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Geek Corner

Which Virtual Reality Headset Should You Buy?

Which Virtual Reality Headset Should You Buy?

Are you one of those socially awkward types who hates society and all the atrocities that it represents? Do you despise being around people? Do you wish that you could put on a headset and make the world around you go away, just to lose yourself in a fantastic/magical pixel generated world inhabited by pixel generated folks who’d slobber over you and love you no matter what sort of perversions you are into?

Well, then Virtual Reality is here for you! But before you start jumping around in wild excitement, there’s a few things you need to know. We’ll take a look at the four popular VR headsets, and everything we know about them so far.

HTC Vive

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Price: $799/£689 (includes three games and two hand controllers)
Release date: April 2016
Computer required: PC running Windows 7 or higher with Nvidia/AMD video card
Built-in sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, front-facing camera, laser sensor
Controls: Two motion-tracking hand controllers and two infrared laser-emitting base stations used to determine where the player is standing
Resolution: 2,160 x 1,200 pixels
Field of view: 110 degrees
Refresh rate: 90Hz

HTC Vive is an upcoming room scale virtual reality headset being developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. This head worn device is designed to physically utilize the space of a room to be immersed in a virtual world navigating naturally with the ability to walk around and use motion tracked handheld controllers to vividly manipulate objects, interact with precision, communicate and experience immersive environments. It’s the most expensive of all the three, however, it also boasts the most impressive features as well.

It promises to deliver an immersive spatial experience, though it remains to be seen as to how many gamers will want to make the effort of actually walking around while plating the game. That’s not to say that it’s bad to have that option, it’s just an observation as to how practical and viable consumers will feel that option is. You will also need a pretty hefty rig, which adds to the price obliquely.

HTC Vive does seem to be the most premium of the three (the fourth one is a complete mystery, we’ll get to it in a bit.) So if you want the most number of pixels and bragging rights among the MasterRace, this might be the one for you.

Oculus Rift


Price: $599 (£423)
Release date: March 2016
Computer required: PC running Windows 10 fitted with Nvidia/AMD video card
Built-in sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
Controls: Xbox gamepad, remote control, infra-red sensor peripheral to track movements. Dedicated Touch hand controllers are also set to be released before the end of the year.
Resolution: 2,160 by 1,200 pixels
Field of view: 110 degrees
Refresh rate: 90Hz

The Rift is a virtual reality headset developed by Oculus VR (who’s parent company is now Facebook). It has the basics covered as far as Virtual Reality goes, without any of the spatial elements, but more of the social elements. With Facebook as the parent company, you can expect to see many social applications, including Facebook and travel apps, getting a VR version. This again has some hefty system requirements.

The Rift has build it 3D audio, which is a handy feature, and comes bundled with an Xbox One controller. One thing to be noted is that, Oculus revealed that due to the rapid innovation in the VR industry, it intends to release a successor to the Rift in around 2–3 years from the Rift release, and that it is already being worked on. Which might be an indication that the second version is the one to go for if you don’t mind dropping a bomb to get the experience ASAP.

In any case, if gaming and social interactions are your thing, then Oculus Rift might be the headset for you.

PlayStation VR

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Price: $399 (£282)
Release date: October 2016
Computer required: PlayStation 4
Built-in sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope
Controls: DualShock 4 gamepad, PlayStation Move hand batons, PlayStation 4 motion-sensing camera
Resolution: 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
Field of view: 100 degrees
Refresh rate: 120Hz

PlayStation VR, previously known by the codename Project Morpheus, is the virtual reality headset produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is designed to be fully functional with the PlayStation 4 and is scheduled to launch in October 2016.

It’s the cheapest of the lot, and thus the most affordable, given that you have a PS4 to run it with. For me, this seems to be the VR headset that will primarily focus on gaming, and thus the most recommendable for gamers. The main sticking point is the it requires you to have a PS Camera, which adds $60 dollars to the price. Sony has promised that there will a bundled version available which will include the PS VR, the PS Camera and the PS Move, though no specific price has be announced for the bundle.

A more important upgrade here is to the refresh rate, which runs at a 120Hz instead of 60Hz – higher than both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive’s 90Hz. Early games won’t natively run at 120 FPS – instead the PlayStation 4’s reprojection software will add an extra “tween” every frame to make it feel like they are, but the overall experience should be silky-smooth. This will an important factor in negating motion sickness.

If you own a PS4, then this is a no-brainer if you’re interested in VR. Otherwise, you should wait to see which titles will be made exclusive, and make a choice depending on how much you are willing to spend.



Price: To be confirmed
Release date: Spring 2016
Computer required: Nothing – computer processor is built-in
Built-in sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, “spatial mapping and tracking” sensors that make augmented reality applications possible as well as VR
Controls: Keyboard and mouse included, but works with any Windows 10-compatible controls
Resolution: 2,560 by 1440 pixels
Field of view: 110 degrees
Refresh rate: 90Hz

Sulon Technologies made a surprising announcement today at GDC 2016. The company, revealed a new HMD, the Sulon Q, which is designed for virtual reality, augmented reality, and spatially aware computing.

The Sulon Q HMD is a fully tether-free HMD with its own computational system. The headset features an AMD FX-8800P processor and R7 Radeon graphics with four compute cores and eight GPU cores, similar to a game console. Sulon said the headset includes a 2560x1440p OLED display and features a 110-degree viewing angle. The headset also includes AstoundSound Technology for spatial audio processing, and a 3.5mm audio jack to plug in headphones. The Sulon Q comes with a pair of “spatially-optimized” earbuds.

The Sulon Q headset is capable of virtual reality gaming and applications. It’s also capable of augmented reality and gesture recognition thanks to the two cameras found on the front of the HMD. Further, the headset includes a Spatial Processing Unit that maps the environment in real time, using an array of cameras on the headset, which provides headset tracking without external devices.

This VR headset holds a lot of promise and comes closest to Microsoft’s Hololens. However, a steep price tag can be expected. Also, its in early stages of announcement, and might take a while to become a competent market player.

Be sure to let us know which Virtual Reality headset seems the most promising to you. For more news, reviews and interviews, keep checking back at Gaming Central.

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