When it comes to VR headsets aiming for ultra-wide fields of view, three devices dominate the discussion: Pimax “8K”, VRgineers XTAL, and StarVR One. Having recently had the opportunity to get a thorough hands-on with each, the one that stands out currently as the most complete and market-ready headset is the new StarVR One.

Update (September 24th, 2018): In my initial preview of the StarVR One back in August, I noted that the mura (inconsistencies in color and brightness from pixel to pixel) of the headset was lacking compared to the Vive Pro, and it stood out as a bottleneck to overall clarity against the otherwise minimal screen door effect.

StarVR CTO Emmanuel Marquez was somewhat confused by my assessment, and after checking the configuration of the headset discovered that an incorrect mura correction file was used during my preview. The company invited me back for another look at the headset, this time with the proper mura correction, which showed a clear improvement. The article below has been updated with my thoughts and additional details after seeing the headset with proper mura correction.

Also worth noting that this update comes after previews have been published of the latest ‘M2’ prototypes of the Pimax “8K” and “5K” Plus. As we haven’t had the opportunity to preview the M2 yet, as originally written, this article contrasts StarVR One against the prior Pimax “8K” prototype.

Original Article (August 22nd, 2018): It’s worth noting here at the top that all three headsets are targeting different use-cases and run a wide range of prices. VRgineers says their XTAL headset is about maximum visual clarity above all else, and they’re focused on enterprise usage (~$5,000). Pimax is aiming to create consumer-focused headset with a field of view and resolution that exceeds incumbent consumer headsets like the Rift and Vive (<$1,000). StarVR is aiming for a mix of commercial and enterprise use-cases, leaning toward the former, while not attempting to compete directly with incumbent consumer headsets (StarVR hasn’t announced the price of the One just yet, but we’re expecting >$1,000).

Photo by Road to VR

That said, in the region where all three of these headsets overlap, StarVR seems to have a strong lead on tough problems that remain challenging for the other two. Specifically in the area of optical comfort.

While the Rift and Vive fall into the ~100 degree field of view class, XTAL is targeting 170 degrees, Pimax 180 degrees, and StarVR 210 degrees. Pushing the field of view this far brings new optical, rendering, and form-factor challenges, all of which StarVR One seems to have sorted out while its contemporaries are still in varied stages of solving.

The large lenses leave no room for the proximity sensor, so it’s hidden inside the nose cavity. | Photo by Road to VR

StarVR One is using a pair of angled displays combined with large Fresnel lenses that cover almost the entire inside of the headset. The headset is impressively compact and reasonably light compared to the Rift or Vive, considering the vastly increased field of view that it brings to the table.

Angled displays make for potentially greater field of view and a more compact form-factor, but also make optics and rendering more complex. The rendering and distortion profile—the math which tells the computer how to draw the virtual scene to account for both the lens distortion and angle/distance of the display in relation to the eye—has to be spot-on in order to achieve both a strong sense of immersion and optical comfort. If you get this wrong, the world won’t look quite right, and you could wind up with uncomfortable eye-strain. Avoiding distortion artifacts in the far edges of the field of view (which can be particularly distracting because of our peripheral view being especially sensitive to motion) is also a key challenge.

Photo by Road to VR

From my hands-on time with the headset, StarVR has done a great job of achieving optical comfort. The field of view feels immensely wide, reaching to the ends of your horizontal peripheral vision, without introducing eye-strain or edge distortions that are overtly distracting. The projection of the virtual world feels correct in a way that leaves the user free to soak in the added immersion that comes with such a wide field of view. Getting all of this right is key to Presence—that uniquely deep state of immersion.

When you combine the visual comfort with newly enhanced panels (now 90Hz AMOLED, full RBG stripe), integrated SteamVR Tracking 2.0, OpenVR/SteamVR support, eye-tracking, a reasonable size and weight, and a more comfortable strap than previous iterations of the headset, StarVR One feels like the most complete wide-FOV headset to date. Put another way: it feels like it is doing the most stuff right out of the bunch, so far.

Photo by Road to VR

That doesn’t, however, mean that it’s the best across the board. While the resolution (1,830 × 1,464 RGB-stripe per eye) is higher than the Vive Pro (1,440 × 1,600 PenTile), stretching those pixels across StarVR One’s wide field of view counteracts the increase, resulting in a similar level of visual fidelity despite the higher pixel count. Meanwhile, XTAL’s clarity is a clear step above both.

SEE ALSO
Understanding the Difference Between 'Screen Door Effect', 'Mura', & 'Aliasing'

While the screen door effect on StarVR One isn’t invisible, it’s certainly minimal (RGB-stripe helps with this)—enough that mura actually steps in as the new bottleneck to display clarity, showing horizontal trends with some faint color discrepancy. It’s not overt, but to my eyes it looks noticeably worse than the Vive Pro.

