What’s the best virtual reality headset?

It now seems even more than ever that Virtual Reality is truly the next step in gaming.

So we have decided to take a look at the best virtual reality headset’s due to come out.

After the admittedly quite awful attempts by Nintendo and others with products like the Virtual Boy, we appear to finally be ready to delve into a virtual world.

There are three real standout contenders for the best virtual reality headset right now, with offerings from Sony, Valve/HTC, and Oculus.

Oculus Rift – Crescent Bay

The Oculus Rift was the first device to really spark the renewed interest the gaming community now has in Virtual Reality. Originally a Kickstarter project in August 2012, the Rift has come a long way and is close to a full consumer version being released.

The latest model, named Crescent Bay, features 960×1080 resolution for each eye, giving a total resolution of 1920×1080.

This is the same as on the DK2 model but comes with added improvements such as being lighter overall and having more accurate tracking capabilities. Although no official weight has been given, it will be lower than the DK2’s 440g/1lb.

Perhaps the greatest feature of the crescent bay model is the addition of 360 tracking courtesy of the LEDs in the revised headband’s design.

Finally:

Crescent Bay comes with its own set of headphones attached. These specially designed headphones offer what Oculus are calling “RealSpace3D”. This will increase the already incredible level of immersion by tuning the sound to give a perfect sense of the users surroundings.

Crescent Bay’s screens run at a 95Hz refresh rate, giving buttery smooth looking visuals and eliminating increased risk in motion sickness.

A rear view of the Crescent Bay, showing off its rear LEDs.

A rear view of the Crescent Bay, showing off its back-facing LEDs and built in audio.

Sony Project Morpheus

Announced at 2014’s Game Developers Conference, Sony’s Project Morpheus is a much newer face on the VR market.

As of now:

Project Morpheus is a prototype and may see revisions just like the Oculus Rift has.

It uses a screen at a resolution of 1920×1080, identical to that of Crescent Bay/DK2. However, one of the more notable differences is its ability to display content at 120Hz, a good deal higher than that of the Crescent Bay’s.

This will give it an edge in terms of smoothness and natural looking motion. At present, there’s been no word of Project Morpheus becoming available for use on any other platform than the PS4. Sony have also said that the device will be able to output an unwarped version of the signal to a TV for spectators to view.

Other exact specifications aren’t known, being a prototype with no form of crowdfunding, it might be a while until we see some real numbers to help to compare it against its competitors.

Sony's PS4 exclusive VR device - Project Morpheus

Sony’s PS4 exclusive VR device – Project Morpheus

HTC Vive/SteamVR

The latest contender for the title of  best virtual reality headset comes in the form of a combined effort between Steam developers Valve and mobile phone giant HTC.

The Vive was officially revealed during Valve’s keynote at the Mobile World Congress during March 2015. Using two lower resolution screens as opposed to one screen with each half dedicated to one eye, the Vive has the highest total resolution of all three devices.

Weighing in at 1080×1200 per eye, visuals should look significantly sharper. However, these screens have a refresh rate of only 90Hz, allowing it to output the lowest number of frames per second out of all three headsets.

This is only a minor difference, and likely much higher than the monitor you’re using right now meaning it shouldn’t noticeably impact immersion while playing games.

Manufacturers HTC have said that the Vive can operate perfectly in a 4.5m x 4.5m space (15ft x 15ft) if used with what they’re calling a “Lighthouse” base station. Various pieces of information released on the Steam store page indicate that the Vive may be slated for a November 2015 release date.

A joint effort from Valve and HTC - known as HTC Vive or SteamVR

A joint effort from Valve and HTC – known as the HTC Vive or SteamVR

What do you think is the best reality headset?

Perhaps you already own an Oculus… Do you plan to pick up Project Morpheus for your PS4 or a HTC Vive to go along with your new Steam Box? Let us know!

It certainly seems to us as if VR really is the future of entertainment, and we’re very excited to try out these three devices and any others that emerge in the future.



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