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VR Headsets: specifications, types
The general purpose of the glasses is specified based on which device they are to be used with:
— For PC/Console. Glasses connected during operation to an external device and receiving a video signal from this device. Most often, it is supposed to be connected to a computer or game console, but there are models that can be connected to mobile gadgets, drones, etc. In general, they provide a good compromise between accessibility and functionality, and besides, quite advanced graphics can be displayed on such glasses. On the other hand, for the full use of such models, powerful video cards are often required.
— For a smartphone. Models designed to turn a smartphone into a virtual reality device. To do this, the smartphone is installed in a special slot on the glasses so that its screen is turned towards the user's eyes; glasses themselves do not have screens. And the effect of virtual reality is achieved through the operation of smartphone sensors and (accelerometer, gyroscope) and the use of special applications created specifically for this format of work. The key advantage of glasses of this type is simplicity and low cost: most often these are purely mechanical devices, without built-in electronics (and even advanced models with additional hardware are much cheaper than other types of glasses). On the other hand, the quality of virtual reality directly depends on the capabilities o...f the smartphone, despite the fact that not all devices correctly process such content. In addition, the glasses must be compatible with the smartphone being used, and this is not always guaranteed (for more details, see “Maximum phone size”).
— Standalone device. Points that function completely autonomously and do not require the use of external devices. To do this, the design provides for its own processor, "RAM", video adapter, drive for storing content and a battery for power. Thus, with such a gadget, virtual reality becomes available literally anywhere in the world; and at a cost, such glasses are comparable to models for PC / consoles. On the other hand, the capabilities of stand-alone devices are noticeably more modest: the relatively low power of video adapters does not allow for the same advanced graphics as on PCs or consoles, the amount of internal memory is usually small, and the continuous operation time is limited by battery charge.
Max. phone screen size
The largest diagonal of a smartphone compatible with the corresponding glasses (see "Intended use"). Note that this parameter can be specified both for universal models that do not have specialization for specific mobile phones, and for gadgets for specific devices (for more details, see "Compatible phone models"). The maximum diagonal is connected both with the features of the optics and with the physical dimensions of the "seat" for a mobile phone — a gadget that is too large simply does not fit there.
Note that even the smallest glasses for smartphones work quite correctly with devices with a diagonal of 5 – 5.5 ". So it makes sense to pay attention to this parameter if your device has a larger screen size. Nowadays, you can find glasses for gadgets 5.6 – 6 " and even 6" or more.
Compatible phone models
Models of mobile phones with which glasses of the corresponding type are initially compatible (see "Intended use").
This parameter is indicated for models originally created for specific smartphones — most often advanced flagship models; These glasses may not be compatible with other gadgets. On the one hand, this limits their application; on the other hand, the design may provide various specific features that are available only through close integration with a specific smartphone.
Also note that the characteristics may indicate compatibility not with a strictly defined model, but with a whole line — for example, iPhone. In such cases, it's ok to clarify which devices from the line are designed for glasses; the easiest way to figure this out is from the data on the maximum diagonal (see above).
Resolution of built-in displays in glasses equipped with such equipment — that is, models for PC / consoles, as well as standalone devices (see "Intended use").
The higher the resolution, the more smooth and detailed the “picture” is given out by glasses, all other things being equal. Thanks to the development of technology nowadays, models with Full HD (1920x1080) screens and even higher resolutions are not uncommon. On the other hand, this parameter significantly affects the cost of points. In addition, it is worth remembering that in order to fully work with high-resolution displays, you need powerful graphics capable of playing relevant content. In the case of glasses for PCs and set-top boxes, this puts forward corresponding requirements for external devices, and in standalone models you have to use advanced integrated video adapters (which affects the cost even more).
Field of view
The viewing angle provided by virtual reality glasses is the angular size of the space that falls into the user's field of view. Usually, the characteristics indicate the size of this space horizontally; however, if you need the most accurate information, this point needs to be specified separately.
