If you enjoy gaming either at home or at large gaming consoles in public places, then you’ll understand how addictive and competitive it can get. Most times just being in front of the screen, whether your smartphone or home computer screen or the display screen of your X-box or PlayStation while gaming, gives you a surreal and otherworldly feeling that lets you unleash your imagination. Sometimes playing the game with your pad might not be enough; you might want to really get into the game, like travelling in space or visiting all those places in the gaming world that you ordinarily see on your display screen.
A pair of virtual reality glasses makes this possible. Virtual reality is a means of immersive gaming that gives the user an exceptional out of the world experience, literally. VR glasses let you take your gaming to new and unbelievable heights where you get to realistically interact and even move around in the artificial gaming environment. And the best part is that it’s not just for games, you can also use it to watch HD movies and videos, especially the 360-degree videos on your smartphones
that give a real-life experience.
VR glasses have really come a long way, from way back in the 1990’s with the first Google cardboard VR unit. Since then, there seemed to be a lull in the drive to develop better and more advanced VR glasses. However, in recent times, there’s been a renewed interest in the field, with different technology companies designing and releasing high end VR sets with impressive immersive qualities.
Whether you’re new to gaming and want to experiment with visual reality or you’re an experienced gamer seeking for greater challenges with VR glasses, there’s always something for everyone and you’ll most definitely see the one that suits your need. There are simple, portable VR glasses that use the phone as display screen and there are the advanced models that tether to your PC or gaming desktop
Since you’re here, it’s clear that you want top quality and highly functional VR glasses that you’ll be proud to add to your gadget collection and show your friends. This guide will help you sieve through the numerous options out there by giving insight into the important specifics to look out for as you shop around for the best VR glasses for you.
VR glasses are generally divided into 3 major ranges based on their features and prices. There are those with just the basic features, the mid-range models that are a step-up from the basic VR glasses and then the high-end models with all the trappings of a major tech gadget.
Naturally the prices for these 3 different categories differ significantly, ranging from about $15 for the low-end types to $600 for the high-end models, although the price can even go higher than stated here. Your choice should depend on what you want to use the VR glasses for and your level of exposure to the technology before now.
We reviewed products in different categories so you can have a wide range to choose from but in our usual tradition, we made sure to pick from only the best brands so you can be assured of quality performance and durability from any of the products we featured. Unlike some of the cheap VR glasses we came across while carrying out this research which are made from flimsy materials that’ll not last, our picks are guaranteed to give you value for your money.
When you’re in the market for VR glasses, there are several features to look out for so you’ll end up with a gadget that’ll give you the best visual reality experience. Some of these features include:
- Space needed
- Extra features
Before purchasing, jot down what features are important to you. This will help you make a better decision in determining what particular VR glasses will suit your preference.
Construction and Design
The type of VR glasses refers to the mode of connection to the main source of input and this can be either a cordless connection or tethered connection. The cordless connection is seen in the most basic VR glasses that make use of the mobile phone as input source. This type usually has a space in front of the lens and eyepiece that holds the phone securely in place thus eliminating the need for clunky cables. Earlier versions of this type were designed as handheld devices and are not suitable for use for long periods of time. Recent models of cordless VR glasses are hands-free and some of them even come with a remote control that you can pair with them.
The second type of VR glasses in terms of connectivity is the tethered type. This is the configuration adopted by most advanced and high tech VR glasses manufacturers. Here the headset is connected via a usually clunky cable to the input source which can be a PC or gaming console like PlayStation or X-box. This type has the most advanced features like motion tracking, improved graphics and high resolution screen displays.
Controllers for VR glasses are a function of the type of VR glasses in question. Tethered VR glasses are the most advanced types available now and thus have the most advanced control systems that range from gamepads to motion controllers and also the X-box or PlayStation controller, depending on the console the headset is tethered to. Some of them even have motion-tracking wands. All these controllers are geared towards improving video games and doing some amazing stuff like 3D painting and playing virtual ping-pong realistically.
The cordless type of VR glasses can be further divided into two based on the amount of control that comes with it. The basic ones have just one control, and this does not even have to be a button. It can be a hole for a finger or thumb to poke through and touch the phone screen or it may come in form of a little lever that presses against the phone screen to perform some basic navigations.
