There's no doubt that virtual reality has been getting a lot of attention from manufacturers who try to outdo each other as far as creating the best pair of VR headsets is concerned.
One integral component that is usually considered when designing a VR headset is the wearable's capacity to provide an immersive gaming experience. After all, there's nothing like gaming that lets you distinguish which stuff is happening in real life and which one is merely part of gameplay.
While the market is slowly getting filled with a number of models to choose from, narrowing things down to the best pair can be a daunting task. One reason could be the common thinking that VR headsets are not pocket-friendly. However, both Google and Samsung have something to offer that can truly change this notion.
Google Cardboard is often touted as the company's accidental success. Just a year after it launched the first version in 2014, Google has managed to add some notable tweaks to the wearable to allow support for all Android devices and even the iPhone.
Google wanted to get a huge market share by selling as many Google Cardboards as it could. There's also the desire to add more apps and games for the platform, which can be achieved by using the new Cardboard SDK for Android and Unity. Currently, there are now more than 30 compatible apps and games available in the Play Store that users can explore, which isn't much but it is a good start.
The most affordable pair costs merely $20, which is good for anyone who's new to the world of virtual reality but is aiming to be a serious fan in the end.
Tech Times reported in December that Google added customization options to the Cardboard and designed the wearable to become more personalized, allowing users to have a VR headset that suits their needs.
Google also promised to add a viewer calibration tool into the headset's SDK. Through this, users will be able to identify their viewer's base and focal length. These can be fully integrated with every Cardboard app, which is expected to adjust accordingly.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung designed the Gear VR with the new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge devices in mind. Its first iteration has been proudly dubbed by the company the "Innovator Edition." Launching a new model a bit too soon after the first one may seem odd, but Samsung has its own valid reasons for the decision.
Design-wise, the new Gear VR seems identical to the Note 4 Gear VR version. The difference becomes obvious, however, after one touches the wearable. It's absolutely smaller and lighter than its predecessor. There's also an improvement on the straps, which allows the wearable to feel more comfortable than before.
The biggest change is the new Gear VR's built-in fan, which has ultimately solved the heating issues seen in the original version. The new feature has definitely increased gaming time from 20 minutes to almost one hour. It is, however, recommended that brightness be set to "10" in order to enjoy a full hour of gaming. Stretching beyond such time would require one to sit next to an external fan and have the breeze aim at the wearable.
Similar to the Note 4 version, the GS6 and GS6 Edge's Gear VR headset delivers a fantastic virtual reality experience. This remains true even with the slightly lower FOV found in the new model. The new Gear VR also boasts a higher pixel density and produces a little less "screen door effect." This can be attributed to the smaller screens found in the GS6 and GS6 Edge, which are actually 20 percent smaller than the Note 4's, although both flagships carry the same Quad HD resolution.
Apart from having a volume control and a touch panel, the new Gear VR also comes with a separate gamepad for users who are keen on exploring beyond the world of 3D or perhaps playing games that only require simple head tracking. The VR experience begins soon after the phone is slid into the casing.
The Gear VR for S6 is now out on the market and has a price point of $200.
Choosing the best low-cost VR headset is more about personal preferences than about cost, hardware and performance. Both headsets also offer portability.
For those who are into creating things and are looking into having several pairs that can be worn at the same period of time, the Cardboard is one's best bet. Likewise, those who want their unboxing experience to immediately move straight into a virtual gaming phase, the smart choice should be Samsung's Gear VR.