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The Only Beginner’s Virtual Reality Headset Guide You Will Ever Need

People of planet Earth are just coming to terms with fast-paced technological advancements. Virtual Reality headsets have applications involving education, training, travel and work. VR content developers are also catching up with the rising need for improved technology in these distance-engagement tools. Investing in a VR headset is the first step to experiencing the new doors of technology for yourself.

Discovering the perfect headset most suitable for your needs can be a great deal of work. There is a remarkable amount of variety on the market and more releases are to be expected. In spite of the fact that this post is proclaimed to be the only guide you will ever need, in reality, most customers make purchase decisions using a combination of sources. This is one easy-to-digest resource that will help you comprehend all the other more detailed reviews on the internet.

The most important factors that should influence your purchase is your current hardware, how much play space you have available and your budget. Generally speaking, high-end headsets connect to powerful gaming PCs and present the most alluring of virtual visuals.

Other factors to consider before looking at headset options:

Room Scale Experiences:

For “Room Scale” experiences, you will be looking for headsets with external trackers that can handle large spaces.

Screen resolution:

Crisp picture quality will not only foster the immersion but it will make your experience more comfortable. A good acceptable minimum is 1080×1200 per eye. It is important to note that although a higher resolution is better, it also means more pixels, and more pixels mean more computer power which may or may not be available to you.

Field of View (FOV):

The Field of View (FOV) is an important factor for immersion. However, it may not be necessary to cover the full field of view of the human eyes. Just like the screen resolution factor, a wider FOV means more pixels so more computer power is required. 110° is enough.

Trackers and range of tracking:

6DOF tracking (6 Degrees Of Freedom): 3 for the position (X,Y,Z) and 3 for the orientation. This is essentially the headset’s ability to track the position and orientation of both the VR headset and controllers. 6DoF has the ability to track your location within the physical space. This is incredible for immersion as you are able to physically walk around virtual worlds, bend down and fetch objects from the floor.

The range of tracking is also important, a headset designed for you to be seated or standing in front of its camera will make it difficult to walk further than 2m or to look away from the cameras without losing the tracking. Room-scale tracking will allow you to move freely in an area so your movements can be captured by VR trackers.

Now the options

VR headsets (smartphone-powered systems), for those who want to dip their toes in VR waters

Merge VR

Resolution: Smartphone dependent

Controllers: None

Tracking: 3DOF

MergeVR is ideal for children and younger users as it is made from durable foam. It has an extensive library of educational and entertaining experiences ready to download and play. The headset leverages your phone’s built-in sensors to provide three degrees of freedom.

Google’s Daydream View

Resolution: Smartphone dependent

Controllers: Daydream View controllers

Tracking: 3DOF

While Google is no longer selling Daydream View, you can still purchase it via a third party. The Daydream app and store are still available for existing users. The headset is one of the most comfortable VR headsets you will ever try- it’s lighter than either Rift or Vive, and more comfortable than PSVR.

Samsung's Gear VR

Alternative to Google’s Daydream View.

VR headset for PC

Oculus Rift S

Resolution: 1280 x 1440 per eye

Controllers: Oculus Touch

Tracking: 6DOF

This is described as the most advanced PC-powered headset. The Oculus Rift S is targeted at mainstream uses, like gaming. It has room-scale tracking. The experience is excellent to walk around the mockup. Note that the Oculus Rift S uses cameras for tracking, which may cause security issues if you plan on using it for any work projects.

VR headset for consoles

PlayStation VR

Resolution: 1,080 x 1,200 per eye

Controllers: Move Motion wands + various third party options

Tracking: 6DOF

There is not much variety available for home console virtual reality, this is the only VR headset for console gamers. Tracking is restricted to 180 degrees of rotational movement when using the motion controllers; not as broad as its counterparts. The PSVR has excellent support from Sony and PlayStation; offering one of the best game libraries.

VR headset for immersive experiences

All the HTC headsets (HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, HTC Vive Pro Eye)

HTC Vive

Resolution: 1080×1200 per eye

Controllers: HTC Vive Controller

Tracking: 6DOF

HTC Vive Pro

Resolution: 1440 x 1600 per eye

Controllers: HTC Vive Controller

Tracking: 6DoF ultrasonic + IMU fusion tracking

HTC Vive Pro Eye

Resolution: 1440 x 1600 per eye

Controllers: HTC Vive Controller

Tracking: 6DOF

HTC headsets have the most precise room-scale external tracking: you can freely move in the room while reviewing your VR prototype. The HTC Vive is a proven VR system that includes motion controllers and precise external tracking. The HTC Vive Pro is better for VR power users but costs twice as much as the HTC Vive.

If you're a regular VR gamer, the standard Vive is sufficient, while the Vive Pro is a better fit for developers, power users, or VR veterans who want the best. The HTC Vive was one of the first headsets and is still fully supported.

Best controls and tracking

Valve Index

Resolution: 1,440 x 1,600 per eye

Controllers: Valve Index "Knuckle" controllers

Tracking: 6DOF

Valve’s headset offers the best looking virtual reality experience and the most accurate tracking solution. Valve's Index headset, trackers, and controllers have the latest generation of premium-tier VR experience, with a high-resolution display (operating at up to 144Hz, vs the 90Hz of first-generation headsets), a wider field of view than most headsets, and reduced visual coronas.

Best cheapest VR headset

Pansonite 3D VR Glasses

Resolution: Smartphone dependent

Controllers: None

Tracking: 3DOF

The Pansonite 3D VR is a stunning headset designed to bridge the gap between the inexpensive, low-quality headset and the super expensive, high-quality headset. This headset is for users who desire a quality VR experience without spending an arm and a leg on other more expensive options.

Best overall VR headset

Oculus Quest

The Oculus Quest does not need a smartphone or PC to run excellent experiences, making it the winner in the ease of use category. Unlike other headsets it does not require additional equipment or external sensors. It has a simple set-up process that allows you to jump in and out VR quickly.

Resolution: 1,600 x 1,440 per eye

Controllers: Oculus Touch

Tracking: Inside-out - 6DOF

The Oculus Quest is entirely wireless, with fantastic inside-out tracking, excellent motion controllers, and its own in-built processing capabilities, it's as standalone as a VR headset can get.

It has a wide library of content to enjoy. You can enjoy your experience at roomscale, as well as seated and standing experiences. This is a near-premium VR experience without any extra hassle.

What ever your needs may be, there is a headset available for you.

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