The wider the viewing angle — the more the game space the user can see without turning his head, the more powerful the immersion effect and the less likely that the image will be subject to the "tunnel vision" effect. On the other hand, making the field of view too wide also does not make sense, given the characteristics of the human eye. In general, a large viewing angle is considered to be an angle of 100° or more. On the other hand, there are models where this indicator is 30° or even less — these are, usually, specific devices (for example, drone piloting glasses and augmented reality glasses), where such characteristics are quite justified given the overall functionality.
The amount of built-in storage installed in glasses.
Only independent devices are equipped with such a drive (see "Intended use") — it is used to store software firmware, as well as various additional content (applications, panoramic films, etc.). The larger the storage capacity, the more such content can be stored on the device; on the other hand, this characteristic directly affects the price. It is also worth considering that some models allow you to supplement the built-in storage with a memory card (for more details, see "Cart Reader").
For modern virtual reality glasses, the most modest volume is 16 GB — it is technically impractical to install smaller drives. In advanced models, this figure can reach 128 GB.
The amount of random access memory (RAM) installed in glasses.
This parameter is relevant only for independent devices (see "Intended use"). Theoretically, the more RAM in the gadget, the higher its power, the faster it is able to work and the better it handles with “heavy” tasks. However, in fact, this characteristic has more reference than practical value. Firstly, the capabilities of standalone glasses are also highly dependent on the processor and video adapter used. Secondly, the amount of memory is selected in such a way that the glasses are guaranteed to be able to cope with the tasks for which they were originally intended. Actually, problems can only arise with the launch of very demanding applications or resource-intensive video (for example, 4K panoramic videos); so paying attention to the amount of RAM makes sense only if you plan to use glasses for such purposes.
As for specific volumes, they in modern devices range from 2 to 4 GB.
The model of the processor installed in the glasses.
This information is indicated mainly for stand-alone devices (see "Intended use") — it is in them that the capabilities of the glasses as a whole directly depend on the processor model. And knowing the name of the chip, you can find detailed data on it and evaluate its effectiveness. At the same time, in fact, such a need arises extremely rarely: manufacturers choose processors in such a way that glasses can be used for their main purpose without any problems. So when choosing, you should pay attention to more practical parameters — display resolution, refresh rate, etc.
The refresh rate supported by the glasses' built-in screens, in simple terms, is the maximum frame rate that the screens are capable of delivering.
Recall that screens are provided in models for PC / consoles and in stand-alone devices (see "Intended use"). And the quality of the picture directly depends on this indicator: other things being equal, a higher frame rate provides a smoother image, without jerks and with good detail in dynamic scenes. The flip side of these benefits is an increase in price.
It is also worth considering that in some cases the actual frame rate will not be limited by the capabilities of the glasses, but by the characteristics of the external device or the properties of the content being played. For example, a relatively weak PC graphics card may not be able to pull out a high frame rate signal, or a certain frame rate may be set in the game and not provide boosting. Therefore, you should not chase after large values and points with a frequency of 90 fps will be enough.
Presence in points of own built — in accelerometer.
The accelerometer is a sensor that records the accelerations that the device is subjected to. It performs two main functions: determines the position of the glasses relative to the horizon (in the direction of gravity) and monitors jerks and tremors (however, this function is secondary in VR glasses). Such a sensor is necessary for a full-fledged "immersion" in virtual reality, so it must be provided in glasses made in the form of independent devices (see "Intended use"). But models for PC / consoles may not be equipped with an accelerometer — this means that the glasses are not designed for classic VR, but for more specific tasks (for example, controlling a drone with a first-person view).
As for models for smartphones, most of them do not have this function, since all modern smartphones are equipped with accelerometers. However, there are exceptions — high-end models designed for specific devices: in them, the accelerometer can work in conjunction with a smartphone sensor, which ensures the most accurate image positioning.
The presence in the glasses of its own built-in gyroscope.
