Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend CES, the biggest consumer electronics convention of the year. I checked out a bunch of different virtual reality headsets. Some were really cool while others were less than stellar. VR can be an expensive hobby, so it's important to know what you're getting into.
VR is moving into an era where wireless gadgets reign. I love virtual reality, but even I question whether or not it's a worthwhile investment. If anything, I'd like to at least help you make an informed decision. So, without further ado, here are the five headsets I sampled at CES:
If you're a VR enthusiast, you probably know that HTC Vive is one of the leading contenders in the VR market. Whether it's wireless trackers that look like oversized bangles or headsets with adjustable earphones, HTC Vive is paving the way for new experiences. The HTC Vive is my favorite headset and I want to tell you why.
First of all, it's one of the most comfortable headsets. There's nothing worse than a headset that sits heavily on your nose. If I'm dealing with an ill-fitting headset, I can only get about twenty minutes of play time out of it before I have to abandon ship. The HTC Vive headset not only fits over my glasses, there are also no gaps near the nose area. In other words, this headset will give you the most immersive experience possible.
I know it's expensive, but if you're looking for a comfortable headset with excellent picture resolution, you can't get much better than the HTC Vive. The thing is, you're going to need a powerful gaming computer and a spacious room to move around in. Just keep these additional investments in mind if you plan on getting an HTC Vive headset.
The PlayStation VR is one of the more affordable high-end headsets. Unlike the HTC Vive, you don't need a desktop computer or a large room. All you need is a PlayStation 4 console. The picture resolution isn't ideal, but the headset fits like a dream. It's super lightweight, so it feels like it's floating over your face. Also, most headsets look really scary and uninviting. The PlayStation VR is the friendliest looking headset, in my opinion. If you're new to VR and a little wary of it, I recommend giving this one a try.
Merge VR is comfortable, inexpensive, accessible, and surprisingly immersive. It's surprising because I usually turn my nose up at mobile virtual reality headsets. I just assumed they weren't as good as other headsets. However, Merge VR blew my expectations out of the water. The headset is incredibly soft and durable too. You can even kick it across a room (sans phone). It's geared towards children who are 10 and up, but I recommend it to anyone of any age. You're never too old to play.
The VR One is one sleek looking mobile headset, but nothing really sets it apart. The headset is compatible with most smartphones and, like the Merge VR, you can use it for both AR and VR experiences. It's a comfortable fit, but the image quality is poor. I never felt fully immersed either. I could still hear everything going on outside of the headset. If you're looking to purchase a mobile virtual headset, go for the Merge VR or the Samsung Gear VR. They have a better track record.
Unfortunately, the Royole Moon headset didn't measure up. The design is gorgeous, but it's not comfortable at all. I had to take it off after about fifteen minutues because the weight of the headset was on my nose. I hate to say it, but it was one of the most uncomfortable headsets I tried out at CES. Between the hefty price tag and the terrible fit, I was left feeling majorly disappointed. I really wanted to love it, but in the end, it just wasn't for me.