So what exactly is VR? “Virtual Reality” is not a reality rather virtually. It’s a computer generated world where user gets the feeling that it’s real, but in truth it’s not. It’s a computer generated or simulated reality, a real or imagined environment is replicated, and the user is given means to interact with that environment. So are you VR ready?
Virtual Reality Concept in 60’s Cartoons
As a kid I grew up watching famous 60’s cartoon in mid-90 on cartoon network known as Johnny quest. Johnny Quest was by far the first time I ever saw something called a “Virtual Reality” or a “Virtual World”. The characters would wear the headset and in 10 seconds would log into the quest world, a virtual world where your real life body movements are linked up with the quest world. At that time I had that gut feeling that this is something of a near future. Fast forward that to 20 years and well, virtual reality is almost upon us now.
Gear up for the Future
To interact with the virtual environment, you will need a VR headset, along with a console, smartphone or a PC to run the app or game that is VR supported (there are specific VR apps and games), and an input method like controller, on device buttons or trackpads. You just put on your headset, start the app or game, and after that, everything changes. In any direction you look, you will see and hear things that aren’t there. That’s virtual world for you. Most of these headsets have already launched in the market. The devices that we are going to cover in this article are: Samsung gear VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR.
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Let’s explain these devices in a bit more detail.
Samsung Gear VR: The Cheapest VR Device
Samsung gear VR is exclusively for those who want to enjoy VR on their cell phones. Gear VR is exclusive to Samsung, meaning you can only enjoy if you have a Samsung handset with you. The phones required are Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 series, or Galaxy S7 series. Gear VR will connect with the phone via Bluetooth controller, and can display at the resolution of 2560×1440. The MSRP for this headset is $99 and has been released to the world on November 27, 2015.
Sony PlayStation VR: VR Gaming for PS4
Sony PlayStation VR is when things starts getting serious on a much larger scale. PlayStation VR is exclusive to Sony’s premium gaming console, the PlayStation 4. There are of course special VR games that support PlayStation VR. The input required will be Sony dual shock 4 or PlayStation move. The display for PlayStation VR is 1920 x 1080, OLED at refresh rate of 120 HZ. The consumer price is $399. Watch out for Sony PlayStation VR when it launches in October 2016.
Oculus Rift: The Ultimate VR Experience
Facebook owned Oculus Rift VR is perhaps the best VR experience you can get to date, primarily because it’s a bit lighter on the purse than HTC Vive. With Vive and Rift both being almost similar in what they ultimately have to offer, Vive is slightly better when it comes to immersion and interaction. Regardless, Oculus Rift is a great place to start your VR life. You will require a hefty PC for this. A PC running NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU, Intel Core i5-4590 CPU, with 8GB of RAM is the minimum setup needed. Oculus has 2160 x 1200 OLED display at refresh rate of 90 Hz, with input methods of oculus touch or Xbox one controller. Rift was launched on March 28, 2016 at MSRP of $599.
HTC Vive: Heavier on the purse
Yes HTC Vive is the most expensive VR headset in the market. It was launched at $799 on April 15, 2016. The price is more than Oculus Rift because HTC Vive offers a greater immersion into the virtual reality. The Vive’s motion controllers lets the user reach out and touch the virtual world. In a short span of time, user learns to grab the objects and use realistic gestures to interact with the games. In terms of specs HTC Vive has 2560×1200 OLED display at refresh rate of 90Hz. The PC requirements are almost identical to Oculus Rift. A PC powerhouse running NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU, with Intel Core i5-4590 CPU and 4GB of RAM is required.
Which one to pick
Two of the four gears are subjective to user requirements. Samsung gear VR for mobile users and PlayStation VR for PS4 users. It comes down to Rift or Vive, and my personal take on this that you should go for Oculus Rift. They both offer almost same kind of experience. Vive has got a better resolution and better immersion, but you can save those $200, grab the Oculus and further invest it on your rig. VR does require a heavy system to run.