A primary focus of virtual reality headset manufacturers of late has been to learn from past mistakes and offer a better product line of with improved technical capabilities and content. This year, the industry will see several new products, including the highly anticipated HTC Vive Pro, Lenovo Mirage Solo, and several others. In this article, we share a list of upcoming headset models to watch in 2018.
High-Definition VR Headsets Are Set To Hit The Market in 2018
HTC Vive Pro: Following up the popular HTC Vive, the second generation Vive Pro was announced at CES 2018. With wireless capability (with an adaptor), the Vive Pro features an improved resolution stemming from two OLED displays boasting a 78% increase in resolution. The Vive Pro also boasts redesigned headgear and a weight redistribution ultimately making the headset much more comfortable to wear. While the precise release date is still unknown, the Vive Pro is expected to be available by the end of 2018 and cost around $599.
Pimax 8K: After a highly successful Kickstarter campaign that saw the Shanghai-based company raise one million dollars in the first seven days, the Pimax 8K project is officially on its way to fulfilling its stated mission – to create the single greatest VR HMD display, complete with peripheral vision. Packing a 3,840 x 2,160-pixel resolution, the Pimax 8K promises the highest resolution of any commercially available (or soon to be available) HMD. The Pimax 8K also boasts a 200-degree field of view, so the pixels are spread much further apart, which can take a toll on the clarity and sharpness of the visual fidelity.
2018: The Highly-Anticipated Arrival of Magic Leap Smart Glasses
Magic Leap One: Set to be released by one of the most secretive companies in the tech industry, the Magic Leap One is the product of five years of research and $2 billion in venture funding. With an impressive list of investors like Google, Alibaba and most recently Axel Springer, the glasses will be a trailblazer in the consumer and commercial AR smart glasses market.
From a hardware perspective, the glasses require a computing pack, called a Lightpack, and a remote, called Control, to operate. The exact price of the glasses is unknown but is expected to cost around $1,000. With an endorsement from Shaq and the NBA, purchasers can expect the hefty price tag to pay for more than just another gaming device. Magic Leap plans for the glasses to be able to replace a computer, television, and smartphone, but only time will be able to tell if it can deliver.
New Standalone Headsets Will Change The Landscape Forever
Oculus Go and Santa Cruz: Trying its hand at untethered and wireless VR, Facebook-owned Oculus is slated to debut two attempts at the technology later this year, the Oculus Go and the Oculus Santa Cruz. As the cheaper of the two options, the Oculus Go will perform at slightly lower computing and bandwidth levels but is slated for an earlier release date. The higher-end and more highly-anticipated Santa Cruz is a completely wireless, self-contained device with inside-out tracking and the computing unit built directly in. Still in beta stages, if successful, the Santa Cruz would be the best answer to the prompt for quality wireless VR that consumers have been dreaming of since the days of Star Trek. Early stages of the prototype had a mobile processor built in, but the company has not confirmed specs for the final version of the headset.
Lenovo Mirage Solo: As Google’s flagship standalone VR HMD, the Lenovo Mirage Solo packs an impressive assortment of technology and redesigned hardware for incredible functionality. Loaded with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and Google’s Daydream VR platform, the headset puts up a considerable competition to the Facebook-owned Oculus Go and Santa Cruz.
The Darkhorse: Windows Mixed Reality Headsets
Asus Windows MR Headset: The last of the first-generation Windows’ Mixed Reality headsets to be released, the Asus HC102 utilizes inside-out tracking and a 90 Hz refresh rate of a 3K resolution to offer a quality entry level HMD. While nothing special about the headset has yet to strike the market aside from its competitors, the headset’s release solidifies a more diverse consumer market, allowing consumers to purchase options that best suit their needs and situations.
Article by Andrew Wei, an associate analyst with Greenlight Insights.