Tech Times explained the differences between virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality last December and, while we are all looking forward to more stable advanced technologies such as AR and MR, VR is dominating the consumer market.
Established technology companies are competing in the VR race as many handheld devices released recently are compatible with VR headsets, and there are many headsets available in the market now.
The Google Cardboard is an excellent piece of VR headset for those who are curious with the technology. What makes the Google Cardboard appealing is its cheap price tag of $15. Unofficial viewers that are compatible with the Google Cardboard smartphone application range from $5 to $70.
The official Cardboard headset is basically just what its name says: a cardboard equipped with inexpensive lenses. Users just have to fold up the Cardboard and insert their mobile phones in. Developers can even use the Google Cardboard SDK to create their own virtual worlds.
For the Cardboard's cheap price, users really can't complain much because it still delivers on its VR promise.
Of course Google would target markets separately. The Google Daydream VR headset is not as cheap as Cardboard, but it's a good mid-range headset for consumers at $79 (on sale right now at $49) in the Google Store.
Daydream View is made with a soft and breathable fabric that is removable and washable so users will be comfortable using it. People with glasses also don't need to worry because it fits faces snugly even when you are wearing glasses. Another plus factor is that more smartphone devices compatible with Daydream View are coming out.
Oculus Rift is a notable name in VR because of the sheer power and experience the headset provides. For $599, users will have a full immersive experience with the Oculus Rift and it is so responsive, the world you are seeing may not even be virtual at all.
There are also games dedicated to the Oculus Rift so that is an extra fun ride. The only downside is that the full immersive experience without lags only apply to those with powerful gaming PCs.
The HTC Vive is a good competitor for the Oculus Rift not only for the amazing immersive experience it brings but also for its price. At $799, the HTC Vive gives users a fantastic and very real VR experience.
Just like the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive requires a very powerful gaming PC, so if you don't already own one, the Vive is not really something to look forward to given its price tag.
Sony PlayStation VR
The Sony PlayStation has been around in the gaming industry for a while and the consoles are doing really well, that's why it was no surprise when Sony advanced to virtual reality.
The PlayStation VR, which costs $399, is already compatible with the PlayStation 4 and its controllers, so PS4 owners can enjoy VR without downloading new applications just to experience it. The downside is that it is not as powerful as the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
Samsung Gear VR
At only $99, Samsung Gear VR offers a good library of VR games and applications. The Gear headset is comfortable to wear and has better sensors than the Google Cardboard - something that should be expected considering the price difference - but it also offers an immersive VR experience just like the more expensive Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The downside is that it is currently a smartphone-based headset, so while you don't need a powerful gaming PC, you'll be limited to what smartphone VR games can offer.