VR Headset Buying Guide

The age of virtual reality is here and it’s awesome. VR has been played around in the tech space for years. But with recent technological barriers broken and the availability of powerful in home computers to support the intense graphic and processing power needed, consumers today are able to get virtual reality at home. In this article, we breakdown every current and upcoming virtual reality headset coming your way, as well as when and how you can get your head inside one.

HTC Vive VR Headset

HTC Vive VR Headset

Having pretty much identical specs as the Rift, the biggest difference is the $799 USD price point. However, the Vive is consider the most complete VR package because of several standard features offered that other headset don't.

The Vive stands out because comes with motion controllers that completely change how users interact with VR. The motion controllers allows the user to reach out and seemingly feel and interact within the VR world. If controllers just aren't interactive enough, there's also a virtual reality gloves created by Manus.

The Vive comes included with three games, Job SimulatorTilt Brush, and Fantastic Contraption. The awesomest feature is the front-facing camera on the Vive headset. The camera casts a blue outline on the walls and objects when you get too close. It acts like a safety net allowing the user to get up from their seat and explore a 3D environment (Vive has a 15x15ft tracking space using 2 included base stations). If you'e looking for unlimited movement like walking or jumping, Virtuix and Cyberith has a VR motion platform that lets the user walk, run, strafe, crouch, jump, or sit.

Same as the Rift, you'll need a powerful desktop or laptop with at least a GeForce GTX 970 or comparable graphics card to operate the Vive.  Engadget has an in-depth article comparing the Vive and Rift that is worth checking out.

Oculus VR Headset

Oculus Rift VR Headset

The Oculus Rift is the headset that started the virtual reality craze.  At only .8 pounds it is one of the lightest headsets in our list. The Rift has a 2160x1200 pixel OLED screens, 110-degree field of view, 90Hz refresh rate, along with a gyroscope, accelerometer, IR sensor for head tracking, built in headphones, and a microphone. What we liked about the Rift was the ease to set up on our PC. Once set up the, Oculus Home is like a Steam platform that lets users buy VR games and other VR types of experiences and apps. It even rates the apps in terms of motion sickness intensity.

As the headset with the most name recognition, it comes at a price of $599USD, making it the second most expensive headset available on the market. It terms of comfort, there is enough face padding however several of our glass wearers complain of discomfort. The Oculus Rift does support glasses, but the headset doesn't have adjustment lens knobs to move the Rift further from your face.

If you have a gaming laptop or gaming desktop that was built a couple years ago, you going to need a graphic cards upgrade. You'll need at least a GeForce GTX 970 or comparable graphics card to get the Rift working.

Morpheus VR Headset

PlayStation VR aka Project Morpheus VR Headset

Available October 2016

Generating a lot of anticipation as a VR headset that doesn't require a high-end gaming PC to operate, the Playstation VR will be powered by PlayStation4 and PlayStation Camera. Sony's lineup of PlayStation VR games are enough to get us to purchase the VR headset priced much lower than the Rift or Vive at $399 USD.

PlayStation VR features a 5.7-inch, 1920 x 1080 display and an impressive 120Hz refresh rate. Sony has also created a new 3D positional audio engine specifically for the PlayStation VR. What you'll experience is hearing soldier's footsteps behind you or battleships flying above you when playing games like Star Wars Battlefront for PlayStation VR.

Gear VR Headset

Gear VR Headset 

Without spending hundreds to experience virtual reality, the Samsung Gear VR is a value choice because it works with a Samsung phone, not a PC. Just snap your Samsung phone in the headset, download the Samsung Milk VR app and play 360 video content on your Samsung phone anytime and anywhere. The headset is priced at $99 USD which makes its much more affordable than other VR headsets but expect a less refined overall experience.

It’s a great entryway into virtual reality, particularly if you’re getting into VR for media instead of games. The Gear VR will save you a lot of money.

Infinitus Prime tVR Headset

Infinitus Prime tVR

Unlike the Oculus, HTC and Samsung’s approach, the Infinitus Prime tVR is a headset designed specifically for business use such as education, tourism, and beyond. It has an astounding resolution of 5120 x 1440 and multiple headsets can be run through one computer. Its lenses can be swapped out for alternative lenses which would better fit the need, such as surgery.

There isn't any content for it since it’s targeted at businesses that would create their own proprietary content. One great feature is that it’s one of the only headsets that work on Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux. It has a built-in mic, audio, and Bluetooth or USB connections for controllers. It uses a display port connection to operate with a refresh rate of 60Hz. The price, a heavy $3000 USD cost way more than anything else listed here.

Razer OSVR Headset

Razer OSVR

OSVR stands for Open Source Virtual Reality. Currently, each VR headset has its own platform it needs to operate. With an OSVR Hacker Kit, there is the possibility of developing games that can be played on different VR devices. Meaning the games on PlayStation VR can also be played on the Vive or the Rift. If you don't find anything in the OSVR library that's appealing, you can always make your own. That's what the OSVR Hacker Kit is there for.

The Razer's OSVR headset is modular. You can swap out every part for something new so you never have to worry about failing behind industry standards. There is even a cool visual on OSVR site of the headset broken down into upgradable sections. Retailing at $300 USD, the OSVR headset is comparable to the other VR headsets on our list. It features 1080P OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. You might choose the OSVR headset and Hacker Kit you like customizability.

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