Google Cardboard, Oculus Quest or HTC Vive? A guide to choose the ideal virtual reality glasses for your projects

Learn how to choose the ideal virtual reality glasses for your projects with this guide that we have created at Perspektiva 360 based on our experience with Google, Meta and HTC technologies.
  Many of our clients ofen have the same concern when they contact us to develop their virtual reality applications: “What are the best VR glasses for my projec?” This may seem like a minor detail, but your answer determines everything from the basics to vital resources of an application, such as its interactive capacity, marketi reach budget and development time. among others.

Many of our clients ofen have the same concern: What are the best VR glasses for my project?

As you can see, choosing the right virtual reality glasses is a crucial question for any application development in this technology. However, it can also be a bit confusing, because there are many options available in the market and each one offers different possibilities. Therefore, this article will be useful to you if:
  • You have an idea that you would like to develop with virtual reality, but you don’t know much about this technology yet.
  • You are formulating a project for VR and you want to make sure you make good decisions.
  • You are just like us and that is why you loven to learn everything you can about virtual reality.
Given these good reasons, this time we want to show you 3 alternatives that we prefer in Perspektiva 360, after 7 years of testing different systems and virtual reality glasses with our developments. We will explain to you, in the simplest way possible, why we believe that technology from brands such as Google, Meta and HTC, standards in the world market, are a great choice for developing virtual reality applicactions and we will give you some advice with wich you can take the best decisions when devising your project for RV.

Technology from brands like Google, Meta and HTC are great choice for developing VR apps

Let’s get started!  

Google Cardboard

Visor de las gafas de realidad virtual Google Cardboard
(Photo: othree, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality system created by the computer giant with the aim of promoting interest in the development of this technology. For that, its creators thought of an ingenious strategy that has made it possible to make VR available to everyone: turn smartphones into virtual reality glasses. Cardboard was launched in 2014, during the Google I/O annual conference cycle, and since then, is has stood out as the simplest and cheapest virtual reality system you can find on the market.  

And how does your smartphone become a virtual reality glasses?

The idea is quite simple. Google Cardboard works with two elements:
  1. An application for mobile devices.
  2. A viewer made of, guess what… Cardboard.
The Cardboard application makes your phone split its screen into two parts (one for each of your eyes) every time you open another app developed for use with these virtual reality glasses. As for the viewer, this is practically a cardboard box with plastic lenses. The idea is that you insert your phone inside it, just behind the glasses so that you can see its screen though them. Some models have straps so you can fit the visor on your head and comfortably cover your eyes. These two elements together make it possible for you and anyone else to enjoy an immersive virtual reality experience.  
Hombre usando gafas de realidad virtual Google Cardboard
(Photo: Ryan Lash/TED, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Google Cardboard?

Cardboard is one more example of the simplicity and practicality that characterizes Google products. Here are some advantages that, in our experience, differentiate these virtual reality glasses:

  • Low cost: The only investment you need to make is in the VR headset, because the app is free.
  • Easy made: Google made the headset blueprints public so anyone could build their own VR kit
  • Highly customizable: You can decorate your visor as you wish, many manufacturers have done it to innovate and promote themselves.
  • Great reach: Anyone can experience virtual reality with a smartphone, a suitable pair of glasses and a piece of cardboard.
  • Open source: In 2019, Google decided to say goodbye to the platform, making it an open source project.
  • Good versatility: Independent developer, like us at Perspektiva 360, can integrate your VR contetn on the wb or in mobile applications..

Anyone can experience virtual reality with a smartphone, a suitable pair of glasses and a piece of cardboard

Although Google strives to develop quality products, efforts to make Cardboard simple and powerful have resulted in issues that have been difficult to resolve:

  • Depends on a smartphone: Applications that use Cardboard are developed for smartphones, your experience won’t be the same without one.
  • Not compatible: Can Google Cardboard work properly on every existing phone? No, unfortunately not.
  • Size matters: If your phone has a screen that is too big or too small for the viewer, you will not be able to see the images well and that will be frustrating.
  • Low performance: Your Cardboard app will not be able to demand high performance unless you want to see smartphones crashing.
  • 3 DOF Tracking: 3 degrees of freedom means that the system only identifies the rotation of your head in 360 degrees.
  • Basic interactions: Apps are not usually designed with controls and this limits interactions generally to the movement of your head. 
Google Cardboard
Price $10 USD
Website https://arvr.google.com/cardboard
Phone use PC Connection
Tracking    3 degrees of freedom (DOF)
Controllers    No controllers needed
VR Viewer Cardboard viewer and plastic lenses
Common hardware and performance specifications, such as: Optical, sound, processor, and others, depend on the phone you use with Google Cardboard. 
Operating system Android 4.1 or higher
iOS 8.0 or higher
Mobile app Cardboard

Oculus Quest

Gafas de realidad virtual Oculus Quest
(Photo: Maximilian Prandstätter, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
The Oculus Quest are popular virtual reality glasses created by the company Reality Labs, name with which it was renamed Oculus after being bought by mark Zuckerberg’s large holding company, Meta Platforms, Inc. This is Zuckerberg’s bet for the development of VR, something that has become much more relevant worldwide since this famous entrepreneur announced the launch of the Meta brand in 2021, with the promise of creating a colossal metaverse. 

