VR headset promo photo for XpertVR use.
Oculus Quest 2
Selecting the Right VR Headset for Academic Research.

How much are you willing to pay for a headset?

The most important factor for most academics when selecting the right VR headset for academic research is the cost of a VR headset. VR headsets come at all different pricing levels.

The pricing of a VR headset depends a lot on its features, functionality, and usage. In this blog, we will be mentioning quite a few headsets ranging from $200 all the way to $6000.

Effects of FOV on VR Performance

When researchers are selecting the right VR headset for academic research, they often forget all about the FOV of the VR headset.

​FOV or Field of View, is very important for Virtual Reality headsets because it tells us how much we can see in VR. However, a higher FOV doesn’t necessarily mean a good experience. A dynamic field of view can make the target/object look smaller. A lower FOV can make the objects zoomed in and much easier to see.

Degrees of Freedom – Movement in the virtual setting

DOF or Degrees of Freedom simply means how you move in 3D space. The movement is governed by main axes (rotational) and secondary axes (translation). The former consists of Pitch, Yaw, Roll and the latter consists of Sway, Heave and Surge.

3DOF: VR headsets with 3 DOF have rotational movements. It should be used when you want your participants/users to be an observer of VR content or want to restrict movement.

6DOF: VR headsets with 6DOF have translation movements. It should be used if you want participants/users to move back and forth and interact fully in the 3D space.

Now that we have talked about the prerequisites, let’s deep dive into some of the VR headsets for academic research.

Over the years, Oculus by Facebook has singlehandedly driven the growth of VR headsets as the company has managed to acquire two-thirds of the global VR shipments for the first quarter of 2021, as per a recent report by IDC.

Launched in 2020, the Oculus Quest has primarily been seen as a gaming tool. However, developers have the freedom to build different experiences for anyone with an Oculus headset.

  • Type of Headset: Standalone
  • DOF: 6DOF
  • FOV: 89 degrees
  • Pricing: $399 for 64GB or $549 for 256GB (CAD)

 

Our take: The Oculus Quest 2 is best VR headset for consumers and overall entertainment. But be wary of the mandatory Facebook login if that concerns you.

VR headset promo photo for XpertVR use.

HTC Vive Pro 2

Vive Pro 2 is an upgraded version of HTC’s VIVE PRO. It comes with a HTC Steam VR Base Station for an immersive room-scale experience. Although it doesn’t support integrated Eye-Tracking just like the previous version Vive Pro eye, Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin has announced that a new add-on device is set to ship later this year.

  • Type of Headset: Tethered
  • DOF: 6DOF
  • FOV: 120 degrees
  • Pricing: $1079 CAD


Our take: 
If you are happy with the Vive or Vive Pro then this is the headset for you. It’s reliable, durable and has all the addons. But it’s a little clunky and requires external tracking devices. However, if you want to precisely track participants/users’ behaviour and attitude for your studies, then Vive Pro Eye could be a better choice.

HTC Vive VR Headset.

HTC Vive Focus 3

Unlike VIVE PRO 2, VIVE Focus 3 is more inclined towards businesses, combining great audio and a great resolution.

  • Type of Headset: Standalone
  • DOF: 6DOF
  • FOV: 120
  • Pricing: $1,750 CAD

 

Our take: Similarly to the classic HTC Vive, a lot of thought went into this headset. Except now it is wireless and all the tracking is built-in. Every feature is made for enterprise/academic use, including the software. The only issue is the high price tag.

Vive Focus 3 VR headset.

Pico Neo 3

With operations in the United States, Europe, China and Japan, Pico develops innovative VR solutions which enable our users to experience the best in VR and Interactive CGI experiences.

  • Type of Headset: Standalone
  • DOF: 6DOF
  • FOV: 98
  • Pricing: $875 CAD

 

Our take: Are you looking for a headset that competes with the Oculus Quest but without the Facebook login or the price tag of the Focus 3? Then this is the perfect headset for you. The Neo works great and has an amazing customer experience. The only issue is content, so first ensure you are developing custom apps or that the software you want is available on this headset.

Pico NEO 3 VR headet with controllers neo 3.

Pico G2 4K

Built for the enterprise, PICO G2 4K provides users with a premium viewing experience. The Pico G2 4K has a hands-free control option that enables easy “look and choose” selection.

  • Type of Headset: Standalone
  • DOF: 3DOF
  • FOV: 101
  • Pricing: $373 CAD

 

Our take: If you’re looking to view 180/360 videos, this is the best headset on the market. Beyond that, you can’t use this headset for most VR experiences.

Pico G2 4K VR Headset.

Varjo pronounced as Vario translates to a shadow in Finnish. Varjo Technologies is based in Helsinki and is creating the world’s best hardware and software for groundbreaking VR/XR computing devices, merging the real and digital worlds seamlessly together in human-eye resolution. With built-in eye-tracking functionality, companies/organizations can put test subjects inside VR for research purposes. Be it analyzing consumers’ reactions toward a product on a planogram and using the data to refine the product before launching it in the market.

  • Type of Headset: Standalone
  • DOF: 6DOF
  • FOV: 115 degrees
  • Pricing:
    • Varjo VR 3: $3195 USD
    • Varjo XR 3: $5495 USD

 

Our take: If you need the best, then look no further. These are the same headsets astronauts use to train before going to space. They’re amazing in every way, but they will cost you and you need to be tethered to a computer.

Varjo VR 3 headset.

In conclusion

In closing, selecting the right VR headset for academic research is more than just paying top dollar for the most expensive VR headset. 

If you are currently planning to conduct a research study and looking for the right VR headset for your research, feel free to reach out to us. We would be glad to help you choose the perfect VR headset for your needs.