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

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2015-06-19
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - 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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    2 - The QuadHD StarVR Is the Latest
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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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    3 - Oculus Rift Vies for a Leadership Position
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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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    4 - HTC Teams Up With Valve on SteamVR
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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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    5 - Sony's Project Morpheus Is Ready for 2016
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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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    6 - Samsung's Gear VR, Powered by the Galaxy Note 4
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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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    7 - Zeiss Takes a Look at VR
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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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    8 - Razr Moves Beyond Mice to OSVR
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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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    9 - Avegant Glyph Wants to Make a Name for Itself in VR
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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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    10 - Google Cardboard Is for the Cheaper Experience
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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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    11 - Another Affordable Option From Archos
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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.
 

Virtual-reality product development is kicking into high gear as yet another device is entering the market. Dubbed StarVR, the device from developer Starbreeze comes with two 5.5-inch quad-HD displays that the company said, will deliver a top gaming experience when customers get a chance. But the trouble for StarVR is that it's joining a market that is rapidly filling up with new devices, all claiming to have the best features. Gamers, meanwhile, are left to guess which product they should consider buying. The number of virtual-reality headsets, combined with the varying specs in each, makes picking a product much harder than one might think. Trying to navigate the choices can be perilous, if not confusing. eWEEK will try to simplify the virtual-reality headset market and share some of the key details about the latest devices in the upcoming slides. More importantly, this slide show is aimed at helping prospective virtual-reality buyers make more informed decisions before they plunk down cash on one of the following headsets.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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