Sunday, August 28, 2016

Virtual Reality Headsets Ranked

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive seems to be in ahead in the virtual reality headset rankings based on the general consensus on the web.  Most people seem to think it has the most immersive experience, primarily because there is a much larger area in which you can move around in. When you have the headset on, your movement is monitored by base stations you place around the room, and there is a faint coloured virtual wall which lets you know where the physical borders of your room are in real life so that you don't trip over furniture or walk in to a wall. Generally we have seen the experience of the Vive described as awesome and fantastic. Game changing seems to be the impression. The Vive can be bought from HTC via Amazon. Bear in mind that you need a very powerful computer to run this on, which typically will cost you at least £1,000. Basic computers will not suffice.  The computer specification will have to be at least:
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4590/AMD FX™ 8350 equivalent or better
  • RAM: 4 GB or more
  • Video output: HDMI 1.4, Display Port 1.2 or newer
  • USB port: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
  • Operating system: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later, Windows 1

Oculus Rift and Related Samsung Gear

Oculus Rift, probably the most famous of the VR Headset technologies, has the launch of it's Rift headset on 20 September in the UK. Most comments seem to suggest that it lags behind the Vive somewhat due to the smaller area in which you can move. However it is somewhat less expensive. You can buy the Rift on Amazon. Again you need a very powerful gaming computer to run the headset on with a minimum specification as follows:
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
  • CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
  • Memory: 8GB+ RAM
  • Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
  • USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

There are rumours that Microsoft maybe developing a new more powerful version of the XBox in to which you can plug your Rift device instead of having to buy a general powerful computer.

There is also the related Samsung Gear which uses Oculus technology, and which operates by plugging your Samsung phone (recent models only) in to the headset. However this seems to be a level or two down from Vive and Rift in terms of the user experience: 

Playstation VR

Sony's Playstation VR has a release date of mid Oct 2016.  It has a lower specification than the Vive and the Rift.  On the other hand it is the lowest priced and will run with the PS4 apparently, and does not therefore need the powerful general computer required by the Vive and the Rift. It has got plaudits for design also, with claims that it is the coolest looking of the VR headsets. You can buy the Playstation VR on Amazon.


There is a rumour that Apple is building its own VR headset.  This is not surprising given the potentially game changing nature of VR. We doubt that Apple could afford to be left out of this particular party.