Smartphone dependence is a major variable separating different classes of virtual reality headsets. Some fun, functional VR units can be purchased for less than $50, but they require outside hardware for processing and audio. Other units cost more, but are completely — or mostly — self-contained.
The team at SpecOut compiled a list of the best VR units on the market. Although some entries have the secondary ability to create augmented reality, they are all capable of producing full VR, which is a more immersive experience. All headsets listed are available to the public, at least for preorder, with a known retail price.
Field of view was also a factor in our analysis. Human beings have a near-180-degree field of view, so the closer a VR set comes to that width, the more realistic the user experience. Every unit on this list has a field of view of at least 60 degrees. The headsets are in order from oldest to most recent release.
Compared to headsets that don’t require a smartphone to operate, the Omimo Uranus One has a wide, 124-degree field of vision. It comes with a built-in processing source, which means it doesn’t require an outside system to function.
With a lower-than-average 96-degree field of view, this headset can produce both virtual-reality and augmented-reality experiences. It requires both a smartphone and external headphones to function.
This headset, which requires a smartphone, is among the least expensive on the market. It has a field of view of 100 degrees, and features optics correction and three degrees of freedom movement tracking.
With a better-than-average field of view of 100 degrees, this headset is cheap for its class. The sturdy body is made of foam, leather and plastic.
Cheaper than the average headset that requires a smartphone, the Durovis Dive 5 comes up 10 percent short of the industry average with a 90-degree field of view.
Compatible with both iOS and Android, it works with a maximum phone screen size of five inches.
Although this set is cheap for its class, its field of view is limited to just 85 degrees, which is 15 percent narrower than the average. It requires external headphones and features proprietary controller compatibility.
Although it is more expensive than the average headset in its class, this unit has a limited field of view of 90 degrees. It features LCD display technology and a 38mm lens size.
The Ling VR weighs just 0.7 pounds, but is limited by a relatively narrow 90-degree field of view. It features optics correction and three degrees of freedom movement tracking.
Although it is pricey for a headset that doesn’t require a smartphone, this unit has a wide 110-degree field of view and a fast refresh rate of 90 Hz. It comes with built-in 3D audio.
The HTC Vive has a built-in processing source, which means it doesn’t have to be connected to an outside computer to function. It features full 1080p resolution and OLED display technology.