Virtual Reality Headsets You Can Buy Right Now
by Andrew Lisa
The team at SpecOut reviewed the 25 most recently released virtual reality headsets with fields of vision greater than 60 degrees.
Smartphone dependence is a major variable separating different classes of virtual reality headsets. Some fun, functional VR units can be purchased for under $50, but require outside hardware for processing and audio. Other units cost more, but are completely -- or mostly -- self-contained.
The team at SpecOut compiled a list of the best VR units on the market. Although some entries have the secondary ability to create augmented reality, they are all capable of producing full VR, which is a more immersive experience. All headsets listed are available to the public, at least for preorder, with a known retail price.
Field of view was also a factor in our analysis. Human beings have a near-180-degree field of view, so the closer a VR set comes to that width, the more realistic the user experience. Every unit on this list has a field of view of at least 60 degrees. The headsets are in order from oldest to most recent release.
Horus Lite VR
The Horus Lite VR has a 96-degree field of view, which is 4 percent narrower than the average headset in its class. Although it requires external headphones, it is smartphone compatible and features optics correction.
Cheaper than the average smartphone-dependent set, Google Cardboard is a simple, fun entry point into the world of VR. The DIY kit can be put together in minutes.
To run programs and games, this headset must be synched with both a smartphone and a computer or game console. It has a below-average horizontal resolution, but it is compatible with glasses, and features both head and position tracking.
Carl Zeiss VR One
Pricier than the average VR set, the Carl Zeiss VR One uses a smartphone as a processing source. With a field of view of 100 degrees, it does not offer position tracking.
Leap Motion VR
With a 135-degree field of view, the user will enjoy a far more immersive experience than the industry average of 100 degrees. Connectivity options include USB 3.0 and HDMI, and the unit is leap-motion controller compatible.
Slightly more expensive than the average set, the Homido VR has a 100-degree field of view. It requires a smartphone for processing, and is compatible with both iOS and Android.
The Freefly has a better-than-average field of view of 120 degrees. Slightly more expensive than the average set, it does not require the user to provide external headphones.
I AM Cardboard XG VR
With both virtual-reality and augmented-reality capabilities, this headset costs slightly more than the industry average. It relies on a smartphone to function and is Bluetooth compatible.
More expensive than the average VR headset, the Razer OSVR requires a game console, computer and smartphone. It has a 100-degree field of view and offers a refresh rate of 60 Hz -- which are both average for its class.
Although the Viewbox is inexpensive, its 90-degree field of view comes up 10 percent short of the industry average. External headphones are required, and the set works with smartphones with 4.5- to 6-inch screens.
With a 100-degree field of vision, the Pinc VR features pincher gesture control and a plastic body. It requires either an Android or iOS smartphone to run games and programs.
Samsung Gear VR (2015)
Although its 96-degree field of view is slightly below average, the Gear VR works well with all major Samsung phones. The headset is comfortable, but it does let some light bleed through.
Omimo Uranus One
Compared to headsets that don't require a smartphone to operate, the Omimo Uranus One has a wide, 124-degree field of vision. It comes with a built-in processing source, which means it doesn't require an outside system to function.
Nuvika VR Headset
With a lower-than-average 96-degree field of view, this headset can produce both virtual-reality and augmented-reality experiences. It requires both a smartphone and external headphones to function.
This headset, which requires a smartphone, is among the least expensive on the market. It has a field of view of 100 degrees, and features optics correction and three degrees of freedom movement tracking.
With a better-than-average field of view of 100 degrees, this headset is cheap for its class. The sturdy body is made of foam, leather and plastic.
Durovis Dive 5
Cheaper than the average headset that requires a smartphone, the Durovis Dive 5 comes up 10 percent short of the industry average with a 90-degree field of view.
Compatible with both iOS and Android, it works with a maximum phone screen size of five inches.
VRKiX VR 3D Glasses
Although this set is cheap for its class, its field of view is limited to just 85 degrees, which is 15 percent narrower than the average. It requires external headphones and features proprietary controller compatibility.
LeTV LeVR COOL1
Although it is more expensive than the average headset in its class, this unit has a limited field of view of 90 degrees. It features LCD display technology and a 38mm lens size.
The Ling VR weighs just 0.7 pounds, but is limited by a relatively narrow 90-degree field of view. It features optics correction and three degrees of freedom movement tracking.
Although it is pricey for a headset that doesn't require a smartphone, this unit has a wide 110-degree field of view and a fast refresh rate of 90 Hz. It comes with built-in 3D audio.
The HTC Vive has a built-in processing source, which means it doesn't have to be connected to an outside computer to function. It features full 1080p resolution and OLED display technology.