How To Choose A VR Headset – Buyers Guide

How to Choose a VR Headset – Buyers Guide
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Choosing a Virtual Reality (VR) Headset that works for you can sometimes be tricky. If you are an experienced VR user (player, connoisseur, etc.), this may actually be very easy. There are refresher points worth assessing.

For those of you who are newer to the game (no pun intended), there are definitely some checklist items. These are things that need to be on your list of considerations. The list is not exhaustive. But, they are basics for your VR Headset shopping excursion.

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Video – Which VR Headset is Right for You?

 

 

Starting the Checklist

First of all, let’s make sure that this VR headset is a quality headset. The last thing you want is to be playing your VR game or having your VR experience and having something that sounds like a dog scratching or grandpa crinkling up last week’s newspaper in your ear. Can you really experience a sense of virtual reality with all of that noise interrupting your experience? No!

So, you need to ensure that your headset has some decent sound quality. One of the best ways to do this is to check out the reviews and what others say about the sound quality. If you can, even ask others what they think about that quality, whether you are asking them in person, or even as a response to a review online. You can also use social media to discuss it. Join a Facebook group that discusses virtual reality and specifically gear and accessories.

Of course, the best way to test any of these things out is to be able to try it yourself, like the “pet the puppy” sales method (though that purpose is to buy and your purpose is to test). But, we can’t always get access to the item to test it, so these approaches would be alternative ways to find out about the quality of that headset or the comparison of headsets.

 

Video – Which VR Headset Should You Get? | (Full Specs Comparison) Rift vs Vive vs PSVR | Shotana Studios VS

 

 

The Next Consideration

Now, the next one is sort of a binary, meaning it is either a yes or a no. Does the VR headset fit? Along with that, is it comfortable? If the thing is poking you in the face, then the answer is probably, “No,”

You should likely consider another headset if it pokes you in the face.

Does the span of the headset fit the shape of your head properly? Does the headset slip, or does it settle nicely on your head as if it was sort of built for your head, like an extension of you? After all, if you are going to spend hours engaging in VR activities, you want that headset to basically be a sort of extension of you, right?

Now, the final one should be easy to answer, with some research. Is the headset compatible with the intended VR use or uses? If it is not compatible with any of the programs that you have, or the activities for which you intend to use it, then it is a definite “No.”

Beyond the intended use, is it compatible with other systems? Do you need any adapters to make it work with older equipment? What about the future? Does it seem like the headset is forward-thinking? Like the devices that will come out on the market next year? How does compatibility factor into the future considerations?

Granted, we are not necessarily fortune tellers when it comes to knowing what the future holds for VR headsets, but you certainly want to make the best guess and by all means, don’t spend the amount of a mortgage payment on something that may become obsolete in six weeks. Shop wisely with a Buyer Beware attitude.

$399.00
13 new from $399.00
1 used from $350.01
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$114.00
$129.99
12 new from $113.95
9 used from $79.99
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$39.93
40 new from $29.99
10 used from $19.12
Amazon.com
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$184.88
$349.99
182 new from $184.88
31 used from $199.99
Amazon.com
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$41.00
$59.99
17 new from $41.00
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Last updated on February 25, 2018 5:56 am

Choosing a VR Headset – Buyers Guide

 

Choosing a VR Headset – Buyers Guide

If you go back to the 1990s and start reading about “virtual reality,” you’ll quickly realize that the term could refer to anything from a full Lawnmower Man simulation system to a 3D model on a computer screen. Things have gotten simpler since then: outside a few special circumstances, we’re now almost always referring to things you see inside a VR headset like the Oculus Rift.

Unfortunately, this definition implies that all headsets are roughly equivalent — that a $15  Google Cardboard will do the same thing as an $530 HTC Vive. But as VR headsets start appearing on store shelves, the very real differences between them will start to matter — a lot. So, if you’re looking into VR, what should you check out?

