Five Reasons Not to Buy a VR Headset Yet

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Welcome back!

  First and formost, please don’t misconstrue this post for an anti-VR effort. I love where technology is going with VR and I want one REALLY BAD!  But remember that VR headset war I mentioned in the previous post? Here’s an example of what is happening excerpted from the Tech News World article titled Microsoft and Intel’s Project Evo Ups the PC Game by David Jones written on Dec 9, 2016.

  “Together with Intel, Microsoft also shared specifications for PCs that can support headsets capable of mixed reality. New head-mounted displays from Acer, Asus, Dell, HMD and Lenovo are expected in 2017. 3Glasses, the leading HMD hardware developer in China, will make its Blubur S1 headset ready for Windows 10 by the first half of 2017…”

You can read the full article here: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/84157.html

Reason #1 - Too Many Players Making VR Headsets Now

  Acer, Asus, Dell, HMD and Lenovo are the current reigning motherboard and display manufactures.  They are joining the fray that has already been stirred up by over 100 other companies working on VR headsets.  This is all great for us consumers and I am excited for the near future in VR!  Can you see me drooling yet!!

  So reason One to not buy a VR headset yet is that there are just too many players making new VR headsets right now which in turn is causing rapid advancement in the technology.

Reason #2 - Good Headsets Cost Too Much

  My second reason is that I believe the price for a good headset is too high and the cheap ones aren’t worth buying unless you just want to see what the fuss is all about.  I have not bought or had the opportunity to try one of the expensive headsets yet. I expect if I am going to drop $600 to $800 on just a VR headset that the picture in that headset will beat my computer screens with either better visuals or a more immersive experience.

  I did buy a cheap one for $19.00 a few weeks ago so I could test it out.  I played with it using my Note II phone and my wife Lynn’s Note IV phone.  The Note IV (550 Pixels Per square Inch (PPI)) has twice the pixel density of the Note II (267 PPI). The picture was much more clear on the Note IV but it was still highly pixelated. I returned the headset to the store after 2 days disappointed but not surprised. Both phones got extremely hot running the demonstration VR videos.  The demos were also pretty limited to a 360 degree video instead of being the interactive VR that I am really after.  

  Since I was disappointed with the video running on a 550 PPI screen, I don't expect I will be satisfied to drop $600+ on an expensive headset that only has a 461 PPI. Hence Reason #3.

Reason #3 - Higher Resolution Needed

  The screens inside the headsets need more advancement in screen resolution.  The Oculus Rift uses two 1080x1200 OLED screens with a pixel density of 461 PPI each. So that gives us slightly better than HD resolution. And don't let anyone fool you about the headsets being 2K resolution. Remember that you are getting the same picture on both screens so your effective resolution is the same as that of one screen at 1080x1200.

  Now I run a pretty high end gaming rig with a multi-monitor setup that gives me an effective 43 inch, 4K screen.  Without pixelation at 3 feet away from my eyes.  A VR headset has to beat my rig either in the visual area or the experience. Dropping back to regular HD is not something I will do easily. Incidently, remember I noted one Chinese company has announced a 4k headset in the works. Now if they will just release the pixel density and when a consumer version will be available in the United States...

Reason Four:  Good headsets are still tethered to a computer with cables

The top three headsets currently available to consumers are the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony’s Playstation VR and they all have cables connecting back to the computer or PS4. This is a major safety issue and really takes away from the immersion factor that VR should bring to the player.  Granted, if you are only playing games or conducting sit down meetings then the cables are much less of an issue but it is still a negative for me.

Reason Five:  No hand and finger tracking

Maybe the Microsoft XBOX 360 Kinect spoiled me.  It is able to track your body and hands but not your fingers.  This allowed a freedom of movement not seen before. And the Kinect 2.0 for the XBox One can track fingers, your smile and even your heart rate!  What happened? Why does VR now need handsets? Yes, I get that you have to have some buttons in some games but Paint or shooting Pool?  Again, we need to wait until this tech gets fully developed. And that isn’t too far away. Several companies are working on gloves and body suits that will provide finger level tracking and force feedback not just in your hands but to your whole body!  THAT’S GOING TO BE SO AWESOME!!!

And those folks are my Five Reasons Not to Buy a VR Headset Yet.  With all of that said, if you like bleeding edge tech or just plain want to get into VR right now, go for it! Please! Tell us how you like it and what you think needs improved still. We all want to know what you think!

For those of you who already own a VR headset, please comment and let us know what you do and don’t like about them. We would love to hear about your experiences.

And for all you tech junkies out there, if you would like to hear about a particular technology item or arena, let me know! I’d love to help you out here.

Until next time, happy tech filled days!

Phil

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