The good news is that if they can further improve their mura correction (and they should be able to, as the company tells me their displays and drivers are custom made for the headset), it should bring a nice boost to clarity without changing anything else about the headset.

Update (September 24th, 2018): After my initial assessment that mura on the StarVR One wasn’t quite up to par with the Vive Pro, StarVR discovered that the headset I used was misconfigured with the wrong mura correction file. The company invited me back for a second look after fixing the issue.

With the proper mura correction in place, there was a clear reduction in how noticable the mura was. The faint color discrepancy I had seen previously was practically eliminated, while inconsistencies in brightness were reduced as well; there was also less ‘structure’ to the mura than before (meaning it was more evenly spread out), which made it less noticable. Overall it made for improved clarity compared to what I had seen before, and puts the StarVR One’s mura suitably in the same class as the Vive Pro. While previously the headset’s mura appeared to me as the bottleneck to greater clarity, with the fix I would say the next bottleneck now leans a bit more toward resolution/aliasing.

The StarVR team explained to me that their mura correction files are downloaded to the host PC, which I understand to be a different approach from contemporary consumer headsets which have their factory mura correction effectively baked into the headset. For StarVR, each display is analyzed at the factory and the analysis is associated with the headset’s serial number. Then the company uses the analysis to create a per-display mura correction file which is downloaded onto the headset’s host computer. This means that StarVR could update their mura correction after the fact if they were to make any improvements to their correction algorithms.

Separate headphones are so last gen. | Photo by Road to VR

And while the new rigid strap—which easily adjusts with a knob on the back and velcro on the top strap—brings added comfort, the headset lacks built-in headphones, which means users will need to fiddle with a separate pair of headphones; an inconvenience mostly left behind by incumbent headsets. StarVR says they’re working on an integrated audio solution, but it won’t be ready for the launch of StarVR One.

There’s also the matter of the headset’s tether, which has two plugs on the end, one for each display. It’s thinner than prior versions of the headset, but still noticeably heavy.

– – — – –

Photo by Road to VR

All that said, we still don’t know what StarVR One will cost, or exactly when it’ll become available, though the company teases “soon,” and says that the headset is set for mass production. While StarVR is clear that it’s targeting a “premium” experience (and ostensibly, price) suitable for enterprise and commercial use, I’m told that they won’t shy away from selling the headset to individuals.

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  • eckehard

    StarVR – potthäßlich aber wohl ziemlich gut – will ich haben !! – vielleicht unter 1000 Euro ?
    Bitte unbedingt nochmal die technischen Feinheiten…

    • HomeAudio

      What?

      • VRgameDevGirl

        He said>probably ugly but probably pretty good – I want to have !! – maybe under 1000 euros?…

        • Raphael

          Haha! Under 1000 euros? Clearly you’re somewhere off-world.

          • VRgameDevGirl

            Dude..I was translating a different post. I personally am guessing a $2k-$4k price point.

          • Raphael

            I see. I agree with your personal guessing dudette.

    • JJ

      look its OMGWhizzboiOMG

  • ale bro

    StarVR does look good and to be ahead of the competition.

    I am a bit concerned about how well it fastens to the head – from the pics it looks as though it would fall off after a few jumps in the air, or from putting your head between your legs.

    these massive HMDs are going to need chin straps!!

    • gothicvillas

      Chin straps LMAO

    • benz145

      Didn’t feel that way to me actually, but then again I don’t do too much jumping while in VR anyway : P

      • ale bro

        you’re missing out! seated VR is too dull. jumping in the air or crawling on all fours is the future :)

  • Gonzalo Novoa

    The lack of built-in headphones is the worst thing about it for me. I can’t go back to that anymore after trying the Rift.

    • Get Schwifty!

      IKR….

    • care package

      Built in headphones was the SINGLE biggest influencing factor choosing the Rift over Vive early on. There was no contest, since I cannot and will not use bulk headphones. I tried it twice when I had the DK2 and hated every second of it. It felt like I was wearing a helmet at that point, and Id start sweating immediately.

      • Raphael

        Wow… you people have really low feature bars! Built in headphones was your deciding factor???? Astonishing! Especially since CV1 has a design fault resulting in many broken headphones.

        • care package

          No it was high. I wanted a real consumer version. That’s why I went with the rift. Pretty damn glad I did! Like I said, from experience using headphones was just a no go. How many is ‘many’ btw

          • Raphael

            Octopus CV1 is great value overall and yes, Vive does look and feel pretty much like the prototype. I wanted the lasers though and the octopus launched without VR controllers so that’s what put me off at the time.

