A VR headset is a heads-up display which allows a user to interact with simulated environments and have a first-person view experience. This is particularly great for gaming and when watching POV videos. While these are gaining so much popularity, why are VR headsets so expensive and then why are some of them so cheap?
You may not be aware, but virtual reality has been around for a long time. The hardware to experience it, though, was costly, needed a lot of power, and was bulky. Today, these are basically goggles.
As such, we have decided to shed some light on this subject to help you have an understanding of what makes certain VR headsets expensive. This is particularly important for those of you who are looking to buy a high-end VR headset.
What Are the Different Types of VR Headsets?
When we talk about VR headsets being expensive, we are talking about particular types of it. Certain headsets will cost you no more than $50. That is why understanding the different types of VR headsets are essential.
1. Smartphone VR Headsets
Smartphone VR Headsets are exactly what its name indicates. These types of VR headsets make use of your smartphone to provide you with the virtual reality experience. The user needs to slide his or her phone into the headset, and the phone’s screen will be in front of their eyes with a set of lenses that creates a sense of depth.
These types of VR headsets are typically cheap, but there are some that can cost more than a hundred dollars. If you are opting for this type of headset, make sure you use a smartphone that was released recently, as it tends to have the latest features and makes your viewing experience better.
2. Standalone VR Headsets
This type of VR headset has very little external interaction. Other than using a cable to charge it and using a smartphone to set it up for the first time to access certain virtual reality platforms, these headsets require nothing else from you.
Standalone VR Headsets come with an in-built battery, sensors, processors, display, and storage memory. Hence, they are also referred to as an all-in-one headset. As these are wireless, they give the user the freedom to move around freely.
While these are great, they aren’t as fantastic as tethered headsets since they offer lower refresh rates and even the quality of the graphics is pretty much average. These are definitely more expensive than Smartphone VR Headsets as they are wireless, and can cost you hundreds of dollars.
3. Tethered VR Headsets
Tethered VR Headset is basically a VR headset which is connected physically to a PC by USB and/or HDMI. These are considered to be the most immersive than the other two types of VR headsets as they deliver the highest quality of sound and video experience.
The extremely high-end tethered VR headset will require a setup space and also a cable connection to a powerful and expensive gaming PC constantly. While this does limit your freedom to move around and comes with many hidden costs such as controllers, cameras, and sensors, they are capable of offering the best virtual experience.
Why Are VR Headsets so Expensive?
Thanks to having a basic understanding of the different types of VR headsets, you can now piece it together why certain VR headsets can be so expensive.
To briefly talk about it, tethered VR headsets are in itself very expensive. They can easily cost you more than $600 to $900 because they tend to include motion sensors, lenses, custom display screens, and more. In addition, you also will have to end up spending on high-end gaming computers and/or hardware, which can cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Certain VR headsets, mainly smartphone VR headsets such as Daydream View, Google Cardboard, Gear VR, and so on are so cheap because it uses your smartphone as a display. Thus, the only critical part of these types of headsets is the lenses, which are typically cheap and also lightweight. While a decent smartphone VR headset should cost you no more than $100, you will even get some that will cost you a mere $10.
If you are the kind who is a casual gamer or want to watch movies or videos on a giant private screen while getting completely immersed in 360-degree panoramic videos and photos, then just stick to using smartphone VR headsets.
If you are looking for a VR headset that falls exactly in between cheap and high-end VR headsets, then we recommend the standalone VR headset. These offer a slightly more immersive experience and require no high-tech gaming PC or your smartphone. You just need to pick it up and use them. We believe that the standalone VR headset is a perfect blend of decent performance and price.
What Are the Top-Rated VR Headsets?
We have listed three top-rated VR headsets on the basis of their category, its performance, and how popular they are.
- Oculus Go (Standalone VR Headset): The Oculus Go is a simple, elegant, and affordable standalone VR headset. It is easy to use and offers fantastic visuals and audio. It also has a comfortable fit and comes with an extensive range of content.
- HTC Vive (Tethered VR Headset): The HTC Vive is considered to be one of the best VR headsets on the market. It offers the most immersive experience and provides you with more freedom to move around with the reduction of wires. The only downside is that this headset is extremely expensive.
- Google Daydream View (Smartphone VR Headset) : Google’s Daydream View is a simple and easy-to-use smartphone VR headset for anyone looking to experience virtual reality without breaking the bank. The headset has an excellent design and is compatible with most smartphones. It also has a decent build and comes with comfortable straps to keep the headset secured on your head.
We hope that you already know why are VR headsets so expensive and why they can be so cheap. Its cost mainly depends on the type of headset. You don’t need to buy a high-end VR headset if you are a casual user, so choose one that exactly suits your needs.