If they didn’t find success in the ’90s, due to a lack of adequate performance, VR headsets haven’t said their last word and are back now, twenty years later. The mobile versions are the first to conquer the market, while headphones are waiting for the PC (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, etc.) and game console (PlayStation VR).
Since it is better to know what to expect before falling for such a device, we decided to evaluate it according to several criteria.
the main points
Display quality is essential to a successful VR experience, and it mainly depends on the type and definition of the board. Currently, the ideal is OLED, which combines deep blacks, high contrast, and minimal twilight time. If maximum definition is to be expected, it is also necessary to minimize the distance between pixels, under pain of causing an unpleasant network effect. Finally, a wider field of view will provide better immersion.
The virtual reality headset should faithfully and quickly detect the user’s movements, and then display the image with minimal delay so as not to cause discomfort and uneasiness. The best headphones cut latency to under 20ms, with frame rates as high as 90 or even 120Hz.
Displaying a beautiful virtual environment is one thing, and managing to keep the user in a comfortable position to maintain immersion is another. So the helmet should be forgotten and made comfortable. It must also be able to adapt to different looks and visions (wearing glasses, adjusting sharpness, etc.).
While some portable headphones are universal and adapt to many smartphones, others are only compatible with certain models, such as the Samsung Gear VR. The same goes for PlayStation VR, which only works with PS4. On the PC side, on the other hand, compatibility is wider, but the minimum configuration required still holds the helmets of the most powerful hardware.
Our test procedures
After a thorough review of build quality and evaluating comfort and usability, we test helmets with different applications. Video games of course, be it fairly quiet games, action games or racing, but also on 360-degree photos and videos, since virtual reality covers very wide uses. These tests in particular allow us to evaluate the quality of the display and the immersion that the headphones provide.