“Expect the VR space to shake out soon,” warns Tony Sun, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of a new, Virtual Reality Heats-up: Why Oculus Rift and Samsung VR’s Days on Top Are Numbered.
Newer and smaller developers are poised to overtake Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and Samsung in the race to build virtual reality (VR) devices, eclipsing the pioneers in ease of use, display quality and other features.
In a study of 22 VR devices with built-in displays on the market, Oculus Rift ranked at the top but emerging devices such as Sulon Q and Star VR were on the verge of gaining the lead. Similarly, across 65 smartphone-based VR headsets, Samsung Gear still grabbed the most attention but was overshadowed in ease of use by Pinch VR and in display by Freefly VR.
“Next-gen smartphone-based VR headsets such as Google’s Daydream will focus on better ergonomic design while innovative new headsets will tap augmented reality and ‘untethered-ness,’” adds Sun.
Lux Research analysts evaluated 87 headsets on the market across 40 use cases. Among their findings:
Oculus still in front – barely – for full immersion. Oculus VR remains the best device for full immersion needs, followed closely by HTC Vive, while Ant VR is the best-priced. But all three are wired – limiting movement and adoption – and will soon face competition from devices such as Sulon Q and StarVR, both of which also offer a wider field of vision.
Freefly VR is best for gaming. For gamers, as well as for sports training and retail, Freefly VR is the top product, notably because of its low price. At about $80, it offers a 120-degree field of view and external controller to go with Android phones. Other products include Sony PlayStation VR and Avegant Glyph, the only one already on sale in the market.
Samsung Gear VR is ideal for demos. For demonstration and exhibition, Samsung Gear VR is the best balanced option. But the $99 device will soon face threats from Google’s Daydream, which is expected to bring major improvements in ergonomics, and other wireless devices.