            Re headphone fault… it’s a well-known fault with CV1. I have one local CV1 friend and his also has a dead earphone. With the vive I get to choose whatever higher quality headphones I want. I use two different sets.. one when standing, the other when seated.

          • care package

            I am aware of the issues with the Rift headphones. You said many. I was just looking for a less vague figure. You can use your own headphones with the Rift. Remember, they are removable.

          • Raphael

            Well… precisely 5 people globally had the issue. Being removable is great so. You know what’s funny? I’m a Vive user and I generally recommend the rift to people wanting VR because it’s better value for money. I have zero brand loyalty with any product so I go with whatever I feel is best for me at the time.

          • Andrew McEvoy

            Yeah my CV1 headphones broke as well…the right one I think it was. I have a good set of normal headphones and tbh they are way better than the admittedly decent cv1 ones. Too much audio bleed coming from outside with them too.

            When I went online looking for a solution I saw pages and pages of people reporting the same one headphone kaput issue.

      • Gonzalo Novoa

        Yeah, absolutely, and not only with big headphones. I have PSVR too, I use it with earphones and even with those I totally hate it. For me built-in headphones is an essential feature and a big influencing factor as you said when buying a headset.

  • jeff courtney

    Its not ahead of the competition if its not available or released.Htc and oculus have been available for years and continue to improve and lower the price.I wonder if this will just be hype that teases and finally comes out with a unattainable price point for the public.Praise Jesus !

    • JJ

      Yupp I agree completely! except the last part HAIL SATAN!

      • FireAndTheVoid

        Hail Oden!

        • Fear Monkey

          It’s Odin/Woden

          • FireAndTheVoid

            Fixed

          • HybridEnergy

            Hail Emperor Trump !

            Incoming triggered!

      • gothicvillas

        Jesus is Satan. One church. One ring leader.

        • Fear Monkey

          Nope! Zeus/Baal/Hadad/Molech is Satan. There is no ring leader, unless you consider the pope, who is the head of pagan and Christianity mixed together.

        • HybridEnergy

          If Satan is real, then so is god.

          • gothicvillas

            Satan – God – Jesus etc is all one character. Whether real or not that’s another discussion.

      • Wayne Hinkel

        Right, we can hope for a great stride forward, at a reasonable but doubtlessly high price. However, we won’t know until final release. The Vive Pro pricing still leaves a bad taste. Hail ALL non-existent entities!

    • care package

      Or it comes out around gen2 VR, and is even less worth paying for, because consumer level VR just got that much closer.

    • Bryan Ischo

      Its competition is also unreleased products (other unreleased wide field of view headsets mentioned in the article), and the author’s conclusion is that it is ahead of them.

    • dogbite

      These are gen 2 wider fov headsets. They are not in competition with VIVE and Oculus until such time as those companies announce gen2 plans. I do like that Star is open to a retail version as that will be competition for Pimax and push them to put out a decent product and soon. Neither Pimax or Star will be priced at current gen1 levels or for that matter the $800US that first gen started at.
      Meet Jesus in Mexico and he’s a Pimax backer.

      • felixcox

        As soon as this is for sale, it will indeed be in competition with vive and rift.

        • Kasper Olesen

          Well, unless its not release before Vive and / Rift has released their 2nd gen headsets

          • daveinpublic

            True, you never know if Vive is preparing something similar under wraps, and Oculus could have something soon. Plus, there’s no release date, and we know how long some of this stuff can hang around in the news before the company takes any action. It could be a year and a half before they announce a release date.

          • Kasper Olesen

            Pretty much no chance of that. The problem with Vive is that they dont have any real R&D themselves. They hope someone else will do it for them, then integrate that tech into their VR solution. Like the VR cameras for the Vive Pro. Like… well everything they have done. All they do themselves is design how to put the different kinds of tech into the headset and how the headset itself is designed.

        • dogbite

          As soon as it is for sale, it will “replace” Vive and Rift as what everyone wants. It will only compete with anything in the same fov and price range, First gen hmds will only be of interest to those who can only afford that.

          • MosBen

            To the extent that it’s not in competition with the Vive or Rift, it’s that the StarVR One is primarily targeted at commercial and enterprise applications, and is priced as such. But to the degree that it’s a VR HMD which consumers are able to purchase through some method, it’s absolutely in competition with the Rift and Vive. It just won’t be surprising that it doesn’t sell many units to consumers because it’s a much more expensive product that likely requires significantly more powerful hardware to run.

            Eventually the Rift 2 and Vive 2 will be released, and it will be the same situation; the Rift and Vive are primarily consumer products, and the second generation will see a moderate spec bump that allows them to remain somewhere in the $400-$600 price range and run on similar PC hardware, while the StarVR primarily isn’t a consumer device, and will be much more expensive, etc.

