The VR Spec Sheet: Rift, Vive, PSVR, Acer And HP Compared

by Jamie Feltham • May 11th, 2017

Two new VR headsets joined the spec sheet fray today; Microsoft pulled back the curtain on its first two Windows 10 headsets made by Acer and HP. While both are lower in cost than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, they present dramatically different means of delivering immersive experiences than what we’ve seen before.

It’s getting increasingly harder to track which VR headsets off which features and for what price. Does this headset need external sensors set up in my room to run? How do I control apps and games with this device?

With these kinds of questions becoming more and more prevalent, we thought it was a good time to start assembling an easy-to-read VR spec sheet that starts to compare these headsets a little bit closer, and show you how these different devices vary, helping you pick one that’s right for you.

What we’ve got now is just a start; we’ll update the table with more features (let us know what you think we’re missing) and, of course, new headsets. Check back soon!

spec comparison

Correction: Previously the table above listed the single-eye resolution for Acer and HP’s headsets, but it has since been updated to include the full two-eye resolution.

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  • Mac

    I thought the new Acer headset had 2 x 1440 x 1440 displays

    • le rocher d’aymen

      i thought the same thing

    • Xilence

      I’m 99% sure it does, this looks like a typo. No one can reasonably expect two eyes to look at one 1440×1440 screen in the center.

    • Smokey_the_Bear

      Yup. 2880 x 1440 is the correct answer. Which is better then everyone else. But of course resolution is just 1 piece of the puzzle. It’s a little disappointing to hear the Acer will have just 95° FOV, since the Vive & Rift are 110°.

      • Joan Villora Jofré

        But LCD screens.

      • Robbie Cartwright

        Is that on both the new headsets, or just the Acer one?

        • Smokey_the_Bear

          yeah, the HP as well. (possibly all the windows VR HMD’s…)

          • Xilence

            I doubt all of the HMDs will be like that. For example the 3Glasses will likely be different. Asus and Lenovo have to launch as well. I thought LG has one coming too?

  • luks0r

    Really interested in seeing this chart with Cardboard / GearVR / Daydream / Hololens / Meta at some point.

    • polysix

      Christ, I’m not. They’ve (cardboard and gear VR) done enough damage to the perception of VR without giving them even more mind share.

  • steph280

    I thought the HTC Vive is tracking from the headset, where the lighthouses are just emitting laser beams for the headset to read? Wouldn’t this be considered “Inside Out” tracking?

    • braylien

      no, inside out tracking requires no external devices

      • JDawg

        So if a device tracks using paper QR codes then you would call that outside-in tracking?
        WRONG

        In fact with your logic Hololens is outside-in tracking since the room is an external device the headset uses to track.

        The word TRACKING means to activity observe and follow. The lighthouses are emitters and don’t track anything for VR. The Vive headset has the sensors ON THE HEADSET that detect when the lasers hit it from the lighthouses.

        • DCrow

          Paper QR codes are not active devices, and neither is a room. With the Vive’s lighthouses, they still need to communicate with one another and with the link box to know where they are relative to one another and where the headset and controllers are relative to the lighthouses. Inside-out tracking is defined as requiring nothing active aside from what is onboard the headset to perform positional tracking, i.e. no cameras, no lighthouses. By this definition, Vive, Oculus and PSVR use outside-in tracking whereas the Windows mixed reality headsets use inside-out. Incidentally, Gear VR and Daydream also use inside-out tracking as they rely on the IMU of the phone that is running the content alone. So when people refer to these headsets as the ‘first’ inside-out tracking headsets, that isn’t quite accurate – they are the first headsets with inside-out POSITIONAL tracking as distinct from ROTATIONAL tracking.

          • Nicholas

            Wrong. The lighthouses only emit a sync signal to each other. There’s no communication between the lighthouses and the HMD or controllers – they’re effectively dumb laser emitters. The lighthouses can connect to the link box for firmware updates and for power management only (going into standby etc).

