Virtual reality in the high-end segment has so far been hampered by cables. But the new VR headsets from Oculus, HTC, and Lenovo are completely wireless. Offcourse there are more glasses like Google DayDream VR headsets and Samsung Galaxy Gear but those require a smartphone to work with.
Trade fair CES is, as every year, full of new, strange and perhaps unnecessary gadgets. Besides the TV, one of the fixed values of the fair has been the VR glasses for a couple of years now. The theme in VR is this year: wireless. Oculus, HTC, and Lenovo have announced all three completely wireless VR headsets. Good news, because without the hindrance of cords you feel much easier in another world.
HTC Vive Pro
The new HTC Vive Pro has a screen with 78 percent higher resolution: from 2160 x 1200 pixels on the original Vive to 2880 x 1600 on the Pro. That makes 1400 x 1600 pixels per eye, good for a density of 615 pixels per inch, 37 percent higher than with the previous model. Important, because the smaller the pixels, the more realistic the images of the VR glasses. The Vive Pro also has built-in headphones and weighs less than its predecessor.
The Vive Pro can be used completely wireless, with the new Vive Wireless Adapter. It can also be used with the previous model. The Pro also has two cameras in the front. These can be used for mixed reality applications where you see the environment around you through the glasses, or the glasses can show the limits of the physical space in VR. In this way, you are free from cables and at least you can stop the glasses. The Vive Pro will be released this quarter, the wireless adapter will come in the summer. Prices of both gadgets are still unknown. HTC has also previously announced the HTC Vive Focus, a standalone VR headset but that is currently only available in China.
Oculus announced its new goggles in October but at the CES revealed more about the glasses. The completely separate glasses can be used without a connected PC and has its own chip, unlike the original Oculus. Oculus Go uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip (kind of let down), which was also available in many smartphones from the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017.
The glasses are developed by the Chinese Xiaomi. The company has a lot of success in its home country and in India with beautiful but affordable smartphones but has not gained much ground in the rest of the world. Xiaomi makes its own version of the Oculus Go, the Mi VR Standalone. The collaboration between Xiaomi and Oculus is no coincidence because former Xiaomi VP Hugo Barra is now head of VR at Oculus parent company Facebook.
Details as the screen resolution of the Go Oculus has not yet announced. However, the device still has to appear early this year, for US $199.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
Lenovo already surprised us with Mirage at the end of last year, with which you could play the impressive augmented reality game Star Wars: Jedi Challenges, armed with a lightsaber. The new Mirage Solo is not an AR- but a VR-Glass, and the first completely standalone glasses that work with Google Daydream, the VR platform that is built on Android.
The glasses have a 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels. The glasses run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip and have 64 GB of storage space. Thanks to scanners and cameras in front of the glasses and a battery of 4,000 mAh, the Mirage Solo can be used completely independently, without the need for another device. The cameras recognize the environment and ensure that the user can accurately walk in 3D through VR environments.
Other Google Daydream glasses work with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, which have to be placed in glasses. The Lenovo Mirage Solo has to come on the market this spring, at a price that the company says will be under $ 400 (still high enough).
Lenovo also announced the Mirage Camera, a camera with two lenses that makes photos in 180 degrees. Not a full, spherical photograph in which you can look around, but according to Lenovo it is a photo that shows what the photographer saw at that moment in his entire field of view.