          • R FC

            I can see the value in spending £1500 on the StarVR headset, where i really cannot see the value in spending £1300 on Vive Pro. I’ve used Vive Pro and found it a useful upgrade over OG Vive, but not worth 3x price of Rift…

          • Gonzalo Novoa

            Agreed. I don’t think I’ll be buying this or Pimax since I don’t have a Vive now and that means buying new controllers and sensors but if any of these were compatible with Touch controllers and constellations I would definitely consider it. It feels like a better value than Vive Pro, indeed.

      • MosBen

        I don’t get the impression that they’re planning on releasing a separate consumer or retail version, just that despite being targeted primarily at enterprise and commercial applications a consumer will be able to purchase one. But that would presumably be for the same price/hardware as any other StarVR One.

      • HybridEnergy

        Met Jesus in US, not Mexico, turned him over to ICE.

      • DoS

        I agree with JesuSaveSouls (and I don’t even believe in Jesus). It’s not that difficult to come up with a product that’s ahead of others but isn’t released. I bet there are some dudes in a shack that have made a 16K resolution headset with a 240 refresh with Atmos. But would anyone care that much? No, because bringing a product to market and selling it is completely different than just creating one.

    • dk

      HAIL SAGAN!!!

      • AnnoyedAnonymous

        Hail Santa #DyslexiaRules

        • dk

          hail Carl ……so just wondering …u got it right

      • Jistuce

        The irony is palpable.

        • dk

          what irony….it’s just a finny expression I saw recently

          • Jistuce

            Sagan was a well-known skeptic, and almost certainly wouldn’t want to be posthumously praised as a supernatural force. Hence the irony(and the humor).

          • dk

            yep yep ….obviously it’s most likely a joke ….since it’s one letter away from hail satan lol

    • get lost

      praise your stupid ignorance, you are a delutional superstitious idiot…

      • Bryan Ischo

        Yeah, I used to get all worked up over other people’s religious points of view when I was 17 too. But don’t worry friend, you’ll grow up like the rest of us someday too.

        • Bob Smith

          Right, because it’s not like Christian extremists are running the government or anything. Not like they’re currently shaping government policy with their anti-science idiocy …

          Funny how people like you get all bent out of shape if someone dares mock religious nonsense, but you’re just fine with the above …

          • Bryan Ischo

            Funny how people like you will use any extreme example to justify uncivil action, making you essentially the same thing as that which you rage against.

          • KingVR

            wrong his isnt extreme its actually factual,

          • daveinpublic

            Alright now go poke and prod at Islam.

        • NooYawker

          I never used to get worked up over other people’s religious views when I was 17. Then I grew up and realized religious zealots keep getting elected into office and business owners keep using their religion as a reason to discriminate.

          • Bryan Ischo

            That’s not a reason to be openly hostile towards someone you don’t even know, just because you enjoy ridiculing their belief system like a child calling names on a playground.

          • KingVR

            it wasnt a reason untill he started pushing it onto us in the forums which he has with praise videos

          • HybridEnergy

            Yea, I’m with Bryan. Even being an atheist I notice there sure is a lot of easily triggered fedora wearing neck beards here. Christianity is quite tame these days and most republicans aren’t that conservative. Why not put your energy and combat Islam? an actual hate filled piece of shit religion. They physically throw gays off roofs and force women to dress like black trash bags.

          • jrf85

            Why are you so islamofobic?

          • NooYawker

            Islamics are getting voted into office?

          • jrf85

            Are they not?

          • NooYawker

            Depends. What country are you in?

      • Andrew McEvoy

        Just block the fool. Easily done.

    • Oliver Cook

      Hail Paimon!

    • Renaissance0321

      Hail Thanos?

    • HybridEnergy

      Kind of my thought about the released aspect. I mean, many people read about these head-sets but no one other than the article writers knows what more than 110% fov even feels like.

    • Bruce Banner

      “Its not ahead of the competition if its not available or released.Htc and oculus have been available for years and continue to improve and lower the price.”

      Yet both still have 110 degree FoVs, and neither have eye tracking with foveated rendering like the StarVR One has. It’s not only ahead of the competition, it’s literally left the competition in the dust.

      • JDawg

        StarVR One claims that it’ll support eye-tracking w/ foveated rendering but I wand to hear that it’s actually functional and works well. I don’t think they have it working well yet. I want it reviewed by someone with the know how.

        • Bruce Banner

          Guy on Youtube who tried it in Vancouver said it works as advertised.

          • daveinpublic

            There has been a lot of talk about eye tracking, but it’s never been released to the masses. So, I’d like to see a confirmation that it’s included and working and will be in the final release.

