XR Devices (HW1)

Introduction

With the advent and booming of the XR technologies and applications based on them, numerous companies including the big names had launched their advanced XR (AR/VR/MR) devices. In this post, I list several of them and give my personal recommendations on device choosing.

I covered the following devices in this post.

VRARMR
Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Rift S
PlayStation VR (PSVR)
HTC VIVE(Pro)
Magic Leap One
Epson Moverio
Google Glass Enterprise Edition
Vuzix Blade AR
Hololens 2

VR Devices

Virtual reality (VR) is an artificial environment that is experienced through sensory stimuli (sights and sounds). It is a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world and can be applied to most of the scenarios.

Till now, I suppose that the most successful application type on VR is still entertainment, as I am a real zealot of the game experience, thus I focus on the devices that are widely applied in the game scenario. I listed the popular three VR devices with their specs below:

Product:Oculus Quest 2Oculus Rift SPlayStation VR(PSVR)
HardwarePC optionalPC requiredPlaystation (PS5, PS4)
Tracking6 degrees6 degrees6 degrees
ControllersRedesigned Touch Controllers(add thumb rest)Touch ControllersPlayStation Move controller, DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller
HEAD STRAPSoft StrapHalo HeadbandHeadband
OPTICSFast-switch LCD Display 1832 x 1920 Resolution Per Eye 60, 72, 90 Hz Refresh Rates Supported Glasses-compatibleLCD Display 2560 x 1440 Resolution 80 Hz Refresh Rate Glasses-compatibleResolution: 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080) Refresh Rate: 120hz, 90hz
SOUNDPositional Audio(3D)Positional Audio(3D)Positional Audio(3D)
GamesOculus Quest StoreOculus Rift StorePlayStation Store
STORAGE64 GB | 256 GBN / AN / A
PSVR

My Favorite

Previous VR devices all have a good configuration as well as good support for the game service on different platforms. Among them, the PSVR is the newest and may have the best performance on the PS platform. However, I highly recommended the HTC-Vive (Pro), which is the most powerful and professional VR device, which I used to play with before.

First, it has the most powerful screen. With

  • 2880 x 1600 615 PPI
  • 37% PPI Increase
  • 78% Pixel Increase

It also has an Optimized Ergonomics

  • Optimal Center of Gravity
  • Adjustable Eye Comfort Setting (IPD)
  • 24% Increase in Face Gasket Surface Area for Lowered Stress
  • Adjustable Headstrap with Soft Padded Foam

Moreover, its available movement space is much larger than the others

UP TO 100 m²

In a word, much more powerful when compared with others.

Comment

I only used Vive before, but it can really perform well in numerous games such as lights saber, half-life Alyx, and fruit ninja. The game experience it brought is quite immersive and charming.

AR Devices

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visualauditoryhapticsomatosensory, and olfactory

AR basically is virtual later provides additional information, thus MR devices can also provide the ability of AR, as well as many cellphones. Most of the existing AR-specific devices are glasses, as I illustrated below(source https://www.softwaretestinghelp.com/best-augmented-reality-glasses/):

Headset NameMagic Leap OneEpson Moverio BT-300Google Glass Edition 2Vuzix Blade AR
Resolution
(Pixels)
1300 pixels per eye1280 x 720 pixels720p video capable640×360
1
Field of view (degrees)50238010
Refresh Rate (Hz)12030
Tracking and controlEye and hand, with hapticsEye and handEye and handEye, with haptics
Battery Life (hrs)3682
Others-Haptics
-8GB RAM
-Drone AR
-Android
-GPS
-Voice command
-Haptics
-Mobile OSs
Pricing ($)22956991167599
Car Heads-Up Display

MR Devices

Mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time

Very few products, or in other words, only the product of Microsoft, Hololens, really produced an integrated hardware device in this field. Now it launched its second version with more powerful functionalities.

