Tech­nol­ogy: Which VR de­vice suits you best?

Which VR de­vice is right for you? By Joshua Brustein

Bloomberg Businessweek (Asia) - - CONTENTS -

1. Google Card­board Price: $15

You’ll need: A phone with at least An­droid 4.1 or iOS 8.0 Avail­abil­ity: Out now The de­tails: Google’s VR de­vice is ba­si­cally just some folded card­board, two glass lenses, and a slot for a smart­phone. What more would you ex­pect for $15? You hold it up to your face in­stead of strap­ping it on, and mostly it’s used for watch­ing 360-de­gree videos (refugee camps, po­lit­i­cal ral­lies, etc.), not play­ing games. If $15 is too ex­pen­sive, Google has in­struc­tions for mak­ing your own head­set at google.com/get/card­board.

Buy it if: You want to see what the fuss is all about with­out drop­ping se­ri­ous coin. 2. Sam­sung Gear VR

Price: $100 You’ll need: A Sam­sung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, or Note 5 Avail­abil­ity: Out now The de­tails: Sam­sung’s head­set is like Google Card­board deluxe. It has bet­ter pad­ding, sen­sors that can tell when you’re ac­tu­ally wear­ing it, and a but­ton and a touch­pad on the side so you’re able to nav­i­gate through apps and menus with­out tak­ing it off. You can add a wire­less video game con­troller, but Sam­sung re­ally talks up its im­mer­sive moviewatch­ing “ex­pe­ri­ences”—3D ver­sions of hits like The Hunger Games and The Mar­tian. More movies and games are be­ing made avail­able for Gear VR all the time, but the qual­ity of the con­tent is un­even.

Buy it if: You’re car­ry­ing around a Sam­sung phone and want more than Google Card­board but don’t feel like spring­ing for a high-end head­set. 3. Sony PlayS­ta­tion VR

Price: $400 You’ll need: A PlayS­ta­tion con­sole ($350) and PlayS­ta­tion cam­era ($50 to $60) Avail­abil­ity: Oc­to­ber The de­tails: Sony’s de­vice is the low­est end of the high-end head­sets, which use ex­ter­nal cam­eras to track the move­ment of your head and hands. (Sony’s model has lower screen res­o­lu­tion.) These cam­eras al­low PlayS­ta­tion VR to change your per­spec­tive as you move your head around. Sony says it will have 50 games when the head­set comes out; it’s boast­ing about an ex­clu­sive Star Wars game, al­though it isn’t clear whether that will be ready on Day One. Buy it if: You have a PlayS­ta­tion, and you’re will­ing to wait a few months.

4. Ocu­lus Rift

Price: $600 You’ll need: A se­ri­ous gam­ing PC. Ocu­lus VR-en­dorsed mod­els such as the Asus G11CD cost $1,050 or more be­cause they have pow­er­ful graph­ics cards. Avail­abil­ity: On sale but back­o­rdered un­til Au­gust, and cus­tomers are lim­ited to one per per­son The de­tails: Ocu­lus Rift set off the VR craze when it launched as a Kick­starter project in 2012. Then Face­book paid $2 bil­lion to buy the startup be­fore it had even re­leased a prod­uct. Like many a ver­sion 1.0, Ocu­lus is a work in progress. The com­pany is de­sign­ing a pair of mo­tion-sens­ing con­trollers that you’ll hold in your hands, but for now it ships with a sim­ple Xbox con­troller. Ocu­lus comes with a game called Lucky’s Tale, star­ring a car­toon fox; about 30 other ti­tles are avail­able, rang­ing from $5 to $60. Buy it if: You’re ready for the rev­o­lu­tion.

5. Vive VR

Price: $800 You’ll need: A se­ri­ous gam­ing PC. Vive en­dorses ones such as the HP Envy, which costs $999. Avail­abil­ity: On sale but back­o­rdered un­til June The de­tails: HTC and video game de­vel­oper Valve col­lab­o­rated to make the most am­bi­tious of the first­wave head­sets. Most head­sets re­quire the wearer to re­main sta­tion­ary, but Vive VR is de­signed to be used while walking around. It also in­cludes hand track­ers, so you can con­trol games with nat­u­ral move­ments; in Au­dioshield, you use your hands to block in­com­ing orbs from hit­ting your body while danc­ing to mu­sic. Sev­eral dozen other games are avail­able through Steam, Valve’s plat­form for PC games. Buy it if: You want the ab­so­lute top of the mar­ket, and you’re will­ing to pay for it.

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