Hands-On: The VRHero Is A 5K Resolution Headset From VRgineers

by David Jagneaux • July 19th, 2017

VR currently does a lot of different things well across a variety of devices. The Gear VR is a great mobile headset but it’s underpowered and lacks positional tracking. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have good content and roomscale capabilities, but they’re tethered and the resolution isn’t great. PSVR is affordable given its relative quality but it still has bad screen door and lackluster motion controllers. The newly announced VRHero hesdset from VRgineers picks a different thing to be good at: it features a crystal clear 5k resolution display. However, we still don’t have a capable VR device that can do it all.

I got the chance to go hands-on with the device last week and I came away with mostly positive impressions. I was shown a handful of demos that showcase its features and can definitely see the potential for a dedicated high-resolution device like this.

Unfortunately the biggest issue is the low framerate. The target market happens to be industrial and enterprise clients (such as major car brands like BMW, which already is a paying customer) rather than gamers and everyday consumers.

Despite the low framerate the 5k resolution was honestly jarring at first. I didn’t realize how accustomed I’d become to the frame door effect of lower resolution headsets until I tried the VRHero’s 5k display.

Currently it sports an LCD dual display but will have OLED later this year. The combined resolution is 5120×1440 with a 60-90 Hz refresh rate and 170 degree field of view.

The first demo I tried was a basic game-like demo powered by Unreal. I could move around with a gamepad and aim down the sights of a gun. The clarity was incredible, but as noted, the framerate was too low to make it playable in a real game setting.

The more impressive demos were the 360-videos and other 360 scenes. I stood stop a skyscraper in Dubai, for example, watching a too video unfold in gogeous detail. It wasn’t murky, or blurry, or hard to make out specifics like basically every other 360 video on the market.

And the other 360 scenes, such as the one that let me walk around and inspect an actual car, were fascinating. I sat in the driver seat and was able to clearly read the speedometer, radio dials, and even logos without having to squint or lean in closely. Clarity like that isn’t possible on current HMDs.

VRgineers is already manufacturing units of the VRHero targeting the aforementioned big-budget production, industrial, and enterprise-level companies. For more information, you can visit the official website.

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  • Duane Aakre

    The much wider field of view sounds interesting. I find it hard to believe that going from the 1200 pixel vertical resolution of the Vive/Rift to 1440 pixels for this headset would make that much difference to the screen door effect.

    • Kacey Sherrard

      Yeah I was a bit confused by that, that’s the same vertical resolution of a lot of the cheap vr headsets coming out. I honestly think a 2k by 2k per eye and a 150 degree fov would be the nice next upgrade I’m looking for with of course 90hz refresh rate. Most decent graphics cards shouldn’t have an issue with maintaining a dual 2k resolution. It would essentially be any cards that are fine with 2d 4k right now.

    • MowTin

      It’s 5120×1440 vs Rift 2160×1200. It’s almost 3x the number of pixels. I can’t wait for a higher res headset.

      • Duane Aakre

        For screen door effects, it is not the total number of pixels that is important, but the number of pixels per degree:

        For the horizontal field of view:
        For this new headset 5120 pixels / 2 eyes / 170 degrees = 15 pixels per degree
        For Vive/Rift 2160 pixels / 2 eyes / 110 degrees = 9.8 pixels per degree

        For the vertical field of view (assuming new headset is similar to the Vive/Rift and has a 110 degree vertical field of view)
        For this new headset 1440 pixels / 110 degrees = 13.1 pixels per degree
        For Vive/Rift 1200 pixels / 110 degrees = 10.9 pixels per degree

        So my original comment meant that I was surprised merely increasing from about 10 pixels/degree to about 13-15 pixels/degree would have that noticeable of an impact on screen door effects.

        Interestingly, current 4k 360 degree videos on places like YouTube = 4000 pixels / 360 degrees = 11 pixels / degree, which perfectly matches the capabilites of the Vive/Rift. If 2nd generation headset jump to 2k x 2k per eye (assuming they stay with the 110 degree field of view), then 360 degree videos will need to jump to 8k to get full benefit of the headsets.

        For reference, a human with 20/20 vision can resolve about 60 pixels/degree. Therefore for a headset with a 170 degree wide by 110 degree tall field of view to look perfectly real, you would need horizontally = 60 pixels/degree x 170 degrees x 2 eyes = 20,400 pixels and vertically = 60 pixels/degree x 110 degrees = 6600 pixels

        It is going to take several generations to jump from (5120 x 1440) to (20400 x 6600) to have an image in a headset that can’t be discerned from reality.

        Duane

        • Adrian Meredith

          actually its as much the subpixel arrangement too. If the rift was rgb as opposed to pentile it would be much less of an issue. The rift and vive are effectively running at 2/3 the actual resolution they claim to be

        • Heliosurge

          Hey consider checking out PiMax 8K (it features 2 4k panels) Scheduled to show off at IFA.

  • Ted Joseph

    Cant wait for 180 FOV, 4K res, wireless, inside out tracking that allows you to not only play VR games, but map games in your rooms like hololens… All with a very light headset.. 🙂

    • Xron

      There won’t be much of resolution increase at this fov for 4k.

    • Lucidfeuer

      You mean an actual Virtual Headset and not one of the prototypes we’re being sold for now?

  • So, cool for marketing booths that showcase VR videos