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 BuildQuality 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.
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.
Quality & Build
Microsoft Hololens 2
Magic Leap One
Resolution (per eye)
2048 x 1080 px
1280 x 960 px
40° x 30°
Microsoft Hololens 2
Magic Leap One
Ease of Use/Mobility
MR Pick: Microsoft Hololens 2
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.
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
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
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.
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.
As an avid supporter of the Japanese animation ‘Sword Art Online’ which depicts a fully immersive virtual reality game, I was intrigued to find out that these concepts are readily being integrated into the real world and in our daily lives (since that meant a step closer to experiencing such games). Aside from my childish fantasies, being relatively new to this topic on VR/AR/MR and its relevant hardware, what strikes me most when researching would be the price and the aesthetics of the devices, as well as how user friendly it is. Below is a list of devices that caught my attention.
Virtual Reality Headsets
Oculus Quest 2
Augmented Reality Headsets
Epson MOVERIO BT-300
Mixed Reality Headsets
Dimension NXG AjnaLens (not much information but looks cool)
Magic Leap One
Microsoft HoloLens 2
Favorite VR Headset – Oculus Quest 2
The reasons for selecting Oculus Quest 2 over the rest are as follows:
Price From SG$430++ is a very reasonable price compared to counterparts that cost up to even thousands of dollars. (HTC Vive costs SG$1740 and Playstation VR coses $750)
Aesthetics Very pleasing and looks very comfortable (although I do not have first hand experience, HTC Vive somehow looks a little less pleasing with the indentations on the headgear).
Handling Standalone Headset which does not require any wiring or connection, only logging in using a FaceBook account is required. This will make it so much more convenient to use compared to its wired counterparts.
Dual hand controlling with two controllers seems to allow more freedom of use when interacting with the virtual world as compared to the normal Playstation/console controllers.
Favorite MR Headset – HoloLens 2
The reasons for selecting HoloLens 2 over the rest are as follows:
Aesthetics Looks the most professional. (No offence but Magic Leap looks like swimming goggles…) *Albeit the higher prices of HoloLens 2 (of more than a thousand compared to its competitors), I would still be inclined to this option due to its aesthetics and confidence in microsoft.
Handling HoloLens 2 is a standalone headset that does not require wiring and additional connections too, thus makes it portable and more user friendly. In comparison, Magic Leap requires users to always hold a controller.
Despite not owning any VR devices, I have used some of the popular devices on the market at exhibition demos, or borrowing them from friends, so I have a pretty good idea of what the ideal VR experience would be like.
Oculus Quest 2
HTC Vive Pro
Oculus Rift S
Starting price (USD)
Screen resolution per eye (pixels)
1832 x 1920
1440 x 1600
1440 x 1600
1280 x 1440
Field of view (degrees)
Max refresh rate (Hz)
Playtime (Battery capacity in hrs)
2 to 3
Oculus Quest Store (Android-based games)
Steam VR & Viveport
Oculus Store & Steam VR
Valve Index controllers
FavouriteVR Device: Oculus Quest 2
One of the best VR headsets that are currently available which I would love to purchase, would be the Oculus Quest 2. It has a clean white design and built-in speakers which makes it good for portable use. This provides an immersive experience, eliminating the need for external speakers or additional peripherals. Another feature that I really enjoy is that you can set up the playing area and boundaries just by drawing it. Its portable design and quality is what makes its price point worth it.
Oculus also has one of the greatest software support behind it with a store full of amazing games that you can play as a standalone device. The developers make constant updates with the graphics improving and getting crispier every version. Its resolution and refresh rate is also one of the best in VR devices with at 1832 x 1920 and 90Hz as well as 6 degrees of freedom allowing for greater freedom of movement. In a nutshell, these amazing features make it one of the best choices available in the market right now as an all-in-one VR headset.