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/hololens/hardware#

Side-angle view of HoloLens 2 headset with light reflecting off visor

Technical Specs

Display
OpticsSee-through holographic lenses (waveguides)
Resolution2k 3:2 light engines
Holographic density>2.5k radiants (light points per radian)
Eye-based renderingDisplay optimization for 3D eye position
Sensors
Head tracking4 visible light cameras
Eye-tracking2 IR cameras
Depth1-MP time-of-flight (ToF) depth sensor
IMUAccelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
Camera8-MP stills, 1080p30 video
Audio and speech
Microphone array5 channels
SpeakersBuilt-in spatial sound
Human understanding
Hand trackingTwo-handed fully articulated model, direct manipulation
Eye-trackingReal-time tracking
VoiceCommand and control on-device; natural language with internet connectivity
Windows HelloEnterprise-grade security with iris recognition
Environment understanding
6DoF trackingWorld-scale positional tracking
Spatial MappingReal-time environment mesh
Mixed Reality CaptureMixed hologram and physical environment photos and videos
Compute and connectivity
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform
HPUThe second-generation custom-built holographic processing unit
Memory4-GB LPDDR4x system DRAM
Storage64-GB UFS 2.1
Wi-FiWi-Fi: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac 2×2)
Bluetooth5
USBUSB Type-C
Power
Battery life2–3 hours of active use
ChargingUSB-PD for fast charging
CoolingPassive (no fans)

MyFavorite & Comments

Future, is, Hololens!!!!

For me, Hololens is the only but the most powerful MR device. It can create a workplace in which you can visualize anything you need on-demand, with relevant data available at the jab of a finger.  I used this device before and surprised by the button control without a controller. The immersive experience of the galaxy exploration overwhelmed me.

With the HoloLens 2, Microsoft is looking to build on the handful of enterprise successes it has carved in the last five years, based on customer and user feedback. Specifically, the firm has looked to address ergonomics, immersion, and what it dubs time-to-value’. — ITPRO

Though from my experience of this device, the tracking accuracy of the movement still needs a lot of improvement, this product really demonstrates what the future can be.

HW1 – VR/MR Choices

Virtual Reality is an artificial environment which is experienced through sensory stimuli (as sights and sounds) provided by a computer and in which one’s actions partially determine what happens in the environment. [Merriam-Webster 2015] With Virtual Reality, you can experience a whole new world without actually going out of your house. This is especially applicable in the current context of the world still under the influence of covid-19. 

The most important hardware with virtual reality is the headset, a device similar a pair of goggles that goes over your eyes. In this post, I am going to list some latest headsets, and state my choices of VR and MR headsets.

Some latest headsets in the market:

  • Sony PlayStation VR: Price is around 600 sgd. It has to be connected to PS. 
  • Oculus Rift S: Price is around 600 sgd. It has to be connected to PC.  
  • Oculus Quest 2: Price is around 400 – 500 sgd. It is an all-in-one HW. 
  • Nintendo Labo VR Kit: Price is around 100 sgd. It has to be used with Nintendo Switch. This HW is more like a toy and it is kid-friendly. This is a good choice if the user has already possessed Switch and just wants to have a simple VR experience. 
  • Microsoft HoloLens 2: Price is 3500 usd. It is a mixed reality headset. 

My choice or VR headset: Oculus Quest 2

Oculus is a brand owned by Facebook which has the biggest VR headset market share in 2020, with a value of 38.7%. Oculus Quest 2 is an advanced all-in-one VR device. It does not require to be connected to PC like Oculus Rift S (but it can be connected to PC if you want to). Therefore, this makes the device easy to travel with. 

The price of the headset is an important aspect as well. Oculus Quest 2 has a reasonable price that I can accept and it does not require us to purchase other devices. Other VR headsets choices may require other devices like a powerful PC, PS or Switch to connect to. 

Oculus is a relatively mature system in the current market. It has an expansive game library which provides you many choices of immersive game experiences. Oculus Quest 2 has Fast-switch LCD Display and 1832 x 1920 Resolution Per Eye to provide me a nice game experience. 

Moreover, one of my friends purchased Oculus Quest 2 and recommended it to me, stating that this headset gives her very authentic experiences. 

My choice or MR headset: Microsoft HoloLens 2

There are not many choices of headset products in the market dedicated to MR purposes, therefore my conclusion after the research is limited. HoloLens is a mixed reality solution for enterprise and education. 

