Virtual Reality while more of a gimmick in the past has slowly started to pick up come 2022. With Facebook rebranding itself into Meta and pushing the concept of Metaverse even further, it’s no surprise that talk about VR and AR has started anew. If you’re part of the readers interested in this tech and looking for some products, you’re in luck. There are some good VR and AR headsets and glasses online and come in moderate pricing. So strap in as I tell you about the best AR and VR headsets you can get right now.
Best VR and AR Glasses to Buy in 2022
What is Virtual and Augmented Reality?
If you’re completely new to the business of VR and AR then allow me to give you a little introduction. Without being too complicated Virtual and Augmented Realities are technologies that help transport you to another world or add virtual elements to your existing life respectively.
Virtual Reality in particular is focused on creating a simulated environment that immerses you in it. People who experience VR feel like they are in a completely different world. Depending on the environment you’re in, your experience can either be very fun or scary. Virtual Reality is experienced through VR headsets that are put on the head and cover your vision and hearing. If that sounds scary, don’t fret since VR is actually a lot of fun. I’ll be listing out some amazing VR headsets so you can experience this yourself.
Augmented Reality on the other hand adds digital elements to the life you’re seeing in front of you right now. A good example of this is to Google an animal through your phone. You will see the option to view it in 3D. The animal will then appear in your space through your camera lens.
You can see how realistic the dog looks even though it is very obviously not there. By combining digital elements in real life, it has been augmented. However, AR can go much deeper and can become Mixed Reality; a combination of AR and VR where you can interact with these AR elements all the while wearing AR glasses.
Best VR Headsets You Can Buy Right Now
Best AR Headsets You Can Buy Right Now
Things to Look for in a VR Headset
While buying a pair of AR smart glasses is easy, there are some things you need to keep in mind before going for a VR headset. Depending on what kind of user you are, these can also vary. However, do be sure to go through the list below and keep an eye on these factors.
1. Wired vs Wireless
Since VR headsets now come in both wired and wireless configurations, you might be confused about which one to buy.
Wired Virtual reality headsets usually give you more graphical power since they require it to be connected to a PC. However, the biggest downside is that you will be limited by the wire’s length. You might be prone to tripping and falling or even need to buy wire extenders if the headset supports it. Furthermore, a wired VR headset requires a mid to high-tier gaming PC so it can actually run the VR games you want without lagging. However, the upside of all this is the maximum possible graphical detail the headset can provide and a smooth gaming experience. If you’re someone who has values graphics and has a gaming PC, go with a wired VR headset.
Wireless headsets in recent times have come a long way from just being cardboard headsets. The biggest advantage of a wireless VR headset is that it’s well, wireless. Most users will absolutely love this freedom as they won’t have to be attached to their PCs to play games. These types of headsets can easily be carried around and shared with your friends and family. Furthermore, this also eliminates the weight of the attached wire and is safer. However, wireless VR sets are also restricted when it comes to graphics since they have to run games from the hardwire inside them. But recent headsets such as one I’ll be outlining below can still connect wirelessly to a PC and run games. So if you’re a user who values wireless freedom above everything else and doesn’t mind graphics pegged down a step, go for a wireless VR headset.
2. Screen Resolution and Panel Type
Like all other types of screens, VR headsets too have displays with a set resolution. As a general rule, the best VR headset will have the highest possible resolution. A high-resolution display is important in VR since the better the quality, the more immersed you will feel inside the experience. A high-resolution display will also eliminate the problem of the screen door effect (seeing pixels in the display) and make sure you don’t feel irritated. If you’re going to get a headset, make sure its resolution is at least 1832×1920 per eye.
OLED displays are slowly coming up in Virtual reality headsets too since they offer even more clarity. However, most headsets these days are still on LCD. If you’re someone willing to wait it out until a good OLED headset comes, then I suggest doing so.
3. Field of view
The field of view in a VR set is important as it allows you to see more around you. Headsets with a narrow FOV will feel restrictive and you won’t have fun. While most VR headsets these days will have at least have a 100° FOV, do take your time to double-check and go for 110 if you can.
4. Kind of Tracking
Virtual reality headsets track the wearer’s movements inside their playspace. This is either done by trackers installed onto the headset or base stations set up around the space. VR sets with onboard trackers usually cost less and are fairly accurate when it comes to tracking. They also require less setup time and are more convenient.
VR sets with base stations on the other hand are extremely accurate but more expensive and require more steps to set up. If you’re going to be a casual VR user then I suggest going for onboard tracking. However, if you’re a veteran in virtual reality and have the cash to level up in the game then going for more expensive headsets is a better idea.
Things to Look for in AR Glasses
Smart vs Augmented Reality Glasses
This is an important distinction you should be aware of if you’re interested in the Augmented space. Going through the products, you might be confused by seeing some glasses being labeled as Smart and AR. While both the glasses do provide some features, they have important differences.
Smart Glasses are glasses that have any technological feature built-in that separates them from everyday glasses. So you could have a pair of sunglasses with speakers built-in. Whereas another pair of glasses might have a camera attached to them for capturing content. These kinds of glasses rarely have AR functions and instead are focused on providing some extra features like these.
Augmented Reality glasses on the other hand have built-in displays that project content out in front of the user’s FOV. The kind of content displayed varies depending on the glasses but ranges from entertainment to work. These AR glasses mostly also contain speakers and a mic and also help in communication. Furthermore, depending on the model you’re going for, you might be able to control these elements or simply watch.
It is important to note that most AR glasses are focused on enterprise solutions. This means there are only a handful of AR glasses that actually provide a good experience to consumers. For the sake of variety, I have listed a mix of Smart and AR glasses for ample choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Qs)
1. Should I Get VR or AR?
Answer. This is entirely dependent on what kind of experience you’re looking for out of the product. If a user who wants the most immersive experience possible, then I suggest picking up a virtual reality headset. However, if you simply want some digital experiences while having real-life right in front of you, stick to AR or even smart glasses. Whichever way you lean though, the experience should be fun.
2. Will I Have to Pay Extra After Buying the Headset/Glasses?
Answer. Depending on the kind of technology and type of model you go for, yes you may have to. VR headsets and AR glasses might require you to pay for certain experiences and games in their respective store. However, if you’re going for a pair of smart glasses, you will not have to pay anything extra to enjoy the hardware features.
3. What is Mixed Reality?
Answer. You can learn all about Mixed Reality and how it differs from AR and VR in our linked article.
4. Is There Any Downside to Such Technologies?
Answer. Any downside that may be is very subjective when it comes to VR and AR. A big debate that does with such tech is the losing essential social contact with others. Since VR and even AR immerse people in digital elements, there is a certain loss of touch with the real world. While some people support these alternate realities, others are more skeptical of them. At the end of the day, the decision to spend more time inside these headsets or not compared to real-life will be up to you.
5. Is There Any Potential in Such Technologies?
Answer. Absolutely. We are already beginning to see the growth of technologies like Virtual Reality with the introduction of the Metaverse. Folks online are latching onto these concepts and slowly translating areas of their lives there. With even virtual land in the Metaverse being sold for real money, there is definitely potential in tech such as VR and AR. However, only time will tell how far this goes.
Immerse Yourself in VR AR with These Headsets and Glasses
I hope you find your perfect fit with the above selection of VR headsets and AR glasses. If you went with our top choice and bought a Quest 2, there are a lot of things you can do with it. Start by learning how to set up and use your Oculus Quest 2. Once done, why not play some Steam VR games on it. And if you’re interested in even more then you can even learn how to enter the Metaverse with the Quest 2. Got any more recommendations for AR VR products? Let us know in the comments below.