Favourite MR Headset: Microsoft Hololens 2
Although I do not own a MR Headset, I observed that the Microsoft Hololens is one of the best in the market at the moment. It has well designed ergonomics and looks comfortable to use compared to some of the bulkier headsets in the market. Less bulky headsets will allow for longer hours of use and less intrusive to user experience. Moreover, it also has an impressive 2K resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels. In terms of environment understanding, it has improved spatial mapping capabilities compared to the first Hololens which means it will be able to operate at a faster rate. This, as well as 4 visible light cameras which means that it is able to track more movements, allowing for more interactivity with the environment.
The Hololens 2 is priced at an extremely high price point of $3500 and reasonably so, as it is targetted for business use. It is hopeful that the price point of future MR devices can be lowered to a comfortable consumer price point.
I am excited to see what the industry has to offer in the future and surely we will see leaps and bounds in the development of VR, AR, and MR technologies in the years to come.
It may not be obvious to us, but Augmented Reality (AR) has already taken roots in our daily lives. From face filters to AR games, this wonderful technology has slowly evolved and gained commercial traction. Unfortunately, most of these applications are mostly restricted to our phones. With the availability of smart phones in our modern society, the adoption of AR phone apps far exceed the ones of AR headsets. However, recent developments have brought headsets, such as Microsoft Hololens and Oculus Quest, closer to widespread consumer adoption.
Current Market The current market for AR devices are quite varied. Here is a brief breakdown of the specifications of some AR capable devices.
Oculus Rift S
VR (Partial AR)
VR (Partial AR)
Degree of Freedom
Field of view
43° × 29°
Resolution (per eye)
2560×1440 (single display)
Professionals, previously for consumers
My Analysis For my AR/VR headset analysis, I wish to take a in-depth look at the Magic Leap device. Having worn and played around with the Microsoft Hololens 1, Oculus Rift and Magic Leap, I personally liked the use of Magic Leap the most. Here’s why:
Comfort Initially aimed at the consumer market, Magic Leap was designed for comfort. Despite having a separate pack for the CPU, this design removed a lot of weight away from the headset itself. The Microsoft Hololens 1 was incredibly chunky and the weight was distributed unevenly. In comparison, the Magic Leap was significantly lighter, removing quite a bit of stress on the neck from long usage.
Realism Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Magic leap do not display a virtual version of your surrounding. As such, it is more realistic in terms of its colors and the virtual object placed on screen. Of course, the Magic Leap is disadvantaged with the limited field of vision which restricts its realism.
Headset Design For its design, Magic Leap is the most outstanding, with its smaller build and googles-like appearance, making this headset especially appealing to me.
Here’s a short video on the holograms generated by the Magic Leap device!
My favorite Virtual Reality headset is the Oculus Go. As a beginner in Virtual Reality, it was important for me to find a device that would be beginner-friendly and allow me to experience media that I enjoy to full extent. Hence, Oculus Go was the best choice.
Firstly, the Oculus Go is one of the cheapest VR headsets that offer high quality visuals that are on par with headsets twice or thrice as expensive. As a student who is also a non-gamer, affordability, but with good quality, was an important factor.
Secondly, the setup of Oculus Go is simple and fast and the interface is intuitive and easy to use.
The navigation panels and clear labelling of different
buttons or features makes it easy to navigate around the interface. The number
of different navigation options are grouped and limited, example ‘My Apps’ is a
panel on the left with only 5 to 6 options visible, the Library panel and the
control panel at the bottom of the screen also has few limited options. This
allows the user to focus and see all their options easily without being
Besides the interface, the remote control is easy to learn
using as well. There are only 4 buttons with specific usage for each. The
design and functionalities of each of the buttons are familiar and similar to
the buttons in our laptops and handphones. For instance, the mouse on the device
is designed similar to the control pad on our laptops and the back button is
similar to that of back and home buttons on our phones. Due to the familiarity
of both remote control and the simplicity of the interface, the Oculus Go has
high learnability and memorability and is easy to be picked up by
The intuitiveness of the interface makes it user-friendly
for beginners. Furthermore, the headset is standalone and does not require
phone or computer for tethering, thus making it mobile and provide users the
freedom to use the headsets in any space or positions they prefer.
