VR has been a prominent playing ground for Mohavi, as we have dealt with a few VR heavy projects with several different headsets. In addition to projects, we’ve had a great time playing games with them outside (as well as during) work hours. Suffice to say, our lead programmer, Severi Jokiperä, has loads of experience with different headsets and he has a few words to say about them. So let’s find out which VR device is Mohavi’s favorite. Please note that Severi’s opinions only concern the devices themselves and not the brands.
The original HTC Vive was the first VR device I used for developing. As it was one of the first VR devices to hit the market it suffers from poor design problems, such as the controllers. The controllers for the Vive utilizes touchpads instead of traditional joysticks or directional buttons. The touchpad is essentially meant to combine the two traditional systems, but the end result doesn’t provide a pleasant experience. It is very large and the mushy buttons don’t provide precise movement or input.
The grip button must also be mentioned as it is often a forgotten feature of the controllers and for good reasons. The designers hoped to implement a new button by the idea of users grabbing firmly on the controllers. However, you have to force an unnatural amount of force to activate the button in the first place. The idea of the grip button was promising, but ultimately the execution of the button let it down.
Other small nitpicks include the controllers automatically turning on when Steam VR is initiated while charging as well as the identicality; you can not determine which controller is meant for which hand just by looking at them. But the Vive did succeed in the triggers, which have now become a standard on all modern VR devices. The controllers, despite the negatives, are big and comfortable to handle.
The headset itself gets more praise as it is light-weight, easy to strap around your head and effortless to quickly take off. The image quality on the headset is decent, although we did eventually run into a problem where the image started to flicker every now and then, but that maybe just a cause of a loose or faulty cable.
Varjo is a relatively new player in the VR market with big hype around their headsets, including the Varjo VR-Pro 2, which we got to experience. This headsets boasts insane resolution fidelity as well as other amazing features like eye-tracking. The Varjo headsets don’t include its own controllers or lighthouses, but you can use the same lighthouses and controllers as the Vive. The Varjo Pro 2 headset costs roughly a whopping 6 000 euros.
The revolutionary technology inside the Varjo headsets have in fact two separate screens; one regular screen for the entire image and one smaller screen in the middle which boasts more pixels to really showcase great detail. It goes without saying that the screen inside the Varjo headsets are the best we’ve managed to test so far. We never experienced any issues with the eye-tracking and the cords are nicely kneaded, so they rarely bother the user.
All this technology inside makes the headset massive, sometimes leading to muscle strains. Keeping the headset on your forehead above your eyes is impossible due to the weight. This headset also leaves pretty nasty markings around your face.
We were ultimately very happy with the Varjo Pro 2, until a pretty big issue arose when we returned from our Holiday break. We never got the device to start working again as it kept restarting itself and continuously disconnecting from the computer. Troubleshooting by changing the cables and testing the headset with different computers never solved the issue for us. We weren’t also the only ones, as we heard similar problems from other colleagues. The device had to be returned as their customer support wasn’t really any help to us. So far the device has impressed us with its features, but ultimately functionality goes above features.
The model we’ve used from Oculus is the new Oculus Rift S and it has plenty of positives. The headset is incredibly light with decent enough resolution. This headset implements a completely different technology when it comes to tracking your movements. The Oculus Rift devices do not use lighthouses, but instead cameras on the headset itself. These cameras are able to see your surroundings and they are the ones that track your controller movements. We were very impressed with this tracking method, we felt it was equally as good as using lighthouses, if not even better at times. This makes the Oculus Rift S incredibly mobile and easy to carry to places.
The controllers are more intuitive than the Vive’s as these ones have traditional joysticks. This improves navigation and precision massively. There are also additional buttons situated right next to the joystick allowing for more actions if needed. The grip button is way more tactical and clicky than on the original Vive controller. These controllers also have touch sensors allowing the system to recognize when you have a finger on the grip or trigger button as well as the joystick. This allows for more interactivity within games for example.
The controllers are quite tiny, so people with big hands might have a hard time gripping on to the controllers comfortably. Another downside is the lower refresh rate (80Hz), which can cause nausea more often than using other headsets, where the usual refresh rate is 90Hz. The Oculus Rift S however has a great price-to-performance ratio as these headsets go around at 550 euros, which is slightly less than other headsets from competitors.
So, which one is it?
For development purposes and any-day gaming the Oculus Rift S comes out on top for me. It is easy to take off and put in back on when developing and the lightweight and simplicity of the device as a whole is great for gaming. Varjo is the most advanced headset, but I can only see a use for scientific purposes and studies that require small details to be seen. I might write a continuation for this if we manage to acquire a Valve Index, which we are very excited to try.
Have a great summer everyone! We can always be reached through our Contact us page. Until next time!