The main improvements Microsoft made from HoloLens 1 to HoloLens 2 are immersiveness, ergonomics and business friendliness. Below are some fields of improvement that I think are important to note: 

Specs  HoloLens 1 HoloLens 2
 Display resolution1280×720 (per eye)  2048 × 1080 px (per eye)
 Field of view (FOV)34°  52°
Eye-based renderingAutomatic pupillary distance calibrationDisplay optimization for 3D eye position
Eye-trackingnoyes
ProcessorIntel 32-bit (1GHz)Qualcomm Snapdragon 850
Camera2.4 MP, HD video8MP stills, 1080p video
AudioBuilt-in speakers
3.5mm jack;
Built-in spatial sound;
3.5mm jack
Flip-up visornoyes
Biometric Security (Iris Scanning)no yes
Hand trackingone handboth hands full tracking
Gestures: Press, Grab, Direct manipulation, Touch interaction, Scroll with wavenoyes

Source: https://4experience.co/hololens-2-vs-hololens-1-whats-new/

I think HoloLens 2 has some very advanced features like eye-tracking and gesture manipulation to provide users an immersive learning and working experience with technology. Although the price is not cheap compared to VR headsets that I mentioned previously, it is still relatively affordable for businesses to use. Especially in the current context of covid-19, this headset might be very relevant to companies that seek work-from-home solutions.

The top VR headsets 2020 offers

Hey there! In this post I’ll be sharing my views about the top affordable VR headsets of 2020. As a total newbie to the VR/AR tech scene, I did some digging around the web to gather insights into different VR headsets, and the 2 that stood out were the Oculus Quest 2, and HP reverb G2.

Oculus Quest 2 (https://developer.oculus.com/learn/oculus-device-specs/)

Many platforms currently hail Oculus Quest 2 as one of the best VR headsets to get, and their claims are not unfounded. Looking at the Oculus Quest 2 specs, it clearly has amazing software and support, a quick refresh rate, more than decent controllers, graphics quality, field of vision, acceptable sound quality… more than anything, it functions as a standalone device. As opposed to most other VR headsets that require multiple devices to work (such as the HTC Vive, requiring lighthouse positional trackers), with usability now measured by “how quick and easy is it to set up my device?”, a standalone device has a clear advantage above other devices in that aspect. However, it does mean that the Oculus weighs on the heavy side, with more hardware fitted onto the headset than its counterparts. But priced affordably at around 400 SGD, there are hardly any complaints to make about this headset.

HP Reverb G2 (https://www8.hp.com/us/en/vr/reverb-g2-vr-headset.html)

Another VR headset worth keeping an eye on is the HP reverb G2. Classified under windows mixed reality, this headset needs to be plugged into a gaming PC work. However, it’s amazing resolution of 2160 x 2160 with screen door effect almost eliminated far outstrips its competitors, making the VR environment feel virtually, well, real. This headset is light and comfortable, and has a great audio system that rivals the other VR headsets in the market. Although it sells at around 950 SGD, significantly higher than the Oculus Quest 2, it remains a relatively affordable choice for a quality VR experience.

Of course, there are other VR headsets worth keeping an eye on. If your budget can afford it, the Valve Index is a top of the line headset that boasts finger tracking and full body tracking. It might not be the best choice for users looking for an affordable VR experience, but for enthusiasts that are willing to splurge close to 3000 SGD on the most realistic VR experience technology has to offer currently, the Valve Index would definitely be a front line competitor.

– Shanon

AR/VR/MR Devices Review

Similar to the PC and smartphone industry, the AR/VR/MR industry is also catching up with high-end specifications that offer state-of-the-art gaming experience for users. I do not personally own any AR/VR/MR devices thus I hope this research would allow me to be better informed in any future purchases.

When looking to make any purchase, my top criteria is always value for money. In our current technologically advanced world, new cutting edge technology are developed every year that greatly surpass their previous counterparts. As such, I often restrain myself from spending outrageous amount of money on current high-end devices. Of course, saving on the financials does not necessarily mean that I am compromising the gaming or user experience.

VR Devices

Oculus Quest 2Valve IndexHP Reverb G2
Price (SGD)From $431From $2,747From $961
Resolution1832 x 1920
(per eye)
1660 x 1440
(per eye)
2160 x 2160
(per eye)
Refresh Rate72 Hz144 Hz90 Hz
Field of ViewUp to 100°Up to 130°Up to 114°
Connection TypeWireless6m cable6m cable

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2 is my favourite pick among the VR devices on the market. Many reviewers have spoken about its low-end price while offering decent levels of gaming experience.

Its $431 price tag is significantly lower than its competitors while offering comparable resolution (1832 x 1920) and refresh rate (72 Hz). Furthermore, Oculus has also announced an update for its native 90Hz support. This helps to move Oculus Quest 2 up in the demand market especially among casual gamers and students with low or no income but are keen to explore the VR gaming world. For a closer comparison, it has about the same price tag as a Nintendo Switch Console.

