Virtual Reality (VR) gives you the power to accomplish impossible tasks in the ease of your home. Imagine flying a spaceship or being the main character in a scary movie, all of these things are possible and can be done right now.
Games on PC won’t feel the same the next time compared to being inside of them. The immersion VR creates to let you forget what reality is shows its true power and the potential it has.
There is an undiscovered world in VR and endless things to be done. Depending on who you are, there is definitely something for you. To make your read more convenient, here is the ultimate beginner’s guide to Virtual Reality:
- Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality
- Is Virtual Reality For You?
- VR Headsets
- VR Applications
- The Future of VR
Difference Between VR AR and MR
There are three different types: Virtual, Augmented and Mixed. We are going to focusing on Virtual Reality since this is the most developed currently.
Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and any other VR headset you have heard of most likely deals with virtual reality. In this sense, you are completely immersed and you cannot interact with reality. You are in only a virtual world and can be transported anywhere you chose.
Augmented Reality plays off of reality and adds to it. It typically uses your camera and bases it off your lenses and adapts to it. Pokemon Go is a famous example of augmented reality but is only the beginning of it. Snapchat is also developing augmented reality in the use of Bitmojis and filters.
Mixed reality is a combination of both virtual reality and augmented reality. It attempts to break the barriers between virtual reality and combine it with the real world, almost like augmented reality. Microsoft’s HoloLens is the most popular example of this technology being developed and utilizes Mixed Reality.
Is Virtual Reality For Me?
It’s hard to say that VR is for everyone. The majority of people using VR are young and can quickly adapt to new technology. Above 13 years old (as noted in Oculus’s Health and Saftey Warnings), everyone should experience VR. Different games and applications can cater to different types of people like mediation or driving but there is something here for everyone.
If you easily experience motion sickness, VR might not be the best option for you since a lot of games can induce that, however, taking it slow and adjusting it to the right levels can help make yourself feel better.
- You will not have the same experience playing a game behind a computer or TV. Nothing compares to actually being in the game.
- Interacting with people through VR has no comparison. Games like VR Chat and Rec Room let you meet other people face to face that no video chat can emulate.
- Depending on the headset you buy, they might require a powerful PC or could cost you a couple of hundred dollars.
- VR requires space to play to have the most immersive experience. Of course, you can be laying down and watch a movie in VR, but for the full experience, you will need dedicated play space.
- VR isn’t something everyone is familiar with. Even the original Oculus Kickstarter was only several years ago. There are some very high-production games but the rest are still in production.
Types of VR Headsets
From the many different types of headsets, how do you choose? See which one is best for you as we go through the options currently available.
Samsung has a great deal if you’re looking for a new phone, it includes the Gear VR in the purchase. For people new to VR, the Gear VR, along its controller is one of the most affordable in the market that is not cardboard. You will not need a high-end PC to run any of its games, only a smartphone which is very easy to start up.
The 3rd generation Gear VR (most recent) is much better compared to previous editions. The comfort and controllers have improved significantly and made it a headset much more up to date.
The competitor for the Gear VR is Google Daydream and Oculus Go. The Gear VR is $100 cheaper and one of the best ways to access Mobile VR. For more immersion, the Oculus Go is a much better choice. To Google Daydream, they are very much alike and have many similarities. For almost the same price, you’ll be getting essentially the same experience.
Editors’ Rating: 5.5/10
The Google Daydream offers is competing against GearVR for the best smartphone VR in the market. The Daydream is behind the GearVR however due to the controls it lacks and the software the GearVR provides. There are much more experiences and apps to choose from on Oculus’s side. The Daydream is still a great first look into VR for people interested in a cheap entry point.
With PC-powered VR headsets becoming less expensive and headsets like the Oculus Go or Oculus Quest are releasing and becoming cheaper, mobile VR may not be relevant anymore. VR is adapting quickly and the future of VR does not include adding your phone to the headset.
Editors’ Rating: 5/10
The Google Cardboard is the cheapest headset on the market and a perfect entry point for VR beginners. It supports both Android and IOS for a very cheap price. It’s simple, cheap, and gives plenty of experiences to anyone interested. But the Google Cardboard lacks in immersion. A lot.