High Quality Resolution
The resolution is 2560 x 1440 which is high given the Oculus Go’s price point, and is even higher than the more expensive Oculus Rift. However, the refresh rate is low at around 60 Hz which is lower than the usual standard of 90 Hz found offered on the more expensive counterparts. Hence, although the visuals on the screen are very sharp, it is also slightly less smooth than other VR sets.
Since no tethering is required, the Oculus Go allows users
to easily move around while watching movies, concerts etc. which makes the
experience more comfortable and enjoyable. Shows and concerts can be watched
from various angles and allows users to experience events from different perspectives
and immerse fully.
Although the games offered in Oculus Go are limited, the
media and entertainment aspect of Oculus Go makes it great for experiential VR
activities. Since I am not a gamer and primarily enjoy watching movies, shows
and other videos, such a VR headset with its price point, ease of usage,
mobility and quality and range of visuals and screen makes it very suitable for
MR Headset – Microsoft HoloLens
Microsoft HoloLens is my favourite Mixed Reality device and I feel is the best device to be introduced to Mixed Reality. The device is controlled entirely by hand gestures that are simple and intuitive. Its functionalities and features elevates the working and learning experience for students and regular office workers and can also be used for entertainment purposes.
The HoloLens has very high resolution. Hence, any tabs, holograms, labels and images feel ‘surreal’ and hyper realistic. This allows users to completely immerse into the mixed reality where the real and virtual worlds are hard to tell apart.
Improved working/studying environment
All the basic functionalities and applications of laptops and PCs are available. Multiple monitors can be opened at the same time in different positions in the room and can be resized, pushed closer or further away from the user, while still maintaining high resolution.
This provides users more freedom and convenience to work in any size of screens and distance they wish to. Furthermore, hand gestures for different tasks are shown when user begins using an application, thus allowing users to learn the usage easily.
Improved research and learning experience
Learning and research is enhanced by allowing users to view and interact with the objects or subjects they wish to know more about.
For instance, when learning about solar system, users are able to zoom into the sun (as shown above) and see the most realistic view of it. Such interactive nature of the HoloLens gives room for a mixture of textual and hands-on learning and research from the comfort of home or office or any other space. This maximizes the facilities and resources that can be provided for learning at all times and places, and improves the learning, working and research experience for all.
To further enhance the mixed reality experience, the HoloLens also is able to map different objects in the room and places/allows users to place different holograms in different parts of the room as shown below. From the HoloLens view, these holograms are very clear and creates an exciting work experience, such as looking up in the room wall to check the weather. The room mapping also allows users to label different objects in the room via the HoloLens. This allows users to see different things in the room and reduces the need to remember where every single object or belonging is kept.
Reduces the need to purchase separate entertainment sets
Besides work and learning, the HoloLens is also a great device for entertainment purposes. Users are able to open different tabs and watch videos, movies etc at any screen size they wish to. This replaces the need to purchase large screen televisions or monitors and provides users full control of the size and distance of their screens or entertainment sets at all times.
Overall, the HoloLens provides a great introduction to mixed reality. Its high resolution, hyper realistic images, room mapping technology, and many other functionalities, creates a more enhanced version of the users’ real environment. This changes the way we work, learn and play and makes these experiences more productive, immersive, and fun.
I do not personally own any VR/AR hardware, so my review of the following devices would be based on the current reviews available online.
VR Headset Review
My criteria for the preferred headset would be based on the following factors:
Compatibility with existing games or systems – Even with the most sophisticated VR hardware, the experience of VR would be limited by the current offerings that are available on the market.
Ease of use, ergonomics – With it allows for a greater degree of immersion and thus easier to get a higher degree of presence.
Price – As a good VR experience requires high-end hardware, which comes at a huge cost, the price of the VR hardware is not an important factor to consider
Below I have shortlisted 3 of the most popular VR headsets in 2020, with various price points and differing specifications.