Other than value for money, the Oculus Quest 2 also provides a wireless VR gaming experience. Personally, I feel that a wireless device provides much more convenience in terms of gaming experience similar to that of a wireless earphones and mouse. Especially in a VR device, I feel that this would bring about more comfort and ease of movement. Moreover, Oculus Quest 2 is also a standalone device which allows users without a PC to enjoy the same gaming experience, increasing its portability and user target pool.

From my research, the Oculus Quest 2 is definitely my current top choice if I were to purchase a VR device. However, in our fast-paced technology industry, I am excited to see if there will be new emerging VR devices that are able to surpass the Oculus Quest 2 in the months to come.

AR/MR Devices

In the field of AR/MR, the market pool is still considerably smaller as compared to VR devices due to its unexplored utility. VR devices are mostly use for gaming or immersive experience where users are brought to another “world” in the comfort of their room. As for AR/MR, many manufacturers and companies are driving towards real-world application such as productivity, brainstorming and even furniture planning. Natuzzi, an Italian furniture company, developed an AR app where it allows users to visualise furniture placements in their own homes.

Microsoft Hololens 2

The Microsoft Hololens 2 landed a lasting impression in me through a live demonstration by Microsoft (which can be found at the end of this post). Notably, it is able to detect human hands without any controller which provides a higher level of convenience as lesser devices are required. Coupled with its audio feedback, this hand-tracking ability allows a more immersive experience when users interact with the augmented components.

Being a large corporation, Microsoft also integrated its products into the Hololens 2. In the demonstration, the user was able to interact with a Microsoft Teams application through hand gestures and vocal commands. From the Hololens 2 documentation, Microsoft has pre-installed multiple software such as Photos, Mail, Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Store. I was intrigued as this posed limitless potential in terms of productivity and multitasking. As Microsoft also owns Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint, Excel etc.), Visual Studio and many other useful software, they are able to bring a work desk into AR/MR. As compared to their competitor, the Magic Leap One, Microsoft is miles ahead to create an entire ecosystem of an AR/MR work desk.

Moreover, the Hololens 2 also brought about convenience in team discussions and brainstorming where physical sketch panels, mood boards or simply scribbles can be saved virtually. This extends the potential of AR/MR and also aids in the digitalisation of such activity.

Currently, the Microsoft Hololens 2 is only available on an enterprise level at a steep price of US$3500. There has not been any news targeting at a consumer level. Hopefully in the many months to come, Microsoft is able to extend the potentials and functionalities of AR/MR to bring about positive changes especially in pandemic-stricken industries.

VR, AR, MR head wears [HW1]

Introduction:

It is crazy how technology can redefine our realities, be it virtually, augmented or mixed. VR, AR and MR might appear to be synonyms of each other, but are actually distinguishable as they come from different places and seek to do different things. Currently, in the market, there are mainly 2 different categories of head wears. Generally, VR applications completely takes over user’s vision, blocking out your surroundings when you wear them. On the other hand, AR / MR applications adds on to your vision, projecting images over whatever you look at.

Virtual Reality:

Valve IndexHP Reverb G2Oculus Quest 2
Price (USD)$1000$600$300
Resolution1440 x 1600 (2.3MP) per-eye (LCD)2160 x 2160 (4.7MP) per-eye (LCD)1832 x 1920 (3.5MP) per-eye (LCD)
Refresh Rate80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz90Hz60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz
LensesDouble element FresnelSingle element FresnelSingle element Fresnel
Field of View~130° diagonal114° diagonal~90° diagonal
Optical AdjustmentIPD, eye-reliefIPDIPD, eye-relief (via included spacer)
IPD Range58-70mm60-68mm58mm, 63mm, 68mm
ConnectorsUSB3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, 12V powerUSB-C, DisplayPort, PowerUSB-C
Cable Length5m + 1m breakaway6m
TrackingStreamVR Tracking 1.0 or 2.0 (external beacons)Quad on-board camera (no external beacons)Oculus Insight (no external beacons)
ControllersValve Index controllersReverb G2 controllersOculus Touch v3
AudioOff-ear headphones, 3.5mm aux outputOff-ear headphonesIn-head strap speakers, 3.5mm aux output
MicrophoneDual microphoneYesYes
Pass-through CamerasStereo 960 x 960YesYes

