ultra-sonics. This technology enables the Neo to deliver high fidelity control without the need for any external cameras, trackers or wires.
Pico Neo features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and 4GB High-Speed RAM and SD support to 128 GB. Built-in dual Speakers deliver AM3D 3D spatial rendering engine delivers a premium hi fidelity audio experience with 3D spatial sound mapping.
Available for pre-order for business customers only at $749.
Pico Goblin features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 CPU with 3G high-speed LPDDR4-1866 RAM and 16G eMMC 5.1 ROM. Built-in 5.5” fast TFT LCD Display with 2560×1440 Resolution. The goblin includes a simple and lightweight 3DoF controller.