The second type has a couple or so different types of controls. Some have a 2-button set-up while others have a track-pad that looks like that of a laptop positioned on the side of the headset. Although you can pair a gamepad to most Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, this process is somewhat clumsy for the VR glass set.
Different VR glasses are compatible with different input devices, mostly along the lines of their advancement in technology. For the basic, cordless types, they can only work with specific smartphones of higher models which also have VR-enabled apps. Since they’re cordless, they’re limited to function only on smartphones unlike their tethered cousins with their connecting cables to fit into compatible devices. Most tethered VR glasses, nonetheless, are configured to work on specific devices as well like the X-box, PlayStation or high-end PCs but they are still more versatile than the cordless types.
Performance and Ease of Use
VR glasses have more or less a plug-and-play design that requires little or no additional set ups, except for the more advanced visual reality gear that have the VR glasses as part of their ensemble. Most of them, especially the cordless types, are designed for portability.
In terms of performance design, the ideal VR glasses have both visual and audio surround sound system that’s able to block outside sounds and fully recreate and immerse the user in the artificial world. It may also have additional features like hand motion controls that allow for sensory life-like feelings when gaming.
Cordless VR glasses are compact models and some of them have the ability to fold into two thus storing away easily and unobtrusively while a few others are as small as a pair of normal eyeglasses. This portability, however, comes at the expense of quality performance because it reduces its ability to eliminate outside sound and also increases the discomfort of using it.
A major appeal and attraction of a high-end, tethered VR glasses is the capacity to move around in space and to accomplish this, well, you’ll need space to move around in real time. Some VR glasses allow you to simulate body movements like jerking, leaning and crouching while on one spot while others can grant you the freedom to move a couple or so feet in either direction. The most movement that has been recorded so far while using a VR glasses covered a 15-square foot room.
So if you’re going for a high-end, tethered VR glasses, you should make room for movement where possible and if you’re going for the cordless type, then there’s no need to worry about space because the highest motion you’ll be making will be with your head, for the semi-advanced cordless models, that is.
If you do not already have a PlayStation, an X-box or a high-powered PC on ground and you’re looking to get tethered VR glasses, then you should also be planning to spend some extra bucks on the video input of your choice.
Having read through our buying guide, we’re convinced that you’re well-equipped to make your choice of VR glasses now. We understand that people's needs are different and we have incorporated that in our review. With your requirements in mind, you can read through and find the brand and product that gives you what you want.
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), the owner of the PlayStation brand and family of products (including the PlayStation VR), is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony Corporation. This brand has consistently delivered innovative products to the market since the launch of the first PlayStation in Japan in 1994. Since then, it has been a global leader in the interactive and digital entertainment industry. SIE also oversees Worldwide Studios, which is responsible for developing exclusive, world-class games for PlayStation.
The Sony PlayStation VR (Suggested Retail Price: $399.99) delivers 360-degree omni-directional 3D video and images in VR mode, and non-VR content in cinematic mode. This VR headset gives you an interactive view of content, as well as 3D audio, giving you the feeling that you’re actually in there with what you are watching. This VR headset is especially designed for video gaming on the PlayStation 4 console and other VR-compatible content.
The VR displays with OLED and the 5.7-inch panel over your face (with each eye viewing at 960x1080 pixels at a whopping 120 frames per second), with a 100-degree field of view. These are combined with the 3D audio that lets you locate the position of sounds all around you. This combined effect gives you total immersion in the game you’re playing, or whatever VR content you are interacting with.
The headset package contains the PlayStation VR headset, processor unit, PlayStation VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, Stereo headphones, AC power cord, AC adapter, and PlayStation VR demo disc. Just make the necessary connections and start having fun. The headset is totally plug and play.
Samsung is an extremely popular and successful brand in a wide range of categories, including home appliances, electronics, and smartphones. Samsung is dedicated to creating a better world through its numerous quality products that make almost all facets of our everyday activities and businesses easy and convenient. Through innovation and state-of-the-art technology, Samsung continues to make the world a better place.
The Samsung Gear VR (Suggested Retail Price: $99.99) uses a Super AMOLED screen and a powerful processor to create vivid surroundings and realistic movements that give you the feeling of being "right there" within the content you’re watching. The Gear VR creates a smooth virtual reality experience from your smartphone.
