Virtual reality has been seen as nothing more than a promising gimmick for the majority of the last 20 years.
However, the last couple years have seen VR advance by leaps and bounds, to the point where consumer-ready head mounted displays are available now.
Alongside these standalone units, mobile VR has also made great strides, and Google Cardboard kits like these ones can offer a fairly complete VR experience using your smartphone as the graphical processor.
In any form, VR promises to improve many fields outside of gaming technology, including medicine, education, and engineering. With each emerging developer approaching this tech with a new perspective, there is no doubt that virtual reality will become a major part of our everyday lives.
Though these ten headsets’ availability vary from out now to pre-order forthcoming, they have proven through tech demos and press releases alike that they are indeed the HMDs you’ll want to watch out for. From big hitters like Oculus Rift, to VR with a cause like Razer OSVR, the best of the best are about to go even bigger.
1. Oculus Rift
Oculus and their influential Rift headset have been synonymous with this decade’s VR boom since the project’s conception in 2012. They are one of the biggest names in VR, and now one of the first to be delivered to consumers.
The Rift ships with a headset, motion sensor, remote, and the necessary HDMI and USB cables. First Gen kits also include a wireless Xbox One controller and a copy of Lucky’s Tale for out-of-the-box gaming. The controller is upgradable to the Oculus Touch, which hasn’t yet seen its debut, but promises to offer additional gaming potential.
The experience of the Rift goes beyond words, as the motion sensor provides a fluidity of movement that truly rivals reality. The headset weighs just over a pound, and fits snugly on most head sizes. The headset has full positional tracking and a gyrometer, which allows you to perform nuanced actions like looking around a corner.
Visually speaking, the Rift sets the benchmark with its specs. This headset offers a stunning resolution of 1080×1200 in both of its OLED screens (2160×1200 total), and its FOV (field of view) of 110° is substantial, The headset completes the experienced with a microphone and integrated headphones that provide spatialized HRTF audio.
The Oculus Home software aims to become your figurative VR home, recreating a cozy apartment that serves as a menu for navigating between 360° videos, games, and other media. Oculus just recently opened up their library of games to 3rd party headset owners, which is a trend they hopefully stick with, as their game library has already seen significant growth.
As a fairly solid first gen device, the Rift’s only major flaw is its fairly high price tag of $600. The Rift also has some serious system requirements, including a graphics card equivalent to a Nvidia GTX 970 or an AMD R9 290, but this is easy enough for a serious gamer to meet.
Oculus Rift Release Date: Out Now