Review of VR and MR Headsets

VR Headset review:

I have listed down the top VR headsets in the market today, based on their hardware specifications (i.e. graphics and tracking functions) as well as their price points. In my opinion, I think one of the most important considerations when it comes to choosing a VR headset is affordability. The sharpness and clarity of the image produced by the headset is also one of the important aspects that I will look out for as it will influence the gameplay experience. In addition, it should provide users with accessibility to a wide range of games and ideally provide a good amount of eye comfort for long hours of gameplay.

Valve IndexOculus Quest 2Oculus Rift SSony Playstation VRHTC VIVE CosmosHP Reverb G2
Field of View(Degree)130100 115 100110114
Resolution(pixels – per eye)1440 x 16001832 x 19201440 x 1280960 x 10801700 x 14402160 x 2160
Refresh Rate(Hz)120 (up to 144 in experimental tests)908090-1209090
Hardware PlatformSteamVR/PCSteamVR/PC/Oculus StoreSteamVR/PC/Oculus StorePS4/PS5SteamVR/PCSteamVR/PC/Windows MR
Motion Detection6DOF6DOF6DOF6DOF6DOF6DOF
Price (in USD)999299399399699599

Preferred VR headset:

As an owner of a PS4 and habitual console player, Sony Playstation VR is definitely on the top of my list. Even though its specifications pales in comparison with some of the other headsets in the market, it is still one of the more affordable ones.

The Playstation VR also has an extensive library of exciting games like Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, Five Nights at Freddie’s: Help Wanted, and Beat Saber. Many PlayStation VR games also work with the DualShock 4 controllers, so I don’t even have to purchase any add-on motion control accessories.

Besides its affordability and accessibility to games, the headset incorporates a lot of simple physical measurements so that it can accommodate and be worn comfortably by all the different head sizes of the users. The headset offers competitive gyroscope, tracking, and movement technology that keeps the gameplay smooth, holding its own against VR-centric companies like Oculus and HTC Vive. The setting up of the device is also relatively easy, making it user-friendly.

Although Valve Index seems like one of the strongest contenders in the VR market, offering the widest FOV and the highest refresh rate, and not to mention the Index controllers that feature an advanced grip system for more natural, precise interaction, its price point, however, is hard to swallow. A gaming PC is also needed to pair with the headset and that would be another additional cost. As mentioned in a blog review by theverge, setting up the laser-emitting base stations (i.e. mounted in opposite corners of your play space) and troubleshooting the headset also poses a challenge for amateur players like myself.

As someone who is unlikely to find a lot of time and money to invest in VR, I would likely give Valve Index a pass.

MR Headset review:

Similarly, I have listed down some of the MR headsets in the market today with their hardware specifications. Unlike my preference in the VR headsets, I believe that the importance of the functionality of the MR headsets outweighs their affordability here. As MR headsets can do much more than just gaming, I would choose one that is worth the price. It is a state-of-the-art tool that can significantly improve work productivity and I wouldn’t mind spending the extra money to purchase a good MR headset – especially if it is a bang for the buck.

Headset Name Microsoft HoloLens 2 Magic Leap One ASUS HC102 Samsung Odyssey+ 
Type Standalone Standalone(Connected to lightpack) Tethered Tethered
Resolution(Pixels – per eye) 2048 x 1080 1280 x 960 1440 x 1440 1440×1600 
Field of view (degrees) 52 50 95 110 
Refresh Rate (Hz) 120 120 90 90 
Price(USD) 3500 2300 399 500 

Preferred MR headset

Therefore, the headset that I would prefer most is Microsoft Hololens 2 even though it costs a whopping USD$3,500, they offer a much higher resolution and refresh rate than the other headsets. Furthermore, it is a standalone headset where I don’t have to connect to a laptop or any other devices. I am able to simply don the headset, move freely, and be able to pull up a holographic projection of my emails instantly. There are no wires or external packs to get in my way as the headset is basically a self-contained computer with Wi-Fi connectivity. And that is one aspect that I really like about the headset.

Also, the headset allows you to interact with the holograms very much like real objects due to its advanced hand movement tracking ability. It allows you to touch, grasp, and move holograms in ways that feel natural. You are also able to instantly access the HoloLens 2 securely using just your eyes with voice commands. This even works in a noisy setting through the use of smart microphones and natural language speech processing.

Besides Microsoft Hololens 2, Magic Leap one is also one of the better options in my opinion. The specifications are also a notch better than the other headsets, with better graphics and refresh rates. It is also on the pricier end. Similar to the Microsoft Hololens 2, it is a standalone device, the only difference is that it still needs to be connected to a small device also known as the lightpack, which is basically a wearable computer.

Magic Leap Headset Test Drive: Off Your Phone and Into Your World - WSJ

VR/MR Devices Analysis

VR Technologies

I personally have not experienced many VR/MR devices firsthand, hence I will be taking a look at some of their specifications and making a comparison across some of the interesting technologies I found.

My personal choice would be the Occulus Quest 2 as it is one of the most affordable models out there starting at $299 for the 64GB Model. Apart from the reasonable pricing, there are several interesting specifications to take note of. Oculus improved the frame rate of the Quest 2 from 72Hz to 90Hz, which provides an even more immersive experience as games and content can take advantage of a higher refresh rate to deliver better quality. The battery live is rather significant at about 2 hours of gameplay (or 3 hours video), and the screen resolution reaches up to 1832 x 1920 per eye which is rather impressive for a VR headset. Furthermore, the Quest 2 rather light weighing about 503g, a great improvement from the original Oculus Quest weighing about 571g.

