HTC Vive VR System

What is the best Virtual Reality System?

Virtual Reality has been well on its way to becoming a mainstream source of entertainment for some time now. In recent months, we’ve seen advancements in technology, and new devices come to market at unprecedented low prices, offering more affordable products to a much larger group of consumers.

But as the race continues between VR companies to bring the latest and greatest of devices to the public, some people are left a bit confused in the rising wave of selection. What is the best virtual reality system?

In this article, we’ll take a look at the (undated) release of two new headsets by HTC, the upcoming Spring release of the next headset by Oculus, and how to decide what the right VR system is for you.

But first …

If you want to know more about the History Of VR …

The history of virtual reality is a long and interesting one. If you haven’t read my latest VR articles, and want to learn more, you can find them here:

Why Oculus VR is the Leader of Virtual Reality Gaming This article will take you through the history of Oculus VR, and explain why they continue to be the industry leader in virtual reality gaming. Fun fact: Did you know that Oculus VR is owned by Facebook?

Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go This is a comparison article. While both products have great reviews and are no doubt worthy of your hard-earned money, the decision to buy one over the other lies in the debate of several factors, including setup, cost, mobility, and desired usage. Note that VR is not just for gaming, but for many types of experiences!

HTC Releases TWO New VR Headsets

HTC catches attention at CES2019

At an HTC press conference earlier this week, the company excitedly announced that it has not one, but two new headsets to kick off 2019.

Announced as the Vive Cosmos, and the Vive Pro Eye, these two (not yet available) headsets have already sparked a mix of excitement and confusion.

While everyone is left to wonder when the release date(s) may be, and at what cost these new devices will set us back, let’s review what information has been made public:

Vive Cosmos

The tethered VR system for computers, and ???

HTC describes the Cosmos as comfortable, easy to set up, and… tethered but mobile? We’re led to believe that at first release the Cosmos will tether to a compatible computer, but in the future it may have the ability to tether to other platforms, including Smartphones.

With completely redesigned hand controllers (that look an awful lot like an upgraded Oculus design), and a headset with multiple tracking cameras, HTC states that the Cosmos will not require any external tracking. This means less hardware to set up, and possible usage on the go… if indeed it can connect to a power source other than your at-home PC.

One unique feature the Cosmos boasts is a flip up screen, allowing users to step back into reality without having to entirely remove the headset. Convenient?

Here are the characteristics highlighted on the VIVE website:

  • out of the box hassle free set up
  • new soft, light, and breathable design materials
  • improved crystal-clear graphics with minimal SDE (screen door effect)
  • all new VIVE tracking system
  • flip up screen for fast in and out of VR transitions (need to take that phone call quick?)
  • responsive full tracking hand controllers

One of the complaints by Vive users in the past, as seen in varied customer reviews, has been the design of the headset.

Many have stated that after wearing the headset for even a short period of time, it becomes heavy and uncomfortable. It seems as though HTC took this feedback into consideration with the remodeled lighter “crown” design.

Let’s take a peek at headset #2 …

Vive Pro Eye

An Advanced VR Device For Advanced VR Experiences

The magic is in the name.

The Pro Eye uses precision eye tracking technology that analyzes and immediately responds to a users eye movements. The users eyes become tools of instant communication, resulting in the fastest reaction times possible. For example, this enables users to lock on to their target the second the target is in sight… before the hand controller is even aimed at it!

As the name also suggests, this is professional grade.

Here are the characteristics highlighted on the VIVE website:

  • newly designed ergonomic headset
  • precision eye tracking by use of LED sensors
  • enhanced optics that rank graphics among the sharpest on the market
  • highest quality 3D spacial sound
  • large scale tracking area (15 x 15 room scale) useful for multi-user VR usage

Now, let’s look at the headset that Oculus is releasing this year …

Oculus Quest

Due to the push of celebrity endorsed commercials throughout the Holiday season, Oculus has definitely made its brand known. The Oculus Go is the most affordable VR device on the market with some impressive stats to lend a favorable VR experience. While not the best choice for gaming, its mobility, and under $200 price tag, has brought this portable lightweight device into a lot of homes.