The gyroscope captures the direction, speed, and angle of rotation of the device—usually along all three axes. Without such a sensor, it is impossible to achieve a full-fledged "immersion" in virtual reality, so it is available in all standalone glasses, as well as in most models for PC / consoles (see "Intended use"). In the second case, the only exceptions are individual models with a specific purpose — "personal cinemas", glasses for piloting drones, etc. In turn, glasses for smartphones do not initially require gyroscopes, since smartphones themselves have such sensors. However, there are exceptions here too — advanced models created for specific top-level devices: in them, the built-in gyroscope works in conjunction with the gyroscope of the connected smartphone, ensuring maximum positioning accuracy.
The presence of a sensor in the glasses that reacts to approaching the user's face.
A similar sensor is used to automatically switch between operating and standby modes: for example, when the user takes off the glasses, the sensor turns off the built-in screens (or the phone, if it is connected to the glasses via a connector), saving battery power and equipment life, and when put on, it turns on points for full functionality.
Lens distance adjusting
The ability to move the lenses of the glasses back and forth, thus changing their location relative to the screen and the user's eyes. The specific meaning of this function can be different: it can adjust the angle of view (so that the screen fits completely in the field of view and at the same time is not too small), play the role of diopter correction (which is important for users who wear glasses) or focus, change the setting interpupillary distance (see below), etc. These nuances should be clarified separately. However, anyway, this function will not be superfluous — it makes it easier to adjust the glasses to the personal characteristics of the user.
Pupillary distance adjustment
The ability to adjust the interpupillary distance of glasses — that is, the distance between the centers of two lenses. To do this, the lenses are mounted on movable mounts that allow them to be moved to the right / left. The meaning of this feature is that for normal viewing, the centers of the lenses must be opposite the user's pupils — and for different people, the distance between the pupils is also different. Accordingly, this setting will be useful anyway, but it is especially important for users of a large or petite physique, whose interpupillary distance is noticeably different from the average.
At the same time, there is a fairly significant number of glasses that do not have this function. They can be divided into three categories. The first is devices where the lack of adjustment for the interpupillary distance is compensated in one way or another (for example, by a special form of lenses that does not require adjustment). The second is models where this adjustment is not needed in principle (in particular, some augmented reality glasses). And the third — the simplest and cheapest solutions, where additional adjustments were abandoned to reduce the cost.
The presence of a card reader in the glasses — a device for reading removable memory cards.
Such equipment is found only in independent devices (see "Intended use"). The card reader allows you to install an additional amount of memory to store various data — in addition to your own points drive. At the same time, removable cards have a number of advantages: they are much cheaper than built-in storage (in terms of gigabytes of volume), and the volume of such a card can be chosen at your discretion. So a model with a small capacity, but with a card reader, can be a good alternative to glasses with a large amount of internal memory. Also note that you can purchase several memory cards and change them as needed. And card readers are available in many modern devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.), so that removable cards make it easier to store information with such devices (for example, you can record a movie on a card for viewing). On the other hand, removable memory is slower than the built-in memory, and some software functions may be limited for it — in particular, not every model of glasses allows you to install applications on the card.
The glasses must have at least one USB A connector. This is a full-sized USB connector, the same type as standard USB ports on computers and laptops. But its functions may be different, depending on the functionality of the glasses (see "Purpose"). So, in models for PCs and consoles, USB is one of the connection connectors used in conjunction with a video interface such as HDMI or DisplayPort: an image is transmitted via a video connector, and data from sensors on glasses is transmitted via a USB connection, which is necessary to change the picture and create " immersion effect. And in independent devices, USB A is used to connect various additional accessories — for example, flash drives with applications or other content. It is also possible to use this connector to charge the battery, although this method of use in general is not typical for it.
The presence of a microUSB connector in the glasses. This is the most popular of the smaller versions of the USB connector, widely used primarily in portable technology. However, for a number of reasons, this interface is rarely found in VR glasses — in single models of glasses for a smartphone, as well as in some independent devices (see "Purpose"). In both cases, it is provided mainly for charging the built-in battery (glasses for smartphones can also have such power — for example, for the operation of built-in Bluetooth headphones).
