IKEA Place is an AR application developed by IKEA. It allows the user to browse and place furniture from IKEA into the environment, enabling users to design and preview how the furniture would look like in their house.
Why do I like it?
The app is relative easy to use, the gestures used to place, rotate, and enlarge/minimize the furniture are intuitive. There was a large pool of furniture to choose from and it was generally a fun experience.
Why is it engaging?
The app has a clean and minimalistic interface with an inconspicuous HUD which could be hidden. This heightened the immersive experience of the user by minimising distractions.
The furniture models are well made with great lighting. While it may feel somewhat out of place depending on the lighting conditions of the surroundings, the picturesque models made the experience pleasing to the eye.
What features are well done?
The AI seems to be able to recognize people and automatically crop the AR furniture to so they are never blocking people. This is useful when users want to see how their new set-up will look with people in the frame.
The app has a feature which allow the user to search for similar options in IKEA by taking a photo of a piece of existing furniture. I see this as a very helpful feature when the user wish to buy or replace furniture which fits the existing theme of the room.
What features can be improved and how?
The application is currently only available on iOS. It is possible that this is a deliberate design decision since iOS users are more well-verse with hand gestures compared to android users, since iOS has many more built-in functions that are accessed using hand gestures.
However, due to the minimalistic interface, the app can feel confusing to first time users or users who do not use the app often. There are no labels to what each button does or how to make adjustments to the furniture.
The app can be improved by adding an accessible tutorial button to show users a short demo of what they are able to do with the app.
Functionality wise, the AI is ineffective in recognizing existing furniture, often resulting in the AR models overlapping with actual furniture. Currently the app works best when used in an empty room.
There are 2 possible features that may be very useful for the user. One is for the user to select and remove existing furniture so that they can design on an empty canvas without having to clear the room physically. Another is for the user to save the designed layout. The app does not have a built-in save feature, so users need to painstakingly take screenshots of their design if they want to show them to others.
TL; DR Best Virtual Reality (VR) Device: Vive Pro Best Mixed Reality (MR) Device: Microsoft Hololens 2
Personally, I have tried before multiple VR/MR/AR/XR devices in a previous recent internship experience. Here are my favorites as well as a quick survey of other devices.
VR: HTC Vive Pro
I have used a variety of VR devices like the Occulus Go, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro. The HTC Vive Pro has given me the best VR experience. Another main reason why I will choose the HTC Vive Pro is because of it’s versatility to run SteamVR games and other PC app.
The HTC Vive Pro kit comes with the headset, 2 controllers, 2 external sensors. In terms of technical specs, it has 6 DoF, 4k, and supports a 5mx5m area
The main drawback will be the space needed and the setup. The Vive Pro requires a good gaming PC to drive the Device. Multiple wires are required for power and data transfer. The 2 external sensors have to take up their own space and power supply. In comparison, a similar grade device like the Occulus Quest is standalone and does not require a PC wired connection nor the 2 external sensor devices.
Since it is PC powered, the HTC Vive enjoys higher performance, especially if you have a good graphics card. You will also be able to play AAA game titles
In conclusion, while there are some drawbacks regarding the setup, it should not be too much of an issue unless you are traveling around with the device a lot.
MR: Microsoft Hololens 2
The Hololens 2 has enough power to be a computer on it’s own.
I have used it before and the voice and gesture controls feels a little unstable; There is a 60-80% chance of me able to get it to recognize the command I was gesturing or saying, which makes it a little irritating.
The device itself is quite lightweight and comfortable to wear, coming in at 566g.
In my own personal experience, AR smart glasses like the RealWear HMT-1 and Google Glasses have made me nauseous, perhaps due to the fact that the screen is at the side of my vision, or the small FOV the screen offers.
One should note that due to these devices being smaller and more lightweight, they will also have a much lower battery capacity and battery life. The processing power on smart glasses are comparable to mid to high-end mobile phones, which depending on your use case, might be sufficient.
