This outline lists the separate cost requirements for setting up an on-site virtual reality station.
The options listed below are recommendations based on reviews and research from C:Net, PC Magazine and Telegraph UK , and reflect the current popular trends based on cost and features.
Reference links provided with each device.
There are two ways of setting up a virtual reality station: mobile or tethered.
Mobile VR headsets
Mobile units such as the Samsung Gear VR use the Oculus platform and are used with a dedicated tablet do enhance the VR experience.
Mobile units use 3DOF "three-degrees-of-freedom" which accurately tracks your head movement in all directions, but does not track your position when moving front, back, right and left.
Virtual tours viewed from web browsers reach a world wide audience, with and without mobile and connected vr headsets.
Tethered VR headsets
Powered by a PC, the industry standard tethered headsets Oculus Rift, HTC Vive , both use 6DOF "six-degrees-of-freedom", which is the position tracking technology that allows the user to walk around and experience the photo-real virtual realty tour in real 3D space.
With unlimited locations, a vast amount of features and interactivity can be integrated into both mobile and tethered virtual tours: hot spots for multiple views around the room, and clickable icons and objects with historical and technical data.
Over above the costs of required hardware, the additional costs to create and implement the virtual tours are dependent upon the number of locations and complexity of interactivity.
1. HTC Vive
Works with: PC or Mac
One of the most immersive virtual reality experiences you can get, the HTC Vive works with PC, but you will need a computer or laptop with a powerful enough graphics card to play. HTC's headset has been built to work with Valve, the gaming company that runs the Steam online game store. Like the Oculus it has a 2160 x 1200 OLED display for a brilliant picture.
2. Oculus Rift
Works with: PC
Facebook-owned Oculus Rift offers some of the best experiences in virtual reality and has become synonymous with the technology. Oculus has some great apps in its store, from the fast-paced Robo Recall shooter, space flights in Eve Valkyrie and terrifying horror experiences in Resident Evil: Biohazard. The headset itself has immersive OLED panels with 2160 x 1200 resolution for massive immersion.
You can now pick up the Oculus with handheld touch controllers, which are shaped to feel like you are actually using your hands rather than a clunky controller. It has also had a permanent price drop to below £400, meaning now might be the best time to pick up a VR headset for less. It can work with an Xbox One controller and you stream games through your Xbox via a PC.
5. Samsung Gear VR
Works with: Samsung smartphones
Gear VR has been around since 2015 but remains one of the best ways to get a virtual reality experience on mobile, providing you have a Samsung device. Unlike most other virtual reality apps for Android, Gear VR uses apps made for Oculus Rift. Samsung's high quality QHD screens offer a more immersive experience for their apps.
It costs around £20 more to add a handheld controller. The headset is now compatible with several generations of Samsung's phones, from the S6 and later, offering plenty of ways for users to get a virtual reality hit.