Virtual reality has become much more relevant globally since Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of Meta

The Quest series has been present in the market since 2019 when they replaced their predecessors, the Oculus Go. These Meta models share something in common with those of other brands (such as HTC’s Vive Focus and Vive Flow) and that is that they do not depend on additional hardware to work, which is why they are known as standalone virtual reality glasses.  The most recent version of the Oculus Quest is the Quest 2, the only virtual reality glasses for sale within the Meta Quest store. If you buy a pair, you will find three pieces of hardware in its packaging: The VR glasses accompanied by two controls, one for each hand, as well as cables and adapters to charge the battery and make other optional connections.

Is Oculus Quest a difficult system to use? 

It’s actually intuitive and only requires you to set up two systems:
  • Oculus App: It is an application that you must install on your smartphone. You need to log in with a Facebook account to manage your devices, purchases, and links to Meta platforms. 
  • Guardian: This system allows you to draw boundaries over a clear space using your Oculus Quest. This way you will avoid tripping or having an accident when you go to immerse yourself in your virtual reality experiences.
If you are curious, here we leave you a video tutorial of unboxing and setup of the Oculus Quest 2, made by Meta Quest.   


Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Oculus Quest

Oculus has an interesting track record of innovation and collaborations with tech giants, such as Samsung, so it’s no surprise that Mark has looked to it to make it his virtual reality lab. Here are some of the advantages we have experienced with Oculus Quest:
  • Full autonomy: The Oculus Quest are completely autonomous, so you do not need to use them with your smartphone or computer. 
  • Dedicated processing: A processor more powerful than your phone’s is fully dedicated to giving you a great experience. 
  • Portable console: You can take your Oculus Quest wherever you want and enter VR easily and quickly. 
  • 6 DOF tracking: It means that the system identifies the movements of your head and also your body, including its location in a space.
  • Advanced interaction: The controls provide the possibility of generating better interactions for your application, in addition they have haptic technology, such as vibration in their controls.
  • Good versatility: The Oculus Link system allows you to connect your Oculus Quest to a good computer to take advantage of its processor. 
Hombre usando unas gafas de realidad virtual Oculus Quest
Oculus Quest are a standalone VR glasses. (Photo: Eugene Capon, via Pexels.com)
  The Oculus Quest usually receives more compliments than criticism compared to other brands of glasses for standalone virtual reality. And although we recognize that its disadvantages are rather few, we cannot fail to mention them:
  • They do not support everything: The computational power of the Oculus Quest is good, but it won’t be enough if you want to include a whole metaverse in your application. 
  • Simple graphics: Graphic elements must be optimized so that they do not affect the performance of your application and can maintain good quality. 
  • Poor battery life: Although the Oculus Quest can be used while charging, the battery lasts as long as it takes to charge, 2 hours on average.  

Oculus Quests typically receive more praise than criticism compared to other brands of autonomous VR glasses

Finally, we have also found that many users have complained about having to use a Facebook account to manage their VR headsets. But hey, this was inevitable. How is your relationship with Facebook?    

Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest 2
Price $299 USD $299 USD
Website https://www.oculus.com
Phone use  
PC connection Optional Optional
Tracking 6 DOF 6 DOF
Controllers Oculus Touch Redesigned Oculus Touch
Optics and graphics OLED Display Resolution  1440 X 1600 Refresh rate 72hz LCD Resolution 1832 X 1920 per eye Refresh rate 60, 72, 90hz
Audio Integrated positional 3D audio 3.5 mm port for headphones Integrated positional 3D audio 3.5 mm port for headphones
Storage 64GB | 128GB 128GB | 256GB
Processor Snapdragon 835 Snapdragon XR2
Memory 4GB RAM 6GB RAM
Operating system Android Android
Applications Oculus Oculus
Required account Facebook Facebook

HTC Vive

Visor de las gafas para realidad virtual HTC VIve
(Photo: CULLEN STEBER, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Have you ever heard of the HTC brand? a smartphone probably comes to mind, right? It’s no secret that the former High Tech Computer Corporation was one of the first major manufacturers of touch devices. However, the “Taiwanese Apple” joined the race for innovation in virtual reality almost a decade ago with a visionary and innovative project: The HTC Vive series of products for VR.

