If you’ve ever considered purchasing a VR headset, you’ve most likely encountered a couple (hundred) reviews on the HTC Vive. You’ve also almost certainly come across another couple (thousand) reviews on the Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, Google Daydream and the Samsung Gear VR. Of course, these reviews come with comparative data as they try to tell you which headset reigns supreme. From my personal research (and experience) the HTC Vive is held in higher regards than the competition, followed closely by the Oculus Rift. Though I truly appreciate the fine workings of the HTC Vive, it isn’t my best. That spots goes to none other than Star VR.
Star VR is the magic you get when ICT giants Acer meets Swedish game creators Starbreeze. They focus on getting Star VR to enterprises and location-based markets. Basically, it’s not available for the average consumer, except they try it out at a VR Cinema or a particular enterprise. I had the opportunity to don the headset and test it out at my trip to Nvidia’s GPU Technology Conference at Munich this year. Here’s my experience with the Star VR headset in a nutshell.
Review of Star VR – The POSITIVES
The first thing that hit me full force when I used the Star VR was an amazing clarity. It achieves this with its dual 5.5” quad HD resolutions panels. This allows it to sport a 5K resolution (5120x1440px) combined display, and the effect of this simple fact is immense. The resolution is so high it completely eliminates screen door effect. Screen door effect is the term given to when you see fine black lines on a screen which is caused by the individual spaces between pixels on a screen. This particularly reduces immersion and it’s quite a feat for Star VR to be able to erase it. In the latest versions of the headset, low persistence technology has also been implemented, allowing for sharper images as the user moves around.
Field. Of. View.
With the more popular VR headsets we have now, you’re given a horizontal field of view of 110 degrees. This translates to the edges of your peripheral vision being black or visibly blurry. This blackness is called Binocular Effect. It’s basically how a fish would feel if it has human eyes. Star VR on the other hand has a whooping 210 degree field of view. And the vertical FoV is 130 degree high. This heightens immersion significantly as humans can naturally and instinctively react to things approaching in their peripheral vision.
Having 6 degrees of freedom? Not so impressive anymore. And that would have been the case if Star VR had stopped there. But Star VR allows multi-user tracking for collaborative and shared VR experiences. Basically, you can scale the standard single user positional tracking greatly. It allows up to 48 different tracking cameras for large volume experiences and its tracking system is high speed; 960fps. It also uses an IMU and Optical sensor fusion to deliver a low-level latency experience to users. They also have a wide range of VR accessories ranging from guns to complex haptic systems which enhances immersion.
One would think that with the dual screens, the Star VR would be quite heavy but on the contrary, it’s pretty light. I used it for about 10 minutes and I didn’t feel less comfortable than I’d have felt if using the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. This is very important as heavy headsets make users uncomfortable after a short play time.
NOT SO POSITIVE
Unfortunately, when it comes to available content, Star VR is sorely lacking. Being new in the market (it’s technically still in its development stage) the quantity of content available is really small. Content for it is almost strictly dependent on the enterprise that is using it.
Like I stated earlier, Star VR isn’t available on a consumer level. This is because it’s fairly expensive. There isn’t an exact price on it yet, but we know it’s not going to be the usual $699. This is a huge turn off for consumers as asides from having to buy the headset, the PC that’ll be able to suitably run content for Star VR would be a couple thousand dollars in the least.
In conclusion, it’s an amazingly wide field of view and impeccable resolution places Star VR as my best VR headset as it completely immerses the user in the real world, virtual reality.