Virtual reality is definitely the hottest new thing on the block, though a lot of it is focused on gaming, there are many other instances which have nothing to do with gaming and everything to do with media that can be enjoyable with a lot of people. Although many say that VR is still taking off in terms of popularity, there are quite a few others who have proclaimed that 2016 will be the year that virtual reality flies off the shelves and under the Christmas Tree. So here we are, supporting the latter group and helping you with the best VR purchases to consider as gifts for whoever might be interested in the immersive experiences that VR can provide.
For someone who has not yet experienced what all VR has to offer, the best option is Google Cardboard. This tongue-in-cheek take on VR is the most popular and affordable option in the market. Not to complicate things, this is a VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) literally made out of cardboard! A piece of cardboard is all you need, to make someone’s weekend interesting. And just in case you want to add a little personal touch to the gift, the company’s official website has even put up the instructions to help you make your own VR gear; which can later be decorated as well to suit the holiday mood. But just in case you feel that giving a cardboard box might not be the apt choice, the online market is there at your service. Just look online for VR headsets and you will find Google Cardboard inspired innumerous gears in both cardboard and plastic priced as low as INR 100.
If you still want a little more immersive experience to gift, you can look for HMDs like Procus VR which is said to be tightly packed as they want no interference with the VR experience. Moreover, it offers a large field of view and modifiable screen to eye distance. The variable screen to eye distance makes the device usable by people who wear glasses. Another option in similar range could be the SDO VR, which sports a humongous 45mm lens and is touted as the most portable VR viewer in the market. The SDO VR device comes out of high-quality material and features fine lenses of 25mm diameter and 45mm focal length.
Going a bit higher on the cost factor, you have the option of gifting this emerging player in the Indian VR market by Karbonn Mobiles. The company has been in news for their two low-cost VR glasses-equipped smartphones. Karbonn Quattro L52 and Karbonn Mach Six, both these VR sets are fitted with Bi-Convex lenses that elevate a video to provide a theatre-like experience. Another interesting feature of these devices is that we can create our own VR videos using the pre-embedded VR app. Both the devices are available online, at discounted prices.
For that friend of yours who has been following the growth of VR technology and eyeing the Oculus Rift VR, which is currently priced in India at around 80,000 INR, the closest you can get to gifting is Samsung Gear VR. Powered by the technology from Oculus, the Samsung Gear VR was effectively the first VR headset on the market. For someone who already has a Samsung Note 5 or Galaxy S6 or a recent Samsung flagship, it’s a screaming deal. It has the Oculus touch and features some of the best virtual reality content available to consumers today.
Well, if you are not planning to buy an HMD and instead, looking for a VR gift option for that adventurous friend of yours who likes to stay in tune with the emerging technology, here we are with some VR help.
For people who have been eyeing high-end VR cameras like a Nokia OZO but don’t want to spend a bomb, there’s quite a lot of other cameras in a decent budget which you can lay your hands on.
The LG 360 CAM can easily be touted as one of the most affordable 360-degree cameras on the list that too, without falling short of specs. It comes equipped with two 13MP, 200-degree wide angle cameras. It can be connected with smartphone allowing users to easily create 360-degree virtual reality content. The LG 360 Cam provides 2K video recording and 5 Channel surround-sound recording on three microphones to help effortlessly create high-quality content. It is available online at a heavily discounted price of INR 17,000.
Another brand which has always been in the race of the best 360-degrees VR cameras. Though the quality is far from perfect, but if you’re looking to start shooting 360 degree VR videos on the cheap and easy, the new Ricoh Theta S is probably your huckleberry. And easing out the work, the user doesn’t need to stitch anything that has been shot. The device is available at online marketplaces for INR 33,000.
Adding a few bucks to the Ricoh Theta S budget, you get a pair of 180 degrees f2.0 Fisheye lenses, each with 15 megapixels. Yes, we are talking about the Samsung Gear 360, which helps you shoot two super wide videos or images at once which can later be stitched together and made into a high-quality 360-degree footage. The only drawback is that the Gear 360 app is currently compatible with selected Samsung phones. But frankly, it’s a worthy purchase.
There are plenty of choices for shoppers looking to dive into virtual reality this holiday season. Yes, it’s early days – but the hardware is solid and the software is already abundant. So, wait no more, get online and look for some amazing VR deals and let’s make it a Happy (Virtual) Holiday season!
Note: All prices provided are estimates, subject to change.