November 21, 2017
Last year may have been the biggest for virtual reality hardware when it comes to gaming, but now we’re starting to see the fruit of those seeds grow. With the likes of Skyrim now on PlayStation VR, mixed reality headsets, and improved technology being announced every few months, now is the perfect time to become an early adopter. The biggest change, besides the new content, is awarded to Microsoft for the numerous partnered releases of mixed reality headsets.
Unlike the existing lineup of VR hardware, mixed reality headsets typically come in at a lower price point, are less process hungry so you don’t need suped up gaming rigs, and some don’t require external sensors since they are built in. However, they are still getting relatively mixed reviews, and the other hardware in this guide represent the best on the market.
PlayStation VR – $300 [TechCo Approved]
PlayStation VR brings virtual reality to the popular console. It has a 5.7 inch OLED panel, with a display resolution of 1080p. The headset also has a processor box which enables the Social Screen video output to the television, as well as process the 3D audio effect, and uses a 3.5mm headphone jack. The headset also has nine positional LEDs on its surface for the PlayStation Camera to track 360 degree head movement. Also, Skyrim just launched on the PS VR, so you may want to consider getting that bundle. It’s only $50 more.
PlayStation 4 Pro is an updated version of the PlayStation 4 with improved hardware, including an upgraded GPU with 4.2 teraflops of processing power, and a higher CPU clock. It is designed primarily to enable selected games to be playable at 4K and improved quality for the PlayStation VR. All PS4 games are completely compatible with both the PS4 and the PS4 Pro, but optimized games will have improved graphics performance on the PS4 Pro. Although capable of streaming 4K video, the PS4 Pro does not support Ultra HD Blu-ray. Additionally, the PS4 Pro is the only PS4 model which can Remote Play at 1080p, with the others limited to 720p.
This PC powered VR headset is one of the two most popular on the market, especially for gaming. Now that it was purchased by Facebook, they too have embraced the technology with a few chat based apps, but the primary offering here is all about the games. VR is just at the budding stages though, so keep in mind that the company may release a more advance version in the next year or two.
HTC Vive is an advanced VR headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. This headset is designed to utilize “room scale” technology to turn a room into 3D space via sensors, with the virtual world allowing the user to navigate naturally, with the ability to walk around and use motion tracked handheld controllers to vividly manipulate objects, interact with precision, communicate and experience immersive environments.
Star Wars may be set in a galaxy far, far away, but now fans can partake in the experience right in their living room with the new Star Wars: Jedi Challenges ($199.99), which is only available at Best Buy. Unlike the Vive or Oculus, the Jedi Challenges hardware is powered through a smartphone using augmented reality, and is built by Lenovo. In addition to the headset it comes with a Tracking Beacon and Lightsaber controller.
- Lightsaber Battles –With their very own lightsaber, fans can train against legendary dark side villains like Kylo Ren and Darth Vader.
- Strategic Combat – Players marshal the forces of the Republic, Rebel Alliance, and Resistance against the might of the Separatists, Empire, and First Order in epic battles across their living room floors. Players can hone their skills in strategy and tactics as they engage in battles.
- Holochess – Perhaps one of the most iconic board games brought to film, Holochess first leapt into moviegoer hearts when it was played on the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. It has now been brought to life in Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Fans can direct their holographic alien pieces across the board, wrestling for territory and control.
The XPS Tower Special Edition is a high-performance, VR-ready desktop featuring big power with the latest Intel® processors, advanced graphics and an easy-open, brushed aluminum chassis for simple expandability.
Looking for a more affordable, VR ready computer that you don’t have to build yourself? The Mayn Z5 will do the trick. It features an AMD FX-8300 Octa Core 3.3GHz CPU, AMD Radeon RX 480 graphic card, 16GB DDR3 RAM, and 120GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Stay tuned for the rest of our guide throughout the season. We’ll be covering holiday guides for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, the DIYer, cannabis, entrepreneur, STEM, and various others.
Read more reviews on smart home gadgets on TechCo
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