Virtual reality is a trend that is here to stay, believes Timm Lutter from the Bitkom branch of industry.
For many users, the entry is a favorable frame, into which a smartphone is inserted. Especially Panoramafotos or 360-degree videos can be seen well.
But there are also three major providers for high-end VR: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Playstation VR (PS VR). “In the high-end area, the glasses are equipped with their own screen and are connected to a computer or game console,” says Lutter.
This makes them more powerful and the presentation more impressive. Here a comparison of the current systems:
In a VR glasses, the screen or the screens sit directly in front of the nose. If you ever sat in front of a TV, you know the problem. Martin Gobbin: “You can see the individual pixels or rows of pixels, and that is quite annoying.” The resolution is, therefore, important for an impressive VR experience.
Here, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have the nose in front of the Playstation VR: Both PC devices have a resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels. PS VR on the other hand only with Full HD and 1920 x 1080 pixels. Also in the field of view, Rift and Vive with an angle of 110 degrees are somewhat better than the PS VR with 100 degrees.
“The exciting thing about VR technology is that you can intervene interactively, that you feel really present and not just watch and be there,” says Gobbin.
The more you can move in the virtual reality, the better. The HTC Vive offers the most freedom of movement: it comes with two small cubes that scan the space around the user with their sensors. In this room the players can move freely.
When users reach the limits of the room, glowing lines are displayed. So no one runs against a couch or shelf. Rift and PS VR are more suitable for sitting. They also determine sensors and cameras where the user is currently located.
The specially developed controllers are a big difference between the VR racks for smartphones and the high-end devices. “They have the advantage of being able to interact with their hands in virtual reality,” says Lutter. For example, you could paint a picture, take or assemble objects.
Although you can control all devices with a normal console controller – but it feels more real with the input devices. While these controllers are supplied directly with the HTC Vive, they must be purchased from Oculus Rift and PS VR. Sony uses the luminous move controller known from dance games. The most compact and with about 200 euro most expensive controller is available at the Rift.
The best hardware does nothing without a good software. The high-end VR devices are mainly designed for playing. For each pair of glasses, there are several dozen offers in the various software stores. “Flight simulations and a view from the cockpit are very popular with players,” says Lutter.
The entry into the high-end VR devices is not cheap. The complete package of the HTC Vive including controllers and room sensors is 899 euros. The headset of the Oculus Rift including an Xbox controller cost 699 euros plus around 200 euros for the touch controllers and 89 euros for up to three sensors, to move like in the Vive also in the room.
In addition, Vive and Rift have the necessary PC hardware: “You need a very expensive game PC with a top graphics card,” says Warentest expert Gobbin.
The most affordable high-end VR solution is Playstation VR.
The headset is priced at 400 euros, plus the Playstation 4 camera for 60 euros and the move controller in a double pack for 80 euros. PlayStation VR runs with both variants of the Playstation 4 – Sony promises on the more powerful PS 4 Pro for around 400 euros a better VR experience than on the PS 4 Slim for about 300 euros.
However, the costs are likely to subside in the future. “As with all new technologies, it can be assumed that prices will compete and decline,” says Lutter. The necessary graphics cards have already been significantly cheaper with new generations than when the VR headsets are released.
Again and again there are also cheap offers from electronics retailers. “Since the high-end devices are comparatively expensive for many end users, there is the possibility that you book a half an hour or hour VR,” says Lutter.