Your Guide to Buying a VR Headset
Virtual reality (= VR) headsets are becoming a popular way to play computer games in a way that is totally immersive. Uses of a VR headset have evolved from previous uses in flight simulators or in military training, to purposes that are more consumer-oriented. VR headsets include a visor that covers your eyes completely together with game controllers that you operate with your hands. They employ what’s called “inside-out tracking”, where every movement of your head will move the scenery in front of your eyes correspondingly. Depending on what you’re trying to simulate, they can also include different accessories that track the movement of your feet, or that involve sound and touch as well.
We’ll see that there are VR headsets that hook up to a computer or game controller, as well as stand-alone VR headsets that can store games internally. Whether it’s hand-to-hand combat or first-person shooting games, going against zombies, or something as mundane as mountain climbing or playing golf, you can find a VR headset and the accompanying software to make it feel as if you’re in the middle of the action!
Types of Vr Headsets
We can distinguish between two main types of VR headsets:
Stand-alone: These can work independently of a PC or game console. They have cameras in the front, to allow the device to track your movements (inside-out tracking). It doesn’t offer the same variety of options as a VR headset that you attach to a PC, nor is the tracking as accurate. An example is the Meta Quest 2 Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality Headset. It comes in two versions, with 128 GB and 256 GB of internal storage.
Meta Quest 2 Advanced All-in-One Virtual Reality Headset with controllers
Requires a PC or game console: These will connect to a computer by means of a cable. An example is the HP Reverb G2 VR Headset. It has a 6-meter-long cable to connect to a desktop or mobile PC, as well as a DisplayPort cable that will hook up to a computer monitor. That way, your friends can watch what you’re doing on a computer monitor, or even on a TV set!
HP Reverb G2 VR Headset
What reviewers say
Here’s what customers say about their choice of VR headset:
Cable issues: As we mentioned, the VR headsets that connect to a PC or game controller require a cable connection. (That will probably change in the near future, employing Bluetooth or WiFi technology.) However, some customers complained that occasionally there is a problem connecting the cable with USB firmware. A replacement cable ended up solving the problem.
Built-in browser and viewing content: Even in the stand-alone VR headsets, you can essentially use them like a wearable computer, using your controller to open separate browser windows. You can even watch a YouTube video on one window while browsing the Internet on another! There is also the option of Horizon Venues on the Oculus Quest VR headsets, which allows you to watch sports events and concerts in a 3D atmosphere as if you’re sitting in the audience! And with the YouTube VR app, you can enjoy a virtual tour of the world, taking in a 360-degree view!
Here are some tips regarding the use of a VR headset, depending on the model that you purchase:
Correct for aberrations: You’ll notice that there are VR headsets that profess that they have corrected for various visual aberrations. They’ll say that they’ve eliminated the “mura-effect”, when an LCD display becomes cloudy, where the pixels are not of uniform brightness. The “screen-door effect” is when there is a noticeable space between the pixels of a display. If the VR headset has eliminated the “screen door effect”, it means that you see a smoother display. Finally, the best VR headsets eliminate “aliasing”, where lines that are supposed to be curved have a jagged appearance. If the display has enough pixels, it can overcome this jagged appearance. Thus, the HP Reverb G2 VR Headset has 2160 x 2160 LCD panels, to avoid these aberrations.
Accessories: There are also various VR headsets accessories that make the experience even more realistic. There is a VR Golf Club by Defanti, for the Oculus Quest 2. It gives you the feel of a real golf club, with the appropriate weight and feel, and lets you adjust the angle of your shot! There is also the Vive Tracker, which allows full body tracking. You can attach it to your foot, wrist, or waist, and track body movements, just like the VR headset tracks your head movements.
Defanti VR Golf Club
HTC Vive Tracker
Meet your PC’s specs: You’ll want to ensure that your VR headset is compatible with your PC. For example, the Oculus Rift S VR Gaming headset requires a particular NVIDIA graphics card, as well as Windows 10 operating system.
Comfort: Most VR headsets will give you around three hours of use on a single charge. But, you certainly want the fit to be comfortable. There are VR headsets that are ergonomically designed, so as to sit comfortably and securely on your head. An example is the Oculus Rift S Headset, with the “Halo” headband.
Oculus Rift S Headset with controllers
We studied some of the features of the best VR headsets on the market. The possibilities for engaging in immersive games or enjoying other content only grow and grow. A VR headset can surround you with stunning sound and visuals! Whether you have a compatible computer, or if you want to try a standalone headset, look over the items in the Best Reviews Guide list, and choose one out today!