The presence in the glasses of the connector type USB-C. This is a relatively new type of USB port, which has a miniature size (slightly larger than microUSB) and a convenient double-sided design that allows you to connect the plug in either direction. It can be found in glasses for various purposes and, accordingly, provide different ways of application. So, in models for PC / consoles, this connector is used similarly to traditional USB — with the main connection, in parallel with the HDMI or DisplayPort video interface. In standalone devices, on the other hand, USB-C is mainly used to charge the battery and connect to a computer for direct file exchange, settings management, firmware updates, etc.
Also note that this paragraph may specify the USB version, which corresponds to the USB-C connector. Nowadays, two versions are relevant — 3.2 gen 1 and 3.2 gen 2; for VR glasses, the difference between them is generally not fundamental.
Availability of DisplayPort input points; the version of this interface can also be specified here.
DisplayPort is one of the most popular high-definition digital video interfaces of our time (however, sound transmission is also possible). It is especially common in computer technology, and is actually the standard in Apple PCs and laptops. Only glasses for computers and set-top boxes are equipped with this type of input (see "Intended use") — it is used to receive a video signal (and an audio signal, if necessary) from an external device. As for the DisplayPort versions, here the options can be as follows:
— v.1.2. The earliest (2010) of the current ones, but at the same time more than a functional version. Fully supports video quality up to 5K (30 fps), and with certain limitations — up to 8K.
— v.1.3. An update released in 2014. Introduced the possibility of full-fledged work with 8K resolutions at 30 fps, and with 4K and 5K resolutions at 120 and 60 fps, respectively.
— v.1.4. An update in 2016 that further increased bandwidth to support 5K video at 240 fps and 8K video at 120 fps. In addition, there is compatibility with HDR 10 technology, which improves colour reproduction and overall picture quality.
Availability of HDMI input in glasses; the version of this interface can also be specified here.
HDMI is the most common interface for high-definition video and multi-channel audio today; it is widely used in both computers and video equipment. In VR glasses, this type of connector is responsible for receiving video and audio signals from an external device; accordingly, only models for PC / consoles have such a connector (see "Intended use"). As for HDMI versions, the options may be as follows:
— v.1.4. The earliest of the current standards, the 2009 model (with subsequent updates). Allows you to work with Full HD video at a frame rate of up to 120 fps, but with 4K content, the speed is limited to 24 fps.
— v.2.0. Standard introduced in 2013. Also known as HDMI UHD, thanks to full support for UltraHD 4K (provides frame rates up to 60 fps). And in further updates of this standard, support for HDR was added.
— v.2.1. Version released to the market in 2017. It allows you to achieve a frame rate of 120 fps even at 8K resolutions, not to mention more modest ones. HDMI Ultra High Speed cables are required for full use, but the features of earlier versions are available with regular cables.
The presence of a Bluetooth module in the glasses; the Bluetooth version that this module corresponds to can also be specified here.
Bluetooth is a technology created for direct wireless connection between different devices. This technology is found in all varieties of VR glasses (see "Intended use"), although most models with its support are standalone devices. Anyway, the most popular way to use Bluetooth in virtual reality glasses is to broadcast sound over a wireless channel. At the same time, the format of such a broadcast can be different, depending on the specifics of the glasses themselves. So, stand-alone devices broadcast the reproduced sound to external headphones. In models for PC and smartphones, built-in headphones may be provided, and here the sound via Bluetooth is already transmitted to the glasses from an external device; sound from the built-in microphone can be transmitted in the reverse direction.
In addition, there are other ways to use Bluetooth, such as direct file sharing with another device or connecting game controllers. Such features are found only in standalone glasses, the specific functionality for each model should be specified separately.
As for the versions, the oldest used in VR glasses today is Bluetooth 3.0, the newest is Bluetooth 5.0. At the same time, the differences between different versions for such devices are not fundamental, this information is provided mainly for re...ference purposes.
