The VR industry is rapidly expanding. With over 29 different VR headsets varying from features and price, how does one go about choosing the right VR headset? Don’t worry, we’re here to explain. Here’s the quick rundown: 


The Basics: Good "proof of concept"

Google Cardboard Photo by otheree / CC BY

Google Cardboard

Photo by otheree / CC BY

You have smartphone mounts for VR, such as the Google Cardboard, or this one, VR ShineCon, that we bought off the internet for $20. These devices are the most basic when it comes to VR. Fundamentally, these “headsets” serve as a horizontal mount for a smartphone which then you can secure to your head. When using any VR app, you will then see your screen split into two displays, one for each eye. By wearing these headsets, you can then view the individual screens on your smartphone through the lenses, which translates the screens to mimic the perspectives of real life.

This type of VR is what we generally called “Passive VR” since the smart phone can strictly only detect the rotation of your head. There is minimum (if any) interactions with the VR environment since there generally is no way to interact with it aside from swiveling your head to look in the desired direction. This type is a good “first taste” for people who haven’t tried VR, good for very basic, minimal proof of concept demonstrations where you’re on “rails” or are intended to simply look around.

(The Google Cardboard would fall in this category, but note that it does not have straps and you have to hold it up to your head. There is a button on the cardboard that “touches” the screen for 1 touch interactions, such as clicking the location you want to move to.)


The Mobile: Plugged in smartphones for VR

Samsung Gear VR Photo by Maruizio Pesce / CC BY

Samsung Gear VR

Photo by Maruizio Pesce / CC BY

A step-up from that are devices that have been specially created for VR, such as the Samsung GearVR. This is Samsung’s approach to making VR more accessible to the general consumer. The headset mount itself actually plugs into the phone when secured. With external touchpads, volume controls, eye distance nobs on the headset itself, that allows you to interact with the VR environment to a more in depth level otherwise not possible if the phone was not plugged in.


The Powerful: Computer powered with unlimited possibility

HTC Vive Photo by Maruizio Pesce / CC BY

HTC Vive

Photo by Maruizio Pesce / CC BY

Finally, you have devices such as the Oculus and HTC Vive. These devices range from $600 USD – $800 USD. Why the big price jump? That’s because these headsets have built in high-density pixel screens, accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers (Oculus only), front facing cameras (HTC Vive only), and come with dual controllers. These devices for VR, these are the top of the line. Due to these extra features, it allows for high precision motion-tracking, thus allowing the wearer to truly interact with the virtual environment at the most immersive level. 

Here’s an example of an artist using the Google’s Tilt Brush app to create some stunning artwork: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA_PSZj1sCs


So how do you choose?

In summary, the headset used would be dependent on your application of VR. If you need help choosing one, you can always shoot us an e-mail and offer some advice.

Here at Beyond Reality, because we are building hyper-realistic walkthroughs for un-built properties that help our clients (property builders) show their clients (property buyers) the properties, we will ultimately be deciding between the Oculus or HTC Vive. Using the more advanced headsets coupled with powerful computers allows us to push the limits of hardware and software to generate the most real environments for the home buyer, letting them see and be immersed to the next best thing from the actual developed property.

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