Complete VR Headset Buying Guide
Virtual reality is finally going mainstream thanks to VR headsets. This newest technology lets you experience a different kind of computer-generated storytelling with live action right before your very eyes. Through VR headsets, you’ll be able to virtually go to places that you’ve never been to, feel as if you’re part of a movie, and play video games non-stop.
In early 2016, we saw giant tech companies Samsung, Oculus, Sony, HTC, and more launch high-end VR headsets. With solid features, these VR headsets changed virtual reality forever. Since then, the VR landscape has been busier with new ones being launched in the later parts of 2016 until now.
VR headsets come in different forms and varied features. We’ve put this comprehensive review together so you won’t be scratching your head if you plan on buying one. So what are some factors that you need to consider when buying a VR headset?
Devices/Gadgets Currently Owned
It’s best to find out what VR you really need based on the devices/gadgets you currently own. Whether it’s a smartphone, PlayStation or PC, you have to make sure that your VR headset is compatible with your gadget.
It is also important to note that there are certain hardware requirements that you must meet to be able to use specific VR headsets. From graphics card to your processor, you need to check out minimum requirements. As a rule of thumb, the newer the gadget/device the better.
VR headsets usually range from $10 to as much as a $1,000. Identifying your budget is one of the best places to start when choosing a VR. First generation VR headsets will cost you more or less $100, second generation headsets are priced $400 or more and the latest ones are sold above $400.
It’s best to create a price range which you can afford. But of course, you have to understand that pricing differences will mainly affect the headset’s performance and features and your overall VR experience. Watch out for sales and discounts, who knows you might be able to buy a VR headset you thought you couldn’t afford!
Are you a gamer or a creative who loves to spend hours and hours using your VR headset? Hardcore or high-end VR headsets may just be right for you. However, if you’re a regular user who just wants to watch videos and movies, slide your phone into your VR, casual headsets are great for you. Match a product’s features according to your needs.
Types of VR Headsets
- Handheld – Handheld VR headsets are the most affordable in the market. These are entry level headsets good for beginners or those who just want a taste of virtual reality. Unlike common VRs which have head mounting features, this type of headset is purely hand held. It has two or buttons for simple and basic functions. Handheld VRs are best suited for shorter experiences such as watching movies or playing video games as holding it for long periods can be quite tiring.
- Smartphone-Operated – Smartphone-operated headsets provide one of the best virtual reality experiences. They offer comfort and convenience and a lot of other key advantages compared to handheld VR Headsets. With this category of headset, all you have to do is sit back and relax. For one, they have straps that will hold the VR securely on your head so you can enjoy watching videos and movies without interruption. To use this type of headset, you simply have to insert your mobile device inside a secure compartment in your VR. When buying a smartphone-powered VR make sure that the compartment supports the size of your mobile device.
- Computer-Operated – While smartphone-powered VR headsets give you one of the best experiences, PC-connected headsets offer you the most immersive or ultimate virtual reality experience. With excellent graphics and input devices, computer operated VR headsets will surely give you a robust experience. This type of headset can be used for full-length and high memory video games or creative activities that require heavy duty support. VR headsets run by computers will only serve as controller and virtual monitor while full control will be through your PC.
- Standalone – Standalone VR headsets are not controlled by any device, they function independently, and are designed to fit on your head without any straps. This category of VR headset is relatively new in the market and has not been launched in a number of countries. Alcatel is the first company to manufacture this kind of headset; they called the product model, Vision.
Virtual reality is definitely the future. It’s one of the most innovative technology to be ever developed since the smartphone. As VR headsets continuously change, the world’s fascination with the device will only grow and demand will skyrocket.
Where To Buy Your VR Headset
Many stores online and offline are selling VR headsets in different brands and varying prices. If you want the new ones that are not yet sold in the market, you can buy them online pre-ordered. Check out online selling platforms like Amazon, eBay, Best Buy and many others. Just make sure that you read shop reviews first for reliability.
Although online marketplaces can be pretty helpful, it’s best to buy a VR headset in a local store or mall where you can try and test out the gadget. In addition, there are shops who provide free demos to customers. Always try to check if the store allows free returns.
With plenty of VR headsets sold today, I’m sure that you’ll find it hard to choose. Try to follow this simple guide and you’ll surely be able to pick the one that best works.