There’s no one, specific device that’s right for each person; in fact, once you get down to the cheapest headsets, there are way too many for us to name here. It’s too early to even recommend specific products, given how many aren’t out yet. But we can give you everything you’ll need to sort through the options: what you’ll be able to do in different kinds of virtual reality, how much you can expect to pay, and which features you should look for.

The biggest decision for most people will be picking between the three general classes of VR. Do you want to just get your feet wet with the simplest tools available? Are you holding out for the best possible experience? Or are you somewhere in between? It’s all laid out below.

Looking For A Cheap VR Headset

 

Google Cardboard Topmaxions

Cheap Design

The absolute simplest form of virtual reality is made out of nothing but a pair of plastic magnifying lenses and a sheet of cardboard, using a standard smartphone as a screen. Most people refer to this now as “Google Cardboard,” but the idea was around for years before Google branded it.

And Google only just started selling its own Cardboard sets — it’s put most of its efforts toward a set of best practices that manufacturers can follow to get an official “Works with Google Cardboard” stamp of approval. Not all low-end headset makers follow them, but the most easily available sets are Cardboard-compatible, which means they’re guaranteed to work well with similarly certified Android and iOS VR apps.

Cardboard-compatible headsets, some made of plastic or even aluminum, are easy to get. But they offer limited interactivity, most suited for watching 360-degree video. And they’re not meant to be used for long periods of time — among other things, Google’s standard forbids head straps.

Cardboard boxes are unsurprisingly uncomfortable, but even more ergonomic plastic versions like the Mattel View-Master are only fun to hold up for about five minutes at a time.

Video – Google Cardboard: How it works!

 

 

Cheap – Up-Front Price

Especially if you go to tech-oriented conventions or live in a major city, you can probably find a Google Cardboard for free. A lot of companies partner with Google or other manufacturers to make branded headsets, like Verizon’s Star Wars Cardboard giveaway. You can also order some cardboard and plastic lenses, print a pattern from Google’s site, and make your own.

Google recently started selling basic Cardboards for $15 apiece. Beyond that, Google’s site links to several Cardboard-compatible options from companies like Dodocase and Knox Labs. Customizations and special materials can drive up the price, but they’re mostly in the $10 to $30 range, including models made of more durable plastic.

“Google Cardboards can be made from plastic or even aluminum”

Cheap – Hidden Costs

More than two-thirds of American adults own a smartphone, and that’s all you need to use Google Cardboard. This is good for anyone who doesn’t want to upgrade to a brand-new device. It’s also great for any iPhone users, even if Google tends to delay pushing new Cardboard features to the iOS version of apps like YouTube.

Apple has mostly ignored virtual reality so far, so there’s no telling when the iPhone might get a high-quality mobile experience like that of a Gear VR. The downside is that especially if your phone is a couple of years old, there’s no guarantee it can handle Google Cardboard apps well. And you’ll generally get lower-quality, laggier performance than on the Gear VR or a high-end headset.

Video – Hands-On with Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Kit

 

 

Cheap – Space Needs

While not all Google Cardboard-style headsets are easily portable, the most portable headsets are Google Cardboards. The basic Cardboard shape folds into a stackable box, and the smallest design is barely larger than a pair of eyeglasses. The best-known Cardboard experiences are live-action shorts that couldn’t use motion tracking even on a high-end headset, so the lack of it isn’t much of an issue.

On the other hand, making a Cardboard-style headset more portable usually involves making it less comfortable, as well as significantly worse at shutting out the rest of the world. And even if you can take them anywhere, all headsets usually work best on a spinning chair.

Video – Google Cardboard Assembly – Step by Step Instructions

 

 

Cheap – Controllers

To be considered fully Cardboard-compatible, a headset needs to have exactly one input. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a button; the simplest headsets on the market are just boxes and lenses with a hole for one finger or thumb, letting you tap the screen directly. The buttons on headsets that do have them are usually little levers that press the screen for you.

