3 degrees of freedom. 3DoF. This is a tracking method where a 360-degree range head and hand movements are tracked, but not forward and backward motions.
6 degrees of freedom. The most immersive way of tracking movements means that all directions of motion are tracked.
A term that refers to when an entire virtual space is available for the headset wearer to explore. It’s the most advanced form of VR tracking.
Field of view. When wearing a VR headset, the field of view is measured in degrees and refers to how much of the virtual area you can see at one time. Higher is better/more realistic.
For those looking to take their first steps into VR, an entry-level headset is perfect. They’re incredibly affordable, usually require a smartphone to power them, and are incredibly light and portable. However, quality is minimal, and the novelty might soon wear off. Usually, they aren’t paired with a controller and have to be held up to the face.
Perhaps the most common types of VR headset are mobile-powered ones. These require a high-end smartphone to run the virtual reality experience. The phone’s screen is utilised, which means that the resolution often isn’t as good as with high-end headsets. Despite this, they still offer a reasonable level of immersion. For the price, this is an ideal way to experience virtual reality if you already own a smartphone. Many mobile headsets have head tracking and 3DoF. They’re also usually paired with a controller that is used to interact with the virtual environment.
One of the latest trends in VR is standalone headsets. These don’t require a mobile device or PC; everything needed to experience virtual reality is contained within the headset. The more affordable standalone headsets have 3DoF tracking and are comparable in terms of performance to mobile VR headsets. They often use similar processors, track head movements, and are paired with a controller. If you don’t own a high-end smartphone, this is the ideal way to try out virtual reality.
In order to create a higher level of immersion, these standalone headsets utilise front-facing cameras and other similar technologies to track movements in all directions. This 6DoF technology means that you can use the headset in any environment and explore a virtual space in all directions. Currently, there aren’t any headsets that also utilise this 6DoF tracking with a paired controller. Although more expensive than mobile and other standalone headsets, they offer a more in-depth experience. They are perfectly suited to keen gamers and VR enthusiasts.
Console headsets are a step up from mobile and standalone headsets. They offer superior visuals, better motion tracking, and a more extensive range of games. Although the price seems reasonable, console VR headsets require an expensive console as well as other peripherals in order to use them. This means the overall price is considerably higher. However, if you’re a console owner and enjoy gaming, this is probably the best choice for you.
Some of the most powerful headsets are pretty expensive. However, they offer unrivalled performance. They feature room-scale tracking and 6DoF for both headset and controllers. This tracking means that you can fully interact with the virtual environments you’re exploring. The headsets themselves are expensive, but they are typically tethered and therefore require powerful PCs to run well. Sadly, this puts them out of reach of many general consumers. These VR headsets are for serious gamers and tech enthusiasts only.