Jan 1, 2018

VR Guide 2018

Virtual Reality Equipment Overview

Yaroslav Kaplan
In 2018 it is difficult to find someone who has never heard of virtual reality. Those who have not yet acquired their own VR glasses have at least tried them on at expos or VR clubs.

Along with the growing user demand, the equipment offering is increasing as well. Every month new systems come out which are difficult to grasp especially if you are just in the early stages of your VR introduction.

We created a guide for VR equipment, that is already available on the market or will come out in 2018.
All solutions for virtual reality can be divided into three categories: Mobile, Desktop and Standalone.
VR в 2018 году
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1

Mobile VR

Solutions where the Smartphone is Responsible for the Image Treatment and Display.
Google Cardboard for smartphones with a screen up to 6 inches and a button
Google Cardbord — the great grandfather of VR, from which everything began. It is a cardboard box with lenses in which you insert your smartphone. You can buy ready-made glasses or make them yourself since Google made detailed instruction publicly available. Another option is to buy inexpensive plastic glasses from an abundance of Chinese manufacturers.


Pros: the cheapest (from $ 5) method to try virtual reality. Any modern Android or iOS smartphone will do.

Cons: pretty limited experience i.e. you can revolve around your own axis and perform simple actions.
Google Daydream View 2 with smartphone and remote controler
Google DayDream — yet another attempt by Google to make VR mainstream. The Daydream View helmet is made of cloth, which positively impacts the weight and ventilation of the smartphone. Priced at around $ 100 with a controller, which can be used to control VR content such as choosing menu options, teleportation within the VR landscape or shooting in games.


Pros: better display quality, availability of a controller, wide content offering

Cons: only a limited number of flagship Android smartphones are supported, cannot move in VR landscape.
Samsung Gear VR 2017 with controller
Samsung Gear VR — created in cooperation with Oculus, one of the leaders on the VR market. Six versions of the device have come out since 2014 and, in 2017, the helmet came equipment with a controller. Over the past two years, Samsung has produced more than 8 billion Gear VR (some of them for free), which made the helmet the most popular VR solution in the world. The cost — starting at $ 100


Pros: pretty good display quality, availability of controller, wide content offering
Cons: only supports Samsung smartphones
Do you have an idea for VR / AR project? Let's discuss it!

2

Desktop VR

A Solution Where an Outside Device is Responsible for Image Treatment and Display
Playstation VR with camera and controllers. Resolution
960 × 1080 for each eye. Viewing angle 100 °
PlayStation VR — released in 2016, the device is geared towards PlayStation console owners, which is used as a processor. Priced at $ 400, PSVR quickly rose to the top of sales leaderboards, however, this is due in large part not to quality, but financial gain. In contrast to its competitors, there is no need to purchase an expensive VR — ready computer.


Pros: no need to buy a powerful computer if you have a PlayStation 4

Cons: low resolution quality, narrow field tracking, uncomfortable controllers


Oculus Rift with touch controllers and sensors. Resolution
1080 × 1200 for each eye. Viewing angle 110 °.
Oculus Rift — the version of the device, which began with crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The company was bought in 2014 by Facebook for $ 2 billion. Recently, the price for the Oculus Rift was lowered to $ 400 and is one of the most popular VR solutions in the world. It provides the user with full scale tracking of up to 2.5×2.5 meters. Previous versions were supplied with Xbox controllers, however, nowadays, it comes with its own controller called Touch, which many consider to be the most ergonomic on the market.


Pros: quality display, comfortable controllers, wide content selection

Cons: a powerful VR-ready computer is needed, wired sensors
HTC Vive with controllers and base stations. Resolution 1080 × 1200 for each eye. Viewing angle 110 °.
HTC Vive — the main rival of the Oculus Rift on the desktop VR market. It allows users to move around an area of 5×5 meters thanks to best in class base stations (trackers), which are mounted to the walls or stands. It is for Vive that most content has been created on the online store Stream. Thanks to a third-party solution TPCAST, Vive's helmet can become wireless. The device has become cheaper over the summer, the current price is $ 600.


