HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift vs PlayStation VR vs Gear VR vs Google Cardboard

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If you still don’t know VR(Virtual Reality), and you still haven’t tried it, I said you can not be called fashion. Since MWC, 2016, VR becomes the hot topic among people, of course, including me. It’s likely that we only know some famous international brands like HTC ViveFacebook Oculus RiftSony PlayStation VR,  Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard. But when we consider the price, we have to hesitate to purchase. However, we are the curious one to pursue the latest trend, so there are lots of VR from Chinese manufacturers which are really affordable. Facing different price range, how to choose a proper and competitive VR headset which becomes the urgent task. Today, we will compare those five brands to let you know what kind of VR device you need.

In addition, Sony PlayStation VR has not been go public until October this year, but right now it can be booked, because Sony released all products’ specs and provided them for customers’ experience. That’s why i add Sony VR to today’s comparison list.  And you can see i add a * besides Google Cardboard. As you know, it’s not a product but a developing tool. Actually Cardboard is a platform not a simple hard paper, it stands for many devices with wide materials including cheap paper, polishing plastic. That’s to say, it’s similar to Android, not only mean the latest Galaxy and Nexus smartphones, but also many other smartphones. Due to the powerful platform that Cardboard is, it becomes more and more important which will stand out in Google I/O this month.  Let’s start to compare them.

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VR Headset

The VR headsets can’t be used independently for those brands, which means you need a high-end PC, PlayStation 4 controller or smartphone to start.

The best VR headset needs to be equipped with a PC for games. But you can also use VR headsets to connect your smartphone such as Gear VR and Google Cardboard. The overall performance is not so bad. But it will fall behind much HTC VIve and Oculus Rift in performance and tracking. The latest Gear VR should be used with a high-end smartphone. Theoretically, the performance and price of  PlayStation VR are nice, but based on demo, we can’t highly recommend it, unless Sony makes big change about it.

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VR Headset Price

It’s not affordable to some degree that you want to buy the best VR headset, such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. You need to spend 950usd or more to buy a high-end PC first. HTC Vive is relatively affordable for some users worth to buy.But it’s not all to be willing to spend 1800usd to buy a high-end PC gamers. There is the other advantage about Sony that they have sold 36million units of Sony PS4. So if you have it, you don’t have to buy it any more.

In addition, Gear VR is as same price as Galaxy S6, it’s the cheapest smartphone to use on VR headset. Most people don’t have to spend money to buy a Samsung smartphone, because they have owned it.

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Open Hardware

Until now only Vive, Rift and Cardboard enable you to choose the source in these five VR Headsets. Rift has big *,  because you get into setting to choose a checkbox to allow gaining the resource not from Oculus store. It proves it’s open that Oculus attempts to be compatible with two modes.  However, we have known well some consumers don’t know choose the checkbok to download the unknown resource. Therefore, we spend much money buying a VR headset to play games only in its own store to download the resource which makes gamers are angry with Oculus.

However, you have no choice but to download resource from Oculus Store to use Rift and Gear VR. There is a hacker tool to enable you play Cardboard games in Gear VR, but it’s not official version, Samsung or Oculus doesn’t support either. So we can ensure it will damage after software updating.

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Software service

The PC of  HTV Vive and Oculus Rift need to install Windows 7 or higher version. There will not be content in VR games resource, but HTC VIve, Oculus Rift and Gear VR are exception. We use PS VR to play some demo which seems a very interesting product, but we are not so excited because of its controller. Gear VR needs to run Android OS, and only load the info from Oculus App store. It will install Oculus app automatically when you insert your smartphone in Gear VR headset that is the best VR choice for smartphone in terms of resource.  However, Cardboard is compatible with Android and iPhone smartphone, you will find it plays more smoothly in resource of play store than that of App Store.

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Open App Store

On the contrary, only Vive SteamVR and Play Store or App Store of Google Cardboard has nothing to do with the hardware. If you have HTC Vive and buy some games from SteamVR, but you buy a Rift later, it’s possible for you to play some of those games on the new Rift headset. If you have Rift and buy some games fro Oculus Home to play, then you order a HTC Vive, you can’t play those games on HTC Vive.

By the way, Brand Rift is being created by Oculus and Facebook. Most products of Rift are from Oculus, at least the moment. In all, we recommend the more open VR Headset, HTC Vive.