What can you do with one button? Mostly select options on a menu, or perform simple and relatively slow actions in a video game. Some Cardboard apps do away with using it altogether — you can stare at a menu for a second or two to select it, or move your head to change direction in a video game.

Cheap – Availability

The simplest VR headsets aren’t just the cheapest, they’re also the most widely available. Over a dozen Cardboard-compatible headsets are on sale through Google’s site, and others — like a more sophisticated version of the already excellent View-Master Cardboard design — are on their way. Literal cardboard headsets have a limited lifespan, but they’re easily replaceable.

Likewise, it’s easy to find apps for Cardboard, even if the range of experiences is limited. Vrse, Jaunt, Ryot, IM360, and other apps offer VR video, and there are a few individual apps worth checking out, like clever thought experiment Cardboard Crash and the Brickbreaker-esque game Proton Pulse.

On Android, Google has even made its entire YouTube library viewable through Cardboard — 360-degree videos play in full virtual reality, and normal ones play on a VR simulacrum of a big-screen TV. And as Google pushes further into the space, more options could be available in the coming months.

 

Looking For A Mid-Range VR Headset

 

Zeiss VR One Plus

Mid-Range – Design

Mid-range headsets are a grab bag of options that are a step up from Google Cardboard. Where Cardboard is essentially just a funny-looking smartphone case, these phone-powered headsets might have additional tracking sensors, more sophisticated built-in controls, focus wheels, or even their own screens.

The best-known — and by far the most sophisticated — mid-range headset is Samsung’s Gear VR. But there are also a few more obscure options, like the Zeiss VR One Plus or the French Homido device. LG just revealed its own mobile headset, and Google is widely rumored to be announcing one in a few months.

Unlike the high and low end of the market, the overall quality and features of these vary dramatically. The Gear VR is the clear front-runner right now, for example, while the LG 360 VR currently suffers from poor design and lag. Homido and Zeiss’ designs, meanwhile, are more like Google Cardboard than either of the above.

Video – The VR Shop – Unboxing & Hands on Review – Samsung Gear VR (2017 Edition)

 

 

Mid-Range – Up-Front Price

If you’re looking for a sturdy mobile headset with a strap, expect to pay between $75 to $125. With the Gear VR, you’re paying for software optimization, a better control system than Cardboard, and a lot of attention to detail, including a dedicated app store.

It’s harder to swallow that price with headsets like the Zeiss VR One Plus and Homido, which are more like Cardboards with high-end lenses (for Zeiss) or a focus wheel (for Homido) — both seem designed for passive experiences. We’re also waiting on some prices: LG’s 360 VR headset remains a mystery, as does whatever Google might have in store.

With the right timing, though, you can get a Gear VR for free — Samsung has started throwing it in as a perk with new phone preorders, and Best Buy has offered similar bundles in the past.

Video – Zeiss VR One Plus

 

 

Mid-Range – Hidden costs

If you’re planning to trade in your old smartphone, it’s worth thinking about VR. The Gear VR and LG 360 VR headsets only work with the latest Samsung and LG flagship phones. If Google introduces a non-Cardboard mobile headset, it could also require specific new phones, like ones from its Nexus line. While generic mid-range headsets might fit iPhones, there are no specialized options, and we have no idea when (or if) Apple or anyone else might change that.

Video – Homido V2 VR Headset Review — Is It Worth It?

 

 

Mid-Range – Space needs

Mid-range headsets are in an odd place. In some sense, they have the best of both worlds: they’re easily portable, but also more comfortable and immersive than Google Cardboard. Untwisting headset cables is a major headache that devices like the Gear VR neatly avoid. But by offering experiences that would be too interactive or fast-moving for Cardboard to handle, they also open the door to motion sickness.

Positional tracking — which senses the spatial movement of your head instead of just the direction it’s turning — can mitigate this significantly. But right now, VR systems need an external tracking camera to do it, so it’s really only a feature for tethered headsets.