My favourite VR headset is Valve Index. Of course, there are few other features to take into consideration, such as the price and space required. However, to judge the quality of VR headsets, my main considerations were tracking performance, field of view and how ergonomic the equipment is. Index offers eye-relief adjustment which allows the user to adjust the distance between lenses and his eyes, maximising the user’s view and comfort, especially for users who wear spectacles. Furthermore, Index has a physical IPD adjustment which ranges from 58mm to 70mm, enabling users to align the lenses with the width of his eyes for the sharpest visuals.
As seen in the table, clearly Index offers better tracking performance and field of view. It is also noted that it has one of the best controllers. Furthermore, it has one of the fastest refresh rates, making things feel even smoother and more present.
It was a tough fight between the Valve Index and the Oculus Quest 2, simply because the Oculus Quest 2 has a little bit of everything and is standalone, and only one third the price. But for me, Valve Index takes first place as it has better specifications for criteria’s I deem more important.

Augmented / Mixed Reality:

Mixed reality stands halfway between augmented and virtual reality where digital content is overplayed and interacts with the user’s environment in real time. Hence, for me, I have decided to rate the available head sets in terms of seamless transition, battery life and field of view.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 (MR)Magic Leap One (MR)Kopin Solos (AR)
Resolution (pixels)2048 x 1080 per eye1300 pixels per eye400 x 240
Field of view52° 50° 10.6° 
Refresh Rate120Hz120Hz120Hz
Tracking and controlEye and handEye and hand, with hapticsEye and hand, with tactile
Battery Life (hrs)635
Degree of Freedom66
Price (USD)$3500$2295$499

My favourite head gear is the Microsoft HoloLens 2 smart glass. Firstly, it has great ease of use as users are able to control the device through gestures and gaze tracking as well as voice support. Microsoft has shown to have near seamless, fast and responsive eye and hand tracking. Also, the headset accurately maps and interacts with the users’ environment thanks to the 4 visible light cameras (head tracking), 2 IR cameras (eye tracking), 1-MP time-of-flight depth sensor and 8MP stills, 1080p30 video cameras. Instead of just measuring interpupillary distance, the embedded Sensors takes a 3D scan of the user’s eyes, enabling a fast and responsive system.

Furthermore, it has one of the best battery life, despite being lightweight. Battery life is especially important if the device is untethered. This is because it just wouldn’t make sense for an untethered gadget to require constant cable charging. Lastly, with the best FOV in the market, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 really outshines the other devices currently in the market.

VAR devices blog [CS4240]

VR device: Valve Index

Resolution1440 x 1600
Refresh Rate80, 90, 120 or 144 Hz
Field of ViewAdjustable, up to 130 degrees
Face CushionAffixed to removable face interface, foam covered in anti-microbial microfiber cloth
Weight809g
PriceUS$999 (incl. 2 controllers and 2 base stations); US$499 (headset only)
Battery~6 hours

As an avid gamer, the main use I would find for VR headsets would be of course for games. Hence, after looking through the newest headsets, I thought that the Valve index seems to be the best VR headset currently due to its great hardware specs, comfort, long battery life and high tracking quality.

The index offers excellent resolutions at custom refresh rates, and in particular the 144Hz refresh rates makes pictures crystal clear. This is compared to other headsets that often offer limited refresh rate selections, though perhaps at slightly higher resolutions.

Although somewhat on the heavier side at ~800g without cables, users have given good reviews on its comfort. Reviews included how the head straps distributes weight well over a user’s head, and positive comments were made on how the straps were of high build quality.

On top of this, the index offer a great ~6h battery life, which is more than enough for most average users. Constantly having to bother with charging the battery would be annoying, and in my personal experiences with consoles, having to stop a game mid-way due to dead batteries is the worst feeling.

Lastly, the index comes with what many users have reviewed as the ‘best’ tracking technology. The index offers two base stations that track user movement effectively, along with novel controllers that convey a person’s actions effectively into the games. This allows games like Valve’s half-life:Alyx to truly shine, and offering users an experience other headsets cannot emulate.

That all being said, all this comes at a whooping cost of $999, which compared to the competition, is twice the price. This is likely to be a deal breaker for many people, which is a shame, since the hardware and software makes the Index likely the best headset available on the market right now.

MR device: Microsoft HoloLens

As I personally do not have any experiences with AR devices or their applications, I first sought to find what these devices could do and what some user favorite applications were.