            Inside-out tracking means that the tracking sensors are internal to the device rather than external (e.g. the Rift cameras). The Vive uses inside-out tracking with the Lighthouses as timing markers. The Microsoft HMDs use inside out tracking with internal cameras.

          • DCrow

            I don’t think you can reasonably separate the sensors within the Vive’s controllers and headset from the lighthouses and claim that they perform the tracking on their own, when they are entirely dependent on the timing signal form the lighthouses to perform that calculation. By your logic you could say GPS satellites are just ‘dumb radio emitters’. They’re not – without them a GPS receiver is powerless to know where it is. At a push I might be willing to concede that the Vive’s tracking system sits somewhere between inside-out and outside-in, but it’s not purely inside-out. It requires an active synchronisation signal that is external to the tracked objects to work, which means it is not an entirely self contained tracking system, which in my mind is what distinguishes inside-out tracking from outside-in.

          • Reid Wender

            This is a reasonable way to start thinking about Vive tracking. The Vive might best be technically referred to as Inside-Out with Beacons or Markers. The ‘camera’ is on the Vive in the form of a sparse image sensor made of some 32 distributed photodiodes. GPS is a decent analogy. The GPS satellites are the beacons and the GPS receiver is the actual resource doing the tracking. GPS is a type of inside-out with markers tracking system. If GPS was an outside-in type of tracking system we would think of the satellites looking at the tracked object and the satellites or some central resource being responsible for the tracking of all the cellphones in the world. Today, Vive base stations support “room-scale” tracking with two base stations per tracked space. As Valve’s vision of “house-scale” tracking rolls out, these base stations will look more like “smart light bulbs” that can be plugged into a power source and tiled in arbitrarily large spaces the way lighting is tiled. What is important for long-term expand ability and driving down implementation cost is that Valve/Vive tracked objects will be able to compute their pose inside the tracked object. No external cameras or centralized image processing tracking processor will be required. Another way to think about inside-out vs outside-in is where can the 6DOF tracking pose be calculated. Inside-Out systems (Lighthouse, SLAM) can calculate pose within the tracked object. Outside-In systems compute pose outside of the tracked object (cameras to centralized tracking processor). Yes, today, Vive does send tracking information over to the PC for pose calculation but it architecturally extensible to performing embedded tracking. [I do work at a company associated with Lighthouse tracking]. We often talk about SLAM as being “World-scale” tracking but SLAM doesn’t work very well in large warehouse spaces that lack easily extracted features. Such large spaces are ideal for Digital Out of Home entertainment. In these types of environments “camera on the tracked object” systems will need some sort of externally generated markers or beacons like those used in Lighthouse. There will probably emerge a mixed-use scenario where products with SLAM or camera based tracking will also want the precision of Lighthouse style tracking [industrial, medical, architectural, engineering uses].

      • JDawg

        It’s pretty simple:
        – Inside-out = a direction of observation, or outward
        – tracking = where the sensors are that actually track the headset and controllers
        – lighthouses = only serve the same purpose as reference points (The room in Hololens) and don’t track the controller or headset. It doesn’t matter if they are active or passive devices for this definition
        – Inside-out Tracking = Sensors are that are inside the device observing, looking outward

    • Nicholas

      Yes, correct. The tracking is performed in the device rather than externally – it’s inside-out tracking. But morons don’t see it that way. What they’re actually referring to is MARKERLESS inside-out tracking.

  • Bundy

    I don’t think we can fairly use the phrase “world scale” until we’re wireless and don’t require some short range line of sight setup for the wireless rig. World-Scale as I see it would require 5G or something equivalent to be in the mix.

    • you could use a PC backpack, then you would be able to walk miles

      • Duane Locsin

        better is to have those VR treadmills from Virtuix and Cyberith.

        that is one major aspect to VR that I hope gets refined and accessible.

