Virtual Reality Guide

Virtual reality (or VR) is a method of creating an immersive experience in a different reality through the use of technology. By combining a variety of technologies such as spatial tracking devices, high resolution screens, and powerful graphics processing computing units it allows the user to become immersed and interact in different spaces and places. For decades now, but most rapidly accelerating from 2015 onward, virtual reality pioneers have been working to make VR more convincing by enabling higher levels of presence in these other worlds.

Like most technologies, from where VR was two decades ago to where we are now the higher-end consumer VR experience is extremely impressive. Many headsets and their virtual worlds and games offer actual visual depth (true 3-D), physical movement throughout the environment, and interactivity. It is best experienced rather than described, like seeing a photograph taken from the top a mountain range versus being at the top of the mountain range. There are many interesting things happening in the field of VR every day and this website aims to deliver these developments to you from any source possible.

Got a fast computer or only want the best VR? Read the PC guide here:

Got a PlayStation 4 or want a good mid-range experience with a minimal setup? Read the console guide here:

Got a smartphone or want to dabble in basic VR? Read the smartphone guide here:

Otherwise…

I Want VR and I Want It Now

This is a quick guide on what you need to dive head first into Virtual Reality. The items below contain links to Amazon products that redirect based on your country of origin for purchase and more information.

They are ranked in order from the best, most immersive, most expensive experience to a decent entry level at the lowest cost.

(1) I have a newer desktop PC [1] and I want the best of the best [2].
HTC Vive (~$599 – Check Amazon)
High-end Graphics Card (~$559 – Check Amazon) or see more options
HTC Vive Deluxe Audio Strap (~$99 – Check Amazon)
HTC Vive 6mm Face Foam
(~$29 for 2 – Check Amazon) – improves field of view (FoV)
(2) I have a newer desktop PC [1] and I still want a premium experience but at a bit less cost.
HTC Vive (~$599 – Check Amazon)
Mid-range Graphics Card (~$399 – Check Amazon) or see more options
(3) I have a newer desktop PC [1] and I need to watch the budget but still want a upper-tier experience.
Oculus Rift (~$399 – Check Amazon)
Minimal Graphics Card (~$274 – Check Amazon) or see more options
(4) I want or own a Sony PlayStation 4 (ideally the PlayStation 4 Pro) and want a solid mid-range experience with minimal technical setup.
Sony PlayStation VR Bundle (~$449 – Check Amazon)
Sony PlayStation 4 Pro (~$399 – Check Amazon) or Sony PlayStation 4 (~$299 – Check Amazon) – unless you have a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro already
(5) I own a smartphone specifically made for VR (explicitly supporting Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream) and want a better than average smartphone VR experience.
Samsung Gear VR (~$119 – Check Amazon) OR
Google Daydream (~$79 – Check Amazon)
(6) I want to try out VR at the entry level and I own a modern smartphone.
Merge VR (~$49 – Check Amazon) OR
Virtoba X5 (~$24 – Check Amazon) PLUS
Bluetooth VR Controller (~$8 – Check Amazon)

[1] PC VR Notes:

  • If you are interested in PC virtual reality you will need a faster, newer computer running Windows 7 or later with an Intel i5 or i7 processor – or the AMD equivalent – to get a good experience. A low to mid-range graphics card would be a graphics card that you spent around $200 or more on within the last two years. Or a new computer like one of these:
    VR Ready Computer (~$699 to ~$2,499 – Check Amazon)

[2] Best?

Some people prefer the Oculus Rift with a three camera setup, especially if you prefer that style of controller but don’t mind having a bit less physical space to move around in. Some people also say they are about the same when comparing their positives and negatives. I don’t have a Oculus Rift and unfortunately haven’t had the opportunity to test one out so I can only say with confidence that the Vive is a great experience. The Rift and the Vive are pretty much equal in technical specifications so a lot of this boils down to just a couple details and preferences as outlined in the PCVRnews.com PC VR Guide. It’s all in good fun.