The Wi-Fi version supported by the glasses.
Wi-Fi technology is known mainly as the most popular way to connect to the Internet wirelessly, although it can also be used for direct connection between different devices (Wi-Fi Direct). Anyway, this function is found exclusively in stand-alone devices (see "Intended Use"). It is mainly used to connect to the World Wide Web, but the possibilities of such a connection may be different. So, in some models, a Wi-Fi connection is used to access proprietary application repositories, cloud services for storing game data, etc. Others may provide support for third-party services such as social networks or instant messengers, or even a full-fledged browser for web surfing. Technically, nothing prevents the use of Wi-Fi Direct in VR glasses, but for a number of reasons, this format of work is almost never found.
As for the versions, in modern virtual reality glasses there are mainly Wi-Fi 4 (802.11 n) and Wi-Fi 5 (802.11 ac). The difference between them in most cases is not fundamental, especially since, for compatibility, Wi-Fi modules often provide support for not only one of these standards, but also earlier ones. And the new Wi-Fi 6 at the beginning of 2021 has not yet gained much popularity. But everything has its time.
The presence of a microphone in the design of VR glasses.
This function is mainly equipped with models for PC / consoles (see "Intended use"). The built-in microphone is mainly used for voice communication in online games. At the same time, it often turns out to be more convenient than a desktop microphone or a microphone built into a headset: glasses can interfere with the comfortable wearing of a headset, and a desktop device is not applicable because at least the user’s head (or even the whole body) is constantly moving in VR games, and constantly it is impossible to be at the optimal distance from the microphone.
For added convenience, your own microphone can be made retractable or removable.
The presence of your own headphones in the design or delivery of virtual reality glasses.
A full-fledged "immersion" in the virtual world requires not only a picture on the screen, but also an appropriate sound accompaniment, for which headphones are the best option. However, glasses take up quite a lot of space on the head, and not all “ears” can be comfortably combined with them (this is especially noticeable on large over-ear headphones). In addition, when connecting headphones with a wire, there may be problems related to the length and/or location of the audio cable. Thus, some models provide this function. These models can have any purpose (see above); most of these are for PC/console glasses, but headphones are also popular in standalone devices. Also note that some glasses use speakers located in the ear area; such speakers are also considered headphones in this case.
An alternative to the bundled "ears" is a headphone output; however, there are models with both functions at once — either folding / removable cups or the simplest speakers mentioned above play the role of headphones in them.
Availability in points of an exit for connection of earphones. Most often, the role of such a connector is played by a standard 3.5 mm mini-jack socket.
A full-fledged "immersion" in the virtual world requires not only a picture on the screen, but also an appropriate sound accompaniment, for which headphones are the best option. Its own headphone output allows you to connect wired "ears" directly to the glasses — it is much more convenient and safer during use than connecting headphones to a computer or set-top box. However, independent devices can also have such a connector (see "Purpose").
Note that there are VR glasses with their own built-in headphones, but this option is more convenient: it allows you to select the “ears” separately, according to the user’s own preferences.
The type of control provided in the design of the glasses.
Note that in this case we are talking exclusively about our own controls installed directly on the body of the glasses; many models are equipped with external controllers (see "Remote control"), but they are not taken into account in this case.
- Button. Control with classic buttons. The main advantage of this option is simplicity and low cost, while its functionality is quite enough to work with basic functions like menu navigation. On the other hand, the buttons require some effort when pressed, which can be somewhat inconvenient, especially when using the controls intensively. However, most often this disadvantage is still not fundamental.
- Touch. Control using sensors that are sensitive to touch and do not require pressing (unlike buttons). In the simplest models, these are separate sensors, the functions of which are similar to the same buttons. In more advanced devices, entire touch panels can be provided, for example, allowing you to control the cursor visible through the glasses and use special gestures. Anyway, this type of control is more advanced than push-button, however, it is more expensive, and therefore less common.
