June 16, 2016

Owning a truly immersive VR system is pretty costly, especially when headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have prices of $600 and $800 respectively. Factor in the additional cost that’s necessary in having a VR-capable PC that actually supports them, most average folks will nearly be expunged of their savings. Thankfully, there’s the cheaper alternative in the OSVR HDK2 headset, which is reportedly to chime into the VR sphere with a far more budget pricing of $399 when it’s released.

This new headset, a v2.0 of sorts, is the result from a brand partnership between established PC-gaming company Razer and this VR company called Sensics. From a VR-tech standpoint, it employs an implementation that’s very similar to the Oculus Rift – wherein an IR sensor produces a matrix grid that allows users with the headset on to move around in free space. So essentially, it can recognize movement in free space, as well as spatial distance.

OSVR hands on 7

In terms of design, the OSVR HDK2 looks crude in comparison to its rivals. Comfort isn’t an issue with this one, as the straps supporting the headset can be adjusted and there’s sufficient padding around it, but it just doesn’t quite have the cleaner aesthetics of the Rift. And just like the Vive, it requires a separate connection for audio. Despite that, we have to admit that the quality of the displays in the headset are sharp and detailed, similar in caliber to what we’ve seen with the Rift.

And just like the Rift, we’re able to lean in/out and move side-to-side, which reacts accordingly to our movement in the demo we were playing. Sure, its design might be perceived as being unflattering to some, but when you think about how it’s priced lower than its closest rival, the OSVR HDK2 doesn’t seem to be a bad buy.

OSVR hands on 2

On top of checking out the headset over at Razer’s E3 2016 booth, we also got the opportunity to check out a prototype model of the Gloveone. It’s meant to provide finer motor skills when it comes to interacting in the virtual space, since it features special motors and sensors that work all in tandem to deliver those finer movements with our fingers.

Aesthetically, the Gloveone looks very much like a prototype, so it’s a bit crude looking. Comprised out of this mesh material, it’s a tight fit that also requires being attached to your forearm – as well as around your chest. On the tips of our thumb, middle, and index fingers, there are motors that provide haptic feedback when we grab certain items in the virtual world. Before diving into the experience, an outer space scenario with us floating around and junk flying all around, we felt somewhat empowered putting on the glove.

Gloveone hands on 6

However, that was quickly soured due to how it wasn’t properly calibrated. We’re told that the software was glitchy, which could’ve been the culprit behind it not being calibrated, but we were still able to grab things floating around to an extent. Calibration issues aside, the responsiveness of the Gloveone wasn’t too bad at all; it works fine in grabbing the nuts, bolts, pencils, and other assorted space junk using our hand and fingers. At a certain point, however, things just went downhill with the calibration and the interaction became more a test of futility.

Needless to say, it’s a shame given that there’s nothing quite like this elsewhere, but we totally understand the unpredictable nature of prototype – so let’s hope it’s fine-tuned as its release gets closer. Speaking of release, there’s no word of that, as well as its price. Given the uniqueness of it, we can only fathom it to be somewhat pricey. As for the OSVR HDK2, it’s slated to go on sale starting next month in July for an easy $399.

 

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