From the debut of console VR with the PlayStation VR to Razer’s open-source headset, there’s much more that we haven’t seen from virtual reality yet, and that’s without even mentioning Microsoft’s long-awaited foray into augmented reality, the Hololens.
We’ve assembled a list of the Best VR headsets that are available right now, but read on if you can’t wait to see what’s just around the corner…
1. PlayStation VR
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are excellent pieces of hardware, but the kind of PC you need to run them is an expensive piece of kit. This is where Sony’s PlayStaion VR might just end up having a huge advantage, you can power it using a standard PlayStation 4.
But don’t rush out to pre-order one just yet. Rumours have been circulating that the upcoming PS4 refresh, the PlayStation 4.5 may come about to offer a more complete VR experience.
The PSVR hardware itself also stands out: the latest model is the most stylish and comfortable VR headset we’ve used. The internal components are also of a high quality, and special mention has to go to the headset’s 120Hz refresh rate, which really helps to eliminate motion sickness.
The best PlayStation VR preorder deals
2. Microsoft Hololens
Microsoft raised a lot of eyebrows a couple of years ago when it first showed off the HoloLens, which technically isn’t VR, but rather a holographic computing device, it’s ‘Augmented Reality’ if you will.
Instead of immersing the player in an entirely computer-generated world, HoloLens adds interactive holograms to the space you already inhabit. Microsoft showed demos of people building Minecraft structures on top of their tables, exploring objects such as a motorbikes, or being able to create video feeds on any surface you like.
It’s impressive technology, but its uniqueness could also be its weakness: while most VR games are being made to work across multiple VR platforms, HoloLens is a very distinct proposition.
It also seems like one that Microsoft is positioning as an office productivity device in addition to a gaming device, and this may end up hurting its chances with gamers.
With no word yet on a consumer version’s release date or pricing, Microsoft’s HoloLens is still a bit of an unknown at this point, but we’ll be very interested to see if AR ends up being as big of a deal as VR feels right now.
3. Razer OSVR HDK 2
OSVR stands for Open Source Virtual Reality, so everything about the platform is open and freely available. You can even download the 3D files and create your own headset, if you like.
However, Razer has done the hard work for you with its own OSVR hardware, which will see the release of its second Dev Kit in July 2016 for $399. The hardware is pretty impressive given that low price: the 2160 x 1200 resolution dual-display is on par with both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, as is its resolution and field of view. That said however, with just one camera tracking movement, the OSVR’s solution isn’t as sophisticated as the Vive’s.
The OSVR consortium is also backed by some big names, including Leap Motion, who make one of the better motion controllers on the market, and Gearbox Software, developer of the excellent Borderlands series.
After spending some time with the OSVR HDK 2 at this year’s E3 we can honestly say that while this one may not give the Vive or Oculus Rift a run for their money in a one-on-one fight, it might have potential as a cheap, DIY VR headset for enthusiasts.
4. Sulon Q
The Sulon Q is a combination of an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), but what’s really interesting is that it offers this all while being completely tether-less, meaning it has no wires connecting you to your PC or console
The result is a greatly increased amount of freedom, but the downside is that the Sulon Q has to include a battery pack and processor on its rear to power the headset. With no consumer version released we don’t yet know how long the headset’s battery life with last.
With a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution screen the Sulon Q is actually higher resolution than both the Vive and the Rift, but we’ll have to wait until it’s released to see if it’s onboard processing can compete with the power of a full desktop PC.
Read our first impressions: Sulon Q