In the future, mobile headsets could use a phone’s internal camera to map space (something known as “inside out” tracking), but nothing on the market has managed to pull this off yet. Will Google, when it finally tips its hand? We’ve got our suspicions, but it’s too early to say.

Video – The Best Gear VR Games & Apps

 

 

Mid-Range – Controllers

The controllers on mid-range headsets are all over the place. Some headsets, like Homido and the Zeiss VR One, don’t have anything at all — they’re actually a step down from Cardboard in that respect. LG’s virtual reality headset has a simple two-button set-up. The Gear VR has the most sophisticated system so far, a laptop-like trackpad that sits on the side of the headset.

It’s not perfect, but it offers several different input options, like swiping, tapping, or pressing a separate “Back” button. Technically, you can pair a Bluetooth gamepad with most mobile phones and use it as a control system, but that’s usually a clunky, inconsistent experience, and it just adds more equipment to carry around.
Availability Mid-Range

The Gear VR was the first major virtual reality headset to see consumer release, and after a period of being sold out almost everywhere, it’s easy to find. Generic headsets like the Zeiss VR One are also already on sale. Otherwise, it’s a waiting game. LG hasn’t announced a date for its headset, and other phone makers (as well as Google) are only rumored to have their own products on the horizon.

Of the options right now, the Gear VR is the only one with a substantive non-Cardboard catalog. It’s actually got a couple of hundred games, apps, and little experiments, many of which take advantage of its relatively complex controls. And while apps like Jaunt or VRSE are on both Google Cardboard and Gear VR, Samsung’s Milk VR app adds a few more video options, including the short mystery series Gone.

Gear VR games are very much works in progress, but Oculus and Samsung have put their weight behind them in a way no other mobile headset maker has. And while they cost more than your average mobile game, the $5 to $10 price tag isn’t bad — especially for the most substantive VR experiences currently for sale.

Looking For A High-End VR Headset

 

Homido V2 VR Headset

High-End – Design

The absolute best-quality VR experiences can’t be powered by a mobile phone. The Oculus Rift, Valve and HTC’s Vive, and Sony PlayStation VR — the three high-end headsets we’re currently waiting for — all run off external computers or game consoles. This means that they can offer sophisticated features like motion tracking, high-resolution screens, and the best graphics possible.

They’re also generally more comfortable, better at blocking outside light, and less prone to inducing motion sickness. But they won’t be released until later this year, and for now, they’re expensive and intended mostly for early adopters.

Video – Is the Oculus Rift Worth $400? VR Review

 

 

High-End – Up-Front Price

By almost any metric, high-end headsets cost a lot. The Oculus Rift is $399, including its motion controllers and 6 free games, the HTC Vive is $530 and the PlayStation VR is $255. Early price estimates for both the Rift and Vive were way off — people underestimated the former and overestimated the latter. These prices will come down over time, but it’s hard to say how long that might take.

High-End – Hidden Costs

Most people have a desktop or laptop computer. But the only ones likely to own VR-ready PCs (sorry, no Macs for now) are film or video editors, big-budget video game fans, and other people who routinely need lots of processing power. To be clear, computers that don’t meet the Rift and Vive’s recommended specs might still be able to run some VR games and videos, which will vary in complexity and size.

But to get a guaranteed good experience, expect to spend around $1,000 if you’re buying a new desktop — maybe a little less if you buy a combined headset and PC bundle. With PlayStation VR, though, the calculation is a lot simpler: all you need is a PlayStation 4 console.

Video – HTC Vive in 2017: Hands-On

 

 

High-End – Space Needs

One of the big features you’re getting with high-end headsets is the ability to move or even walk through space. The standard way to do this — used by Oculus and Sony — is to put LEDs or some other set of markers on the headset, then track them with an external camera. This kind of positional tracking is very effective, but how far you can move in it depends on how much space the camera can capture. PlayStation VR mostly lets you lean, crouch, and shift around. The Rift can let you move a few feet in any direction, though we’ve only seen this done with multiple tracking cameras.