You are using your phone to see VR and it limits the quality. If you are more serious about VR and still want to get into Mobile VR, the Gear VR or the Google Daydream is a better option. There you will at least have a head strap and a controller instead of a magnetic piece of metal.
Read more at our other post: Google Cardboard Comparison
Editors’ Rating: 4/10
The Oculus Quest marks a new place for VR. The power to go completely wireless is starting to become reality and doesn’t cost thousands of dollars. The Quest is convenient and fun and a great headset for people without a high-end PC. the Quest is great out-of-the-box with very easy setup and uses inside out tracking with the controllers that make it very immersive.
Compared to the Oculus Go or other Mobile VR, there is no comparison. The Quest has almost PC-like graphics and competes with the Rift S and Vive without a computer. Although the battery may not be the greatest, 2 hours is still plenty for a VR session. For the price, it’s a lightweight and durable headset that can change the VR industry.
Editors’ Rating: 9/10
Oculus Go is a simple headset that is untethered and extremely accessible. It may not have the greatest resolution but does offer a comfortable fit and many applications to choose from. For the price, the Oculus Go is a great choice for people starting to get more serious about VR.
The headset is great for the industry since it is a great way to bring more people into VR. Not everyone has a PC to connect their VR for and this makes it possible for them to enjoy it. Although it isn’t as good as the Quest, it’s $200 cheaper and great for the things it does. Long term comfort and easy control is a great plus for this headset and the best headset for 360 videos.
Editors’ Rating: 7/10
The Valve Index is the future of VR as it offers the best specs on the list. Along with this, they have the most immersive controllers that allow unique finger movement and have the best audio for any headset. Valve’s headset is great and shows the future of VR but its price point makes it hard to recommend.
Additionally, there isn’t much software that utilizes the controllers. There are few demos and indie games that make the Index not ready for what they are trying to accomplish. The setup is difficult with this headset and uses external sensors to track.
Ultimately, this headset is great and currently the best in the market but for now, only VR enthusiasts will be trying them out.
Check out our entire review on Valve Index vs Oculus Rift S: How Does It Compare?
Editors’ Rating: 8.5/10
Pimax has different models but we’ll focus on the 5k+since it is the most popular. It’s hard to compare the Pimax 5K+ due to the price and specs it has. You will need a very good PC to use it and preferably already own a Vive. There are no good deals that the Pimax has and is targeted toward the elites that invest a lot of money into VR. It costs $700 for just the headset while you could almost get the complete Rift S and Quest for the same price.
Due to the price point being so high, the specs for the Pimax are very good. The Field of View blows any other headset out of the water and has very impressive specs to go along with it. The Pimax has good competition with the recent release of the Valve Index.
The Pimax is for only experienced VR users. It requires a lot of changing and troubleshooting to work well. If you’re new to VR, we recommend other options that are more “plug and play”.
Editors’ Rating: 8/10
HTC Vive/Vive Pro
HTC Vive, one of the oldest VR headsets in the market, has many things going for it. It has the largest tracking space for a VR headset (not including Pro), excellent graphics with good specs, and a simple setup. Although the Vive wands aren’t arguably as good as Oculus’s Touch controllers, they are still immersive and well made.
Against Oculus, their main competitor, the Vive is behind. They are priced higher and have maintained the same graphics. Although they are vastly similar, they differ in some places but it doesn’t justify the price. We recommend you choose the Rift S or Quest at this point as they are valued better.
The Pro version, on the other hand, is a completely different product and targeted towards a whole new audience. For $800 for just the headset, it is a fortune but you will have amazing graphics in return. Instead of competing for accessibility with Oculus, it competes with the most immersive with Pimax and Valve.
The Pro version can’t compare to the regular version as the graphics are much sharper and immersive. From audio to ergonomic fitting, the headset was completely revamped for a premium feel. Although it is hard to fork up that much money for a headset, it is one of the best in the market and will leave you completely immersed.