          • Bruce Banner

            There’s videos on youtube showing it working. Oculus’ Half Dome also works with eye tracking. Just because you haven’t tried it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

          • daveinpublic

            Oculus just did their keynote, and the guy at the end just said that they still don’t have foveated rendering working reliably, but they’re working on it. If Facebook doesn’t have it, and I haven’t seen any other consumer product with it included, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be somewhat skeptical of these promises?

          • Bruce Banner

            You asked about eye tracking, not foveated rendering.

            “There has been a lot of talk about eye tracking, but it’s never been released to the masses.”

            I haven’t seen the keynote yet myself, but people who tried the StarVR said it was working fine in their demo. And as I said to JDawg earlier in the thread… there’s actual video showing foveated rendering working on youtube… but it’s on a flat screen monitor, not a dual-screen VR headset. As for Oculus though… they definitely do have ‘eye tracking’ working… their entire Half Dome’s ‘varifocal’ technology depends on it. The Half Dome’s screens are able to move forward and backwards, depending on what you’re looking at in the screens. That way, if you’re holding up a paper, trying to read it… it moves the screens further away, so you can actually read it. That isn’t even a thought without eye tracking. As I said, I haven’t seen today’s presentation yet… maybe he meant they just haven’t gotten to that stage yet, or are still working on latency. StarVR isn’t a new company, and they sell high end to VR arcades. I think they even have their own arcade.

  • MosBen

    I take it that the Star VR One isn’t going to be using the new VirtualLink standard plug? That’s a real bummer, and especially so since Nvidia’s new cards, which would presumably supply the oomf that this headset needs, were just announced and include the new port.

    This era of VR, where new advances come extremely quickly, is exciting, but it’s a bit of a bummer for consumers to try to figure out when the right time to buy is.

    • Joseph Paul Johnston II

      It’s super easy, and just like the rest of the computing world, the best time to buy is as soon as you can afford it.

      • MosBen

        I don’t know that I would necessarily agree with that. Buying a product right before the end of its life cycle can be a negative. If a new generation comes out, the thing that you just bought may get a price cut that you’d miss out on. In console terms, you could end up buying a machine right as the company stops supporting it.

        And specifically to new technologies like VR, early on there’s a period of rapid development, but eventually standards are put into place, the tech becomes streamlined, and the improvements become more incremental. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone start investing in a VR HMD today unless they get a notably good deal on it. I’d wait at least until CES in January to see what is coming.

    • dk

      meh VirtualLink is just a convenience …..it will use the old ports

    • benz145

      They are using USB-C right now actually, so I think VirtualLink is a possibility down the road. However they’re using two plugs presently, one for each display, so in the end they may rely on an adapter box in many cases.

    • benz145

      @MosBen:disqus are we connected on Twitter or somewhere? I’m @benz145 if you’re on there.

  • HybridEnergy

    “but to my eyes it looks noticeably worse than the Vive Pro.” Despite the haters that hate it because they can’t afford it, the Vive Pro is the best visuals on the VR market (even with worse Fresnel effect than GO) …because sorry but resolution PPI/PPD is king. To me, sacrificing visual clarity for FOV is a poor trade.

    • Justin Davis

      That quote was specifically about mura.

    • dk

      well it’s good angular resolution compared to current stuff(it’s close to the vive pro) …..it’s that res most likely because they wanted to hit a good balance of price of the panels and gpu required(even with the eye tracking)…..so it’s not bad ….but it’s just not great compared to upcoming stuff …it will still be pretty good

    • Bryan Ischo

      I have the Vive Pro and I would gladly go back to Vive resolution and screen door for 200+ degree FOV.

      • HybridEnergy

        I would not, I have to disagree, but that’s fine. Go ahead.

    • Eddie Barsh

      I strongly disagree. I Could care less about resolution. Give me 210 degrees FOV so I van see everythingeverything the way the human eye does. It is absolutely pathetic to have 110 degree FOV and u have to turn your head to look at something u would see in the corner of ur eye in real life without even having to move ur head. Resolution will always get better w time. FOV is what’s most important.

      • HybridEnergy

        FOV will get better with time too, but it puts more strain on hardware at the same visual fidelity as you now have to fit the FOV with more pixels in locations you may not even be looking. John Carmack himself said it’s not a worthy trade. foveated rendering and resolution is to me more important first, but that’s fine if you want FOV. I’m not buying it over anything I own if it doesn’t produce more clarity, the FOV would be only a bonus.

    • benz145

      The part you quited was specifically talking about mura, however even if I was talking about overall clarity, it still isn’t that cut and dry.

      Vive Pro does have among the best clarity you can buy right now, and of course it’s distortion and projection is spot on. However, the tiny sweet spot makes the clarity fickle, and only looks as good as it can when you’re looking mostly straight forward (having your IDP measured and dialed in precisely is also really important). Rotating your eyes a bit off-axis to read text or look at something without turning your entire head leads to a good bit of blur, which is unfortunate.