The design and user experience are also important, since a headset may not necessarily be the most comfortable experience for all. The Quest 2 uses fabric strips that are more comfortable and easier to adjust. Additionally, the Quest 2 does offer an extra battery pack that attaches to the Pro Strap, which doubles the battery life of the Quest 2 for longer and better experiences.

More practically, the lower starting price of the Quest 2 compared to other headsets seem to be the strongest attraction in onboarding newer users (like myself) into VR with a reasonably lower investment. Games that are more tech-savvy would definitely note the Facebook-centric platform of the Oculus environment. The Quest 2 is a great personal choice as it has a lower barrier to entry, along with the comfort and performance it provides to the everyday user.

MR Technologies

Although I haven’t tried this physically, the Microsoft Hololens seems to be the industry-leading and most popular choice for many B2B companies. Their expansion and development into their product are well thought and well-integrated amongst various use cases.

Let’s begin with some ergonomics analysis. Fit and comfort is key for the Hololens 2. Although the initial Hololens already came a long way from the early prototypes, it was clearly highlighted by many that comfort wasn’t the best for extended periods of use. One needs to make adjustments to ensure that the best field of view is obtained while maximizing comfort in wearing. In the Hololens 2, there is a more comfortable fit with a dial-in system specifically designed for extended use. The built is designed in a way that the main processor and battery are located modularly at the back of the headset, with the wires running towards the front, improving the weight distribution of the Hololens 2.

The Hololens 2 is capable of tracking up to 25 points of articulation with both hands in space, allowing natural touch and grasping to move holograms. Their impressive eye-tracking technology also finetunes the interaction with holograms. It can detect what you’re looking at and use that data to further improve the user interface which ultimately results in a better field of view. The Hololens 2 has a field of view to about 52 degrees diagonally, which Microsoft claims to have doubled the effective viewing area. There is also an increase in the vertical viewing area, making it taller when looking at tabletop holograms. This impressive improvement in the field of view is a large differentiator across many MR headsets, which puts the Hololens 2 as one of the pioneers in ensuring a better experience. Unfortunately, the Hololens 2 is priced very high, possibly because of the intricate and complex technologies that it incorporates and may not be ready for the everyday user today. A more expensive price point does limit the audience that is able to use it, hence more applications are centred around businesses currently.

Ultimately, the Hololens 2 is successful in maximizing both performance and comfort, while optimizing current technologies such as having more cameras and better sensors around the headset. This is particularly important for headset wearables as it hopefully seeps into the near future where everyday users can harness MR in their daily lives without the hassle of discomfort or performance-related issues.

VR/MR Devices

I do not have much experience with VR/MR devices, and so I will be relying on reviews and the specs of the devices to determine which ones I feel are best. For VR, I have tried Google Cardboard and other similar VR headsets that use smartphones, but they have not been very good experiences. I have not tried any MR devices.

For VR, the Valve Index is my pick. It is pricey, but the features look the most impressive of all the recently released devices. For instance, it has a higher FOV than other headsets, as well as an above-average refresh rate, which I appreciate. It also has good specs in terms of resolution, audio, etc., though it is on the heavier side. However, for me the main selling point is the controllers, which can can track individual finger movement and grip strength. I think that such controllers are very interesting in both the technology used, as well as practically. For example, it would make gesturing much more natural, as well as allow for users to pick up objects by actually gripping the controller, instead of having to press a button, thus allowing for greater immersion. I hope that controllers with similar features will become standard in the future.

Valve Index with accompanying Controllers and Base Stations

For MR, I would say that the Microsoft HoloLens 2 seems the most impressive. Reviews I’ve seen claim that it is comfortable and feel immersive and intuitive to use. In addition, while it does not have the largest FOV, it is among the top in devices designed purely for MR (i.e. not a VR headset that also has some support for MR). Finally, instead of needing to be tethered to a computer or phone, the HoloLens 2 has its own onboard computer, which allows a user to use it at any time without needing any setup. Finally, as Microsoft Mixed Reality is currently one of the most prominent mixed reality platforms, the HoloLens 2 can be expected to receive support for the foreseeable future.

HoloLens 2

VR/MR Devices

My most preferred VR device is the the game-changing, high-tech device Google Cardboard. First of all, for all its features, the Google Cardboard is available at an unbelievable price of 14.90 SGD on Lazada. Secondly, it boasts a high quality frame made from highly recyclable material. Thirdly, there is almost no learning curve. In order to experience a high-quality virtual reality experience, all one needs is to slot a smart phone into the Google Cardboard and get started. This video (, for example, provides a high degree of immersion and presence despite the Cardboard’s limitation of having only 3 degrees of freedom.

Figure 1 Google Cardboard

Unlike VR devices, I have never used an MR device and thus, my preference is solely based off the marketing efforts of the companies behind the devices that I have been exposed to. Microsoft released a video envisioning the future of MR devices ( amazed me as I was completely unaware of the utility these devices could offer us. Therefore, my most preferred MR device is the Microsoft HoloLens 2 as it seems that the companies vision is to invent a device which aims to enhance human life as much as possible. In a demo by Microsoft, the HoloLens displayed impressive eye-tracking, voice recognition and six degrees of freedom which allowed the user’s surroundings to be completely populated by virtual objects.

Figure 2 Microsoft HoloLens

With an approximately 6000SGD price tag, I would probably prefer purchasing the ground-breaking, game-changing HoloKit instead.

Figure 3 HoloKit