10 Virtual-Reality Devices Striving to Stand Out in a Crowd

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10 Virtual-Reality Devices Striving to Stand Out in a Crowd

by Don Reisinger

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The QuadHD StarVR Is the Latest

The QuadHD StarVR is the newest device on the block, featuring two 5.5-inch screens that will produce quad-HD visuals. More importantly, the device has the ability to deliver a 210-degree horizontal field of view, which the company says will cover 75 percent of a human's field of vision. To put that into perspective, many other devices on the market can only top out at 100 degrees for field of view. The StarVR also comes with position-tracking, so the content automatically adapts to how the user is moving.

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Oculus Rift Vies for a Leadership Position

The Oculus Rift from Oculus VR is one of the earliest devices to join this latest generation of virtual reality. The company, which is owned by Facebook, is focusing heavily on gaming with the Rift and has already shown how some of the leading games can be played on the title. The Rift comes with built-in headphones and an Xbox One controller so users can control on-screen gameplay while immersing themselves in a virtual gaming world.

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HTC Teams Up With Valve on SteamVR

HTC and Valve have teamed up on the SteamVR. The device is a little on the bulkier side compared with some of its competitors but offers what the companies call 360-degree room-scale VR. What that means is users will be able to create environments that may not be on-screen, but as users whip their heads around, they will see from where those sounds are coming. The SteamVR will be available to developers this year and comes with two single-handed controllers for extra usability.

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Sony's Project Morpheus Is Ready for 2016

Like all other virtual-reality headsets, the Project Morpheus from Sony is big and bulky. However, Sony's device might arguably come with the nicest design. In addition, the device works with a television, so people who are playing a PlayStation 4 game on their Morpheus can still play in multi-player with people who are viewing the action on a television. If you don't have a PlayStation 4, however, you'll get little value out of Morpheus when it launches next year.

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Samsung's Gear VR, Powered by the Galaxy Note 4

The Samsung Gear VR is a bit of an odd device, since it only works with the Galaxy Note 4; customers who own any other product will not be able to use the Gear VR. For those who have Samsung's phablet, however, the Gear VR looks to be a solid option, boasting an integrated touch-pad, tracking sensors for movement, and more. Unlike some of the other companies that are focused solely on gaming, Samsung said it wants to see apps built for the Gear VR that extend into other categories. It should be interesting to see if developers oblige.

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Zeiss Takes a Look at VR

One of the more surprising entrants into the VR space is Zeiss. The company, best known for its lenses, said its VR One will support two smartphones ranging in screen size from 4.7 to 5.2 inches. Users can also wear eyeglasses. The field-of-view on the VR One is 100 degrees and the device will require smartphone apps for users to actually get use of it. Look for Zeiss to be an also-ran in this space until it can more effectively find a way to show customers value in the face of so much competition.

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Razr Moves Beyond Mice to OSVR

Razr, best known for its computer mice and other accessories to help gamers, is working in the VR space as part of the Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) ecosystem. The company's plan is to build a range of devices that are open source and work with games and other software developed as part of that OSVR framework. The OSVR movement is still in its fledgling phase, but sounds compelling.

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Avegant Glyph Wants to Make a Name for Itself in VR

The Avegant Glyph is an interesting product that works as a virtual-reality headset and as headphones. The smallest of any device in this roundup, the Avegant Glyph produces stereo sound when worn like headphones, but when turned down and the eyepieces placed over the eyes, turns into a full VR experience. Like most of the products in this roundup, the Glyph is currently not available, but can connect to everything from game consoles to smartphones to deliver virtual reality.

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Google Cardboard Is for the Cheaper Experience

Those who want a virtual-reality experience but don't want to wait and don't want to spend the hundreds of dollars it'll take to buy the other devices should consider Cardboard. The product, made of cardboard, folds up and allows users to place a smartphone inside. As long as they have Cardboard-eligible apps, they can experience virtual reality right from inside that cardboard box. A Cardboard-eligible product can be purchased for as little as $20.

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Another Affordable Option From Archos

Archos takes a similar tack as Google with its own virtual-reality headset. The device, called Archos VR Glasses, is essentially a wraparound headset that connects to a smartphone and delivers virtual-reality experiences. Again, the feature requires virtual-reality apps to work and users will have to bring their own smartphones, but it's a cheap option to whet the appetite of those who want the higher-end VR experiences available in other products.

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What We Know About the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset So Far

Oculus VR—the company that started as a crowdfunding idea but which Facebook acquired for $2 billion, even though its premier product is still under development—has scheduled a media briefing in June. At that event, Oculus said it will ask attendees to "step into" its product, the Oculus Rift head-mounted virtual-reality display. Details are unknown, but it appears likely the company will provide an update on its development efforts, it progress in getting Oculus Rift ready for release, and perhaps some details on what games and other apps will be available when the headset ships. The company announced early in May that it plans to release the VR headset to consumers by next year's first quarter. Consumers see the Rift as a gaming device, and Oculus has said that the platform will be an ideal option for video games. However, enterprises are taking an interest in wearable VR devices for commercial...
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