Raptor EverySight, and its cycling application

Interestingly, although the market seemed to be rapidly growing, I did not find any of the popular applications to my personal interest. I would personally use AR glasses for purposes you would use a phone for, such as GPS, calorie counting, routing, and so on, but there did not seem to be readily available apps for such things. There were specific AR devices for things like cycling (which I enjoy), such as the Raptor EverySight, but the application itself seemed very lackluster when I saw it on youtube, especially when one considers the hefty price of US$599.

That said, I do find applications using Microsoft’s HoloLens to be the most interesting compared to its competition. It seems that HoloLens has found great success with industrial manufacturing and healthcare, along with healthcare education.

For manufacturers, HoloLens provides greatly improved guidance, allowing workers to be much more productive. The guided workers are able to have accelerated work processes, increasing productivity by decreasing errors.

For healthcare and healthcare education, the HoloLens provide a level of clarity for both patients and students alike that cannot be emulated through conventional means of communication. Patients are able to use the lens to very effectively see what they are suffering from and what the treatments might entail. For students, they are able to interact in situations that are otherwise dangerous or impossible in a conventional setting, allowing improved understanding and ability.

This is very hopeful for AR applications, because it showcases how good applications with good hardware can effectively improve situations. Both the manufacturing, health and education sectors have shown great numbers of improvement through the use of HoloLens, which may translate to other sectors in due time when proper applications are developed.

Nevertheless, despite the benefits, these HoloLens applications are customized for the manufacturing companies, which makes it less accessible to the average user. This might mean a very long wait time before AR applications could be valuable to the average user, which is rather disappointing considering how long many AR devices have been around for.

A leap of faith into a new world (VR/MR/AR Review)

Being an avid fan of VR myself, I had the chance to grab an Oculus Quest headset a few months after it was released. Watching the videos of what the Youtubers are experiencing with such an affordable and mobile headset opened the floodgates to many, which received one for their Christmas holidays. The key factor that drew me towards this headset was the lack of the need to have a powerful PC with a GPU as all the required hardware is inbuilt. This reduced the total overall cost and increased accessibility dramatically. Before the Oculus Quest, most headsets required tethering to the PC, and that restricted mobility of the device. Certain devices also required other background-position trackers, which limited use to a single room. However, the tethered devices do have their strengths as they are able to display much higher quality backgrounds for an improved user experience. Let’s look at the breakdown of a few of the most popular devices in the market right now. 

Popular VR Devices in the Market: 

 Oculus Quest 2 Oculus Rift S HTC Vive Cosmos Valve Index 
Positional Tracking Inside-Out Inside-Out Inside-Out LightHouse System (Outside-In) 
Max Resolution 1832 x 1920 1280 x 1440 1440 x 1700 1440 x 1600 
FOV 100 degrees 110 degrees 110 degrees  130 degrees 
Refresh Rate 72/90 Hz 80Hz 90Hz 80/90/120/144 Hz 
Tethering Optional Required Required Required 
Price (USD) $299 $399 $699 $999 (complete)  $499(headset only) 

My Choice: Oculus Quest 2 
 


Based on my experience with the Oculus Quest, I will gladly choose the Oculus Quest 2. Being not tethered to a PC is a huge plus and enables so many more people to open the door to VR experience. The price alone was also decreased to $299, making it more affordable to the masses. Even though there are more high-end devices that are in the market, I feel that if I will design an experience, I will do it on the console that has the highest uptake among the population. 

——– 

My first experience of mixed reality is at a tech conference, where I first tried on the Microsoft Hololens. The product presentation opened my eyes to the possibilities that presentations in the future can be conducted on a tabletop, and 3D topography will no longer be as complicated and can be easily visualized. As I was still in the military at that time, the most obvious use case was to have an interactive map on a desktop to easily plant outposts and plan for missions. 

Breakdown of Mixed Reality Headsets: 

 Microsoft Hololens 2 Magic Leap One 
Eye Tracking Yes Yes 
Max Resolution 2480 x 1080 1280 x 960 
FOV 43 x 29 degrees 40 x 30 degrees 
Refresh Rate 120 Hz 60Hz 
Price (USD) $3500 $2295 

My Choice: Microsoft Hololens 2 

Comparing these 2 devices that are dedicated for Mixed Reality, it is clear that they are targeted at professionals due to the relatively high sticker price. For consumers, it is still possible to experience mixed reality through traditional VR devices, such as the Oculus Quest, as it has cameras mounted on the outside, albeit at reduced accuracy (at the moment) and a solo experience. 

