For virtual reality enthusiasts, the last few years have been a difficult wait as the technology has lingered just around the corner for far too long now. Ever since the Oculus Rift Kickstarter in 2011, we’ve been waiting to see the new technology take center stage. The first wave of products is now hitting the market – the Oculus Rift has started deliveries for consumers while the HTC Vive is accepting pre-orders, as is Sony’s PlayStation VR. The real winner in all of this however, appear to be mobile-based VR headsets.
The reasons for this are simple – mobile headsets, whether they’re based on Google’s Cardboard, or proprietary technology such as Samsung and Oculus’ Gear VR, are significantly cheaper, fully wireless, and the software available for them is also priced like mobile applications, which is to say, it’s easy on the pocket. In contrast, the “full” headsets are pretty expensive. The PlayStation VR is probably the cheapest of the lot, and will launch for $399 (roughly Rs. 27,000); and that’s not taking into account the price of the PlayStation Camera, or, obviously, the PlayStation 4, both of which are required for this headset to work. That’s a combined price of close to Rs. 80,000 most probably, for what is being called the lowest-end of these full-fledged VR experiences. The Oculus Rift will set you back by $599 (roughly Rs. 40,000) – but that’s not taking into account the price of the PC you’ll need to use the headset. That means that you’re looking to spend around $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1 lakh) according to Oculus VR, and the HTC Vive will require an equally expensive PC, plus the headset costs even more than the Rift, at $799 (roughly Rs. 54,000).
A Google Cardboard
At the bottom of the price slot they are actual cardboard Google Cardboard headsets. These cardboard sets basically cost you around Rs. 200.They are the most basic, & cheapest VR headsets you can get right now. DIY(Do it yourself) kits will set you back by Rs. 200, “higher-end” headsets with a good finishing or a stylish design printed on them can go for up to Rs. 500 to Rs. 600.
- Very economical and basic
- They are not so sturdy (you may think they could fall apart at any moment)
- Need to adjust as fasteners / belts are limited
- No cushioning (can’t use for long)
- Capacitive button on side could shake up the entire alignment
At the end of the day, they are good to give a try or for a basic experience, considering the price.
Clip on lenses
There are few different designs of clips that can be used in Google Cardboard. The Google Tech C1 Glass VR Viewer is one such example, these kind of headset, they had this easy to carry size, and you just clip it on to the phone to have experience. Our preferred headset in this category is the Homido Mini, which cost $16.70 (roughly Rs. 1,100) and folds up even smaller – it’s tiny enough that you can keep it in your pocket and forget it’s there.
- No case to slip into phone
- Simply pair of glasses, no buttons or nose pads.(So no lining of phones, ready to use)
- Better than Cardboard VR headset
- Allow light in front from all sides (in case of Lenovos ANTR) , affecting sense of immersion and picture experience.(Not ideal for long sessions)
The Homido Mini is great if you always want to have a VR headset in your bag no matter where you go, and it’s also an excellent set for giving demos to people who’ve not experienced VR before, since you can look in from the sides and guide their experience. Also, obviously, these types of headsets are pretty convenient for people who were spectacles, as they don’t get in the way at all.
Now the things start to get more interesting – ranging the budget headsets like Lenovo’s AntVR, which are in the range of Rs. 1,100 to slightly higher range such as DMG VR Shinecon headset which will cost you around Rs.2,200 and all the way to some fancy ones such as Sunnypeaks in the range of Rs.5,000-6,000 all with more or less same features.
- These types of VR Headsets are inspired by Google Cardboard (padding, straps etc)
- Slightly expensive (comes with focusing knob to adjust
- Bluetooth Controller compatibility for gaming and movie control
- No complete enclosure for phone, so problem in that regards.
So this segment is not very popular with the high end VR headsets, thus we suggest sticking to the budget option of AntVR. The big advantage of this design is that it’s hands free and padded, so it’s a great choice to watch 360-degree videos (whether on YouTube or otherwise) or have fun with some longer form content such as watching movies in a virtual cinema.
These are the most expensive range, the Gear VR also needs a compatible phone that’s picked from a very select list of devices.Samsung Gear VR will run on Samsung S6(which costs nearly Rs. 30,000) and add the headset price of Rs 9000 odd to it, will give you base price of Rs 40, 000.The system has been designed carefully to work with these phones, whose screens in turn were designed to work well for VR.
- Expensive + requires high end phone.
- Additional Sensors Embedded itself on VR Headset.
- Quality Gaming experience and movie watching experience
- It even gives cooking, public speaking and crowd party experience
The combination of the additional sensors in the headset, along with a trackpad for inputs, and of course, the Oculus Store to tie the software part of the equation together, results in a highly polished experience that would delight anyone.
There are so many options to pick a suitable VR headset for yourself, and the good news is that we are still in early days of this technology, with time the technology will improve and will bring down the cost. As in case of mobile phone we may get many options, many features, and the cost may well reduce. As more players may come in the market. We will keep you updated on all those factors, till then goodbye.