Unsurprisingly, your mobile device has AR capabilities too. Common social media apps like Snapchat and Instagram, as well as the popular game, Pokemon Go are apps that can overlay animations on top of your phone camera video. Vendors like ScopeAR and Vuforia offer solutions for industrial partners such as AR remote calling for remote assistance and AR for work instructions. While many of us will not have considered our mobile phones a full fledged MR device, we must still acknowledge that everyone owns one in their pockets.
My pick for VR device is Oculus Quest 2 and my pick for MR is HoloLens 2. My pick is based on the following reasons.
For Oculus Quest 2:
Good Specs. I believe it has great specs at its
price level. With a resolution of 1832*1920 per eye, an FOV of 110 degrees at
90Hz, the experience will not be bad. In addition, the Snapdragon XR2 Chip with
6GB RAM. I heard that it offers performance equivalent to Snapdragon 865.
Affordable price. At a price <450 SGD, it is
much more affordable than an iPhone.
Rich contents. Since Oculus is a subsidiary of
Facebook, which has an online store of adequate resources, I have higher chances
to find games or videos that I want. It can also use steamVR.
Easy to use. The setup of Oculus Quest 2 contains
only the display, a handle, and the connecting cable. I heard that the optional
Headband breaks easily, but we can always use TaoBao.com.
It is difficult to find a match for Oculus Quest 2, because for
example, Valve index that offers 144Hz is almost three times the price of
Oculus Quest 2, while the devices below the price is almost unusable, say, Samsung
Odyssey+ (2018 version).
For MR, I pick HoloLens 2 only because it gives me a feeling
of Tony Stark. Evidently, I cannot afford to purchase it. However, even at its terrifying
cost, HoloLens 2 still has multiple things that I cannot overlook, not to
mention other entry-level MR devices. For example, all MR devices are not so
friendly to those who wear spectacles. Battery is a problem, and resolution is
limited. I believe MR technology still has great potential to improve. Maybe the
current MR devices are like iPhone 3G, they are usable, but they do not provide
the best experience. Thus I will hold my money and only purchase when MR
technology becomes better.
Oculus Quest 2 itself is a standalone VR headset with most affordable price ($299 on Amazon). It is self-contained and wireless. It’s limited mobile processor is able to support games such as Beat Saber, Moss and SuperHot VR at high FPS, and with USC-C cable, it acts as a PC VR equipment.
On the other hand, Valve Index with its unique controllers, of course is the most interesting PC VR equipment in 2020. Valve’s “knuckle” controllers are pressure-sensitive and can track all five fingers, making them almost like gloves. Not many apps make the most of them yet, but Valve’s hardware is mix-and-match compatible with the HTC Vive, which also is built on the Steam VR platform. The Index uses external “lighthouse” boxes, meaning it is not self-contained.
The Vive Cosmos has self-contained tracking like the Oculus Quest 2 and Reverb G2 and also has swappable faceplates that will add more cameras for mixed reality and external sensor tracking (for larger holodeck-type experiences)
My pick: Oculus Quest 2 – The best standalone VR headset
Despite existing in a company-controlled walled garden, the Quest has turned into quite a destination for the best VR games. It has the most affordable price , and unique self-contained and wireless features which provide the most comfortable user experience (Even for people with glass). For heavy PC gamer, with its USB-C cable plugged-in, it supports top PC VR games like Star Wars and Half-Life: Alyx.
Latest MR Devices
Spec and price
Microsoft Hololens 2
Magic Leap One
2048 x 1080
1280 x 960
My pick – Microsoft Hololens 2
The two major devices currently on the market are HoloLens from Microsoft, and Magic Leap from, well, Magic Leap. These 2 devices are both for professional purpose powered by stand-alone computing systems. I am going to compare them with from various perspective.
Processing Capability – The HoloLens 2 keeps it all in the headset, making it the physically bigger of the two, while the Magic Leap keeps the computing separate, and connected by a trailing cable. It means Magic Leap is lighter but with a sizeable pocket computer.