Pros: pin-point tracking over a wide area, wide content selection

Cons: a powerful VR-ready computer is needed, difficult indoor installation
Update 09.01. 2018: HTC has unveiled a new flagship model of the Vive Pro at the CES expo in Las Vegas. Details
Samsung Odyssey with controllers. Resolution 1440 × 1600 for each eye. Viewing angle 110 °
Samsung Odyssey — one of five helmets on the Windows Mixed Reality platform offered in 2017. The other four were from Dell, Acer, Lenovo and Asus, all priced between $ 400 — $ 500. The all use inside-out tracking technology, which allows you to ditch exterior trackers. Two depth cameras are located on the helmet itself and "understand" its location in space and they can "see" the controllers. Computer vision can do all of this without losing the controllers even when they are beyond the camera's vision, for example when removing a virtual arrow from your back.


Pros: best current display quality, easy installation without trackers, content for Rift and Vive is supported

Cons: a powerful VR-ready computer is needed, still connected by wires
System Requirements for Desktop VR:
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphic card or AMD Radeon RX 480
  • Intel i5-4590 processor or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X
  • 8 GB RAM
  • HDMI 1.4
  • USB 3.0
  • Windows 10

3

Standalone VR

All-in-one Solutions Where the Glasses Themselves are Responsible for Treatment and Display
No standalone VR device is currently available in stores, therefore in this section we will discuss what is known as of January 1st 2018.
Daydream Contours of Lenovo Mirage Solo and Daydream controller
Lenovo Mirage Solo — the first autonomous device based on Google’s Daydream platform. It does not require a smartphone or a computer to work. The Seurat rendering system is used, which allows for a high display quality, comparable with a desktop solution thanks to 3D model optimization. Based on the available contours, the helmet will come equipped with a controller á la the mobile Daydream solution. The helmet from Lenovo has been certified in the USA in December of 2017 and is expected to be in stores at the start of 2018.


HTC Vive Focus with a controller. The resolution is 2160x1200. Viewing angle 110 °.
HTC Vive Focus — Originally announced as a standalone helmet on the Daydream platform, but at the end of 2017, HTC unexpectedly declined to cooperate with Google and presented its product as an independent solution for the Chinese market.

The Vive Focus is the first stand-alone motion-tracking device with six degrees of freedom without the need for external sensors.

Miracast technology will be supported to broadcast pictures on the TV.

Deliveries are scheduled for January 2018, although it remains unknown whether the product will be officially shipped to European and American markets.


Oculus Go with controllers. The resolution is 2560x1440. Viewing angle 110 °. .
Oculus Go — stand-alone virtual reality helmet, presented in October 2017 as part of the annual conference for Oculus Connect developers. Go has built-in speakers that provide surround sound. There are no sensors for tracking the position and movements of the user in the device, but a small controller is supplied in the kit.
The manufacturer claims that the quality and performance is on par with a desktop solution at a price of only $ 199. The release of the device is scheduled for the beginning of 2018.


Helmet prototype of Oculus Santa Cruz
Oculus Santa Cruz — a prototype of a new generation of wireless helmets, presented at the same Oculus Connect conference. Like Windows MR-based devices, Santa Cruz uses inside-out tracking technology for orientation in space. It is a completely autonomous and wireless solution. Santa Cruz will take a place in the Oculus product line between Go and Rift.

The version for developers will be available on the market in 2018. Information about the user version is not yet known.




Conclusions

1
The first introduction to VR on a limited budget is best with the Samsung Gear VR, especially if you already have a modern smartphone from this manufacturer.
2
The best experience in VR at the beginning of 2018 is provided by the Samsung Odyssey, thanks to the absence of external trackers, convenient controllers and high-resolution images.
3
The future is in wireless all-in-one solutions. The most anticipated is the Oculus Santa Cruz device. However, before its release, you should pay attention to the HTC Vive Focus and Lenovo Mirage Solo.
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Tags: Google Cardboard, Daydream, Samsung, Gear VR, Odyssey, HTC, Vive, Focus, Oculus, Rift, Go, Santa Cruz, Microsoft MR, Lenovo, Mirage Solo, HP, Dell, Acer, Asus
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