Virtual reality has made significant strides in construction in recent years — and just about every other industry, for that matter. As the technology continues to formally establish itself in the workplace, it’s clear that its value goes way beyond recreational use. Let’s be clear: VR isn’t just for gaming.
That being said, there are a ton of really good headsets available for construction companies right now and there are plenty more to come in the future. There are plenty more to come this year, too.
So, which one will become your next construction tool in 2023? Which one will best support you with collaboration, training and design innovation?
We’ve put together a short list of the best available VR headsets right now — including two that are highly anticipated and soon to launch. Read on to find out what they are — in no particular order.
Specs: Quantum Dot LCD; 1800 x 1920 pixels per eye; Inside out/6 DOF tracking; 256 GB memory
Release Date: October 2022
Pros: Unrivalled tracking; Fastest processor; 12GB RAM
Cons: Short battery life; Expensive (despite the price reduction)
The Quest Pro is a high-quality standalone headset that has all the capabilities of the Quest 2 but with even better specs.
Though it comes with a higher price tag than its consumer-focused cousin, it’s the ideal choice for construction teams. It has powerful processing power and clean tracking that few headsets available right now can compete with.
All that really holds the Quest Pro back as a standalone is its short battery life. That, and the cost. Despite slashing the price by $500, it still comes in at just shy of $1000.
Specs: 2448 x 2448 resolution per eye; 120 degrees field of view; 8 GB RAM minimum; Dual microphones
Price: $1399.00 (with controllers and Base Station 2.0 motion trackers)
Release Date: June 2021
Pros: Fast 5K Display; Smooth motion tracking; Best resolution currently available
Cons: Heats up quickly; Relies on older controllers; Setup takes longer than other options
There’s no denying that HTC’s Vive Pro is a leading headset in the VR market. It’s undoubtedly the most expensive right now but, with its 5K display, responsive tracking and 2880 x 1600 resolution, it’s ideal for construction companies that require the most photorealistic experience.
It has somewhat of a reputation for getting a little hot around the head after a while. You’ll soon forget about that, though, given its impressive visuals and unmatched audio quality.
Specs: 1832 x 1920 per eye; 6 GB RAM; Snapdragon XR2 processor
Release Date: October 2020
Pros: Standalone headset; Reliable hand tracking; Great audio/visual quality; Software runs smoothly
Cons: Approx 3-hour battery life; Requires a Facebook sign-in; Link cable and ergonomic strap cost extra
The Meta Quest 2 has been the VR headset of choice since its release back in 2020, with around 20 million copies sold worldwide.
While it may not be the best headset when it comes to specs, it’s the perfect standalone headset that perfectly combines affordability, performance and accessibility. It has great hand-tracking capabilities considering it’s around three years old and the audio/visual quality is great.
Construction companies in need of a robust headset for a good price can count on the Quest 2. We’d recommend biting the bullet and paying extra for the link cable and strap for extended use.
Specs: Snapdragon XR2 processor; 8 GB RAM; 256 GB SSD; 105° FOV; 4K+ resolution
Release Date: October 2022
Pros: MR features; Comfortable design; Headset-to-controller tracking works great
Cons: No headphone jack; Lags in comparison to the Quest 2
The Pico 4 is great for those that need a headset with a high resolution and field of view at an affordable price.
It also has reliable edge-to-edge clarity. This is important for construction companies given that they require as much realism and immersion in a virtual environment as possible.
While it’s a good headset, it slightly lags in comparison to the Quest 2. Though it has a higher resolution, this isn’t all that noticeable.
Specs: Not confirmed
Price: $3000.00 (Expected)
Release Date: Expected 2023
Pros: MR-ready; 4K resolution per eye; Hand tracking
Cons: High price point; Low battery life; External battery
Apple’s yet-to-be-named AR/VR headset is expected to appear on the market this year after it’s launch at the WWDC 2023 event in June. Just like the Meta Quest Pro, Apple’s entry to the market is set to include mixed reality capabilities as well as hand and eye tracking.
It has to be said that the rumored $3000 price tag is pretty hefty and may be a little high for some companies. But what we can expect—and what the leaked information implies—is that it’ll be a highly sophisticated tool for the construction industry.
The low battery life and supposed external battery may be a drawback but, until we know more, it’s hard to say whether these will be problematic to the industry.
Specs: 4128 x 2208/2064 x 2028 per eye; 512 GB SSD; 12 GB RAM
Price: $450.00 (Approx)
Release Date: Expected 2023
Pros: Mixed reality capability; Rumored to run on Snapdragon XR3 (an upgrade to the former chip); Improved resolution; Sleeker design
Cons: Can't rely on the power of a PC to run
Not a lot can be said about the Quest 3 until it’s officially announced, which we can expect to see at either Meta’s June or October showcase event.
What we can say is that there’s a consensus on the internet surrounding a lot of the specs. It’s likely that the Quest 3 will have mixed reality capabilities, which is ideal for property developers.
Being able to see a space in VR is one thing, but with AR, it’s possible to view designs in a near-complete space and to also lay a build’s exterior over a plot before construction has started.
What’s also rumored is a much sleeker design than the previous model and enhanced resolution — both of which are essential features to construction companies.