Ready, player one?
No longer a futuristic sci-fi vision, VR is hurtling towards a Black Mirror-esque reality. With the new Oculus Quest now out, why not succumb to the inevitable and get involved? We’ve rounded up some of the best VR headsets at every budget, from affordable standalones to high-end tethered options and even one that works with your phone.
Google Daydream (2nd Generation)
The good: Ideal for tech geeks on a tight budget, this headset works with your phone. It may be cheap, but it's not all plastic. It's made from a soft, breathable fabric, which also makes it super lightweight. The headset does a good job at keeping light out, which is crucial for an immersive experience.
The bad: You’re obviously not going to be blown away at this price point and, while it will work on most smartphones released in the last two-to-three years, the resolution of your screen will heavily affect the VR experience. Most phones have refresh rates of 60hz, which is considered quite low for a decent VR experience, so prolonged use is likely to cause dizziness and headaches. The controller is also incredibly simple and only works for basic VR experiences.
Available at www.lazada.com / www.amazon.com
The good: Oculus’s original untethered VR headset comes in at half the price of its latest sibling, making it good for budget conscious gamers. Easy to use straight out of the box, this device definitely targets the casual, light gamer. While lacking the guts of the Oculus Quest, you can get surprisingly good VR experiences out of this little headset.
The bad: As there is no camera tracking, it only allows for 260 head movements, so no moving through virtual space. Obviously the performance and graphics are not at the level of its more powerful tethered headset competitors or its big brother Oculus Quest—to put it in perspective, the Snapdragon 821 processor is the same one you would find in early 2018 phones.
Available at www.lazada.com / www.amazon.com
The good: This is the most affordable high-end VR headset you can get, plus the sleek and minimal design makes it one of the most attractive options on the market. Besides offering an immersive gaming experience, the Playstation VR also features a “Cinematic Mode” that allows you to watch videos and movies on a huge virtual reality screen. It also has the best library of games and add-ons. If you already have a PS4, this headset is your go-to—why shell out for other pricey PC-tethered headsets, when you only need a PS4 console to run?
The bad: Unlike the room-scale tracking of the HTC Vive below, the Playstation VR only uses a single-camera tracking system. This means you can only walk around to a certain extent before getting a system warning to not go beyond the set up space. Another downside is the quality of the graphics, which may not be as sharp as those of its competitors. But at this price point, you can’t really complain.
Available at 3/F, Sony Store, The EmQuartier, Sukhumvit Rd., 02-003-6150. Open daily 11am-8pm
The good: The new kid on the block, this standalone VR headset gives you untethered freedom to move around without wires pulling you back. A big step up from the Oculus Go, the Quest offers six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking thanks to two motion controllers, which means you can walk around anywhere in your VR space without worrying about bumping into walls or furniture. VR at this level is impressive considering it’s not hooked up to a console or PC. Setting up Oculus Quest is also super easy, since everything is built into the headset itself—no need to connect it to a PC or fumble around trying to adjust the sensors for head and hand tracking. The wide range of 50 games available is the icing on the cake.
The bad: It can feel a bit heavy on your face. Another bummer is light leakage through the bottom. The performance not at the same level as a tethered headset.
Available at www.lazada.co.th
The good: The HTC Vive offers next-level immersion thanks to its room-scale tracking, which lets you roam around freely through virtual space. Movement feels natural whether you’re sitting or standing, plus there’s a front-facing camera that allows you to see your space in the real-world without having to take off the headset. “Chaperone Mode” helps you stay in the area you’ve set up without stumbling into furniture and hurting yourself. The 360-controllers are versatile and easy to use, while the number of games available through SteamVR will totally blow you away.
The bad: It requires a high-end PC to run and you need plenty of space for set up. Long cables and tether can easily get tangled around your feet (an extra add-on is required if you want your Vive to be completely wireless). It also comes with a hefty price tag, which you may justify with the generous accessories provided in its box—cables and adaptors galore.
Available at www.vive.com/th