The experience that Microsoft Hololens provided enables multiple people to interact with a similar object on the table at the same time. This key feature is the one that draws me towards it, along with the better design as compared to Magic Leap, in my opinion. Being able to have a shared experience with others enables teamwork on the same tasks. 

The Current Outlook of VR/AR hardware.

Introduction

Virtual Reality, Mixed & Augmented reality has become more popular over the past few decades. This is mostly attributed to its novelty in the experience you receive from these hardware. The experiences made by these technologies either tries to resemble reality as it is or combine the interfaces and experiences of the digital and physical world. Due to the technology and experiences these devices make, game developers have tried to make use of them to create a much more immersive gaming experience. However, these technologies has not seen the meteoric rise people expected them to have. In my opinion, one of the reasons for it is the Accessibility and Quality of these devices. Let’s understand this more by diving into some of the best VR, MR and AR devices currently in offer today. We will be scrutinizing them based on the Build Quality and Experience (Deg of Freedom, Field of View, Resolution, Refresh Rate, Build Quality) they offer and their accessibility to the masses. Accessibility may have many factors, however we’ll be looking at Price (& Target Market), Minimum Requirements and Ease of Use/Mobility.

The Devices

Virtual Reality

Quality & Build

Oculus Quest 2HTC Vive CosmosValve Index
Weight499g702g810g
Resolution (per eye) 1832×1920px 1080×1200px 1440×1600 px
Refresh Rate 72Hz 90 Hz 144 Hz
DOF666
FOV 100° 110° 130°

Accessibility

Oculus Quest 2HTC Vive CosmosValve Index
Price (SGD)$431 $1,229 $1327
Target MarketConsumersConsumersConsumers
Min. RequirementsCPU:
Intel ® Core™ i5-4590 / AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater

GPU : NVIDIA ® GeForce ® 970 / AMD Radeon™ 400 Series or better

or None.
CPU: Intel ® Core™ i5-4590 or AMD FX™ 8350 equivalent or better.

GPU: NVIDIA ® GeForce ® GTX 970 4GB, AMD Radeon™ R9 290 4GB equivalent or better
CPU:
Dual Core with Hyper-Threading.

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD RX480.
Ease of Use/MobilityWireless/WiredWiredWired

VR Pick: Oculus Quest 2 (Analysis)

Facebook's reveals Oculus Quest 2, which starts at just $300 - Business  Insider

My pick for my favourite VR headset is the Oculus Quest 2. The reason for that is due to its strengths over its competitors. I’ve mentioned that having wide accessibility and good quality are reasons for headsets to be adopted by the masses.

Clearly, the Oculus Quest has achieved that by being accessible through a competitive price of just $431. Buyers do not even need to buy or upgrade their PCs so as to enjoy the experience of VR. As with regards to quality, even though the Oculus Quest has lesser FOV, users will still find it enjoyable due to their higher screen resolution and lightweight. The added bonus to the Oculus is that it is fully wireless since you do not need a PC either.

Its price competitiveness and comfortable user experience is what made me pick Oculus Quest 2. The idea that you could just jump into a virtual world without any restrictions and discomfort is what makes this device so much more compelling. Below is a demo of the device itself.

Mixed Reality

Quality & Build

Microsoft Hololens 2Magic Leap One
Weight566g454g
Resolution (per eye)2048 x 1080 px 1280 x 960 px
Refresh Rate240Hz 60 Hz
DOF66
FOV 43°x 29° 40° x 30°

Accessibility

Microsoft Hololens 2 Magic Leap One
Price (SGD) $5,388 $3049
Target MarketProfessionalsProfessionals
Min. Requirements
Ease of Use/MobilityWirelessWireless

MR Pick: Microsoft Hololens 2

Microsoft's HoloLens 2 Team Answers More Questions About Biometric  Security, Audio, & Hand Tracking « HoloLens :: Next Reality

The choice for this MR headset is picked with different factors in mind compared to the VR headset. The reason for that is that the VR headsets at the moment are mostly targeted at consumers, for the masses whereas, the market for MR headsets currently are for professionals.

From the tables above we can see that even though Hololens 2 is priced much higher, it is worth noting that their specifications in resolution and FOV is higher. Although its weight is heavier, Professionals will care more about the resolution and field of view as it can directly affect their work more. The clearer their view, the finer the details of the elements they can interact with. Hence the clarity for work and collaboration is what made me pick the Hololens 2. Below is the demo for the device.