While their specifications may be different – with the HoloLens 2 slightly better – they are both suitably powerful enough to handle the graphics seamlessly,
Control – This is where the two devices really separate. The Magic Leap comes with a hand-held ‘control’ controller, giving the user six-degrees of freedom, but also allows hand tracking via the on-board cameras. The HoloLens 2 relies on hand tracking and this has been much improved for the latest version of the device, easily identifying all ten fingers of the user with ease and allowing excellent manipulation within the system.
Display. In terms of the actual visible area, the HoloLens 2 wins again, with Magic Leap losing some of the content on peripheral vision, but the HoloLens isn’t perfect in this department either and has a tendency to cut projections off as they moved out of the holographic part of the display.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) have helped provide a different digital experience to consumers, lowering the barriers between the real and virtual worlds and allowing people to interact with the virtual environment beyond what was thought to be possible in the past.
As a kid and a computer game enthusiast, I have always wanted to experience what it is like to be in the virtual world and be in the video game characters’ shoes. By the time I was a teenager, although there were breakthroughs in the VR and MR fields, the headsets were still heavy and clunky, and the low resolution and refresh rate did not help make the experience better. Now, while I am in my 20s, VR and MR have improved by leaps and bounds within the span of a few years, and are not just limited to entertainment but have also extended to medical, education and engineering fields.
In this post, I will be analysing the latest VR and MR devices and sharing which of these devices are my favourites. As part of my analysis, I will be comparing the devices based on two main criteria – Price and User Experience
Oculus Quest 2
HTC Vive Cosmos
Oculus Rift S
1440×1600 px 2x
Field of View
Oculus Quest 2
HTC Vive Cosmos
Oculus Rift S
Best VR Device: Oculus Quest 2
Although Oculus Quest 2 has the lowest Refresh Rate and Field of View than the other 3 VR devices, its much better display resolution could provide a much better viewing experience for the user. Furthermore, being the lightest device out of the 3, and its ability to operate wirelessly, without needing to plug into a computer, not having the user’s movements restricted, Oculus Quest 2 provides the best user experience.
Furthermore, Oculus Quest 2 is the cheapest out of the other 3 devices, way cheaper than HTC Vive Cosmos and Valve Index.
Overall, I choose Oculus Quest 2 to be my go-to VR device due to its low price, and much better user experience.
Trailer for Oculus Quest 2:
Microsoft Hololens 2
1920 × 1080px 2x
2048 x 1080px 2x
Field of View
Microsoft Hololens 2
Best MR Device: Nreal Light
Although Nreal Light has a lower display resolution than Hololens 2 and possibly a lower refresh rate, it is lighter than Hololens 2 by more than 80%, providing a much more comfortable wearing experience for the users. Furthermore, it’s sunglasses-like design will be more familiar to the users. Overall, Nreal Light will provide a much better user experience than Hololens 2.
Finally, Nreal Light is more than 85% cheaper than Hololens 2, making it a great entry-level MR device for general consumers.
Overall, I pick Nreal Light to be my go-to MR device due to its much lower price, and much better user experience. It is the best value-for-money MR device for general consumer.
The cross-reality (XR) headset market has matured over the years. There are many big players in the industry with each offering headsets with their own set of pros and cons.
Virtual Reality Headsets
Regarding Virtual Reality (VR) headsets, I have shortlisted a few of the more notable headsets that have stood out to me in various ways and are headsets that I may personally use for media consumption and/or gaming purposes.
Oculus Quest 2 provides an all-in-one experience and can be used on its own without requiring a powerful PC or a console to play games with, which is a huge plus, making it easy for those without an expensive PC setup or console at home to be able to enjoy VR games as well. Being a battery-powered headset, it allows you to walk around freely in your physical room without being restricted by wires or tripping over them. It also has a high resolution, even higher than the Valve Index, considered to be one of the best high-end VR headsets in the market. On top of that, if you do have a PC suitable for VR gaming, the Oculus Quest 2 comes with the feature to connect to your PC via the Oculus Link cable (which costs an additional 79 USD), allowing you to play PC VR titles as well.