Oculus Quest 2
HP Reverb G2
Resolution per eye
1440 x 1600
1832 x 1920
2160 x 2160
Refresh rate (Hz)
80, 90, 120 or 144
Weight (without cable)
Field of View (degrees)
~ 130 (max)
External (2 base stations)
Preferred: Valve Index
Based on my findings, the Valve Index would allow for the greatest VR experience, despite it’s relatively higher upfront cost. The Valve Index is the only headset on the market capable of refresh rates above 90Hz, allowing higher temporal fidelity. This factor is especially important for me when purchasing a VR headset as I am prone to motion-sickness while playing video games, particularly during first-person perspective games. The Valve Index also has better tracking, with the use of external base stations called lighthouses, they are capable of tracking with sub-millimeter accuracy. Inside-out tracking, which uses the cameras mounted on the headset to track the position of the user, although robust but is still prone to drift, translating to minor annoyances during VR which might break the flow of the user.
One of the main deciding factors for the best VR experience are the controllers that come with each system, which are one of the main ways to interact with the game or system in VR. The controllers in the Valve Index allow for hands-free, full finger tracking, compared to the traditional controllers of other systems.
AR Headset Review
There is limited availability for AR headsets in the consumer market, hence there is not much development in the AR space, compared to VR. The products that are most prominent are Microsoft’s Hololens 2 and the Magic Leap One. However, Microsoft’s implementation is superior and more advanced overall.
Preferred: Microsoft Hololens 2
The field-of-view has been improved over the first Hololens, now capable of over 52 degrees compared to the Magic Leap’s 30 degrees. The visual fidelity has been improved significantly, due to the new optics found in the Hololens 2, capable of about 2K pixels per eye, compared to Magic Leap’s 1280 x 960 resolution. Windows Holographic OS is also more robust compared to the one found in the Magic Leap One, thus offering a better AR experience overall.
Currently, the Hololens 2 is targeted at enterprise users, but as adoption increases we might have a consumer model in the future.
Technology with regards to Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) has taken many steps to improve the quality of experiences users get, since they were first introduced to the world.
In this post, I’ll be looking at a few of the latest VR/MR Headsets and comparing them.
The VR equipment sets I will be looking at are Oculus Quest 2, HTC Vive Cosmos Elite, and Valve Index Full VR Kit. How I will be judging them is based on graphics, audio, level of user interactivity, comfort, and prices.
Comfort refers to how comfortable the user feels during the VR experience. This can be affected by the Degrees of Freedom (DoF) the headset has. Headsets have either 3DoF vs 6DoF. Having 6DoF allows users to have greater freedom of movement within the virtual reality, which will lessen the difference in signals being sent to the user’s head. This way users are less likely to experience nausea from the VR experience, which is why I label it under “comfort”.
I believe the factors I am judging the equipment on are all important aspects of a VR tracking set. Graphics, audio, level of user interactivity and comfort help to judge how immersive an experience the VR headset allows. Price is also always a factor to potential consumers with budgets.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 is the latest VR set created by Oculus, a brand under Facebook. It was released October 2020.
Graphics: The Oculus Quest 2’s headset uses a single-panel Fast-Switch LCD, with a resolution of 1832×1920 pixels per eye. Its default refresh rate is 72Hz by default, although it may be changed to 60Hz in certain cases. This headset has a field of view (FOV) of ~100º. Audio: Has in-built speakers into its straps; Has a single earphone jack (in case users want to use their own earpiece instead) Level of Interactivity: The Oculus Quest 2 comes with 2 controllers to be held by the user. These act as the user’s virtual hands to interact with the virtual environment. Comfort: The Oculus Quest 2’s controllers with 6DoF tracking. Price: Starts from 299 USD Miscellaneous: Needs a Facebook account to be used, to which some people may not be keen on creating
HTC Vive Cosmos Elite
The Vive Cosmos Elite was released in March 2020.
Graphics: The Vive Cosmos Elite headset has dual 3.4″ diagonal screens. Dual screens can help increase refresh rate, and make it easier to adjust the distance of eye separation, or the distance from the screen to the user’s individual eye. Its resolution is 1440 x 1700 pixels per eye. The Vive Cosmos Elite also has a refresh rate of 90Hz and a FOV of 110º (max). Audio: Comes with its own stereo on-ear headphones. If users are willing to purchase an additional “replacement kit for earphones”, they may unplug the default headphones and replace it with the user’s own earpiece. Level of Interactivity: The Vive Cosmos Elite comes with 2 handheld controllers, allowing user to interact with the virtual environment with virtual hands. Comfort: The headset and controllers support 6DoF. Price: 899 USD Miscellaneous: Has base stations to help track the user’s (specifically, the headset and controllers’) position(s) in a room
Valve Index Full VR Kit
The Valve Index Full VR Kit was first released in June 2019. It also opened up for orders again in 2020.
