WE/AR Blog The Best HMD: The Battle for Your Head Has Started
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The Best HMD: The Battle for Your Head Has Started

By Veronika Petrenko
10 min read

 It’s not a secret that Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are fighting for you.

They want you to throw away your beloved smartphone and replace it with some ultra stylish high-end HMD. Tech giants invest billions in VR/AR/MR development, acquire small startups, and experiment with new forms and materials. That is why new HMDs hit shelves and doorsteps each month, and it’s difficult to understand which one of them is actually worth your attention (and your money).

To help you to find your perfect HMD, we’ve created this list of top 10 devices for experiencing virtual, augmented, and mixed reality here and now. You should understand that they all are incredible, but each one of them is perfect for some exact purpose: gaming, business, therapy, fashion photoset, training.

We will enlighten you on the best modern AR/VR/MR goggles to answer the questions that bother you: “What is the best VR headset?”, “What headset should I use for the presentation in MR?”, “What HMD is the best for a gamer?”

#1 HTC Vive

Number One in the list of the best HMDs is HTC Vive.We are Vive fans, Vive lovers, and Vive evangelists in a sense. Why? The answer is pretty simple: Vive is the single HMD that gives users 100% immersive virtual reality experience.

Have you tried it?

It’s transferring your exhausted body to the places you’ve haven’t been before. And realistic sensory stimulation is transforming you into a new person: it turns out you have enough energy to climb, jump, and shoot enemies from the arrow even after 20 hours at work. In a virtual reality with HTC Vive, you are free and full of life. In other words, HTC Vive is the best HMD in terms of resolution, audio, the level of immersion.

But HTC Vive has its drawbacks for sure. It’s quite expensive and few people can afford it. Apart from that, HTC Vive must be paired with a high-end PC which is three times as expensive as this HMD itself. Besides, HTC Vive comes with lots of long cables that twist and capture a player like a big octopus. Yet HTC is going to launch a wireless adapter soon, and it will definitely be a competitive advantage.

HTC Vive Pro – better Version of HTC Vive

Of course, HTC is aware of the major problems connected to HTC Vive that is why it introduced an updated wireless device – Vive Pro this year. Can you imagine HTC Vive without cables and with 78%  better resolution and improved audio system? Well, it exists though it is only accessible to Asian market so far, we don’t have to wait for long.

#2 Oculus Rift

In the race of HMDs, Oculus Rift is one the second place after HTC Vive. Oculus Rift can be your one-way ticket to the awesome virtual experience for a more reasonable price. But this device also needs a powerful PC to help you dive into virtual reality, and your MacBook won’t do the job.

Oculus Rift created by Facebook is basically a pair of plastic goggles that hold two lenses in front of two displays. Yet, the headset can offer a lot: 2160 x 1200 resolution, OLED display ( the same as Vive, besides) and  360-degree immersive experiences which are very realistic and trustworthy.

There are several minuses of Oculus Rift, of course. Lack of controllers is the first minus that pops up, and lack of social-friendly experience in utilization can be the second.  Above all, a user will have to install apps from a desktop unable to do it inside the HMD. But still, Oculus Rift is a fair bargain for its money.

#3 Magic Leap

Magic Leap is the company which generated tons of rumors, most probably because it is the largest venture-capital funded company. The thing is New Zealand business managed to raise $ 2 bln (and no product was released so far, isn’t it funny?) to produce the goggles we all are waiting.

In other words, it’s a new sensation this year and the major intrigue of the VR/AR/MR community – mixed reality goggles of a new generation. Apart from its steampunk design (which many people find repulsive), it can boast with lots of sophisticated features.

Its creator promises that it Magic Leap headset will have stunning lightfield technology that can make 3D objects not only look real but feel real. This feature makes Magic Leap a perfect tool for visualization of the complex saturated objects. Apart from that, Magic Leap goggles show no signs of even the slightest slowdowns and stuttering. Experts compare Magic Leap to HoloLens prognosing that Magic Leap can push the last out of the market when they are released. But when? The world is waiting.

#4 HoloLens

HoloLens is a unique mixed reality device created by Microsoft which offers users perfect holographic experience. Some VR/AR/MR connoisseurs claim that the company used the word “mixed” in the name of the product to market it more effectively. In reality, HoloLens is nothing but a super-polished augmented reality device that works immaculately. It’s the gadget featuring inside-out tracking and making your mind forget about wearing anything on your head pretty soon.

The main advantage of HoloLens is its ability to overlay digital information on the physical environment seamlessly. More than that, HoloLens doesn’t require connection to a standalone computer because this headset is basically a standalone computer itself.