Oculus Go

Those VR fans looking for more gaming power from Oculus have opted to stick with the Rift, which is their tethered device currently running about $350 including the necessary sensors and hand controls.

Oculus Rift


The Oculus Quest, long rumored to drop into stores this Spring, is supposedly going to provide the best features of the Rift and Go combined. What does this mean?

Here are the characteristics highlighted on the Oculus website:

  • easy out of the box set up
  • wireless – no cables, no PC, no external trackers
  • Insight tracking that instantly reflects a user’s movements
  • precision Oculus Touch contollers
  • room scale for sitting, standing, multi-player usage
  • starting at $399 (They’ve already released price info!)

Oculus Quest

Is HTC the Future of VR?

HTC May Be Broadening Its Target Market

The Spring release of both HTC Vive headsets and the Oculus Quest, brings the greatest advancements in VR to market to date. In anticipation, its clear that there are two different roads being taken here in respect to marketing tactics.

Oculus may have led the charge in the development of modern VR technology, and bringing the most affordable devices to the market, but HTC, with its high-end devices seems to be closing in on their share of the “affordable to the masses” market as well, with the introduction of the Cosmos. With no current cost information its hard to say if that’s the case, but one can assume. Why else release TWO headsets, right?

As for the Pro Eye, expect that to come with a ‘Pro’ cost. With never before seen capabilities, the Pro Eye is targeting the most serious of VR users. Even people that already own the Vive Pro may be looking to upgrade.

So, What’s The Best Virtual Reality System?

How To Decide What The Right VR System Is For You

Like all products, it depends on what you’re looking for.

First time VR enthusiasts will be more than happy to experience the movie, chat, concert, and other activities offered by the affordable and portable Oculus Go.

Those who want a more powerful, yet affordable, gaming experience will opt for the Oculus Rift.

Seasoned VR users, really enthusiastic newbies, and those who have already dabbled in headsets such as the Vive Pro, will be listening closely for the release date of the Vive Pro Eye. They’ll be happy to spend top dollar for the only available headset with eye tracking and “best display and audio.”

Besides cost, bells, whistles, and specs, entertainment options should be a deciding factor. Just as Xbox and PlayStation offer different game selections (some exclusive to the brand), HTC and Oculus have their own libraries.

Side note: VIVEPORT Infinity is a new unlimited subscription based service with access to hundreds of VR games and apps, and it’s currently available for both HTC and Oculus.

I’ll Leave You With This Recap …

On Vive’s website, the Cosmos is introduced as “a new premium PC VR system, and a vision of the virtual future.”

It’s described as a tethered device, but mobile. Understandably, some people are confused by the lack of detail in the usage of this new VR product. Possibly, it will be compatible with the Vive Wireless Adapter? We’re all waiting for future stats and cost point of this “expandable” device.

Here’s a quote from Vive’s website:

“The virtual universe is always expanding; VIVE Cosmos was designed to expand with it.”

The Pro Eye is HTC’s professional grade Vive device, and time will tell (through future customer reviews) if the new eye tracking technology is everything its promised to be, and worth your next house payment.

The Quest is referred to, on Oculus’ website, as the “first all-in-one gaming system built for virtual reality.” There’s no confusion here about mobility. The Quest is wireless; ready to play anytime, anywhere. With a starting price tag comparable to a new gaming console, this Oculus device is again geared toward the masses.

We may not know exactly what to expect yet from these three new headsets, but what we do know is definitely intriguing.

 

Related Articles:

Why Oculus VR is the Leader of Virtual Reality Gaming This article will take you through the history of Oculus VR, and explain why they continue to be the industry leader in virtual reality gaming. (Is this changing with the expansion of Vive?)

Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go Wired, and designed for the most powerful gaming, OR mobile and designed with the best resolution for the most amazing graphics experiences?

 

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27 comments

  1. Hi,

    I have been following the Oculus products since they first began. They were the first to really publicize the hardware and let us know what was available. I consider them to be an industry leader. 

    However, it is so good to see a vendor like HTC stepping up and competing against them. I am looking forward to trying out the HTC first hand.

    I also like the fact that these devices are finally getting lighter. The first units were very heavy and my neck was sore after 20 minutes of using them.

