Developer blog | 17th April 2018
Up until just a few years ago, the only way to experience virtual reality was to have both a high powered computer and a headset. That meant unless the consumer had a pretty penny to spend, virtual reality was way beyond their reach. Now, all that has changed.
Standalone virtual reality headsets are all-in-one devices which can power virtual reality on their own. No computer, or more recently no smartphone, is required. All the user needs is a single headset to be able to enter another world.
There are already a number of standalone VR headsets on the market, but over the next few months, the second wave of new and improved devices are ready to hit the shelves. But just how good are these headsets and what part will they play in the mass adoption of immersive technology?
Lenovo Mirage Solo
The Lenovo Mirage Solo, which uses Google’s Daydream standalone VR platform, is set to be released on 11 May this year and will cost $399, so you’re looking at something like £300 here in the UK. It will be the first Google Daydream standalone headset to hit store shelves and will feature WorldSense technology, which promises to let you move around in a virtual world just like you’re really there. It also has a motion-sensitive remote so you can use your hands to interact with games and apps.
Essentially, what powers the Mirage Solo is a flagship smartphone and inside-out positional tracking, which promises to make the apps and games already available on Daydream even better. There are also plans to introduce a new suite of apps specifically for the device closer to its retail release.
Given that all the hardware is contained within the headset, with no wires or connections to get in the way of your fun, it is also very comfortable and easy to use, with a single twisting knob to tighten the headset around your skull. That also makes it well suited to those who wear glasses.
It’s rumoured that the release of the Oculus Go will coincide with Facebook’s F8 conference in May. That means there’s less than one month until VR fans will be able to get their hands on the most affordable of the new arrivals.
With an expected price tag of $200 or around £150, the Oculus Go is set to be at the low-end of the standalone VR headset arrivals. However, a leaked photo seems to suggest that it will come with a content library brought over from Samsung Gear VR of more than 1,000 apps, games and movies. That will certainly make the standout price even more appealing. There will also be lots of news apps made specifically for the Oculus Go.
The real difference between the Oculus Go and the Mirage Solo is the type of experience you can have. The Mirage Solo is all about being able to walk around in the virtual reality world and move through it as if you are part of it. The Oculus Go will not offer that level of experience. Instead, the Oculus Go is more focused on helping as many people as possible to jump in and enjoy VR, which certainly can’t be a bad thing.
Another of the highly anticipated new headsets is the Vive Focus, which is HTC’s first standalone VR headset. A release date for the Vive Focus is yet to be announced, but the rumour mill has started turning and we are already hearing some good things.
When it’s released, the Vive Focus will be the most powerful of the standalone headsets available and will be unique in offering 6DoF tracking, which allows the Focus to track your position in any room. It will also bring best-in-class displays to standalone VR, with a 1,600 x 1,440 OLED display for each lens, giving it a definite advantage over the Lenovo Mirage Solo. However, that will come at a price, with the Vive Focus expected to retail for $550, or around £400, when it’s finally released.
Beyond the display, the Focus will also boast impressive technology such as a fan for active cooling to deliver higher performance without overheating, and built-in speakers that are hidden in the head strap. However, all these features mean it will appeal to a premium and potentially smaller market than the Oculus Go.
Here’s our handy comparison chart of what we know about the new headsets:
Ready to take your first steps in VR?
At Austella, we produce virtual reality games, virtual tours, product demonstrations and trade show attractions that showcase your brand in an immersive and unique way. To find out more, please get in touch with our team.