Unlike these, HTC’s Vive uses a laser tracking system that lets you walk around a 15 x 15-foot room. It’s by far the most freedom you’ll get from any headset, especially with a “chaperone” system that turns on a camera to show you when you’re getting close to an edge. But that also means you’ll need to install a high-powered computer next to a totally clear patch of floor.

The Vive can work in smaller spaces as well, so it’s fine to buy if your house or apartment is a little more cramped. But it makes less sense to get the most expensive headset on the market if you’re not taking advantage of its biggest perk.

High-End – Controllers

Tethered headsets tend to be more focused on video games than the rest of the pool, and both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR make frequent use of gamepads. The Oculus Rift will ship with an Xbox One controller, which will be the primary method of using the system at launch.

PSVR uses PlayStation 4 controllers for several experiences. But the thing that really sets these high-end headsets apart is their motion controllers, which let you do everything from play realistic virtual ping-pong to paint in three dimensions.

Sony already had its Move motion-tracking wands, and the PlayStation 4 gamepad has a light strip that tracking cameras can pick up as well. The Rift and Vive use their own specially designed controllers, and which one you prefer largely comes down to feel, since they have similar capabilities.

But there are a couple of logistical concerns: The Rift’s controllers come out months after the headset was released, and the Vive only uses HTC and Valve’s motion wands — no traditional gamepads included.

Video – PlayStation VR: Everything You Need To Know

 

 

High-End – Availability

April was a huge month for high-end headsets. The Oculus Rift shipped at the end of March, and the HTC Vive shipped shortly thereafter, marking the first two high-end headset launches.

Unless you’re determined to be a super-early adopter, waiting a few months may well be the best option. Oculus and Valve have both lined up several dozen titles for the Rift and Vive, but the full catalog will take some months to come out, and it will take time to squash the inevitable bugs that come with new releases. For the Oculus Rift particularly, many of its best experiences — like sculpting tool Medium — won’t work until the Touch motion controllers ship later this year. And if you wait, the hardware needed to run these high-end headsets will only get cheaper.

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12 new from $113.95
9 used from $79.99
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10 used from $19.12
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$184.88
$349.99
182 new from $184.88
31 used from $199.99
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$41.00
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Last updated on February 25, 2018 5:56 am

Available VR Headsets Guide

 

The age of virtual reality is here, and numerous companies are offering their own VR headsets and distribution platforms. But which one is right for you? Should you stick with the well-known Oculus Rift, take a chance on the HTC Vive, or do you head to consoles with the PlayStation VR? Below are some current and upcoming headsets which we break down to see which one may be right for you.

The Oculus Rift

 

Oculus Rift VR

The Oculus Rift sparked the modern VR craze. It’s the headset with the most name recognition, and with that recognition comes a lot of software support. It’s also been around the longest, meaning its dev team has had a lot of time to work out the kinks in size, weight, form factor, and general comfort.

The consumer version is only .8 pounds, making it the lightest headset on this list. It has a double HD display with each eye running at 1080×1200 pixels at 90hz, along with a gyroscope, accelerometer, IR sensor for head tracking, built in headphones, and a microphone. The Oculus is also the easiest headset to set up on a PC.

All of its apps come to you via a simple store, which guarantees compatibility as long as your rig is Rift ready. It even rates the apps in terms of motion sickness intensity.

Video – Oculus Rift Review, Games & Gameplay | Is It Worth It?

 

 

There are some flaws to note. Name recognition comes at a price, and that price is $399 USD, making it the second most expensive headset on the market. The Rift hugs glasses uncomfortably close to the face, and there have already been reports of bent frames as a result of consumer Rift usage. The Oculus Touch controllers bring your hands into VR, letting you interact naturally with the virtual world.

Finally, the Oculus Rift requires a pretty powerful PC to run. You’ll need at least a GeForce GTX 970 or comparable graphics card to get the Rift working. In laymen’s terms, my gaming desktop and gaming laptop, which were built only a couple of years ago, BOTH required graphics cards upgrades to get the Rift working.