  2. Wow how cool!! I had no idea there are so many options to V.R. The only ones I’ve ever seen were those cheap ones at Walmart which I’m sure aren’t as good in comparison. 

    I spent some time on some other pages on your website too and I really like the free online kids games as a side option. I learned a lot just briefly skimming through so thanks!!

    1. Hi Ray!

      Yes, the world of VR is growing! There are some pretty ambitious goals on the radar for several companies in 2019. We’ll see what that unveils as time goes on. Stop back, as I intend to keep up on the topic!

      Thanks so much for visiting our website, and for your comment!

  3. Are these devices for PC only? And what sort of hardware requirements are there for smooth response? I started gaming in the 80s. I can only imagine what Dragon’s Lair or Cliff Hanger would be like in VR! They were immersive enough without a headset but can you imagine those balls rolling towards Dirk in a headset? Insane!

    1. Hi Terrence!

      Thank you for commenting here!

      Yes, all mentioned are for PC, with the exception of the Oculus Go. The Go was released as a portable device, and while it can be used for some gaming, it’s best used for movies, concerts, chat rooms and other VR experiences. 

      For gaming, you’ll want to check out the Rift. See this article: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go

      Also, stay tuned for more VR content, as there are several new things happening this year!

  4. I have not tried VR just yet. I live in a remote mountain town in Colorado, but our Arcade that just opened not long ago has some VR games. I need to get in to check them out.

    I have seen the advertisements for one or more of the VR systems you wrote about, not sure which one(s), but it looks like it would be so much fun.

    Thank you for the great read here, I may be back for my VR system after my trip to the Arcade, gotta check it out before I spend money on one. 

    Stacie

  5. I’m not a VR person yet but I like video games. I live in a secluded area and have limited access to technology as such. I’m looking at getting an oculus but can I use it on my laptop as I don’t have a PC? And, does the vr game have to use internet connection because my internet connection is crappy?

    1. Hi Louis!

      Thank you for your comment, and great question!

      Laptops can be used, so long as they meet the specified hardware requirements. (sufficient RAM, good graphics card, etc) Here is a direct link to view the recommended system requirements of the Oculus Rift as stated by Oculus. 

      Also, it absolutely uses an internet connection, so you want to have a good one for the best user experience!

  6. I actually had an experience with the Vive Pro Eye. From my own observation, it does seem to be the best of all of the VR devices, but Oculus is the industry leader – no arguing with that.

    Sincerely, I lack words to express my profound gratitude to the writer of this review. Thank you for sharing this insightful article. This is a good demonstration of the right way to go about choosing the best product. I look forward to reading your other articles!

    1. Hi Abioye!

      Thank you for your comment, and your kind words!

      I’m glad to hear that your trial experience with the Vive Pro Eye was a positive one! When technology works as it’s meant to, the result can be amazing! It is the only device with such a tracking feature, and it will be something to follow when it hits the market.

  7. A lot of really helpful information here, thanks!  This is my first start at even looking at a VR headset, so it’s great to have your links to the history and the comparisons of the market leader Oculus with the newbies.  Pricing seems to be inching down a bit, so that’s good news.  One question I had about the tethering – is that really a bother or not?  I worry about untethered getting choppy or being interfered with other electronics in the room.  Maybe that’s not an issue.  Anyway, thanks a lot for the info, it’s super-helpful.

    1. Hi Don!

      The tethers are not a bother for the most part. As long as you’re not spinning like the tazmanian devil, you can pretty much complete any action necessary without the worry of destroying your surroundings in the process of play. The cables provided are plenty long enough to avoid annoyance or catastrophe.

      You’re right on target with your connection concern. Tethering serves two primary purposes: 

      1. power – the pc you connect to is your power source; the better the pc (OS, RAM, graphics card, etc), the better the experience

      2. minimal latency – important to providing you with instant response, thereby eliminating any delay that greatly affects your VR experience and may cause nausea or motion sickness. 

      The more complex or processor heavy games and experiences require tethering for that reason.

      I hope this info helps you out! Thanks for visiting our site, and please stop back soon for more VR articles!