      Not to say StarVR doesn’t have a sweet spot too. I’ll need to spend more time in it to make a more definitive estimate, but it didn’t feel quite as abrupt as the Vive Pro.

      • HybridEnergy

        No argument there. the Fresnel effect was shockingly more noticeable on the PRO. I don’t notice the rings so much, but darting the eyes around has blur. More so than my OG Vive and Rift from what I remember when I had it. Once I dial it in though, clarity wise, I haven’t had anything on my head that matches it (specially when some Super-sampling is applied) .

  • Rick

    This sounds fantastic, but no mention of what software you actually got to demo?

    • benz145

      Tried The Lab, as well as a few non-SteamVR applications made with the StarVR SDK.

      • Zerofool

        Mentioning The Lab and “OpenVR/SteamVR support”, does that mean that it supports all SteamVR titles out of the box, flawlessly?

  • Ellon Musk

    if you’re reading this, you must go on google right now and look up meta lenses. When these come out for the consumer, all VR display related issues will be gone, including screen door. Then companies can finally work on real issues such tracking. Nothing is worse than seeing your hands skipping around the screen like they moving at 1 fps

  • Eddie Barsh

    This is clearly the gold standard of VR headsets. Eye tracking, Good Res, and most importantly the 210 degrees FOV ! This headset is absolutely amazing and something all headsets should be shooting for. It will be even better when it has the Virtual Link cable to make it even lighter. However, its a useless headset because no1 is gonna be able to afford it. I’ll just stick with my PSVR and Oculus GoGo until Santa Cruz and the PSVR2 comes out.

  • impurekind

    The best thing right now is that it’s clear VR is going to solve most of its biggest headset/display issues in a couple generations of hardware at most, which is great. It’s just getting better and better, and I think it won’t be too long until we have a base headset spec that’s pretty much all we need in every aspect to truly enjoy VR displays without any obvious compromises or caveats. And while the resolution and stuff like that can just keep getting better and better, it’s not something I think we’ll look at as an actual barrier to truly great consumer within a generation or two at most. Good stuff.

    • MosBen

      Very much agreed. This is certainly an exciting time in the development of VR because so many advances are happening so quickly, but it does seem like in a generation or two we’re going to reach a bit of a plateau, which will actually be good! Resolution will be high enough to eliminate the screen door effect entirely, and we’ll start worrying about smaller issues in display quality. FOV will increase at least to the point that it’s well into our peripheral vision, which is good enough to be convincing. Input, whether with controllers or hand tracking, will be really refined, and improved inside-out tracking will eliminate the need for base stations.

      After that we’ll just worry about never-ending issues like competing over cost, ergonomics, quality of software on a given platform, etc. That’ll be pretty great.

      • impurekind

        Exactly.

        And, on a personal note, I’m really hoping at that point that Nintendo decides to get into VR finally (ideally in say in the next generation), because I think the level of generally very high polish that Nintendo almost always brings to its games, particularly when it comes to stuff like the controls, interface and gameplay design (I mean the in-game stuff specifically), could really make VR shine and push the quality bar up for everyone.

        Exciting times indeed.

        • MosBen

          I generally agree that Nintendo’s games are good on polish, I just don’t generally care for them. But, of course, more players entering into VR is good for VR.

          • impurekind

            Yeah it’s mainly that level of polish and execution that I’d like to see Nintendo bring to VR and then hopefully raise the bar all-round and rub off on a whole bunch of other developers in VR too.

  • Mithrenes

    Here is a great opportunity for StarVR to become the leader in VR HMD. Yes, if they make a headset with eye tracking + 210 FOV + OLED displays you can’t expect it at ~600 USD… BUT if they are willing to lower their individual sales gains and aim for a price point of 1.2k (like the vive pro) with controls + base stations, they can get even bigger gains by adding the vr enthusiasts to their market. Also if they do that, they can literally destroy HTC and their BS of selling the vive pro at 1.2k. And yes that would need that they step up their manufacturing process but it would be a good investment for they as a company.

    • jets

      They are to vain for that! Trying to be the Rolls Royce under VR hardware and moaning that Pimax stole their know how (spoke to a StarVR tech) but then they keep a veil of secrecy over tech that’s been developed 2 years ago to keep it exclusive and premium. Personally like companies that are open about there development such as Pimax and not ones that pull the ‘exclusive’ card. Oh yes and wasn’t Rolls Royce bought by Volkswagen?

