Things to Consider Before Buying a Virtual Reality (VR) Headset

A virtual reality headset is a gadget that you wear, similar to giant glasses or goggles. The headset covers your eyes and has two monitors, or one divided in half to show two views. Each image is shown to only one of your eyes, preventing the other eye from seeing the other. Your brain interprets the visuals as three-dimensional because each eye sees them from a slightly different angle.

The VR gear is about to become a far more common sight in workplaces and homes as virtual reality makes substantial inroads into mainstream life.

Several industries have already begun to integrate virtual reality into their operations and procedures. But what are the most important characteristics of a professional VR headset that businesses should evaluate before investing?

VR headsets will all have specific technical aspects that influence their overall performance. Here, you’ll learn about the main characteristics to consider when purchasing an enterprise-grade VR headset. This buying guide will help you select the best virtual reality (VR) headset for your gaming or entertainment needs, whether you already have a strong gaming PC or require a VR headset that works without any additional hardware.


Things to Consider When Purchasing a VR Headset

If you’re new to VR, there are a lot of VR headsets on the market that all look the same. However, there are certain crucial factors you can use to select the proper one:

What resolution should a VR headset have? 

Resolution is critical to the viewing experience when using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset. A pixel is the smallest displayable unit in a digital image, and several pixels work together to produce entire images, text, and graphics.

Resolution per eye is the number of pixels that the VR headset can display, represented as a pixel width x pixel height. The lower the resolution, the less crisp the image edges will be.

The difficulty is that the displays in VR headsets are quite close to your eyes, far closer than you would normally hold a phone, therefore lesser resolutions increase the likelihood that you would be able to see individual pixels. When this happens, you feel as if you’re gazing through a screen door.

Here are some samples of display resolutions for different VR headsets:

  • Apple Vision Pro: 3660×3200
  • Pimax Crystal: 2880×2880
  • HP Reverb G2: 2160×2160
  • Meta Quest 3: 2064×2208
  • PlayStation VR2: 2000×2040
  • Varjo XR-3: 1920×1920
  • Meta Quest 2: 1832×1920
  • Valve Index: 1440×1600
  • PlayStation VR: 960×1080


Standalone or Tethered  VR Headset

VR headsets typically require a standalone computer to run the games, but some models include computational capability built-in. Some VR headsets are coming to market that can work with or without a separate computer, although they are not yet widely available.

When a VR headset is linked to a computer, the computer handles all of the hard work by sending video and audio information to the headset. This means that performance is determined by the power of the PC. Connecting a VR headset to a powerful PC will result in faster frame rates, higher-quality images, and more characters and objects on the screen at once. Some games will only run on a VR-ready PC rather than directly on a standalone.

If you don’t have a VR-ready PC and don’t want to invest in one, a standalone VR headset offers the same core experience but with less features.


PPD (Pixels Per Degree)

This is another method VR headsets communicate the quality of the images they display.

PPD refers to the number of pixels per degree of viewing angle. This provides a measurement of the VR headset’s pixel density, or the number of pixels per degree presented to the eye. A higher pixel density allows the viewer to notice finer details of the image, which contributes to a more realistic appearance.

Where there is writing, higher resolution will make it easier to read. As VR screens improve, we get closer and closer to photorealistic experiences when we use them.


Wireless or Wired VR Headset

There are various ways to connect a VR headset to a VR-ready PC: wirelessly, with multiple connections, or with one cable. While some VR headsets utilize a single USB-C cable to transfer everything, others require an HDMI, data, and power cable. The cable must always stay connected in either scenario. That may cause tangling when you play, particularly if you move across the room.

A wireless connection is ideal for the safest, most realistic, and greatest virtual reality experience. While certain tethered VR headsets can be wirelessly connected to a PC that is prepared for virtual reality, standalone VR headsets are by nature wireless. In certain instances, converting a VR headset into a wireless VR headset requires buying an additional wireless peripheral.


Positional Tracking

The VR experience will be more engaging the more accurate the tracking is on a virtual reality (VR) headset.

A device can assess its position in relation to its surroundings thanks to positional tracking technology. Because it gives the wearer of the headset the impression that they are moving inside the virtual environment, it is crucial to VR technology.
To allow for extra movement, such as moving your head forward and backward or even getting up and moving around, the VR headset must track your movements in the real world.

The two types of VR movement tracking are:

  • Outside-in (external tracking), or
  • Inside-out (internal tracking).

Outside-in systems rely on base stations located on your desk or around your space. Then, depending on the particular technology employed by the headset, either the VR headset tracks the base stations or the base stations track you. When two or three of these trackers are combined, they can track and calculate your movement in real-time, which is known as room-scale VR and lets you move around in a virtual realm while still moving in the actual world.

Inside-out systems track the relative positions of items in your environment using sensors integrated into the VR headset, and then use that information to compute the direction and speed of your movement. The location of the VR controllers you are holding in your hands can also be tracked by these headsets.

While inside-out allows more mobility but may have problems with accuracy and latency, outside-in delivers better precision and lowers latency.


Refresh Rate

The refresh rate is another important component in the quality of the user’s VR experience. Frames per second, or FPS, is a measure of how quickly visuals are displayed on the headset.

The VR experience will be more smooth the faster the refresh rate. An excessively slow refresh rate will result in longer lag times between frames, making the image appear choppy rather than fluid.

The wearer may experience motion sickness as a result of a low refresh rate. The viewer or user will believe that their own vision is lagging, as if their eyes cannot keep up with the world around them.

Any refresh rate less than 90 frames per second will usually detract from the immersive experience. At the moment, 120–144 frames per second are the most sophisticated refresh rates available.


Field of View

Another important consideration in the quality of a VR headset is its field of view (FOV). This value represents the extent of the observable environment at any given time.

A broader field of view increases the viewer’s sense of presence in the virtual environment, making the watching experience more spectacular.

Most high-quality VR headsets offer a field of view of 100° to 110°.


Who Should Buy a VR Headset?

Anyone who enjoys gaming should consider purchasing a VR headset, as should creatives, cinephiles, and many more. As VR headsets become more widely available, they will become increasingly useful for a variety of activities, including socializing, working, and shopping.


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