There are varying degrees of virtual reality immersion. At the entry-level, you’ve got Gear VR powered by smartphones. And then you’ve got the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which sit at the high-end of the VR spectrum and require powerful PCs to run them.
A new headset called the Sulon Q is pioneering a new path for VR, one that doesn’t need a smartphone or PC to work. It’s an entirely self-contained VR headset.
“The Sulon Q is the world’s first and only tether-free, wireless wear-and-play headset that combines virtual reality, augmented reality and spatial computing into an all-in-one platform,” says Dhan Balachand, CEO of Sulon Technologies, Inc. in the video above.
Instead of a smartphone or a PC, the Sulon Q is powered by what the company calls a “Spatial Processing Unit,” a processing component located on the back of the headset. An AMD FX-8800P processor and Radeon R7 graphics crunch all of the computing and can provide “console-quality, beautiful graphics that will just blow your mind,” Balachand says.
The headset has a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution OLED display — sharper than both the Rift and the Vive. Additionally, the headset will ship with spatial earbuds for immersive three-dimensional sound.
Not much else is known about the headset, like how long battery life is or how you control it (there’s a guy using air gestures in the top video). The company says the headset is lightweight, but it looks kind of heavy; the front is larger than other headsets and there’s the processing unit on the back.
Still, if the Sulon Q is as powerful as the company says it is it could be a game-changer for VR.
The big caveat to the Gear VR and high-end headsets like the Rift and Vive is the additional computing component you need that costs extra. I know lots of people who think the Gear VR is amazing, but don’t own a Samsung phone. Likewise, many others have been blown away by the Rift, but use Macs, which the headset doesn’t support.
Pricing for the Sulon Q hasn’t been announced, but if we were to guess, it’ll almost certainly cost more than the $99 Gear VR, but less than the $599 Oculus Rift. The headset is expected to launch this spring.
The Sulon Q may be the first self-contained VR headset, but rest assured, more are coming. Google’s rumored to be working on its own self-contained VR headset, which sounds a lot like the Sulon Q.