#Trending: Can a VR headset be both amazing and affordable?

We size up new headsets from Sony, Google and the rest
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I use a Samsung phone and have a PS4 at home so my obvious go-to VR headset choices would be a second-gen Samsung Gear VR and a Sony PlayStation VR. But like anyone who has tried it, the HTC Vive holds a soft spot in my heart.

The problem? I can't remember the last time I had a spare knocking around in my current account for anything, let alone a VR headset. OK, OK I never have any money but the fact is only around 100,000 people have stumped up the cash so far if you believe the estimates.

Read this: The best VR headsets you can buy right now

The aforementioned PlayStation VR which we reviewed this week and launches next week and the just announced Google Daydream View both seek to give us what we want: awesome VR at an affordable price. But is that possible with 2016's technology? In a way, the same goes for apps, games and experiences which take serious cash and resources to make.

We're still at the experimentation stage, sure, but the gap between almost free/free headsets and eye-wateringly expensive devices is closing. Here's our view on some of the headsets in that vast 'mid-range'.

WEAR: Sony PlayStation VR

#Trending: Can a VR headset be both amazing and affordable?

Now, the PlayStation VR is not without its faults but it's good enough to impress overall as we found in our four star review. Ultimately Sony made good compromises to get down to that price (if you already own a PS4 and PlayStation Camera).

Console quality games - some of which are still demos, yes - a comfortable headset and really easy set up. If you want to pay for the Move controllers, that's also an option but not required - you can just use your DualShock.

NEARLY THERE: Google Daydream View

#Trending: Can a VR headset be both amazing and affordable?

It remains to be seen how many Daydream ready smartphones we'll see and sure, the $79.99 Daydream View is no Cardboard bargain. For starters, it's covered in cloth.

But if, as promised, we see more sub-$100 quality headsets like this from all sorts of different manufacturers, compatible with all sorts of different phones, it could be a real gamechanger for affordable VR. Read our Daydream View first impressions from the Google Pixel event this week.

SQUARE: HTC Vive + Xiaomi Mi VR

#Trending: Can a VR headset be both amazing and affordable?

The HTC Vive and Xiaomi Mi VR represent the opposite ends of the VR headset spectrum for us. The first is a device that we want everyone we know to try so they get it but no-one we know can really afford and the second a device that everyone can afford but we wouldn't want them to try for fear of spoiling VR with its general crappiness.

PlayStation VR and Daydream View are steps in the right direction but we need to see more choice in between $30 and $800 headsets.


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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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