  • JDawg

    HTC VIVE uses Inside-Out tracking.
    What is doing the tracking? The Vive headset has the sensors on it. The lighthouses are only emitters for the VR aspect. The Vive looks for the lighthouses and the Microsoft VR Headset looks at the room.

    • DCrow

      The Vive’s lighthouses still need to communicate with one another and with the link box to know where they are relative to one another and where the headset and controllers are relative to the lighthouses. Inside-out tracking is defined as requiring nothing active aside from what is onboard the headset to perform positional tracking, i.e. no cameras, no lighthouses. By this definition, Vive, Oculus and PSVR use outside-in tracking whereas the Windows mixed reality headsets use inside-out. Incidentally, Gear VR and Daydream also use inside-out tracking as they rely on the IMU of the phone that is running the content alone. So when people refer to these headsets as the ‘first’ inside-out tracking headsets, that isn’t quite accurate – they are the first headsets with inside-out POSITIONAL tracking as distinct from ROTATIONAL tracking.

      • JDawg

        Answer these few simple questions:
        1) What does Inside-out mean? (Hint: It’s a direction of observation)
        2) What does tracking mean in this context? (Hint: It’s gonna be where the sensors are that actually track the headset and controllers)
        3) Do Lighthouses track the headset or controller with any sensors? (Deeper: The lighthouse do have bluetooth and an IR detector but neither are used to track the headset or controller)

    • remove the lighthouses from your setup then come here and tell us it does inside-out tracking 😛

  • ZDWWG

    Interesting that the ones dubbing themselves next-generation are using LCD panels while the current headsets by Oculus and HTC are using OLED. I wonder if that 1440 resolution upgrade is going to be worth it if you don’t have the deep colors especially true blacks of the OLED panels, and if your LCD colors are washed out with greyer blacks. Or are they working around that with their own innovations….

    • polysix

      In fairness, even the CV1 and Vive have ‘washed out’ blacks at times, even compared to DK2 (which had black smear which I’ll take over crappy – non immersive – blacks). The other thing is, will these new guys have god rays? I didn’t see any lens info above? fresnel or not? THAT will be one of the major deal breakers for many, I for one will NEVER buy another HMD with god rays or anything like it (Had and sold Vive, had DK2 and PSVR which in many ways were better even while being sub-par spec in comparison). LCD doesn’t sound too good, I agree, I expect motion blurring and lack of contrast, but as none of them are really fit for purpose yet at least this does OTHER things right (inc ergonomics by the look of it which rift and esp vive fail miserably on).

      I’d prefer a Vive/Steam VR 2.0/2nd gen but if they will insist on trickle feeding us (and esp facebook do) then I’ll go wherever the best one for the best price is first. Or I’ll wait for true gen 2 (probably will anyway – I’m sick of low res HMDs now)

      • Xilence

        The one thing that these do better hands-down is resolution. The world has much less SDE, if any, and text can be quite legible now due to the massive resolution bump.

      • Jeremiah

        Someone filmed the lenses of Acer’s headset and unfortunately it does appear to have fresnel lenses…

  • Mo Last

    The most important thing is missing in the table: FOV

    please add it

    Also, is the resolution per one or per two eyes?

    • polysix

      and lens type – godrays yes/no. The PSVR (which I’ve had) was FAR nicer to use a lot than the Vive I had due to no god rays! even while it sucked with tracking and in other ways. It was a much nicer, more ergonomic and ‘fun’ experience. Vive and Rift fkd up badly with bad ergo, bad lenses, bad screens (faded, red tint, bad blacks), sony has some issues too with blacks but at least no god rays and decent comfort.

      • Onyx Blue

        Nonsense. According to you. PSvr – is a toy – driven by a toy console. ‘God rays’ what are you talking about?

        • Jeremiah

          As someone that used a Rift and PSVR, Polysix is right. The PSVR’s ergonomics were way better, as was the display, despite the lower resolution. This was down to the lack of glare (really immersion breaking) and the fact the lenses seemed to be better positioned to make the most of the screen. The move controllers and tracking really let it down though.