Graphics: The Valve Index headset has dual LCD screens and canted lenses (which allow for a great FOV). Its resolution is 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye. It allows for an FOV of up to 130º. Audio: The headset has built-in near-field speakers that are positioned near the ears (but not covering). With the speaker drivers it uses, it lets the user experience a 3-dimensional surround sound, which can help further enhance the VR experience. Level of Interactivity: The Valve Index comes with 2 handheld controllers to act as virtual hands. These controllers track the user’s motion, as well as the user’s hands and individual fingers, which I feel makes it stand out from other VR equipment sets. Comfort: This VR equipment set offers 6DoF. Price: 999 USD Miscellaneous: Has base stations to help track the user’s position in a room; Has generally been commented on as “heavy”
Overall, I like the Valve Index Full VR Kit the most.
I dislike the idea of needing to link my Facebook account to the Oculus Quest 2 in order to use that headset, although I admit that for most people who already have a Facebook account and find it convenient for them to link their accounts to their VR headsets, the Oculus Quest 2 is a good choice. The Oculus Quest 2 has very good specs for its price (and is the cheapest out of the 3 options!), making it the most accessible to consumers. Thus, I decided based on my personal preference that I would rather pick other headsets over the Oculus Quest 2.
As for the remaining 2 headsets, the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is 100 USD cheaper than the Valve Index Full VR Kit. Both systems come with similar equipment. Hence, we need to compare these two sets’ specs to see if the 100 USD is justified.
The Valve Index’s graphics are slightly superior to the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite. While both sets may offer 6DoF and dual screens, the Valve Index’s graphics allows for greater FOV. In terms of resolution, it appears both headsets are quite similar to one another.
In terms of sound, while the HTC Vive Cosmos Elite allows users to plug in their own earpiece (with an additional purchase required), the Valve Index provides users with 3-dimensional sound by default, allowing for a more immersive VR experience.
I do admit that the Valve Index’s finger-tracking sounds appealing but is rarely made use of as a core game mechanic by current VR games. Nonetheless, it has potential to be used in more games in the future. In fact, there are upcoming games with plans to make use of this unique tracking feature, such as Falcon Age and Boneworks.
Hence, overall, I still like the Valve Index Full VR Set the most.
The MR equipment I will be comparing are the Microsoft HoloLens 2 (2019), and the Magic Leap One (2018).
I considered including the Nreal Light (2019) and the Dimension NXG Ajna Lens (2018) in this comparison. However, the Nreal Light is not a standalone MR headset like the ones I mentioned above, so I have decided to leave it (and other MR Headsets meant to connect to smartphones) out from this comparison. In the meantime, although the AjnaLens sounds highly competitive compared to the HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap One with its FOV of 90°; not much information can be found about it regarding its resolution and refresh rates. Furthermore, it appears the company is targeting companies rather than individual consumers. Hence, I chose to exclude it as well.
I will be comparing these MR Headsets based on their resolutions, fields of view (FOV), refresh rates and prices.
Microsoft HoloLens 2
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 is a Microsoft product, hailing from the US.
Resolution: 2048 x 1080 pixels per eye FOV: 52° Price: 3,500 USD Refresh Rate: 120 Hz Miscellaneous: Battery life typically allows 2-3 hours of active use; weighs 566g; has 6DoF tracking; built-in spatial sound
Magic Leap One
The Magic Leap One is the first product released by the company Magic Leap, Inc. Similarly to the Microsoft HoloLens 2, it originates from the US.