This VR headset turns your compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone into a wireless VR machine and gives you a wonderful immersive experience. Just snap your phone into the Gear VR and voila! You can watch your favorite TV shows and movies in super big screen, and go on adventures watching documentaries and viewing panoramic pictures. It also allows you to interact and share your VR experiences with Gear VR users all over the world.
Playing games on the Gear VR is a whole new reality. You get the feeling of being a character in the game you’re playing. (There are lots of game titles optimized for VR experience.) It has a touch pad that lets you navigate easily. It gives you a wide field of view, precise tracking and low latency, resulting in crisp realistic visuals.
The Samsung Gear VR is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, and S6 Edge+. This VR headset comes with warranty in the US and without warranty for international versions.
Oculus is well-known for its futuristic products that are manufactured with high-quality material, with the aim of surpassing customer expectations. It is dedicated to extensive research that usually leads to one futuristic invention or another. Oculus continuously looks to advance the technologies behind all its products.
The Oculus Rift VR headset (Suggested Retail Price: $599.99) gives you total immersion with its advanced display technology and attached ear phones. It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing a game, watching VR movies or pictures, or just hanging out with your friends in VR. Its low latency constellation tracking system gives you the sensation that you are there.
This headset works seamlessly with the Oculus Touch, giving you a natural extension into the VR world. This Touch controller hardware is used to control your VR avatar’s hand gestures. The VR hands move exactly like you are moving yours in reality, with no time lapse. This enhances your interactions, especially in games and other compatible VR applications.
You won’t get the maximum enjoyment from the VR experience this headset provides if it does not fit well, or you’re constantly distracted by one discomfort or another. The Rift is ergonomically designed and built to be beautiful and customizable. It’s easy to wear, comfortable to use and adaptable to the contours of your face. You can leave all bother behind and totally enjoy every bit of your trip into the VR world.
As your smartphone is the VR engine for some devices, your PC is the engine for the Oculus Rift. Oculus has partnered with many PC manufacturers to create systems that are fully optimized for the Rift. If your PC meets the recommended specs, it will deliver a great VR experience.
Pasonomi specializes in the manufacture of electronic devices and accessories. It makes great mobile devices, consistently applying technology to the functionality of its products so they are versatile, easy to use and entertaining. It joined the recent VR rave with its own headset, which has proven to be popular due to its capabilities and yet affordable. Pasonomi also makes accessories for smartphones, tablets and laptops to expand the value you already derive from them.
The Pasonomi 3D VR Headset (Suggested Retail Price: $29.99) is designed for use with Apple, Android, and Windows phones with a screen size of 4.5 inches and above. It allows you to adjust the focal and object distances so you can get the best picture quality. You also get a 102 degree view, giving you a stunning immersive 3D experience.
This headset is built for comfort. The viewer is cushioned with soft and thick foam that is ergonomically designed to adjust to your facial contours. This ensures that it remains comfortable even for long-term use, regardless of the structure of your face, allowing you to enjoy the experience. It is lightweight, weighing in at just 0.58 pounds.
This VR headset is made of recyclable ABS environmentally friendly materials, which are responsible for its light weight. It has a high-gloss transparent cover that enhances the virtual reality effects. The foam that pads the eye is removable, making it easy to clean, and the headband is adjustable so anyone can conveniently wear it anytime.
The Google brand really needs no introduction. If you use the Internet for any purpose, chances are you are using at least one of Google’s numerous products. Google is a globally renowned think tank that looks to expand our interaction and experience of reality in many different ways, both at work and at play.
The Google Cardboard VR Headset (Suggested Retail Price: $15) lets you experience the world of virtual reality in a simple, fun and affordable way. It is a simple, almost primitive design with a 3D VR optimized lens inside. Just put your phone in the right mode, start playing, snap it in place, and you’re ready to start enjoying a great VR experience.
It is packaged ready to use. You just need to fold one area into place and it's ready to wear. It is really amazing how Google managed to fit such a futuristic experience into cardboard! This VR is compatible with most smartphones, and with the increasing amount of VR-enabled content out there, you can enjoy tons of stunning virtual reality entertainment at rock bottom prices, all thanks to Google.
Now that you’re done with our review, we hope you have sufficient information to make the right choice of VR glasses. Go with confidence and buy the best VR glasses that work for you. Have a blast!