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Material

We also attach great importance to the VR materials which are related to its quality. Rift has smooth surface, the smaller outline and fabric cover on its front. In the other words, the design of Rift with better design is different from those common VR.  Rift has some disadvantages on its design. In fact, you can wear glasses with Rift headset. If you don’t wear it loosely, it will comes with fog on its lenses. However, we use HTC Vive or Sony PSVR doesn’t happen to this situation in experiencing demo.

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Built-in Earphone

One of the coolest design of Rift Headset is built in Earphone which can provide you with integrated feeling. You don’t need to use earphone cable, only the VR headset starts to play it. HTC Vive is not built in earphone, but there is a pair of earphone in the package box. You can insert other earphone you have to use this VR headset.

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Screen Resolution

Gear VR has the highest screen resolution, but it doesn’t mean it provides the best visual experience. Compared with Vive and Rift, their high-end graphics bring more powerful visual impact than that of Gear VR.

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Vision

It’s so complicated to talk about vision, it can’t be seen the disparity according to the specs. But to some degree, we can see the general difference by these specs.

Besides, Gear VR provides better vision by using 5.1inch Galaxy smartphones like Galaxy S7, S6, or S6 edge than using phablets like S7 edge, S6 edge, Note 5. If you want to connect Cardboard with iphone 6s or even smaller size smartphone not larger than 4.7inch, the vision will narrow because of small display. If you want to experience the better mobile VR, you need to have a smartphone with large screen.

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Screen Type

Most VR uses OLED or AMOLED screen, thanks to its persistence and dark color of the screen. But only Cardboard doesn’t use this screen type. If you connect with iphone or Android smartphones, the display is IPS or LCD.

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Distance from Lens to eyes

Only HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR can adjust the distance from lens to eyes.

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Support Wearing Glass

All VR headset except some hardwares of Cardboard can support wearing glass under the VR headset. But compared with Oculus Rift and Gear VR, HTC Vive and PSVR can adjust the distance from lens to eyes to make better experience when wearing glasses. So those Myopia users can find the perfect balance between vision and comfortability.

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The focal distance adjustment

To some degree, Gear VR is easiest to work for those wearing glasses. They can adjust focal distance to see clear images without wearing glasses.

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Pupillary distance adjustment

The Rift, Vive and PSVR all can adjust the horizontal distance to make the images in the proper position. But it’s different in PSVR  level adjustment, Vive and Rift have two display panel, which can adjust manually the distance, but PSVR only has one display panel, which needs the software to adjust horizontal distance.

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Refresh Rate

PSVR has the highest Refresh rate up to 120HZ, it can also support 90HZ refresh rate. It is more flexible for developers.

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Wireless Devices

Besides price and portability, the only advantage of today’s VR is the wireless function. It only needs a cable to connect PC with VR.

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Location tracking

This is the biggest shortcomings for mobile VR. It has no external tracker, when you tilt or more, the visual world will also move with you, not you control tilting or moving in virtual world, which breaks your immersive feeling quickly.

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External Tracker

Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR both uses optical sensor to local  helmet space . HTC Vive is different that its helmet and photoelectric sensor on the controller will locate the accurate position through laser light. Although the result is same, HTC Vive can realize the function that Oculus Rift and PlayStain VR can’t do.

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The price of Mobile Controller

Vive controller has bundle sales, Rift controller needs to buy separately. Sony’s can not only sell independently but also bundle sale at $499 including VR headset, playstation camera, and discounts.

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Game controller supporting

These devices all support game controller, but Rift is the only one to be equipped with one Xbox one controller. Although PSVR doesn’t come with game controller in its package, PS4 will have one DualShock 4 controller.

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Built in camera

HTC Vive has a beautiful front camera. You can double click the button on controller to switch anytime.  Chaperone and camera ensure you to play in real world safely, especially you need to drink or do other things without VR.

But Cardboard platform is not built in camera, when experiencing VR. Gear VR also has camera. But you can’t move in Gear VR games, it’s not useful to have the camera.

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Price

When we look at the price of HTC Vive, you may hesitate, but don’t forget it’s best vr until now you can buy. HTC Vive controller can be bought separately. And there is a free one in its package. As for Oculus Rift, the experience is not so good as HTC Viive, so does PSVR,  Samsung Gear VR is possibly good for Samsung users, but if you don’t use samsung smartphone, you can consider HTC Vive first. Therefore, HTC Vive seems win from the above introductions. Anyway, it depends on you to buy.

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