In vir­tu­al real­i­ty, you can swing a sword to the music, per­form surgery or fly around the galaxy in a fight­er jet. All you need is VR gog­gles or a hel­met. We talk about the types of vir­tu­al real­i­ty devices and how to choose the right one.


Base Experience — VR Glasses

The eas­i­est way to expe­ri­ence VR is with VR glass­es and a smart­phone. These are plas­tic lens­es and a sheet of card­board from which the box is assem­bled. Put your smart­phone in a card­board box, insert lens­es into it, and you can start your jour­ney. com­mon­ly referred to as Google Card­board or Google’s box. This is not the only design, some man­u­fac­tur­ers use plas­tic or alu­minum for the case. These glass­es do not have a strap, so you won’t be able to wear them for a long time.

They are easy to buy and are inex­pen­sive.

Apple has not yet shown much inter­est in this kind of VR, and Android smart­phones are becom­ing obso­lete so quick­ly that even a two-year-old phone can no longer han­dle mod­ern VR.

The most portable glass­es are Google Card­board, the same card­board box for a smart­phone. They can be fold­ed and they will be no more than a school note­book. And when assem­bled, they are small, like a portable speak­er. But you have to pay for sim­plic­i­ty with com­fort: the glass­es are uncom­fort­able.

The design implies either a sin­gle but­ton or a hole to press direct­ly on the screen and select menu options.

Xiao­mi Mi VR toy is a vivid exam­ple of afford­able glass­es: a plas­tic case in a fab­ric case, a smart­phone tray and a con­trol but­ton.

  • Pros: afford­able price. Sim­ple VR glass­es can be bought for 300‑1500 rubles.
  • Cons: lim­it­ed time of use, lack of inter­ac­tive appli­ca­tions.
  • Appli­ca­tions: Jaunt, VRSE (videos, doc­u­men­taries), Google Card­board, Youtube.

Intermediate — advanced VR glasses

Mid-range glass­es are sim­i­lar to the more fan­cy Google Box­es, but addi­tion­al­ly include con­trollers, focus rings, and even sep­a­rate screens.

The most pop­u­lar mod­el is Sam­sung’s Gear VR, but there are oth­er mod­els like Homi­do or Fibrum Pro.

Mid-range glass­es can be attached with a head strap. This means that they can be worn longer and do not need to hold hands dur­ing use. In addi­tion, these devices have their own app store. True, as with bud­get glass­es, you will most­ly be able to watch and not play. For exam­ple, VR Play­er for Android will allow you to watch and con­vert videos in 2D and 3D to VR for­mat.

Glass­es like Gear VR or LG 360 are only designed to work with the lat­est mod­els of smart­phones from the same com­pa­nies.

In terms of con­trol, Gear VR remains the most advanced so far, since there is a track­pad on the side of the glass­es like on lap­tops. It can be swiped and pressed.

The cat­a­log for these glass­es includes games, videos, and aug­ment­ed real­i­ty appli­ca­tions.

  • Pros: Mid-range VR glass­es com­bine the best fea­tures of afford­able and expen­sive devices. Portable, wire­less use, smart­phone com­pat­i­ble. 3500 — 5000 rubles, this is the price range of such glass­es.
  • Cons: Lack of inter­ac­tive appli­ca­tions, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of dizzi­ness. Lack of track­ing posi­tion in space.
  • Appli­ca­tions: Jaunt and VRSE (videos, doc­u­men­taries), Google Card­board (immer­sive 360° videos and inter­ac­tive apps), Youtube, Incell VR (races in var­i­ous loca­tions), Sis­ters (mul­ti-episode VR sto­ry).

Full VR helmets

The most expen­sive VR devices are hel­mets. They are designed for gam­ing and are used with addi­tion­al acces­sories (cam­eras, micro­phones, inter­ac­tive con­trollers). The VR hel­met, depend­ing on its ver­sion, pro­vides the high­est pos­si­ble graph­ics and blocks out the light in a qual­i­ty man­ner. These hel­mets have a high res­o­lu­tion screen, are com­fort­able, can be fixed on the head and are adjustable in size.

You can play by mov­ing around its axis, but for a full-fledged expe­ri­ence, free space is required, at least 2x2 meters.

Man­age­ment is car­ried out using con­trollers, and each mod­el has its own. Ocu­lus, for exam­ple, comes with an Xbox con­troller, while PS has them includ­ed with the set-top box. But the main advan­tage is motion con­trollers with which you can play vir­tu­al ten­nis or golf. It’s Ocu­lus touch or PlaySta­tion Move. And Sony even intro­duced a pro­to­type palm-track­ing con­troller in May of this year.

The most pop­u­lar are Ocu­lus series hel­mets: Rift S and Quest 2, HTC Vive Pro and Vive Cos­mos and PSVR. Choos­ing the right one is depend­ing on the device on which you are going to play.

PS VR works with PlaySta­tion 4 and will be com­pat­i­ble with PS 5. Such a hel­met costs from 25 thou­sand.

There are quite a few PS VR exclu­sives: short releas­es from PlaySta­tion VR Worlds, nar­ra­tive game Deracine, shoot­er game Far­point spe­cial­ly designed for the Aim con­troller in the form of a rifle, hor­ror Res­i­dent Evil 7 and many oth­ers.

You can play Half Life: Alyx (first-per­son shoot­er), Walk­ing Dead (hor­ror), LA Noire (detec­tive), Star Wars Squadrons (flight sim­u­la­tor) and a huge num­ber of oth­er games with a hel­met on your PC. The price of such hel­mets starts from 45 thou­sand rubles.

Ocu­lus Quest 2 is in a league of its own. This hel­met does not need a PC, although it works with one. The whole sys­tem is built into it, and all you need to use it is a smart­phone, an appro­pri­ate appli­ca­tion and a Face­book account.

The hel­met has 3 degrees of free­dom, which means that you can rotate around your­self, but you can’t walk and sit down. The screen res­o­lu­tion of Quest 2 is Full HD. For com­par­i­son, the Chi­nese coun­ter­part Pico G2 offers 4K. Among these glass­es is the HTC Vive Focus Plus, which sup­ports 5G and is equipped with 6DoF con­trollers, that is, those that pro­vide move­ment in three-dimen­sion­al space. Ocu­lus Quest costs 50 — 60 thou­sand, depend­ing on the size of the dri­ve: 64 GB or 256 GB.

The hel­met has a ded­i­cat­ed app store. You can play Beat­Saber (arcade), Super­hot (shoot­er) and oth­er games with­out a com­put­er.


What characteristics should a helmet have?

All stand­alone and PC hel­mets have sev­er­al options.

  • Res­o­lu­tion: the bet­ter, the high­er it is.
  • Built-in head­phones: option­al. It all depends on how high qual­i­ty sound you pre­fer. More often than not, gam­ing head­phones sound bet­ter.
  • Image Fre­quen­cy: Again, the high­er the fre­quen­cy, the smoother the image will be.
  • A selec­tion of addi­tion­al acces­sories.
  • Wear­ing com­fort: It is best to try the hel­met in the club and eval­u­ate accord­ing to your own pref­er­ences.


For each type of device, there is only one pos­si­ble option: for a PC, this is an expen­sive hel­met, for the PlaySta­tion con­sole, this is a PS VR kit, and for a smart­phone, glass­es are suit­able.

At the same time, the most advanced mod­els: HTC Vive Pro Eye or Pimax 5K Plus are designed more for devel­op­ers and artists.