Next, the Valve Index is one of the most expensive VR headsets in the industry but the higher price also brings with it some premium features that may not be found in other headsets. It comes with a larger field of view and a higher refresh rate of 144 Hz. More notably, the Valve Index Controllers offer a full individual finger tracking built into its grips, which can provide a more immersive experience.
However, one of its downsides is that with the use of external base stations for tracking purposes, setting up the Valve Index may be more troublesome and take a longer time than other VR headsets. Though this makes for better tracking capabilities, it could be difficult and frustrating for new VR users and may prevent them from quickly being able to start playing VR games.
My personal preferred VR headset would be the best-selling PlayStation VR (PSVR) headset by Sony that is designed for use with its consoles, the PlayStation 4 and 5. As the headset requires only the console to run, an expensive PC setup is not needed. Given that I already have a PS4 at home, I would not need to worry about my desktop not being capable enough to run VR games. Another benefit that the PSVR has that the other headsets might not have would be that Sony already has a huge catalogue of games to choose from, providing a wider variety of games for users.
PSVR definitely comes with its disadvantages as well. It loses out to other headsets in terms of tracking. As it uses the PlayStation Camera for tracking, the tracking space becomes more restricted and does not provide true-room scale VR. The space the player can move freely within without venturing out of the boundaries is quite limited and thus, most PlayStation VR games recommend playing the game in a stationary position, either while standing up or sitting down.
Nonetheless, what really caught my attention about the PSVR and ultimately the reason for why I chose it as my preferred VR headset, is their PSVR aim controller. As a huge fan of first-person shooters (FPS), it looks like the aim controller could really elevate my experience of playing FPS games and create a more engaging experience. I never got used to playing FPS games using the PS4 DUALSHOCK 4 controllers as it never felt natural to me. But seeing the aim controller used with the PSVR made me feel excited to play FPS games on the PS4 again. Additionally, although not many games are currently supported on the aim controller, Borderlands 2 VR and Doom VFR are titles that I would be very interested to try playing in VR and would most likely to be sufficient enough for me to spend all of my free time on (which, in the first place, I do not get a lot of). That being said, I do hope to see more VR titles compatible with the aim controller.
Mixed Reality Headsets
As for Mixed Reality (MR) headsets, I will also cover a few options that seem more attractive to me personally.
Made by a Chinese startup, the Nreal Light MR headset is probably the headset that looks and feels most like normal sunglasses, allowing users to wear it in various settings without standing out too much. Despite its ordinary design, it comes with a variety of features. The 52° field of view is larger than some other MR headsets, including the Microsoft HoloLens and Magic Leap One, which are notably much more expensive. It is also lightweight, which means users can wear it for prolonged periods of time without feeling too uncomfortable. Additionally, the headset offers built-in speakers with spatial sound, providing a seamless mixed reality experience.
Inspired by the Google Cardboard and fully funded on Kickstarter, ZapBox by Zappar is the most affordable MR head-mounted device to date, priced at just 40 USD. It works with Android and iOS smartphones compatible with Google Cardboard and has display sizes between 4.5 and 6 inches.
Due to its unbeatable price, this is definitely my preferred MR headset. As I personally do not see much use for MR in my life currently, I would not be willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on just to experience MR without it adding much value to my present lifestyle. However, if I ever wanted to try out MR for the fun of it, investing 40 USD into a MR headset for its basic features would not be a bad idea at all. Furthermore, as the headset is affordable, it could mean having your friends play the same games with you as well, allowing the experience to be more enjoyable.
The possibilities of VR are limited by it’s
physical environment when it comes to simulation for open-world scenarios.
One way to overcome physical boundaries is to
use a VR walker.
Imagine playing a game of counter strike in VR
where you can physically interact with the counter strike world without environment
limitations. VR walker significantly improves the impressiveness since player
can now “freely” walk in game.
