Once nothing more than a distant idea, virtual reality has exploded onto the scene in recent years. It’s working its way into our lives in many different ways, from gaming and entertainment to picking out your next vacation destination. The gaming adoption of VR headsets is set to drive a five-fold sales boom by 2022, while VR and AR combined is expected to become an $80 billion market by 2025, encompassing not just leisure and entertainment but business, too.
In fact, business uptake of VR is growing fast, and some sources expect the business industry to surpass the leisure market as VR’s main use by 2021.
What could VR in business look like? In truth, the possibilities are endless. Virtual reality creates a completely digital world in which the viewer is fully immersed, which makes it particularly promising as a training tool — particularly for hands-on roles in engineering, architecture, construction, design, and medicine.
In the corporate world, VR has the ability to enhance virtual office and remote working practices by immersing employees in a virtual workplace. Instead of physically going to a workplace, workers simply sit down at the desk in their home office, put on a VR headset, and see a virtual workspace or meeting room complete with life-like avatars of clients and coworkers.
Best VR Headsets to Get in 2018
There are already countless ways in which virtual reality can be used, and we’re only just beginning to understand its full potential. But whether you’re using VR for business, or for entertainment, it’s essential to get the best headset to suit your needs and your budget. As we close out 2018, here’s a rundown of the best VR headsets currently on the market.
After a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012, which raised $2.4 million for the development of the Rift gaming headset, Oculus VR credits with re-igniting the current wave of virtual reality mania. Although Oculus is no longer the sole player in terms of VR headsets, many still consider its Rift technology the best on the market. It’s a PC-based system that’s best for gamers, utilizing Touch controllers that let the user move freely and immerse themselves in new worlds through hundreds of games and experiences.
The HTC Vive is considered one of the most comprehensive virtual reality systems currently available. It boasts an immersive first-person experience for whole-room VR with 360-degree controllers, headset tracking, directional audio, HD haptic feedback, and external sensors. Its SteamVR Tracking allows you to set physical boundaries based on the size of your room or workstation, and remain safely within your play area. Initially one of the most expensive headsets available, the HTC Vive has dropped in price to match its Oculus Rift rival.
Compatible with PS4 consoles, the Sony PlayStation VR is easy to plug ‘n play and introduces gamers to a new PlayStation experience. You’ll need to buy the PlayStation Camera separately, and some reviewers note that the PlayStation VR is slightly less powerful than its main competitors, but due to the fact that it works directly with all PS4 consoles, it’s generally a lower cost to entry than most PC-based VR headsets. All in all, it’s a powerful virtual reality experience backed by motion control support from one of the best-loved producers in the gaming business.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
Powered by Google’s VR platform, Daydream, the motion-sensored Lenovo Mirage Solo is a standalone VR headset that’s fully wireless and smartphone-free. It offers unrivaled freedom of movement without the need to set up external sensors or trackers. While it lacks the Oculus Go’s huge range of games and experiences, it’s considered a more immersive experience thanks to its range of motion.
Backed by an extensive ecosystem of over 1000 apps, games, and experiences, the Oculus Go offers a huge range of streaming services through a standalone headset that doesn’t need a phone, PC or a console. It considers a good quality device with a more immersive experience than a mobile headset, and while it lacks the crisp definition, power and price tag of tethered VR headsets, it’s a fun and user-friendly wireless option that won’t break the bank.
Samsung Gear VR
Compatible with any Galaxy Smartphone, the Samsung Gear VR is a mobile virtual reality headset developed in collaboration with Oculus, which means players have access to a huge range of games, apps, and experiences on the Oculus platform. For the mobile market, the Samsung Gear is considered one of the best quality VR headsets currently available.
Google Daydream View
Available on Android for specific types of Android phones, the Google Daydream View can also connect with Chromecast and stream VR experiences onto your TV. The headset is light and comfortable and comes with a good selection of games and experiences. Overall it’s considered a good entry headset for those looking to try the VR experience without paying over the odds.
The Google Cardboard is a mobile VR headset that’s available on Android and iPhone, and it costs just a few dollars to buy. The most striking thing regarding the headset is that it’s made with actual cardboard. It’s Google’s way of creating a fun, functional and affordable VR experience that’s simple to use and highly accessible. It’s undoubtedly basic, but it works – and it’s a great way to try out the VR experience without splashing big bucks on a top of the range headset.
Oculus VR’s crowdfunded creation may have kick-started the new wave of impressive virtual reality experiences back in 2012, but in just a few years the market has evolved into a thriving, competitive industry with a fantastic range of headsets to suit many different tastes, purposes, and budgets.
Even so, the market is still very much in its infancy, and we’re excited to track its progress as emerging technologies continue to improve the current VR offering. Let us know which headset or VR experience is your favorite.