The time has finally come: we have the prices, approximate release dates and details on each of the three biggest VR headsets out there, the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Which one is right for you?
Releasing in April 2016, the HTC Vive is priced at $799 and comes with two motion controllers, as well as lighthouse tracking stations allowing for room-scale VR experiences. It has two 1080 x 1200 screens, one for each eye, a field of view of approximately 110 degrees and a refresh rate of 90Hz. It also comes with a front-fasing camera, and requires 1 USB 2.0 port, along with either an HDMI 1.4 port or a DisplayPort 1.2.
Here’re the system requirements:
- GPU: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 970, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or better
- CPU: Intel® i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better
- RAM: 4 GB or more
- OS: Windows® 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later, Windows 10
So, should you buy it? There’s no doubt that the HTC Vive is the absolute premium VR solution out there, featuring motion controllers right out of the box, the best screen and specifications in the market, and room-scale VR, which have yet to be matched by other VR headsets. It’s also got a premium price to boot. Go for the HTC Vive if $800 is nothing to you, and if you’ve already got a PC that surpasses the recommended requirements listed above, and if you’d like to live on the absolute cutting edge of VR.
The Oculus Rift’s specs aren’t all that different from the HTC Vive. It’s coming out a month earlier, in March 2016 and is priced at $599. It does not ship with motion controllers out of the box, but it does include one Xbox One controller. The resolution, field of view and refresh rate are the same as the HTC Vive: 2 screens at 1080 x 1200 resolution, 100-110 degree field of view and 90Hz refresh rate. Even the system requirements look nearly identical:
- GPU: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
- CPU: Intel i5-6400 / i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- RAM: 8GB+ RAM
- OS: Windows 7 64 bit, Windows 8.1 64 bit, or Windows 10 64 bit
One key difference, though, is that the Rift requires 2 USB 3.0 ports, and 1 HDMI 1.3 port.
Should you buy it? The Oculus Rift is for you if you don’t care for room-scale VR and can live without motion controllers for a while. While numerous impressions and hands-on previews show the HTC Vive to have the superior screen, the Rift is no slouch, at least when it comes to specifications. $599 might still be expensive, considering you have to purchase a computer powerful enough to run VR experiences, but it still hits something of a sweet spot.
PlayStation VR, or PS VR for short, will be coming out in October 2016. While it’s priced at $399, it also requires a $59.99 PlayStation Camera to work. The specifications are noticeable lower than that of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift: two 960 x 1080 screens, 100 degree field of view and a refresh rate of between 90-120Hz. It comes with a processor unit as well. The best part is the system requirements: all you need is a PlayStation 4 and a PS Camera, and you’re set for VR.
Should you get it? PS VR is obviously the budget option here, but it’s still far from smartphone-based VR solutions such as the Samsung Gear VR. PS VR is all about a low barrier of entry: both with its console, which is less expensive than a gaming PC you’d need to power the Vive or Rift, and with its price. If you already own a PlayStation 4, do not own a gaming PC (and are not interested in getting one), the PS VR might be the best solution for you.
Which headset will you be getting? Let us know in the comments below.