Resolution: 1280 x 960 pixels per eye FOV: 50° Refresh Rate: 120 Hz Price: 2,295 USD (excluding any service plans) Miscellaneous: Battery life typically lasts up to 3 hours; has 6DoF tracking; has onboard speakers, with a 3.5mm audio jack
In regards to MR Headsets, I would pick the Magic Leap One over the Microsoft HoloLens 2. This is because I find the two headsets largely similar (in the refresh rate and miscellaneous sections). The Microsoft HoloLens 2 has better resolution and FOV than the Magic Leap One, but I do not consider it worth the large price difference of approximately 1,200 USD. For the same price as the HoloLens 2, a consumer could purchase the Magic Leap One headset with additional services and extended warranty. I would also say that the resolution of the Magic Leap One, while not as clear in comparison, is still sufficient for a good MR experience.
Therefore, I overall like the Valve Index (VR) and the Magic Leap One (MR) the most.
Reality technologies are gaining a lot of traction recently, especially in an increasingly isolated world with a considerable online presence. While its applications in the automotive and healthcare industries are widely known, VR/ AR/ MR technologies are also popping up in other avenues such as retail, tourism, and even recruitment! For instance, in 2017, Lloyds Banking Group was the first organization to introduce a VR assessment. As per their official statement – “Virtual reality allows us to create all kinds of scenarios and puzzles that we’d never be able to recreate in an ordinary interview process”. This aptly summarizes the myriad of applications and development opportunities these exciting technologies present.
VR/ AR/ MR I think are great!
VR headsets, used to immerse users into a virtual world, are of two main types – PC connected and Standalone. PC connected headsets, as the name suggests, are connected to some external processor (typically a computer or gaming consoles) and can be used with additional controllers. One of the key benefits of this type is that they can leverage the processing power of the external device to create a more persuasive virtual world. Some of the most popular PC-connected devices include
HTC Vive Cosmos,
HP Reverb G2
The standalone headsets, as the name suggests, do not need to be
physically connected to an external device. Instead, they usually use a
smartphone as the base. Some of the most popular standalone headsets are:
Oculus Quest 2
Merge Goggles VR Smartphone Headset
Labo VR Kit
With AR, which imposes digital content on to the real-world environment, there are two main ways to access it: Handheld devices and Smart Glasses/ AR headsets. The first option, handheld devices, is what most of us are probably familiar with. We can use our own smartphones with applications that have AR capabilities. Popular examples are the game PokemonGo, the IKEA Place app, and the Nike Fit App. The alternative of AR headsets and smart glasses require specific hardware to support AR capabilities. Some popular examples options:
Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2
Vuzix Blade AR
Mixed reality, which mixes or blends the digital and physical worlds, is
one of the most recent developments. Some MR devices work by creating the
experience through holograms, and hence the user is still cognizant of their
surroundings. The other type of devices completely immerse the user in the
virtual world and instead use cameras to track the environment. Examples of popular
MR devices today are:
Microsoft HoloLens 2
Windows Mixed Reality Headset (Acer
Varjo’s XR-3 Headset
Magic Leap One
Most preferred devices for VR & MR
PREFERRED VR DEVICE: HP Reverb G2
While picking a VR headset of all the options available, there are a lot of factors to be considered as an end-user. These include – the variety of content offered, the comfort of wear, controllers used, price, freedom of movement and space needed, and the technology itself which includes specs such as screen resolution, sensors used, etc.
The go-to option for most people is the Oculus Quest 2. However, keeping all these aspects in mind, and my research, I find the HP Reverb G2headset to be the most appealing. This is a tethered headset (PC-connected) device, a result of the collaboration between Valve and Microsoft.
First, starting with the comfort of wear, the HP Reverb G2 is lightweight (1.2 pounds) making it extremely wearable for long periods of time. It is even lighter than its top competitors such as the Valve Index (1.79 pounds). It has an anti-microbial fabric that does not irritate the skin. This face interface is also removable and can be cleaned as needed. There are also off-ear speakers on the device which provide great audio but protect users from the heat radiated. Moreover, the headset is also supposed to be extremely comfortable to wear on top of glasses, making it personally more attractive as a spectacles wearer myself.