The Rift is the “safe choice” for the mid-range to high range user. It appeals to casual and power users alike, with customizability traded for power and ease of use. If you don’t know what sort of VR experience you are looking for, then it’s hard to go wrong with the Rift’s large library.

Video – Oculus Rift Review

 

 

I personally recommend checking out EVE: Valkyrie, which may be one of the best space shooters our generation will ever see. I’d also recommend Chronos, an RPG that takes place over the entire lifetime of one adventurer.

 

The Sony PlayStation VR

 

Sony Playstation VR

The Sony PlayStation VR’s biggest strength is right in its name: the PlayStation. It hooks up to a console, unlike all these other headsets. That means no upgrading your computer, no checking to see if you can run VR games, no tinkering with software to get it to load in VR mode. Just plug and play and you are good to go.

While its resolution is less impressive than the Oculus’s at 960 x 1080 in each eye, it refreshes at 120hz, which is the highest rate on this list. The PlayStation VR utilizes the Move controllers and camera, which have been available since the PlayStation 3 era and can be purchased at a bargain price these days. It’s also being sold at a lower price-point, at $255 for just the headset and $499 for the headset.

Video – 7 Essential Things To Do In PlayStation VR – Right Now!

 

 

While considered to be one of the more comfortable VR headsets out there, users have complained about a gap between the bottom of the headset and the face, which lets in outside light.

The PlayStation VR also has some well-known names coming to its software library. I suggest taking a look at REZ Infinite, a VR take on a classic synesthetic experience. Driveclub VR and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood are two other VR interpretations of already well-received PlayStation titles. Sony has also said it is looking into developing asymmetrical party style games, where one person plays in VR while everyone else plays on the TV screen.

The PlayStation VR is built for the more casual user who doesn’t want to worry about specs, numbers, or computer parts. If you spend more time gaming on your console than your PC, this is the perfect headset for you.

Video – PlayStation VR Review

 

 

Note, however, that until some hacker releases drivers to let this thing work on a PC, you’ll be pigeonholed into Sony’s software environment, which is a double-edged sword. While you’ll get big name titles from Sony’s partners, you also won’t have access to the wealth of indie games and VR conversions that exist in the PC software world.

 

The HTC Vive

 

HTC Vive

At first glance, the HTC Vive seems similar to the Rift. It has the same resolution and the same refresh rate. It has a gyroscope, accelerometer, and head tracker. It doesn’t come with the Rift’s built-in soft headphones, but it still has integrated audio.

So, what’s different? First of all, the aspect ratio of the HTC Vive is 9:5 as opposed to 16:9, which means your field of view is taller, producing a more encompassing image. The Vive is heavier and bulkier than the Rift, but it fits comfortably over glasses, though you’ll have to do a lot of finagling with adjustable straps and swappable foam inserts in order to get it to fit right.

Unlike the Rift, the Vive will launch with fully working motion controllers, which come bundled along with three games, Job Simulator, Tilt Brush, and Fantastic Contraption. You can even hook up the Vive to your smartphone in order to get notifications while in virtual reality.

Video – HTC Vive Exploration – Should you buy one?

 

 

Perhaps the coolest thing about the HTC Vive is its two infrared cameras which map your position in the room. This allows you to get up out of your seat and explore a 3D environment, unlike most other VR experiences which are designed to keep you in one place swiveling your head.

The Vive is being marketed to people who have money to spare. It’s being sold at a $599 price point, making it the most expensive headset on this list. You’ll also need a powerful PC to operate the Vive, which may require further expenditures. But if you can afford it, it’s the most complete VR package currently available.

Its motion controllers work perfectly and require no extra purchase or setup. It comes with 6 free games and full Valve support, which means eventual support for every VR game in the Steam library. One of my favorite HTC Vive titles is Budget Cuts, a stealth assassination game that utilizes the motion controllers and portal mechanics.