Most preferred devices for MR
For Mixed Reality, I foresee that the widespread
adoption will be on consumers and smart glasses can be the enabler for that.
MR may seem really cool but we cannot ignore the
fact that it is weird to hold your phone up and catch pokemons in a public
setting. For the use of MR to be considered “normal”, the interaction with the
device that enables it need to be “normal” and “natural” as well.
Therefore, smart glasses fits the use case
because the usage of MR is hand-free and the consumption of the MR content is
natural in a way that it does not disrupt the natural day-to-day movement of an
One of the exciting release is the Facebook
first smart glasses where it collaborates with Ray-ban. (see below)
For the widespread adoption of smartglasses, it
not only need to provide the necessary functions, but it also needs to “look”
normal when wearing. This is where I think Facebook and Ray-ban collaboration
really shines since Facebook can take care of the tech aspect really well while
the look and feel of the physical glass can be handled by a well-established
brand such as Ray-ban.
My first Virtual Reality experience was 3 – 4 years ago with the Oculus DK1 device. While it was fascinating to experience how it was able to immerse the users into the game, I did not fully enjoy it. The low resolution and refresh rate of the device made me nauseous within 15 minutes of usage. As a result, I did not invest in any Virtual Reality games and devices since then. Hence, being relatively new to the recent trends in VR/AR/MR, the analysis below will be based on what I’ve researched and read online.
The table below shows a comparison of the Virtual Reality devices that I’ve used before:
Field of View
1280 x 800 (640 x 800 per eye)
2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 per eye)
455.63 PPI per eye
7 inch RGB LCD
I’ve only had experience using Oculus DK1 and HTC Vive. Comparing these 2 devices that I’ve used before, I prefer HTC Vive over Oculus DK1. Just by comparing the specifications of these 2 devices, HTC Vive provides a better user experience due to the 6 Degree of Freedom (DOF) specification. With 6 DOF, both translational and rotational motion are being tracked. This gives the users more freedom to explore locations and perform real-life tasks/actions virtually. More importantly, the HTC Vive has a higher resolution and refresh rate which drastically reduce the chances of feeling nauseous upon wearing the head set. With the HTC Vive, I was able to play my Virtual Reality game for 45 minutes without feeling nauseous.
The table below shows a comparison of latest Virtual Reality devices:
HTC Vive Cosmos
Oculus Quest 2
Field of View
Resolution (per eye)
1440 x 1700
1832 x 1920
1440 x 1600 per eye
$299 (64GB) $399 (256GB)
$999 (full VR kit) $499 (headset only)
Looking at the specs of the other latest Virtual Reality Devices, I would choose Oculus Quest 2.
Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Quest 2 is the jack of all trades. Even though the field of view is not as wide as the other 2 devices, the other specifications makes it attractive. Firstly, the Oculus Quest 2 has the highest resolution and a decent refresh rate of 90Hz. This guarantees that the user experience will be enjoyable due to the clear graphics and smooth motions. The device is also lightweight and wireless. This makes the device comfortable for long usage hours and eases the users’ mobility.
Furthermore, Oculus Quest 2 is the cheapest headset among the three devices. With it’s attractive specifications, it is a good and affordable device to invest in.
Here’s a list of Mixed Reality the latest devices:
Microsoft HoloLens 2
Magic Leap One
2048 x 1080
1280 x 960
Field of View
Between the 2 devices, I would choose HoloLens 2. With my previous experience with Oculus DK1 which had a refresh rate of 60Hz, I would prefer a HoloLens 2 with a higher refresh rate and resolution to prevent dizziness when using the device. Furthermore, HoloLens 2 has other main features like hand tracking which allows for better immersion.