  8. Am totally amazed bro, I had no idea there were so many VR options out there! I tried one at a friend’s house once and that was it, but it was amazing. I plan on getting one soon so thanks for this article. It will be very helpful in making my decision.

  9. Looks like there is a bit of a tech battle between these, which means better tech for gamers!!  Can i ask, what is the sound quality like with these devices? I have been holding back getting into VR, as I didn’t think they were that good.  But looks like they are getting better with every launch?

    thanks

    1. Hi John!

      Sound quality is great when you have an on-ear set of headphones. One downside of the HTC headset is that it comes only with earbuds, and they are not up to one’s expectations. The tech is definitely more impressive now than ever, and this year will bring us many new options with even more features!

      Thanks for commenting here, and be sure to check back as we continue to cover the latest VR devices!

      You may also like this article: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go

  10. I got to say that I’ve always wanted Oculus VR. I played it once when I went to a VR place and I was immediately hooked but I do not have enough room to install it. I wish I could get one for home so I do not have to go to the VR place to play.

    1. Hi Nuttanee!

      It’s quite different playing at a VR studio than playing at home, as far as set up goes anyway. Studios are specifically equipped to provide gaming for the public and usually have some extensive set-ups (ie: large play rooms and extra sensors).

      Lucky for those who like to play at home, the devices are designed to provide the same VR experiences whether you are sitting on the couch or playing in a smaller room. The sensors and tracking systems are made to adjust to whatever your play space may be. 

      If you really enjoyed gaming, I would recommend checking out the Oculus Rift!

      Also see this article: Oculus Rift vs Oculus Go

      Thanks for commenting here, and please return if you decide on a home device to share your experience!

  11. Wow! This is great information. Talk about convenient video playing being made even more convenient. An unlimited streaming access to Playstation’s cloud library would be so much fun, too. Also, play of any game, at any time from any smart device for one subscription fee sounds so exciting. Thank you for this great article.

    1. Hi, and thanks for commenting here!

      From your comment, I gather that you have also read my latest article Top Video Game Streaming Sites: Big Names Race to Provide New Services

      If the services work as intended, they’ll be fantastic! My concern is the reliability of network connection and how relying solely on it will affect the gaming experience. I would find the loss of connection a bit more annoying than when a phone call drops. We’ll find out this year when the services become available, and you can be sure to find more articles covering the details right here!

  12. My husband and I have had our Oculus for quite a few years now and its still used regularly; although, I can’t use it any longer than 15 minutes or I get a terrible headache. Maybe they will design one someday that doesn’t cause too much motion sickness or maybe I should just take a dramamine before using it. Ha ha

    I am excited to see how far VR will go. It’s a whole new way to really immerse yourself in the game. Hopefully someday when we have a bit more money, we can get another VR system. Thank you for your post! 

    1. Hi, and thank you for commenting here! You’re not alone with the motion sickness issue!

      Here are some tips to try to combat motion sickness while playing:

      1. make sure you are using a VR ready pc – if your pc does not meet the recommended hardware requirements, it may still play your games, but you can experience latency or lag, which will definitely cause some nausea, as your thoughts, eye movements, and body movements won’t be in sync.

      2. if your pc is optimally compatible, try re-calibrating your Rift – the calibration is done in settings and is set to the User’s eye movement (so if you and your husband are sharing the same headset, and it’s calibrated to his eye movement, then that can cause motion sickness for you when it’s your turn)

      3. start out while sitting – after your eyes adjust to the surroundings, then stand and incorporate more body movement

      4. don’t play just after eating (think swimmer’s rules)

      5. keep your body temp cool – when your temp is raised, it can trigger nausea

      6. and yes, some say that Dramamine, or natural nausea remedies, can help when taken before play

      Hope these tips can help you out! Happy gaming!

  13. Hi,

    Wow, this is really an amazing article . Virtual Reality is a fascinating way to travel, using nothing more than the power of technology! I know HTC’s Vive is a comprehensive package that includes a headset, two motion controllers, and two base stations for defining a VR area. It is really impressive. It also includes a set of motion controllers, which is more advanced than the PlayStation Move. Thanks for sharing this informative article!

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