Several new headsets have hit the market, with more expected soon, but the number of available VR headsets is sorely lacking. With that said, whether you are looking to determine whether you actually have any interest in the technology and consider yourself a beginner, or you are an advanced VR gamer and want the best that money can buy, there is a headset for you. There will soon be a device available for console gamers that want a dedicated headset. So, which is the best option for your circumstances?
First Time VR User
VR, as a general technology, has been around since the 1960s. However, it has not been a technology that is readily available to consumers until the last couple of years. The technology is becoming more popular but its popularity has yet to skyrocket. Mobile headsets are proving the preferred choice for casual users. Devices of this type, like the Google Cardboard Viewer, utilise your mobile phone as the screen, and they slot into a section of the headset.
The Google Cardboard viewer costs next to nothing, currently £15 in the UK. It does include lenses to further improve the experience, but if you want any kind of an immersive experience, then it may not be fit for purpose.
You would be better investing in a device like the Samsung Gear VR, or the incredibly comfortable Homido, if you intend to spend any reasonable time experiencing VR. For a start off, you get a head strap. This means that you don’t have to hold it, increasing the usability and immersion of the device considerably.
We would vote for the Gear VR as being the best option, but it is only compatible with the latest range of Samsung Galaxy devices. The Homido VR headset is the winner. It is less expensive than the Gear, although obviously a little pricier than the Cardboard Viewer. It has comfy padding around the device which not only makes it easier to wear but helps prevent a flood of light from entering the viewer. It’s also compatible with larger phones, as well as Samsung and iPhone models.
The control mechanism is an important consideration when shopping for a mobile VR headset. Some games do not require a controller, but others require a means of controlling the 3D model or game character. Different devices utilise touch pads, wheels, and even small joysticks. Choose the one that youare most comfortable using.
PC gamers do tend to be serious about their gaming, and they want and expect the best possible experience. It is possible to slide your phone into a head bound device, this isn’t possible with a PC. This means that you will have to pay more for a VR headset designed for PC gaming by virtue of the fact that it needs to incorporate a high quality screen.
Oculus Rift may be the best known name in VR headsets, and has produced a good quality headset which is available for around £500 in the UK, but the device is not without its drawbacks and problems. It doesn’t come with its own controller, which means that you will have to use the provided Xbox controller. This detracts from the level of immersion you experience.
If money is no object, then not only does the HTC Vive include two controllers but it has two motion sensors. These detect your movement in the real world. The Vive also has better quality screens. The Vive might disappoint compared to the Oculus; the latter being plug and play with Windows 10 devices. The fact that HTC increased the Vive price by £100 following the brexit vote may still put people off.
The Console Gamer VR Headset
The Oculus will work with consoles but it is no simple task. You will need a controller to control in-game actions. Fortunately, Sony has announced the launch of the PlayStation VR headset. This will cost a competitive £350 and be available from October 2016. It will be compatible with any Playstation VR games that are announced and shouldn’t require complicated setup. Fewer details are available as yet but rumours are abound that Microsoft is preparing an Xbox VR headset.