There are plenty of reviews out there that are evaluating headsets in a general sense – but the most important thing to do when deciding on a VR headset is knowing what you’re going to use it for. The best headsets for gaming aren’t going to be the best headsets for development. So, for the purposes of leading the first time VR developers making the right buy, we’ve made this guide:
The best VR headsets for developing virtual reality are:
- Samsung HDM Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality. This is the ultimate buy for first-time developers. It’s one of the more recent releases, so its specifications are great, and they don’t cost as much as other headsets. It has an excellent resolution (1440 × 1600), the PC requirements are relatively low and a decent refresh rate of 90/Hz and a 110-degree field of view.
- Valve Index. This is the more expensive option. This suggestion is for more advanced VR developers who want to experience their designs at maximum capacity. And maybe for super committed developers who want to avoid eventually buying two headsets. The Valve Index is not a cheap buy, but for good reason. It has a similar resolution (1440 × 1600) but what sets it apart is its mind-blowing refresh rate 144/ Hz – making a super smooth VR experience that eliminates any chance of lag or motion sickness.
Why I Picked The Samsung HDM Odyssey Windows Mixed Reality
- As a first time developer, you are probably investing enough money as it is into a good PC or laptop. The Samsung HDM Odyssey is the best available option there is in terms of an affordable, room-scale VR headset. It also doesn’t require additional motion tracking accessories.
- It has a super comfortable head-fit. Nothing is more inconvenient than a headset that doesn’t have a stable head fit. But luckily this headset doesn’t have this problem, making it easy to use for presentations.
- It has built-in audio headphones and ships with two wireless motion controllers. It’s not wireless, but only has two cables and is super easy to install with Windows Mixed Reality.
What to Look for in a Headset for VR Development
- Resolution. Resolution refers to the quality of the image that the headset projects, and at the time I’m writing this article, the prize for this category goes to the PIMAX 8k. But its important to not attribute all the value of the headset to this factor, because there is no point in having a high-resolution headset with a bad refresh rate. There is also a point at which resolution doesn’t really visibly get any better, or where high resolution can reveal graphic imperfections on your environment.
- Refresh Rate. This refers to how quickly the headset recalls imagery – a low refresh rate can mean a severe lag in motion and can cause you or your client to get motion sickness. The Valve Index currently has the most impressive refresh rate of 144 /Hz, which is why we refer it.
- Field of View. field of view refers to how wide your VR headset camera angle can be. This doesn’t mean the wider the better – it just means that you have slightly more capability to manipulate this factor (not that you’s always want to).
- Cable Management. We are heading into a cable-less future! But this does not mean that cableless headsets perform better – in fact, cables are safer. But when it comes to VR headsets, some can have up to three cables which can become a bit much. So a good rule of thumb is to say that one cable is the prize.
- PC Requirements. Some headsets require you to have high PC specifications in order for them to run. The good news is that if you have a PC that can run the basic functions of game development, then you’re probably in the green when it comes to PC specifications anyway – but always check before you buy.
- Comfort. Read reviews on what the headset actually feels like. Some designs aren’t favorable and can give you a headache. There are options to add foam to some devices if this is the case with your current headset.
- Tracking Ability. Some headsets track beautifully just on their own, but others require additional tracking stations which can be expensive – but essential.
- Steam VR Compatibility. In our beginner VR development workflow, we work closely with Steam, so to have the headset compatible with Steam is a must – plus, you will have access to games, too.