V/A/MR Devices Review

List of latest V/A/MR HWs that are great

VRARMR
Oculus Quest 2
Valve Index
Hp Reverb G2
Vuzix Blade Smart GlassesMicrosoft Hololens 2
Magic Leap One
ZapBox

Besides the specs and prices, my main criteria for determining what makes a good VR/MR device is how well it looks and feels when a real user is using it. As there is no way I can test all of them out, I had to rely on videos of users testing it out or live demonstrations. There were a lot more devices that have been recently released but due to lack of footage beyond just demo videos with actors and fancy VFX (which definitely isnt a reliable way to gauge how well the real product works), I did not consider them when coming up with this list.

My favourite VR device

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2 is definitely most well-rounded VR headset right now that is extremely affordable at around $300USD. It being a stand alone means people like me who don’t own a PC (yet) will still be able to play games on it. And even if you do own a PC, this headset is also compatible with PCs, allowing you to play more graphically demanding games on it.

Its specifications I feel, though not ground breaking like some other more expensive choices, are decently good enough with 1832×1920 resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, and FOV of 92º, for one to feel immersed in the virtual world. Reviewers have also pointed out that it has good tracking, so your head and hand movements are realistically reflected in the virtual world.

Even though people have pointed out a down-side is needing a Facebook account to use it, there’s nothing stopping you from just creating a brand new fake account just for this VR device.

I will definitely be considering buying this headset once I have money and time for gaming.

My favourite MR device

Microsoft Hololens 2

I have got to say out of the 3 MR devices listed above, watching the live demonstrations of what Hololens 2 can do really got me wanting to try it out myself. A few features really made it stand out from the other devices.

Firstly, is its hand-tracking ability – it is fully operational with just your hands! Personally, I feel that being able to interact with virtual objects directly without controllers will really allow users to feel fully immersed in the mixed reality.

Another feature was its audio feedback. Pressing or moving a virtual object will respond with clicky sound effects, as if those were real objects being touched. Good visual and audio feedback paired together makes objects feel more present.

As expected from its hefty price tag, this device certainly has the best specifications out of all the other MR devices. Its resolution, refresh rate, field-of-view are all better than its current competitors (those that have been released) and will definitely demonstrate a better and more realistic user experience.

Different Scene – Different Headset

Having watched the movie “Ready Player One”, I decied to buy a PS4 headset and that’s 2 years ago. But the user experience is not as good as seen in the movie. The heaset is heavy, hard to adjust and causes dizziness after long period of wearing.

Looking at the current market headset, it inspires me to try new headset again!

For VR use cases, gaming is the most popular market.

Oculus quest 2 is no double the most attractive one. Single Fast-Switch LCD, 1832×1920px per eye makes the images presented to user more real. Qualcomm® Snapdragon XR2 CPU provides a solid computation power for rendering and processing.

Valve Index which has 1440×1600 LCD panel for each eye. Leveraging the PC end computational power, and backed by the steam platform, Valve delivers great gaming experience for end users. It have greater market compared to oculus.

There are massive use cases in engineering heaset which leaverages AR/MR.

Microsoft Hololens2 is getting very hot with real time enviormental data processing captured by sensors and rich communication capability via wireless.

From industrial application pespective, there is a headset we have to mention:

RealWear HMT-1Z1: I specially pick this headset as I have rich experience working with it. The headset is voice trigged thus it frees operators hands in crucial working enviornment.

The power of AR/VR/MR is not to say of a bright future. There was bubble period where VR was over priced and there were few successful stories. However now AR/VR is getting real useful again as the market is appreciating the benefit AR/VR can bring. The AR/VR headset design is innovating accoridng the following 3 aspects:

User comfortness/experience: The desnsity of chips in a headset increased significantly. The increasing computational power makes the headset lighter and user can make head movement easier. Technology tracking eyeball movement makes it easier to present images more real and ease the tiredness of the eyes.

Application: Either comsumer or industrial user now tend to use the single headset to perform multiple and complicated workload. Market palce with more quality applications attacts more users.

Eco-system: With enterprise and industrial leads, how the headset performs best relies on the software vendors who can deliver the most suitable applicaiton in the right scenarios. Thus it’s a history of hardware and software vendors working together.