VR Headset – Oculus Go
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 overwhelmed.
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 beginners.
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 me.
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.