In the field of virtual reality headsets, Meta continues to drive technological advancements, offering enhanced specifications and making its cutting-edge technology more accessible to the public.
Meanwhile, Apple’s highly anticipated mixed reality headset, the Vision Pro, has created quite a buzz. It promises an unprecedented level of immersion through revolutionary optical technology, albeit at an exorbitant price point. Nevertheless, it is set to reshape the XR market and gaming landscape.
However, Apple faces joint competition from two tech giants, with rumors suggesting that Google and Samsung are teaming up to challenge Apple’s leading position.
In the gaming realm, Sony is not lagging behind, as they’re bringing virtual reality gaming to consoles with the customized PS VR2 designed for the PS5. While it offers excellent performance, it’s limited to use on the PlayStation.
Let’s take a look at some of the most promising virtual reality/mixed reality headsets set to launch soon.
- Bigscreen Beyond VR Headset
The Bigscreen Beyond VR headset is a hardware product developed by the virtual reality software developer Bigscreen. The product was unveiled earlier this year, showcasing its price, design, specifications, and main features, with shipping expected to commence in the third quarter of 2023.
This VR headset features OLED displays with a resolution of 2560 x 2560 pixels per eye and a maximum refresh rate of 90Hz. It weighs a mere 127 grams, making it exceptionally lightweight, and is priced at $999.
Upon pre-ordering, Bigscreen will contact users for a 3D facial scan to customize facial padding according to the user’s face shape. It will be shipped directly to the user alongside the VR product.
The product uses Pancake-style lenses to maintain a compact and lightweight design, offering a 90-degree field of view and full support for VR games on the Steam platform. Users can also use Bigscreen’s application to watch movies, play games, and interact with friends in the metaverse.
- Meta Quest 3
Meta’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced the latest Quest 3 virtual reality headset just before Apple’s WWDC. The new Quest 3 is described as the “first mainstream headset with high-resolution color mixed reality capabilities,” according to Zuckerberg. Quest 3 is not only Meta’s most powerful VR headset but is also 40% lighter than the previous generation.
The new VR headset boasts an updated design, which Meta claims has been “completely redesigned from the inside out.” It also utilizes Pancake-style lenses.
Quest 3 is priced at $499, making it more affordable than Quest Pro. This standalone VR headset not only competes with other VR headsets but also with gaming consoles like the PlayStation 5.
Quest 3 is compatible with all Quest 2 games, with more exclusive games to be announced in the future. The device is already available in North America.
- Valve VR Headset
Valve has confirmed that it’s developing the next-generation product of the Valve Index but has not disclosed any specific details yet.
The Valve Index was released in 2019 and performed well despite its full kit price of $1,000. Given the success of the Steam Deck, Valve has the experience and gaming content to fully leverage the performance of the upcoming VR headset, making the company confident about its VR products.
Valve’s upcoming VR product could be an exciting contender, competing with products like Bigscreen’s that aim to benefit from Valve’s Steam content.
- Apple Vision Pro
Apple’s Vision Pro has been a closely watched project since 2016. However, the company only unveiled its first mixed reality headset at WWDC.
It has been one of Apple’s most secretive projects and one of the most important products under the leadership of Tim Cook.
Vision Pro is priced at $3,499 and is set to launch around year-end. While detailed specs are still not available, each lens of the Vision Pro features 23 million pixels, elevating pixel density to the level of 4K TVs.
Additionally, it features environmental spatial audio, which, when combined with spatial audio and ray tracing, promises an unparalleled high-quality audiovisual experience for users.
- Samsung and Google’s Moohan Project
Various reports and rumors suggest that Samsung and Google, which have collaborated on Android and Wear OS, are preparing to join forces against Apple’s Vision Pro. The result of this collaboration is a powerful extended reality (XR) device codenamed “Moohan.”
Reports indicate that this XR device may primarily be Samsung’s, with Samsung determining the hardware specifications while Google provides Android XR software to support the headset. Both companies hope to release an impressive headset to compete with Apple’s Vision Pro.
However, there are rumors that the teams at these tech giants are frustrated and concerned about delays and quality in the project’s progress.
In terms of hardware, Google has had a series of failed AR-related products, including Google Glass, Cardboard, Daydream, Tango, and Iris, as well as software like ARCore, Tilt Brush, and several AR Google Maps features. This is why the project is currently led by Samsung.
The release date for the Moohan project is currently unclear.
- Pimax Portal View
Pimax Portal is a handheld device similar to the Nintendo Switch, which can be used as a standalone VR headset when inserted into the Portal View or QLED View VR headset.
The device was first announced in November 2022, with plans for shipping in January 2023 and a successful Kickstarter campaign. However, as of now, the product has not been shipped.
Portal features an 8-inch large screen with detachable controllers similar to the Switch for regular use as a handheld. When running virtual reality games, users can detach the controllers and place the 4K LCD screen into the headset to play VR games.
There is currently no confirmation of a retail or shipping date for any Pimax Portal products.
These are some of the VR devices to look forward to in 2024. What are your thoughts on these products? Is there one you’re excited to try? Feel free to leave a comment or start a discussion on the forum.