          • Onyx Blue

            Ergonomics only stands true until release of the deluxe audio strap next month. I have not experienced the glare or “god rays” that you speak of. Did you clean the lenses ? Was there moisture or grease on the lens ?

          • Jeremiah

            I don’t know how you’ve missed it really, any light on a black background looks horrendous and completely breaks the immersion. Forget being able to enjoy Elite Dangerous. Games that are made for the Rift from the ground up are better but it’s still there. Worse still is just how uncomfortable both headsets are after 10 minutes or so.

            Don’t get me wrong, I think Microsoft’s offerings might be even worse in this regard considering they use even worse fresnel lenses, but they are at least cheap :p

            I think VR has several iterations to go before I’d buy one though, glad my bro was a guinea pig for me!

          • Onyx Blue

            I think the hardware itself is much better than people realize- and will scale. Robot Repair is all you need- to know where the VIVE is heading. Steam have finally release their own HOME environment too- which is absolutely amazing. These kinds of issues that you notice- are not things that people would notice- if the content was compelling enough. What I do know for certain- is VR is so large- that its missed on people. They actually cannot grapple just how large it really is!- and a large portion of the world is in for a very big surprise

      • Buddydudeguy

        PSVR= Fisherprice VR.

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    Are the LCDs RGB or Pentile?

    Pentile is garbage.

    • [email protected]

      Palmer put this best. “With two screens of equal resolution but unrestricted size an RGB stripe is better than a pentile. However, for a given physical wafer area pentile packs in more pixels and is the superior arrangement.”

      However, as miniaturisation improves we will be able to pack in RGB stripe designs into smaller and smaller areas of wafer. Oculus purchased a micro LED company a year ago which should be able to achieve significant improvements in all areas from OLED.

      • polysix

        Yeah, but that’s oculus, sorry, FACEBOOK and no VR fan is going to touch them again from now on so their screen improvements (which they’ll trickle feed to us in 2022… ) will be a moot point. Time to accept Facebook care little about high end/PC VR and just want to do what facebook always do, some of saw it from the start (with Gear VR getting priority in every fashion over Rift/PC). The standalone all in one, DRM HMD with data/advert tracking is ALL they care about. You’ll see this by next year when rift is all but abandoned.

  • koenshaku

    I wonder what their controllers will look like and how will they be tracked. My guess is that it will be an Xbox One Elite controller lol

  • i think there is a serious error in the table. You mention 2160×1200 resolution of the Rift and Vive. That’s the total resolution. However the 1440×1440 for the Acer and HP are PER EYE

  • Justos

    Whats the point of roomscale/worldscale when the controllers wont track outside of your fov? Lame. Microsoft isn’t targeting gaming and thats okay. But for 400$ i expected better. Windows in VR, cool. How easy is it to view text on these hmds?

    • Christophe Le Bars

      I think it keeps tracking with IMU sensors, the precision is low and could be subject to a drift but if you dont see the controllers it is not a problem in most games. And as far as I know, nothing says that the camera fov is the same as the screen fov which means the camera could keep tracking the controllers outside the screen fov.

  • johann jensson

    The OS is noted wrong for Rift and Vive. It should say Windows / MacOS.

    • Superkev

      Seemingly not in their context. I think it’s really the VR API they are describing.

      • johann jensson

        Then it should say VR API 🙂
        Rift and Vive are peripherals, not platforms.

  • Superkev

    I agree FOV is a major missing item from the table. The Acer and HP have a nice boost to resolution but I read somewhere their FOV is just ~90 degrees. That will give them a very good pixel density (and therefore more difficult to see the pixels) but for some the low FOV will be a deal breaker. Also would be nice to know if these use fresnel lenses etc. or if not what type.

  • Buddydudeguy

    PSVR is not true 120hz.