Features: – 120 Hz (with an experimental 144Hz mode) – 1600 x 1440 LCD displays – 2 speakers, one at each ear – controllers are strapped so you don’t have to hold onto them
The Valve Index features a 120Hz refresh rate which decreases motion sickness, increasing overall smoothness. This improves the feeling of realism and makes it easier on the eyes after a long session of gaming. The excellent 1600 x 1400 LCD displays are one of the highest resolution screens in the industry, providing a wide field of view, which reduces the ‘screendoor’ effect allowing for greater immersion. The speakers at each ear are by no means super immersive because they do not cancel nor block out background noise, but they provide good audio throughout. The controllers are great and provide reliable tracking. They are able to sense each finger, as compared to the HTC Vive, which allows for more intuitive controls in situations like throwing an object. The headset is also comfortable with paddings, and can be tightened with a screw from the back for an optimal fit. The Valve Index is a premium VR set designed for enthusiasts, coming in at a steep price of $1,000.
I like the high refresh rates on the Valve Index as smoothness is an important factor to me when using VR. The wide field of view also makes the experience very immersive as there is no screendoor effect, which appeals to me. I also like the controllers, which are strapped to your hand so you do not have to grip them all the time and you can make hand gestures with it, which makes it feel more realistic and immersive in my opinion.
My pick for MR: Acer Windows MR headset.
Features: – 2880 x 1440 LCD display – Inside out tracking system: no external motion trackers – 90Hz
The Acer Windows MR features a 2880 x 1440 LCD display which is one of the highest in the industry. There is no noticeable ‘screendoor’ effect, however the 90Hz display means there are noticeable smearing effects. The inside out tracking system means that the system’s awareness of position is all calculated in the helmet itself rather than relying on motion trackers set up around the room. This makes setup easy and convenient but the VR performance is less accurate. This device also supports SteamVR, meaning it can play the latest VR games.
I like the easy setup of the device, it works right out of the box. The SteamVR support is also a nice feature, allowing you to play games on top of experiencing the MR in Windows. I like that you can navigate a 3D virtual Windows desktop rather than our conventional 2D screen of navigation. For example, you can traverse the Windows ‘world’ and find a Windows ‘bag’ 3D object, where selecting it would take you to the Windows store, which is a pretty cool way to interact with your desktop!
Virtual reality (VR) is an interactive computer-generated representation for real world or activity, and Mixed Reality (MR) is an interactive combination of real-world and computer-generated features. Both of them are changing the way we live and work and the rapid advancement of technology makes the development of VR and MR more varied and rich.
VR games are completely digital and in a computer-generated environment. Players mainly use the advanced VR headsets or goggles to control themselves. Here are some popular VR devices:
1. Oculus Quest 2
SG$431.39 in Amazon Singapore. It is seamless all- in-one system and can connect to PCs.
2. Oculus Rift S
SG$549.87 in Amazon Singapore. It has great game library and built-in room tracking. However, the PC is required.
3. PlayStation VR
SG$750 in Amazon Singapore. It is easy to set up and visually sharper.
4. HTC Vive
SG$1740 in Amazon Singapore. It has the best immersive
experience with smooth graphics and little latency.
The VR device I choose is Oculus Quest2. It is lighter and smaller than original version, with 46% more processing power, 33% more graphics processing power and 50% more RAM. It has sensitive controllers, high-resolution image, quick refresh rate and long battery life. Moreover, it is very cost-effective. 64GB will cost US$299 and 256GB will cost US$399. This device can feel like it could expand a wider field of view and has amazing sense of immersion.
MR has digital content to interact the users’
environment in real time. Therefore, MR must be viewed through semi-transparent
glasses or MR headsets with a camera in order to display the users’ environment.
Here are some popular MR devices:
Magic Leap One ($2295)
Microsoft HoloLens (S3000)
Nreal Light ($1000)
Occipital Bridge ($399)
The device I choose is Nreal Light released in 2019 from China. It has 1920 x 1028 px resolution and the field of view (FOV) is 52 degrees. The main advantage of this device is fashionable design and light weight. It uses SLAM (Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping) algorithm to achieve inside-out tracking and two onboard cameras for seamless MR experience.