      • HomeAudio

        So Pimax 5K is ultimate solution for current time – and reviews are really good. I was thinking about buying eventually StarVR… but if they don’t want to compete with Pimax – so it is their choice ;)

  • Hivemind9000

    “Pimax 180 degrees”. I thought Pimax was a maximum FoV of 200 (with an option for 170 and higher pixel density)? Either way I hope Pimax can sort their lenses out before they ship…

    • benz145

      I believe they’ve said 200 degrees diagonally, 180 hozitonal.

  • Daemonic

    Think that, on paper, I’d rather get an XTAL. Better trade off: less FOV for higher resolution (but greater FOV than 110 degrees). That said, hope we get another crypto bull run because I don’t actually have $5800 currently (and would love another $20k for two ART sensors) lol. By the time I have the dosh, Rift and Vive will probably be at gen 2.0 anyway. I <3 VR

    • benz145

      XTAL is very large, not going to be great for gaming. They also have some projection/distortion issues to solve before everything looks right through the lenses.

  • Dave

    StarVR One is a great technological achievement – but nobody will
    actually want to buy one. I mean if you have a Vive or a Rift you are
    probably better off with those headsets than the StarVR One. FOV is great and all but the DPI needs to improve as well and the headsets need to be more convient to use than before. Nothing here is really conviencing me at the moment as there is some major issue with all three. TBH I’m waiting for the Oculus Rift CV2 or HTC Vive 2 as they’ll get the performance/price balance right.

  • fuyou2

    If rift or vive don’t match these specs, they are screwed.

  • paul mason

    Wasn’t the Sony PSVR design determined to be the most comfortable? Why not copy that design? I hope they try harder to make 2nd gen HMD’s more comfortable to wear. Discomfort is a big factor that keeps me from using my Rift.

    • benz145

      Rift can be very comfortable but it isn’t entirely intuitive about how to adjust it optimally (I don’t think Oculus explains this well). I see a lot of people wearing them wrong, usually with the rear way to high on the head. Its’ designed to sit low, around/under the crown. Here’s an example of someone wearing it way too high: https://icdn2.digitaltrends.com/image/oculus-rift-on-matt-back2-1500×1000.jpg?ver=1

      The key is not to rely on excessively tightening the side straps to clamp the headset to your face, but instead to rely on the top strap to hold the display enclosure up with the top of your head, with the read of the headset cupping under your crown for purchase.

      • R FC

        whilst you are completely correct that orientating the headset and securing straps correctly is critical, some people just don’t fit particular headsets.

        headset compatability depends on the craniofacial anthropometric data model used by the manufacturer, and your individual craniofacial anthropometric presentation.

        within other consumer goods that fit the face, for example Oakley sunglasses, these are offered in ‘western fit’ and ‘asian fit’. you will see bicycle helmets with known ‘fits’ for different brands, for example Specialized and Giro have different head forms.

        we may see more variation in VR headset ‘fit’ as we move into later generations where larger user base can support multiple sku.

        • benz145

          I definitely agree! I’ve worn plenty of headsets that feel far from correct, even with adjustments.

          • R FC

            That feeling you mention (far from correct) only gets worse with time, as poor fit doesn’t get better, no different to an uncomfortable pair of shoes, or a hat that doesn’t quite sit right.

            Human beings quickly adapt to new circumstances, which then become the “new normal”, and we quickly find flaws once the novelty wear off – this is known as ‘bohemian adaption’. When the flaws are evident, they can be difficult to ignore (like seeing a scratch on your computer monitor).

            In the case of VR, these “niggles” (flaws) tamper with our ability to suspend disbelief and immerse ourselves in the moment. The end goal for good VR equipment is “transparency” where it fits so well, you don’t notice you are wearing it.

          • JJ

            yeah the word “niggles” doesn’t get used much anymore in america for obvious reasons. If you don;t know why i’d be careful, because its super close to one of americas worst racial slurs. just letting you know

          • Bryan Ischo

            I doubt anyone even made that association other than you, I certainly didn’t.

          • Andrew McEvoy

            Me neither. Never heard or noticed that connection before. I quite like the word niggles myself.

          • Candy Cab

            Well maybe if this was YouTube. Lots of brilliant scholars in just about every comment section there.

  • Zerofool

    @benz145:disqus
    Q1: What was the quality of the integrated Tobii eye-tracking? The article just mentions that it’s present and that’s it. Did they show you a foveated rendering demo or anything else worth mentioning?
    Q2: Are they investigating ways to make it wireless (in talks with 3rd parties, etc.)?

    • benz145

      It seemed to work well from the limited testing I was able to do. They are using their own foveated rendering implementation which is still a work in progress; I could see some flickering around the edges of the foveated region. I believe this feature only works as of now with apps made to their own SDK. I imagine they’ll be continuing to develop this feature. It may be awhile before the industry finds the best algorithm for this (it isn’t as easy as just rendering at a lower resolution or blurring).