See how it matches up on Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive (Specs)
Editors’ Rating: 8.5/10 [Vive] – 7.5/10 [Vive Pro]
Oculus Rift CV1/Rift S
Note: With the release of the Rift S, Oculus discontinued the CV1 and can only be bought from third-party websites now.
The Rift S is a great entry to the PC-based VR without spending a fortune and still maintaining quality. Compared to its predecessor, the Rift S is easier to set up due to not having external sensors, better comfortability, and a better resolution. Compared to the Vive, for $100 less, the Rift S is a great option for people looking to get into VR.
As great as the Rift S is, it suffers some drawbacks. The headset received a reduced refresh rate which lowers the immersion the user feels when they have it on. Alongside technical problems like frequent crashing or games not working, they are problems that will have to be overcome. Finally, you are still stuck using wires and need a fast PC to use. The Oculus Quest is the same price point and will get rid of the wires by sacrificing a bit of the quality.
Overall, the Rift S is a great headset for people wanting to get into VR and prefer immersion over accessibility.
Editors’ Rating: 8.5/10 [CV1] – 9/10 [Rift S]
Windows Mixed Reality
When talking about WMR, there are a lot to choose from. From ASUS to the Odyssey, they all change in the price and specs. But in general, WMR headsets are good for people wanting to get into VR with a PC and don’t want to spend too much on the Rift S or other PC VR headsets. These Mixed reality headsets have fluctuated and been seen to price around $200, half the price of the Rift S.
Although they have an impressive price point and can compete with other PC VR headsets, they are still behind. They have a notoriously difficult setup and tracking problems that all take away from the immersion. It’s difficult to connect Steam VR and with the Quest and Rift S released, it may be a better option.
Overall, if you are looking for a cheap entry point for the PC VR games, WMR is a good option to look for. although the graphics and controls won’t e the same as the other Rift models, it will still be a good experience once everything is setup.
Editors’ Rating: 7.5/10
Console – Based
Along with the WMR, the PSVR is one of the most bang for your buck for VR (if you have a PS4). It is an affordable step into high-end VR and won’t make you spend thousands of dollars on a headset or a PC. Although it isn’t as sharp as the Rift or other PC headsets, it uses a PS4 and does a good job with it. It is easy to find the PSVR bundled with multiple games making overvalued and a great headset.
PlayStation VR has so many games to choose from that are all high quality. From action to horror, you will find high-quality games that are exclusive to the PSVR. Even some PC games like Beat Saber are coming to the PSVR. Overall, the PSVR is a great headset and a great step for accessibility in VR.
Read more about the PSVR on PSVR Comparison!
Editors’ Rating: 8/10
Still can’t decide? There are plenty of options to chose from and we encourage you to see our other reviews and do more research before you buy. Virtual reality can give great experiences and we hope as many people can join. Popular Youtuber
ZootNaps made a great review earlier this year to help your choice on the best headset to buy.
With each different type of virtual headset, there are plenty of things to do. Productivity or gaming, the choices are at your fingertips.
VR can life-changing when used correctly. There are so many applications where VR shines like Virtual Speech. This application lets you practice soft skills and public speaking to improve. Other apps let you get over phobias, especially spiders and heights.
Another powerful tool VR is capable of providing is guided meditation. You can travel seamlessly to any location you want and follow the narrator. People get into VR just for this and it is completely worth it.
Here is Guided Meditation VR :
We wrote an entire article if you are interested in learning more about VR Meditation and if it’s worth it.
There are too many games to choose from and the games vary from each headset you have. First-person shooters and horror games are where VR thrive and we have many recommendations for you to try.
See Our Choices to see our top picks for each category is and what you would most enjoy.
The Future of VR
The future of VR is crazy to think about how much is being developed in a span of fewer than 10 years. This growth doesn’t seem to stop any time soon and is the path to the future. With constant billion-dollar investments into this industry by giant businesses, they see the potential VR has.
To stay updated, we encourage you to join our newsletter where we can tell you everything about the future of virtual reality that is easy and accessible to you.
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