In 2014 Google launched the Cardboard, a simple smartphone holder that turned a mobile device into virtual reality glasses. In 2016, the Oculus Rift was officially released, the first ‘next generation’ of VR glasses. What is the situation in 2019? Which virtual reality glasses do you have to buy to make those first steps in virtual reality? Do you want to buy VR glasses soon? On this page, we look at the options and determine our preference for the best virtual reality glasses from 2019.
Is the Wild West period over?
As we indicated in the introduction, 2014 was an important moment for virtual reality. The Cardboard was an inexpensive way to view virtual images without spending a lot of money. However, this product could not be compared with the Oculus VR headset that was currently being developed. After the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive was soon introduced which introduced VR controllers and offered a ‘room-scale’ experience.
Still, buying virtual reality glasses was primarily reserved for companies and hobbyists, the general public could wait even better. This changed with the introduction of the Oculus Go in 2018, which had all the benefits of the Gear VR without the drawbacks. In the meantime, companies and products such as the Fove and StarVR died, which could not turn it into a commercially viable business case. Buying VR glasses in 2019 became a lot clearer, with products each taking their own niche.
Which VR glasses to buy in 2019?
Do you want to buy virtual reality glasses for the Christmas season, or would you prefer to wait a little longer? Although VR glasses are still not a must-have, we can state that some products are now absolutely suitable for the general public. And that certainly applies to companies as well as consumers. These are the front runners for this year:
What is it? This is an ‘entry-level’ headset with perhaps the largest collection of apps of all devices. This is the second official product from Oculus, the device was launched in 2018. Oculus is owned by Facebook.
Why buy these VR glasses? The price is good, the screen is very good and thanks to the standalone design an external PC is not necessary. The apps are cheap, as a video player for 360 degrees video there is currently no better choice for consumers. Go is also a very interesting option for companies, although the Pico G2 has some interesting features that are missing here. The lack of spatial orientation is the main drawback.
What is it? This is a standalone virtual reality glasses with a mobile processor. In many ways, this system looks like the Go, with the main difference being a more open software architecture. In addition to the standard G2, there is also a 4K version that gives an even better image.
Why buy these VR glasses? Consumers can better go for the Go, there is a wider choice of apps, and the price is also lower. The Pico G2 is especially interesting for presentations thanks to the kiosk mode for vr apps that is easy to activate. The design is made for frequent use by several people, think of a simple cleaning of the device. It is a product that can only be supplied through specialized channels.
What is it? This standalone headset came on the market in 2019 and works on the basis of a mobile processor that is more powerful than that in the Oculus Go. In addition, this device has spatial tracking and is supplied including two VR controllers.
Why buy these VR glasses? Between the budget Go and the luxury Rift, the Quest is for many users the ideal virtual reality glasses to buy in 2019. The price is good, the quality is high and a number of good titles are already available. In business terms, the Quest will currently be even less attractive for presentations, but for internal use, the spatial orientation can be advantageous for specific applications.
HTC Vive Pro
What is it? The successor of the Vive focuses specifically on the business market and a small group of fanatic hobbyists thanks to the high technical specifications and associated premium price tag.
Why buy these VR glasses? The Viveport software platform offers interesting possibilities for intensive use, unlike Oculus, HTC offers more professional support. The Valve Knuckle controllers enable highly accurate finger tracking, the optional eye-tracking offers many professional options. Various configurations are available that are particularly focused on the development of customized applications.
There are even more options such as the updated Rift, the Vive Focus and Windows Mixed Reality. At the moment Oculus seems to be the main player in the field of consumers, HTC, just like Pico, focuses more on the business market. Windows Mixed Reality doesn’t seem to get off the ground, while Google’s Daydream is dead to death in 2019. Google also has little ambition to continue with virtual reality. Ask the VR expert about the plus and minus points per system.