Read This Before Buying a VR Headset | Pretty Reel

With more new features than you thought possible and all the choices between platforms, you need to read this before buying a VR headset.

While some may argue that virtual reality has yet to enter the mainstream, there have never been as many VR products on the market as there are now. Even before the pandemic changed lifestyles around the world, more and more people were staying home and leading sedentary lives. As a result, there is a strong demand to explore and interact with the world without getting on a plane. Say you want to explore exotic destinations from the comfort of your armchair, or you just want video games to be more immersive. In this case, navigating the maze of VR models on the market can seem dizzying. When looking for the right VR product for you, platform, price, and portability are the three most important factors to consider.

How to get a VR experience on the cheap

Although Google has now stopped supporting the Cardboard VR platform, the code behind the project is open source and there are still many Cardboard boxes on the market. Google Cardboard works with Android and iPhone models with four- to six-inch screens and is compatible with a variety of apps by placing a phone in a cardboard container and peeking through the eye holes. Not all Google Cardboard options come in cardboard, but even plastic or metal models typically cost $40 or less. Google Cardboard apps are pretty simplistic because the platform only requires one button or input method, and you won’t get the smooth experience you get with the best VR headsets. Nevertheless, this technology serves as an effective and very affordable introduction to the world of virtual reality.

Which mobile headsets provide a more immersive VR experience

If you’re looking to break away from the simpler VR options, there are other products that use mobile phones and won’t break the bank. The Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream are unfortunately no longer supported by their respective companies, but the Gear VR can still be found for purchase in many places for $100 or less. The Gear VR works with the same principle of placing a smartphone in the device, but it also uses a USB connection to the phone. The headset has a few controller buttons on the side allowing users to take advantage of slightly more complex Oculus apps compared to Google Cardboard’s limited choices. The Gear VR, on the other hand, is only compatible with a range of Samsung smartphones, and because it uses a phone as a power source, it will drain mobile batteries fairly quickly.

The Meta Quest 2 and Oculus Quest 2 are essentially the same device with different names and offer a great mid-tier VR option, with some versions selling for $400 or less. The Meta Quest 2 is an Android-based standalone VR headset that doesn’t require a smartphone beyond its initial setup. The pair of controllers and hand-tracking features enable a higher level of interaction with games and environments than other VR products for mobile phones, and the 1832 x 1920 resolution per eye is higher than that of some of the more expensive virtual reality headsets.

The premium VR experience

The $999 Valve Index arguably packs the best VR headset features available, but its top-tier performance comes at a high cost and offers little portability. The unit requires a fairly beefy gaming PC with a video card, as well as a room large enough to place a series of base stations to track movement with increased precision. The Valve Rating allows refresh rates up to 120Hz to 144Hz, reducing the risk of motion sickness and providing the smoothest motion possible in games and environments. Its unrivaled Knuckles controllers track finger movements with a high degree of precision and the 130 degree viewing angle gives users the most complete perspective possible in virtual environments. The Valve Index is aimed at dedicated PC gamers, and its SteamVR platform offers VR titles inspired by some of the best-selling titles on the market.

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Read This Before Buying a VR Headset | Pretty Reel

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