Next, the Reverb G2 has an extremely clear display, with an even higher resolution than the Valve Index at 2160 x 2160 per eye. Such clarity in the visuals helps to increase the feeling of presence in the virtual world. It is said to almost completely eliminate the “screen door” effect, which in essence is where users are able to make out the gaps between pixels. However, the downside of this is the necessity for a great, powerful PC that can accommodate the processing. As a workaround, users can reduce the screen resolution to 75% or so, but multiple reviews have stated that the screen is still extremely clear even at these lower resolutions. There is also a manual slider along the top of the headset to alter the interpupillary distance of the lenses and set them to exactly match the user’s eyes (see image above). The Reverb has a field of view of 114° diagonal which is slightly less than the Valve Index, but still in the top available choices, which when combined with the high resolution makes it a great VR experience.
The headset comes with two motion controllers (see image above). In terms of the controllers and the tracking, there are no base stations needed for this headset to work which instead uses in-built cameras for this purpose. This means that the headset does need to see the controllers at all times, ruling out any motion behind one’s back. However, the lack of base stations is a plus point for beginners like me, as it reduces the setup time and complexity, making the device simpler to use. Though a lower priority, the Reverb G2 and its headset tracking features are also supposed to work extremely well in the presence of direct sunlight, while other devices like the Valve Index supposedly have some issues in this area. However, one downside to the controllers is that each one has a huge ring on the top (see image above), and users accidentally bump them together while playing games etc.
For the content available, the Reverb G2 is a Windows Mixed Reality
headset, so there is a customizable Windows home environment through which users
can access Steam VR. Content can also be accessed via the Windows store. The
headset also comes with an extra-long cable of 6m, which enables users to move
around freely and play any games of their choice without any restriction is
Finally, the headset costs $600 which is competitively priced, and still “cheaper” than its counterparts such as the HTC Vive Cosmos, Valve Index.
Thus, considering all positives as well as downsides, the HP Reverb G2 is my favourite VR headset overall. It is comfortable to use, is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and is beginner-friendly with its simple setup.
PREFERRED MR DEVICE: Varjo’s XR-3 Headset
My preferred choice of MR device is Varjo’s XR-3 PC-tethered Headset. As per the official website, the device “features photorealistic visual fidelity across the widest field of view of any XR headset”, which creates a virtual environment that is true to life. As for the field of view, this Varjo device supports 115°. Apart from this, the device also does eye-tracking and automatic interpupillary distance adjustment, hand tracking, and positional tracking.
In terms of comfort, the XR-3 is a fairly standard headset weighing 1.31 pounds (without the headbands). The headbands are a “triple-ratchet tightening system” that evenly distributes weight and removes any undue pressure on the face, making it comfortable to wear.
As for the resolution, the device has a full-frame Bionic display with human eye resolution. This extreme clarity is derived using a small 1920 x 1920 display in the center and a 2880 x 2720 panel for the rest of the screen. This focuses on clarity in the center of the vision. The combination of the virtual and real worlds happens with the use of cameras and LIDAR sensors. Such an approach is said to produce more solid-looking virtual objects as compared to other MR devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens, and also creates depth awareness. As Varjo themselves describes, “We’ve solved the ‘hard AR’ problem, which exists on optical see-through devices like HoloLens or Magic Leap that always portray virtual elements as hazy and holographic and can’t display shadows or opaque content”. The RGB cameras on the XR-3 can do video pass through at extremely low latency, making the integration of the real and virtual world seamless.
However, one of the biggest negatives of the device is its steep cost, at $5,495. It also requires a one-year Varjo software support subscription that costs $1,495. Thus, the device is currently targeted towards businesses/ enterprises with specific purposes, such as doctors conducting “telemedicine” sessions. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Varjo has consistently been reducing its price since the release of their first XR-1 at $10,000, which leaves hope for it to come into the larger consumer market in the near future.
Thus, due to the extremely advanced technology and futuristic outlook, the Varjo XR-3 is my favourite MR device.
By: Meghana Narayanan (e0260120)
Please log in to vote
You need to log in to vote. If you already had an account, you may log in here