HTC Vive are the virtual reality glasses created by HTC in collaboration with Valve Corporation, the famous American company of video games and software that developed the popular platform Steam. They were launched in 2016 and since then their models have multiplied, especially those of PC-VR systems (similar to the Oculus Rift series), so called because they use the power of powerful computers to achieve such incredible quality that when using them you will not be able to differentiate between reality and virtual reality. 

PC-VR systems are so named because they employ the power of powerful computers

HTC Vive’s PC-VR are heavyweights among existing VR headsets and we’re not exaggerating. Although essentially similar to standalone VR glasses, these systems run on much more hardware. HTC was the first manufacturer to employ an ingenious innovation: sensors capable of following the movements of the body so living experiences such as dancing in virtual reality is something perfectly possible. And, if you like dancing and VR, why not develop an app to enjoy, teach and learn with other people?   When you buy a pair of HTC Vive you will receive several pieces that may vary depending on the model: 
  • An HTC Vive virtual reality headset or headset. 
  • One by controls. 
  • 2 to 4 base stations (depending on the model) of the Lighthouse system, which are sensors to detect your movements in a space. 
  • An interface called HTC Vive Link Box, which is used to connect the viewer to the computer. 
  • And, just as you’d expect, they also include a few meters of cables. 
Mujer usando gafas de realidad virtual HTC Vive
(Photo: Colin and Sarah Northway, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
  The most important thing to keep in mind about the hardware is the computer, which guarantees the high quality standards offered by HTC Vive. Starting a virtual reality experience with a laptop or computer you use every day to make presentations and connect to Zoom conferences will be impossible. Try it and you will realize that it is a very bad idea. That’s why, at Perspektiva 360 we offer solutions, such as renting equipment for virtual reality, so you can test your VR application or launch it at a special event.   
Minimum Computer Requirements for HTC Vive Pro 2 
Processor Intel Core i5-4590 equal or higher
AMD Ryzen 1500 equal or higher
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 equal or higher
Radeon RX 480 equal or higher
Memory 8 GB RAM or more
Video output DisplayPort 1.2 or higher
USB ports USB 3.0 or higher
Operating system Windows 10
Windows 11
  On the other hand, the ease of use of the HTC Vive is not comparable with Oculus Quest or much less with Google Cardboard, but its possibilities to create and live experiences in virtual reality more complex and with better graphics, are worth all the necessary effort and we can assure you that. Will you need a technician to install them? Not necessarily, but we do advise you patience to follow a long list of instructions:   
  1. Choose and clear or accommodate the space where you will install your virtual reality glasses along with your computer.
  2. Download and install the Vive Setup and Steam programs (the Steam platform fulfills similar functions to those of Oculus App, so you must have an account in it).
  3. Mount and synchronize sensors on walls, tripods, or shelves, whichever is best for you.
  4. Connect your virtual reality glasses to your computer using the HTC Vive Link Box.
  5. Start the Vive Setup program and follow other instructions again, this time animated, to configure your virtual reality glasses. 

The possibilities of the HTC Vive to create and live experiences in virtual reality more complex and with better graphics, are worth all the effort necessary

Wow, we sweat a little writing this part… Perhaps it is better that you watch this video about setup of the Vive, posted on the HTC Uk channel.   


Advantages and disadvantages of using HTC Vive

HTC’s PC-VR is a great system for VR enthusiasts and demanding developers like you and us, those who seek to create the perfect illusion, given the advantages that have allowed us to camouflage the boundaries between physical and digital realities:  
  • Extreme capacity: By relying on powerful processors, the HTC Vive gives you great freedom to develop almost anything in your application.
  • Unbeatable quality: It is amazing that they are only 5K resolution. The level of detail and graphic realism you can achieve in your experience is incredible.
  • Great immersion: The closed viewer with adjustable lenses, controls and an integrated positional 3D audio system, ensure total immersion.
  • More advanced body tracking: The HTC Vive get sub-millimeter tracking. Some models even measure the movement of the retina.
  • Advanced accessories: The additional hardware not only improves the ergonomics of the VR headset, it also intensifies the VR experience.
  • Greater variety of models: HTC has developed two PC-VR series so far, Vive Pro and Vive Cosmos, which add up to 5 models in total. 

