Which VR Headset Should I Buy

Credit: Oculus

Standalone & Smartphone VR

Oculus Go

Credit: Oculus

What is it?

The Oculus Go is a more-portable version of the flagship Oculus Rift headset.

It's positioned as a direct competitor to Samsung's GearVR and Google's Daydream VR platforms. However, unlike both of the above, the Oculus Go does not require a smartphone to use. It relies entirely on internal computing components built into the headset.

The baseline Oculus Go features a 538ppi 2560 x 1440 WQHD, fast-switch LCD display, 32 GB of on-board storage, built-in spatial audio and an integrated microphone. A 64GB model is also available.

How much software is available?

Facebook say that a software lineup of over 1000 titles are already available for the Go.

What are the cons?

You’re currently only able to play software that’s been made available on the Oculus store specifically for the Oculus Go. It’s not capable of playing the fully-fledged room-scale experiences available for dedicated high-end headsets like the Vive and the Rift.

Battery life is another limitation attached to the Oculus Go. A full charge will get you about 2-3 hours of usage.

How much does it cost?

The Oculus Go is available for purchase now via the Oculus.com online storefront with prices starting at AU$299.

Google Daydream

Credit: Google

What is it?

Google Daydream is a mobile VR headset that was developed by Google.

When paired up with a compatible Android device, it allows you to experience mobile VR experiences available on Google’s Daydream app store.

However, at the time of writing, only a handful of devices offer support for Google Daydream. This includes the Pixel, Pixel 2, Moto Z, ZTE’s Axon 7, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and S8 and LG’s V30.

How much software is available?

At the time of writing, Daydream VR boasts over 200 games and apps. Some of these paid apps or incorporate microtransactions. Others are free.

What are the cons?

Compared to many other VR platforms, the Daydream software library is relatively small.

In addition, since Daydream requires you to use the display of your smartphone - there are several practical concerns worth noting. It’ll drain your battery faster than you would otherwise and in addition, it’s always possible that you’ll get a phone call or notification and have to go through the process of taking off the headset to resolve it.

How much does it cost?

The official Google Daydream headset is priced at $149 in Australia.

Oculus Quest

Credit: Oculus

What is it?

Formerly known as Project Santa Cruz, the Oculus Quest headset is a new VR headset that sits between the Oculus Go and the Oculus Rift both in terms of capabilities and in-terms of pricing.

Like the Go, it doesn’t require a connected smartphone or PC to function. And, while it’s not as powerful as a standalone computer might be, the Quest is said to be capable of offering the same calibre of room-scale experiences.

How much software is available?

At this time, it’s difficult to know exactly how much software will be available for the Oculus Quest. The headset still hasn’t officially launched.

However, Facebook and Oculus say that they’re working with developers to make transplanting content from other Oculus platforms to the Quest as easy as possible and have already confirmed that several major VR experiences like Robo Recall will be available from launch.

What are the cons?

Again, with the caveat that the device has yet to officially launch, software and battery life are likely to be the biggest drawbacks here. The Quest almost certainly offer a smaller library of VR content than the Go and the Rift and Facebook have yet to give any indication about how long the battery on the headset lasts.

How much does it cost?

The Oculus Quest won’t launch until 2019 but when it does, it’ll come with a US$399 price-tag. No word yet on Australian pricing.

Samsung Gear VR

Credit: Samsung

What is it?

The Gear VR is a smartphone VR headset co developed by Samsung and Oculus. It was launched alongside the Galaxy S6 and S6+ in 2014.

Samsung periodically update the hardware and software of the Gear VR. The last update, unveiled alongside the Galaxy Note 8, comes with a redesigned handheld Gear VR Controller accessory.

How much software is available?

Software is the Achilles heel of the Gear VR.

Although it is arguably the mobile VR with the widest array of hardware compatibility, the software experience is frustratingly limited. There are over 1000 VR experiences available for the Gear VR, but there aren’t many standout hits or killer apps to be found here.

How much does it cost?

The modern Gear VR headset will cost you about $129 in Australia and comes bundled with a controller.

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Fergus Halliday
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