Video – Tested: HTC Vive Review

 

 

It’s the only headset that is “finished” and isn’t waiting for another hardware update or peripheral release. So, if you want the complete experience now, and not a couple of months from now, the Vive is the way to go.

 

The Samsung Gear VR

 

Samsung Gear VR

The Samsung Gear VR is the value choice among VR headsets. Being sold at only $119 and currently in stock, it’s the most immediate and budget-friendly way to get into VR. Unlike the other headsets on this list, the Gear VR works with a Samsung smartphone, not a PC. It’s a genius setup that makes use of the phone’s camera and built-in accelerometers to do most of the heavy lifting.

Unfortunately, that means the resolution of your VR experience will only be as good as the resolution of your phone’s screen, which will always be smaller than a high-end PC model. You’ll also have to supply your own headphones and an external controller if you don’t want to use the touchpad on the side of the unit.

Video – Samsung Gear VR: Tutorial

 

 

The software library of the Gear VR is decently large, if only because it’s been around for a while. EVE: Gunjack is a pretty fun shooter, and Land’s End is a like a virtual reality version of Myst, to get you started. You’ll also find a variety of “VR Experiences” like Ocean Rift, which allows you to go virtual reality deep sea diving.

The Gear VR is also a fantastic way to watch movies or TV shows, turning your phone into a VR movie theater. If you are getting into VR for media instead of games, then the Gear VR will save you a lot of money. It’s also worth noting that the Gear VR is one hundred percent wireless because all the processing is done inside the phone, which is inside the set itself! Unfortunately, this also makes the Gear VR slightly heavier than some other headsets on this list.

Video – Samsung Gear VR 2017 Review

 

 

The Gear VR is perfect for anyone who only wants to dip their toes into the VR pool. If you aren’t sure if VR is for you, the Gear VR will give you a nice little taste of what VR can do with a minimal investment. In fact, I’d say purchasing a Gear VR is a no-brainer if you already have a compatible Samsung phone. Just don’t expect it to pull the same weight these other headsets will.

 

The Merge VR Headset

 

Merge

Merge VR is another starter VR headset made to work with smartphones. While the Gear VR is specifically built for Samsung phones, the Merge takes a variety of phones, from the iPhone 6 to the HTC One M8. It’s built out of foam, and includes a camera slot for augmented reality functionality.

Once again, your resolution and refresh rate will entirely depend on the phone you use, but it likely won’t compare to the other headsets on this list. The Merge, available in 8 colors, too can be purchased for $49.99, making it more of a competitor to the Gear than anything else.

Video – Getting Started – Merge AR/VR Goggles

 

 

The Merge has a decently large library filled with more of the aforementioned VR experiences rather than games. It can run a number of apps built specifically for it, as well as everything that was built for Google Cardboard.

It’s not quite as big as the Samsung Gear VR’s library, but the average app for the Merge is also cheaper, costing a few dollars as opposed to Gear VR apps which can retail for up to $15. Notable apps include Cedar Point VR, which allows you to ride in virtual reality roller coasters, and YouVisit, which allows you to take virtual reality tours of the world.

Video – Merge VR Headset Review & How to Use – Fits iPhones 7/6s/6 Plus, Galaxy Note 7/5 etc

 

 

If you don’t have a Gear compatible phone and you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a VR experience, then the Merge is the right headset for you. The Merge is also great for households that have users with a variety of different phone models, since it’s compatible across a number of different brands. Just be careful as your phone can get very hot while in the Merge, and can lose about 25% battery for every hour of VR use.

$399.00
13 new from $399.00
1 used from $350.01
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$114.00
$129.99
12 new from $113.95
9 used from $79.99
Amazon.com
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$39.93
40 new from $29.99
10 used from $19.12
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$184.88
$349.99
182 new from $184.88
31 used from $199.99
Amazon.com
Free shipping
$41.00
$59.99
17 new from $41.00
1 used from $45.00
Amazon.com
Free shipping
Last updated on February 25, 2018 5:56 am