HTC’s PC-VR is a great system for VR enthusiasts and demanding developers like you and us

Unfortunately, great advantages sometimes also imply great limitations and the HTC Vive are no exception:
  • They depend on a computer: The HTC Vive Pro and Cosmos are designed like this, so you won’t be able to do anything if you don’t have the right equipment. 
  • The PC requires updates: You’ll likely need to make upgrades to your computer for every new HTC Vive model you purchase. 
  • Expensive equipment: The HTC Vive are more expensive than they appear, this if you take into account that you must update or acquire a computer. 
  • They are difficult to transport: They are not autonomous or portable virtual reality glasses, you must think very well where you want to install them. 
  • Require certain technical knowledge: If you want to use them away from home or in your company, you will surely need help from someone qualified. 
  • They can be somewhat uncomfortable: The wiring of the HTC Vive and its overheating after a while of use could make you uncomfortable. 
Model Vive Vive Pro 2
Price $500 USD $1400 USD
Website https://www.vive.com
Phone use    
PC connection Optional Optional
Tracking 6 DOF 6 DOF
Controllers 2 Vive controllers 2 Vive controllers
Optics and graphics   OLED display Resolution 1080 X 1200 per eye Refresh rate 90hz Dual low-persistence RGB LCD Resolution 2448 X 2448 per eye Tasa de actualización 90, 120hz
Audio   3.5 mm port for headphones Microphone Visor con audio Hi-Res certificado Viewer with certified Hi-Res audio Built-in dual microphones
Applications Vive Setup, Steam Vive Setup, Steam
Required account Steam Steam
  We know that we have presented you with a good amount of information, so, to end this section, we will summarize it with a comparative table that brings together some common points and important aspects of the analyses we have done between the virtual reality glasses Google Cardboard, Oculus Quest and HTC Vive.     
Item Google Cardboard Oculus Quest HTC Vive
Cost Low Medium High
Phone use Yes No No
PC connection No Optional Optional
Performance Low Medium High
Graphic quality Low Medium High
Interactions Basic Advanced Advanced
Autonomy No Yes No
Ease of transport and setup Easy Easy Difficult
Breadth of audience reach  High Medium Low
Tracking 3 DOF 6 DOF 6 DOF
Battery life Smartphone 2 hours Not required
Free use software Yes No No
Customizable viewer Yes No No
  Now that you have an idea of three great hardware alternatives to develop your VR app, we can help you answer the question that brought you here.  

What are the best virtual reality glasses for my project? 5 important points

Surely at this time you already have more clarity, at least in terms of technical aspects, about the system or the virtual reality glasses that will work best for your application. But, if not, do not worry, we know that it can be a difficult decision and that, in case you were wondering, it will not always be easy or viable to adapt the same experience for different VR glasses. 

It will not always be easy or viable to adapt the same experience for different VR glasses

Mujer enseñando uso de gafas de realidad virtual a una usuaria
(Photo: Tom Mesic/Ars Electronica, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr)
Your choice should not only take into account technical factors, but also adjust to the characteristics of a fundamental pillar for the success of your project: your users, target audience, potential customers or whatever you want to call them.  They are the key to getting the benefits you are looking for with your virtual reality application. Therefore, we have put together some guidelines that we suggest you analyze so that you can make the best possible decision.     

1. Objective

Having a clear goal for your application will help you focus all subsequent actions and decisions on development, including, of course, choosing your virtual reality glasses. That is why it will be useful to ask yourself:  What do I want to achieve with my VR app?  What is the ideal scenario I want to achieve with my VR application?   

2. Users

As we mentioned before, your users are a key piece to the success of your application. By getting to know them, you will know which virtual reality glasses may be most useful to reach them. These questions are basic examples:  Who will use my VR app?  Where are the users I want to reach?  What will they use my VR app for?  Where will they use my app?   

3. Contents

Content can be a deciding factor, because the broader, more complex and sophisticated, they are likely to require more computational power, so ask yourself the following: What do I want my users to see in my VR app? How complex will my content be to create? Look at an example of our developments.  


4. Interactions

The interactions are closely related to the contents and their development also depends on the capacity of the virtual reality glasses you choose. Some key questions for this point are: How do I want my users to interact with the content I’ll include in my app?  How will each interaction occur? Will there be head movements, buttons to press or will it be necessary to point out a specific point in the virtual space?  

5. Time and budget

Although its relationship with virtual reality glasses can be indirect, time and budget are always fundamental resources. The more complex the development of your application, the longer this process will take and remember that “time is money“. So don’t forget to ask yourself: Does everything I want in my VR app fit the time and budget I have?  Do I have the resources to pay for changes or unforeseen events that may occur during development? Once you have answered these questions, choosing the virtual reality glasses that you will use for the development of your project will be something much easier.  

