Standalone VR vs. PC VR
What are the differences between standalone VR and PC VR?
"Which glasses do I need?" is a frequently asked question in VR land. But answering this question is not as easy as you might think. Are you going to use the VR glasses to play VR games, or do you want to use the glasses in groups to watch 360-degree videos, for example? But also the fact whether or not you have a PC, and whether cables are desirable or not are important to include in your judgment for the right VR glasses.
In general, there are two types VR:
- Standalone VR: such as Oculus Quest, Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus, Pico G2 4K.
- PC VR: such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift S, HP Reverb G2, Valve Index.
Standalone VR (3 DOF vs. 6 DOF)
Standalone VR glasses are glasses that work without being connected to a computer. This makes the VR glasses very easy to use, because they are not attached to the PC with a cable. But the disadvantage of standalone VR glasses is that there is (generally) less graphic power in the glasses, and the VR content is limited to the mobile VR glasses. As a result, there are certain games or applications that you cannot play on standalone VR glasses, but on PC-controlled VR glasses.
Then within the standalone VR glasses you still have a difference between the number of degrees of freedom of movement (degrees of freedom, or DOF). The relatively simple VR glasses, such as Oculus Go and Pico G2 4K, cover 3 DOF. This means that you can only move the VR glasses and the controllers up and down, and to the left and right. So you cannot physically walk through a room with 3 DOF glasses, but only look at something. This is usually not a problem for viewing a 360-degree video, because you are not physically moving here. But if you would like to physically walk through a simulation, you better opt for a 6 DOF headset, such as Oculus Quest or Pico Neo 2.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Standalone VR
- Can be used without a computer and without cables.
- Generally lighter than PC VR.
- Cheaper than computer-controlled VR glasses.
- Less graphics power than PC VR glasses.
- Less accurate tracking method.
- Available VR games and applications are more limited.
Examples of Standalone VR glasses
- Oculus Quest & Quest 2
- HTC Vive Focus Plus
- Pico G2 4K (S & Enterprise)
- Pico Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye
- Skyworth VR S801
PC VR glasses are - as the name suggests, connected to a computer. The advantage of PC VR glasses is that you use the graphical power of your computer (instead of the graphical power in the glasses, as with standalone VR). This allows graphically demanding applications to be displayed much more beautifully and smoothly. And because developers focus much more on developing PC applications, there are also a lot more VR games and other applications on the computer (for example via SteamVR).
Of course, PC VR glasses also have its drawbacks. For example, you should always have the headset wired to a computer (and sometimes to a power point) (with the exception of the HTC Vive Pro with a Vive wireless adapter. You will therefore always feel a cable above your headset. In addition, you also have the practical aspect of the computer. Besides the fact that the computer has to be "VR-ready" (and therefore becomes a bit more expensive), the computer must also always be near the place where you want to play. When you have your own place to play this is usually not a problem, but if you are on the road a lot, or have to change your set-up constantly, this can be inconvenient.
Advantages and disadvantages of PC VR
- Can play graphics games more beautiful and smoother than standalone VR.
- Larger (and better) range of VR games and other applications.
- Space tracking is more accurate.
- You always need a powerful (VR-ready) PC.
- You are always connected to the computer with a cable.
- The products are more expensive than just standalone glasses.
Examples of PC VR glasses
- HTC Vive Pro & Pro Eye
- HTC Vive Cosmos & Cosmos Elite
- Oculus Rift S
- HP Reverb G2
- Valve Index
- Pimax Artisan, 5K & 8K Plus