technology trends 2017
Awesome technology trends we can’t wait to see in 2017
January 16, 2017
Join us at Euroshop 2017
March 3, 2017

Which virtual reality (VR) hardware is right for you?

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

With so many companies offering VR hardware it’s difficult to make sense of which system is right for you. Fear not as we have compiled everything you need to know…

It’s important to understand that not all VR experiences are born equal. Some are simple yet effective viewing platforms and others are fully immersive interactive experiences.  Let’s start with the simple :

1. Google Cardboard

Price: £15

Product Quality: 3/10

Immersion: 4/10

Ease of set-up & use: 9/10

What else do you need? Smartphone, cardboard head set

What is it’s best use? A takeaway piece for customers at trade shows

At a very reasonable price, Google cardboard is a riveting experience for any first time user. By only requiring an smartphone and VR apps from the Appstore/Google play, it is a very straight forward process to get started.

The Google cardboard hardware is made up of a cardboard structure with two plastic lens’ which allow for a 360 view of photos/videos when paired up with an Smartphone. Although there is not much to the cardboard, it is still a great experience for a novice to dip their toes into and can be a great marketing tool for businesses to give to their customers as a take away.

There are many similar plastic casing headsets that can be found at your local retailers but they serve the same function as the Google Cardboard so you are better off saving some cash and getting yourself a Google cardboard to get into your VR experience ASAP.

Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard

2. Samsung Gear VR

Price: £65

Product Quality: 7/10

Immersion: 6/10

Ease of set-up & use: 7/10

What else do you need? Samsung S5, S6, S6 Edge, S7, S7 Edge, Bluetooth Controller

What is it’s best use? Multiple people having an experience in a store or at a trade stand

The Gear VR is what is seen as the next level up from the Google cardboard because it contains its own interactive interface. The reason we say that the gear VR is step up from the Google cardboard is because there is a more advanced immersion in VR environments due to the interactive headset. For the users who have not seen anything better than a Google cardboard environment it can be jaw dropping. One limitation to the Gear VR is that you need a Android powered phone to use it which immediately neglects Iphone users.

The Gear VR can be paired with a controller (purchased separately) that allows the user to not only have 360 degree view but also gives them the capabilities to navigate around the environment. This is always an impressive feature to any user but because the headset is in a fixed position and your body isn’t moving, a percentage of users can be prone to motion sickness. Despite this drawback, businesses are using the Gear VR at exhibitions for a truly one-off experience.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR

 

3. Google Daydream

Price: £65

Product Quality: 8/10

Immersion: 6/10

Ease of set-up & use: 7/10

What else do you need? Google Pixel

What is it’s best use? Multiple people having an experience in a store or at a trade stand

The Google daydream is Google’s answer to Samsung’s Gear VR. The Google daydream also runs on an android interface and runs on its own software. The immersive quality is very much of the same standard as the Gear VR but one noticeable difference between the two was the quality of the product which as designers, we appreciate very much.

The headset is ergonomically friendly and feels a lot better to wear on the face. With its pliable tensile structure, it is a beautiful little product to look at. The headset is paired with a small motion sensor controller that can be used to interact with environment. The menu system may take a little getting used to, mainly due to it relying on the controller to navigate through the interface. It is only a matter of time before businesses adopt the daydream headset into their marketing armoury.

All of that being said, the Google daydream has the same problem as the Gear VR with the motion sickness issue because Smartphone’s aren’t  technologically advanced enough  for movement tracking at this moment in time.

Google Daydream

Google Daydream

 

4. Oculus Rift

Price: £550

Product Quality: 9/10

Immersion: 7/10

Ease of set-up & use: 9/10

What else do you need? High Performance PC

What is it’s best use? A company showpiece for customers & a visualisation tool for employees

This is where things get serious, The Oculus Rift is what is what the tech savvy hipsters would class as the “Real” type of virtual reality. Starting with the packaging, the Oculus hardware comes in a high quality laminated case with custom foam inserts which makes the product feel very premium and expensive which is what you expect with the heavy price tag.

The setting up process is very straight forward and you’re taken through every step of the way by the tutorial and you can get on with your VR experience in no time. The experience itself is obviously better than the Smartphone headsets with its movement tracking sensors and interactive handsets but graphically it can leave some people underwhelmed due to the occasional pixilation and small play area. The functionality is great in terms of how the user can interact with the system and there is obviously endless capabilities to what environments can be created. With the right software application you can spend hours in different VR environments.

The main downside of the Oculus is the price because you need a pretty high powered PC to run a smooth VR experience in Oculus and you come away thinking about price more than the experience. Not included in the base price for the Rift are the Oculus Touch controllers, these must be purchased separately.

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

 

5. HTC Vive

Price: £800

Product Quality: 9/10

Immersion: 9/10

Ease of set-up & use: 9/10

What else do you need? High Performance PC, lots of space

What is it’s best use? A company showpiece for customers & a visualisation tool for employees

The direct rival to the Oculus is the HTC Vive which contains a similar premium packaging which you should expect for the price tag. The head set and hand sets are aesthetically pleasing and ergonomically friendly which is big factor in making the experience as immersive as possible. The set up is a simple process and has the capabilities of a very large 4.5m x 4.5m play area. This allows the user to move through the VR environment freely and is accurately tracked one to one by the motion sensors in each corner of the room. Through Steam VR and unity, The HTC Vive has become a great communication tool for any business who uses it because it opens doors into product development in so many sectors.

The HTC Vive gives you everything the Oculus offers you and more, with it feeling that little bit more polished.

HTC VIVE

HTC VIVE

 

Please comment below on what VR hardware you think is the best bargain for your buck!

Comments are closed.