The presence of a magnetic switch in the design of virtual reality glasses.
A similar switch is found only in models designed for telephones (see "Intended use"). It is usually installed on the side of the glasses and looks like a movable metal element. The meaning of this function is that when the switch is moved, the magnetic field inside the glasses changes, and most modern smartphones are equipped with sensors that can track these changes. Thus, the user gets extended control options: for example, in shooting games, the magnetic switch can play the role of a trigger.
The presence of its own cooling system in the design of the glasses.
This function is relevant for models designed for phones (see "Signal source"). Modern smartphones, especially powerful flagships, can get very hot under significant load (and working with virtual glasses, especially with a 3D image, is a rather "heavy" task); such heating adversely affects the technique, creates discomfort for the user and can even lead to burns. To avoid this, various solutions can be provided in the design to improve the efficiency of heat removal and reduce the likelihood of overheating.
The presence of a controller — an additional control device — is included in the delivery of glasses.
The design and functionality of such an accessory may be different. So, the most popular option is specialized game controllers with a characteristic look — a handle with an analogue lever and buttons. There can be two such handles at once, under both hands; and in some models they are also used to control gestures. The movement of the hands can be tracked both by sensors in the controllers themselves and by cameras on the glasses. There are also simpler solutions — for example, portable gamepads or remote controls for controlling video playback.
The presence of external sensors in the delivery set of glasses.
Such sensors are placed in a special way (usually in the corners) in the room where glasses are supposed to be used. They allow you to turn this room (all or part of it) into a playing zone — a space in which the player can physically move during the game. This provides additional features and at the same time ensures safety: the device warns the player when approaching the boundaries of a safe play area (in the real world), preventing collisions and other similar troubles.
The presence of a special external camera in the glasses; often several such cameras are installed at once, for a more complete coverage of the surrounding space.
The main function of the track camera is to track the movement of game controllers held by the user. This makes it possible to perform various game actions with the help of appropriate hand movements — for example, to strike or shoot from a bow. In addition, the track camera can be used to "perceive" the environment — for example, building a "safe zone" in virtual space based on data on the size of the room, so that the user can see right in the game how far he can move without collisions.
The main material used in the construction of the hull.
— Plastic. Having a relatively low cost, plastic is at the same time quite practical, lightweight, easy to process and generally well suited for virtual reality glasses. This material is most popular in modern glasses, it is found in models of all price categories — from low-cost to top. Note that the actual quality of the plastic may be different, it also depends markedly on the price.
— Cardboard. Glasses made of classic cardboard — thick thick paper. The main advantage of this material is its extremely low cost — even lower than that of plastic. The case, usually, is delivered unassembled, it must be folded in a special way before use; however, for some users, this is also an advantage, because. working with the "constructor" provides additional interest. In addition, cardboard is considered a more “environmentally friendly” and easy-to-recycle material. On the other hand, the strength and rigidity of such cases is very low, they are easily deformed and require careful handling. And the comfort during use is very conditional: soft pads are usually not provided at the points of contact with the face, the edge of the cardboard sheet is directly adjacent to the skin. As a result, this material has become widespread only in glasses for mobile phones (see "Signal source"), created as extremely simple and affordable solutions.
— Cloth. Glasses with a case made of dense thick fabric. Such cases are relatively inexpensive, although much more expensive than the same cardboard cases (see above). On the other hand, fabric glasses are much more reliable and at the same time more comfortable — in particular, they almost always have soft inserts at the points of contact with the head, and the fabric surface itself is pleasant to the touch. Most of these models are designed for mobile phones (see "Signal source"), while the design may include original details — for example, a "pocket" for a mobile phone, fastened with a zipper. Also note that the fabric itself looks interesting even in neutral colours, and design options can be very unusual — for example, denim, camouflage, bright embroidery, etc. Among the shortcomings, it is worth noting the sensitivity of the fabric to dirt — despite the fact that the ability to remove and wash the upper shell is far from mandatory for such gadgets.
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