What can we do for you? Know our experience

In Perspektiva 360 we are passionate about virtual reality and every day we try to improve and innovate in the development of content for this technology. Look at the chart below so you know some of the products we can create for different VR glasses.  
Content Google Cardboard Oculus  Quest  HTC Vive 
360 Photography Yes Yes Yes
Video 360 Yes Yes Yes
Renders 360 Yes Yes Yes
3D Modeling No Yes Yes
Video games No Yes Yes
Architectural models of high realism No No Yes
  As you can see, most of our content is adapted to all virtual reality glasses, but we can also create products specially designed for a specific VR system. In fact, we have developed hundreds of applications for which we have generated ideas and obtained learnings that we want to share with you.   

Simple ideas to surprise with Google Cardboard

Applications made with Cardboard have wide scopes and that’s why, among other things, they are a good marketing resource. For example, if you have a tourism or rural community development project in mind, Google Cardboard allows you to reach many people with a simple but immersive and attractive experience in virtual reality. It’s a great tool, because it works as an opener to attract potential customers and even teach communities and inhabitants of places where VR is not as present as smartphones. 

Applications made with Cardboard have wide scopes and that’s why, among other things, they are a good marketing resource

Another way to make good use of Google Cardboard’s potential in marketing is to take advantage of its low production cost to include them in merchandising and branding strategies. You can surprise customers or partners and investors in different events and special moments by giving them a Google Cardboard viewer customized with your brand. Add a QR code printed on it and program it to download or open a virtual reality application with content about your company, products, experiences and news.   

Great ideas to captivate with Oculus Quest

What’s better than interacting with content? Playing with it. Apps for Oculus Quest can deliver interactive entertainment experiences that draw attention to your content by having your users play with it, literally speaking. 
Virtual items, compass and pointer to navigate and interact in the virtual reality tour of Universidad El Bosque
Controls comfortably simulate the use of hands in virtual reality
With Oculus Quest you can develop a video game or gamified experience, something we did with the virtual tour for El Bosque University.  For this development, we included 360 photography and video content with a mockup and customized controls: a compass and a 3D modeled staff. These elements help the user to get to know the university, walk through its interior in virtual reality and discover clues that give him a reward at the end of the experience. 

With Oculus Quest you can develop a gamified experience

The Oculus Quest is a great option when you want to show light and high-quality VR projects or experiences in a simple way. They are especially useful when you need to constantly transport your virtual reality glasses to show your developments in different face-to-face events or meetings with clients, because they are very easy to use and quick to install.  

Sophisticated ideas for big projects with HTC Vive 

As you already know, the HTC Vive are supported by a powerful computer, so we can develop projects as large as supported by the system. The HTC Vive are the virtual reality system that we recommend if your project is large and you want to print an impressive realism, as we do with one of our specialties, architecture.

The HTC Vive are the virtual reality system that we recommend if your project is large and you want to print an impressive realism

The HTC Vive make possible architectural experiences of great complexity in virtual reality, so visiting a commercial complex, a building or housing complex in VR will not be a problem. The best part, of course, is that the level of detail and quality in textures (which, by the way, can be illuminated quite well) would be enough to recreate a museum as if its artists and sculptors had created their works in the same virtual reality. On the other hand, due to the necessary hardware and the time required to install and configure, it is preferable that you use the HTC Vive in a place where they can remain fixed for extended periods of time. These virtual reality glasses are very good for use in offices, sales rooms, showrooms or events, such as fairs and exhibitions. Do not forget that you can rent our HTC Vive equipment, ready to show your VR experience for whole days. It is also advisable that you have a qualified person for handling, in case any unforeseen event happens.   

To finish

We hope that this article has been useful to you to have clarity about the possibilities offered by different systems and virtual reality glasses. We know that the 3 alternatives we have talked about are not the only ones on the market, but, as we told you at the beginning, they have been our best allies during 7 years of innovation and that is why we do not hesitate to recommend them. And since you know what is possible to achieve with these virtual reality glasses, we invite you to start thinking about content and projects for the technology that is transforming and will change the way we interact in the digital space. 

we invite you to start thinking about content and projects for the technology that is transforming and will change the way we interact in the digital space

If you have any ideas in mind, do not hesitate to advise yourself by an experienced professional team such as Perspektiva 360. Click here to contact us, we are willing to provide you with excellent guidance so that together we can make your virtual reality projects a reality.
Written by: Perspektiva 360. Cover photo: : Wayhomestudio – www.freepik.es, edited by Perspektiva 360.

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