However, HoloLens is the most expensive device known to VR/AR/MR community because it costs around $3000 What does a user get for his/her money? HoloLens, gives a perfect picture, doesn’t have any glitches, and never loses the sense of positioning.  It’s perfect in all the senses that is why it suits perfectly for big enterprises that want to create impressive presentations to leave investors or clients speechless.

HoloLens announced that it’s launching a second generation of HMD which will be connected to the cloud AI.

#5  Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR is the HMD that doesn’t have its own display and works in pair with Samsung smartphones (Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Galaxy S8/S8+). So its main advantage for most users is its accessibility: anyone with Samsung smartphone can experience VR here and now. No need to buy a computer or connect it with dozens of wires.

This HMD is said to be the most portable device on the market: you can put it in your purse and have a walk around the town. For serious and dedicated gamers, Samsung Gear VR is like a “light” version of a high-end device, such as HTC Vive or Oculus. 

So if you’re thinking about some affordable device which doesn’t require additional efforts from you and can work even when you’re in a bath, this is the device for you.

#6 Acer Windows Mixed Reality

It’s another device from Microsoft with which the company wants to hit VR/AR market. It looks like this device is just a more affordable version for those who want to experiment with Windows Mixed Reality and can’t afford Hololens. That’s why the company partnered with Acer to create the best HMD to use with their platform.

Compared to the VR dinosaurs, Acer Windows Mixed Reality can boast with a really high resolution: 2880 õ 1440.Unlike HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, this HMD ( the name is too long, Acer, can you make it shorter?)uses an LCD display.

What does it say about these goggles? Well, it’s a good device but you can’t impress anyone with it. There is some insignificant but still noticeable smearing. Yet Acer Windows Mixed Reality  can be proud of its inside-out tracking system which basically means the awareness of the system of its position.

#7 Sony PlayStation VR

Sony PlayStation VR doesn’t work without PlayStation console. So creating it the company basically said: “Forget about VR from Sony if you are not a true gamer!” Well, yes, Sony PlayStation VR is a perfect HMD for devoted gamers, that is true. And it can offer a lot to VR lovers: 5.7 inch OLED display, 1920 x 1080 high-definition screen resolution, a 100-degree field of view. What does it mean for not a geeky user?

It means realistic experience but not complete immersion. It also means an excellent device for those who want comfort because it’s easy to connect Sony PlayStation VR to Console. It means playing your favorite Sony games as well.

Some words about its design: Sony PlayStation VR is a device from the Star Wars universe, it looks stylish and futuristic. Besides, it seems to be a perfect device for photo sessions.

# 8 Google Daydream VR

It’s easy to get absorbed by VR especially if you have this soft and affordable device- Google Daydream VR, and Android smartphone. This HMD is comfortable and pleasant to use, and it’s also pleasant to touch. But the main advantage of this device is its price.  This headset can be your fast and easy choice if are not ready to spend much on HMD but you want to watch 360 videos or play VR games.

Above all, Google Daydream VR has one obvious benefit- a controller. That what makes it different from the Samsung Gear VR for example.

# 9 Totem from Vrvana

Apple was very skeptical about AR/VR for a very long time until it invested in a Canadian startup called Vrvana. The company is famous for creating its first of a kind “extended reality headset” which combines VR and AR. More than that, Totem will be able to overlay fully opaque, true-color animations on the top of the real world. So the chances are high that the reality broadcasted by Totem will be more real than the reality you observe.

The headset is said to be released in 2020 and VR/AR/MR community is waiting for it.

#10 Looxid VR

What is the best VR headset? It’s a difficult question. Yet I do know what VR headset is the most mind-blowing and revolutionary. Long story short: Looxid VR is the device that will track your eye movements and brain activity.

So this device has EEG (electroencephalography)  trackers wired into the device can’t impress common users like you and me.  This HMD will basically know how you feel about the things you see in virtual reality. But they will be a real discovery for psychiatrists, psychologists, and all the other specialists who use VR for therapeutic purposes.

Why do you need goggles?

Do you want to chill watching your favorite movie in 360 degrees? Climb dreamy skyscrapers? Watch NBA game from the VIP seats? Treat yourself from annoying agoraphobia. Meditate in a Japanese garden? Explore the mysteries of the space? Have a walk around the imaginary 3D world? Float in the boat down the river full of flowers somewhere in a Thailand? Shoot guns at zombies or vampires? Scuba dive surrounded by myriads of colorful fishes? Visit Coachella to listen and dance to your favorite song?

Choose HMD and all these mind-shattering experiences are available for you!

You wouldn’t fly on Mars in some old-school rocket, you would choose the most gimmicky spaceship. Right? Your HMD is your spaceship to deliver you to the parallel dimensions. If you want to start your safe and exciting trip to Virtual Reality and land on Mars in time, place a bet on a reliable high-end HMD.

The choice of HMDs is stunning: you can experiment with prices, devices, and effects to meet all your needs.