      • JJ

        i just got a tobii monitor bar it is EPIC so hearing thats what theyre using is great. Literally feels like my brain is connected to my pc. I can select things just by looking at them!

  • Jack Liddon

    I have both the Vive and the Rift and still like both quite a bit. Looking forward to wider FOV and higher resolution, but not looking forward to upgrading my already expensive computer. Ugh!

    • JJ

      Cheers to more people being content with awesome technology!!

  • Dave

    I’m concerned with this review. The lack of details regarding the XTAL VR would suggest the reviewer has not tried this headset yet and probably hasn’t tried the latest Pimax ‘8K’ either. From a technology point of view the XTAL looks pretty amazing and I would be interested to find out if the distortion would be any worst than the StarVR. My personal opinion is that the StarVR is a generation 1 headset with the view streched and is nothing to get too excited about. We definately need much higher resolution and the XTAL specification is something gen2 should be looking at replicating.

    • Dave

      If you look at the MRTV interview with the CEO of VRngineers then you’ll know why it’s so expensive – they’ve developed the technologies in house which is great leverage for customising solutions for high end businesses. Overtime this will be a lot cheaper and I can see XTAL’s specifications being standard fare for gen2 headsets which should be available under $1000 dollars in the next couple of years.

    • benz145

      Just making sure you read the article, first paragraph:

      When it comes to VR headsets aiming for ultra-wide fields of view, three devices dominate the discussion: Pimax “8K”, VRgineers XTAL, and StarVR One. Having recently had the opportunity to get a thorough hands-on with each, the one that stands out currently as the most complete and market-ready headset is the new StarVR One.

      • Dave

        Thanks for pointing that out benz145. I guess the point I was making was the justification in the article wasn’t there IMHO to say this was the most complete ultra wide headset because the argument seemed to be one sided.

        Of course different qualities will mean different things to different people, for me it’s about image clarity which I’m guessing StarVR would be the worst out of the three so would be DOA, I would take a sacrifice in FOV to deliver a better image quality and so long as the rest isn’t a major concern.

        I thnk for my the headset with the most all around qualities is the XTAL, I though have not tried any of these three, so thats probably a big factor! Something tells me though that none of these will become mainstream, I think that headset is still being very much developed and I would anticipate a company producing something like an XTAL but cheaper which would probably win the 2nd generation race.

  • Great review, as always!

  • JK

    While the specs beat the Rift and Vive the price point of 5,000 is a clue into the tech needed to beat them. Getting down to around 1k would seem problematic. Seems to fall into the Gen 2 category so saying it’s competition to the other VR sets is not really all that true as they are in Gen 1 still. I got both the Vive and Rift in the first shipped batch. Love them and if this one can deliver all the tech at 1k I will have 3 sets.

    • Kelly Rankin

      Where are you getting $5000 from?

      • JK

        It was one of the market price points the three sets were aimed at. Similar specs across all of them. It will be interesting to see how they can bring the same tech into the lower price points. A few have tried but stayed in R&D as sub 1k is difficult to do. “XTAL headset is about maximum visual clarity above all else, and they’re focused on enterprise usage (~$5,000)” The others are looking at the lower markets with the same tech. Gen 2 is slowly coming (not counting wireless) One issue is reliability. Units for home use need to hold up to a lot of punishment that enterprise units don’t normally see. IE being knocked off the desk, put in the hands ahhh heads of children and the onslaught of quick to post reviews home users. The gen 1s went out to enthusiast gamers. We tend to treat our rigs a bit better. As the price drops VR sets start entering the frustrated controller throwing crowd. Aside from next level tech it needs next level protection. I’m not being a PC elitists. I’m sure my old room at my folks house still has a console timeline of controller impressions in the drywall dating back to the 2600.

  • Callsign Vega

    That is a LOW resolution for such a large viewable area. Large pixels and SDE will be way too noticeable. Waiting for the much higher resolution Pimax.

    • Justin Davis

      It’s an RGB stripe (less SDE) OLED. Pimax 8K is a pentile LCD with 4K panels but not 4K output. 4K output was only stated for the 8KX.

      • Callsign Vega

        I haven’t read anywhere that the Pimax is definitely pentile. Just speculation. You mean 4K input per eye, yes I was referring to the 8KX which I have on order.

      • Kev

        Pimax 8k is RGB stripe.

  • nipple_pinchy

    With a 200 degree fov, I’d buy one of these even for $1500 or maybe a little more. It’d also give me an excuse to get a 2080Ti.

  • REP

    StarVR will come out with a consumer version with a 110 degree FOV for $500 LOL. I guess consumers will forever get stuck at scuba goggle 4ever!! LOL

  • impurekind

    It’s just amazing how far VR has come in only a few years.

  • impurekind

    Good to hear things are just getting better and better.