The AuraVisor might give other VR headsets a run for their money
The AuraVisor might give the Samsung Gear VR a run for its money
VR headsets currently fall into three different categories. You have the premium headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, which will command a hefty price tag and require significant horsepower to run.
A step below that, you have Samsung's Gear VR, which offers a decent VR experience at the cost of needing to own a Samsung phone (which may or may not be a bad thing depending on how much you like the brand). Finally, there's Google Cardboard, a cheap way for the masses to enjoy VR. It's crappy VR, but since Google Cardboard headsets cost next to nothing to buy or build, it's not that bad if you need a VR fix.
The AuraVisor falls somewhere in-between premium headsets and the Samsung Gear VR. It's a VR headset but it doesn't require extra hardware to function. You don't need a computer like the premium headsets or a smart phone, like the Samsung Gear VR. Everything you need is built into the machine itself. While it does come with a controller (which looks like a mix between an Xbox One pad and Razer's Wildcat), it's not compulsory unless you're specifically using an app that requires it.
The machine comes with an Android based OS, a 5-inch screen to display the image (with a per eye resolution of 1080p), a 100 degree field of view, a Rockchip RK3288 processor as well as 16GB internal storage (expandable to 64GB) and an audio jack if you're looking to use headphones with the headset. For connectivity it'll have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HDMI support. That last bit allows it to connect to any device that can output via HDMI, which means you can use it on consoles and PCs and view the visual output using the headset, though that doesn't mean that it'll be compatible with VR games on the PC or consoles. The consumer version of the headset is expected to have about 5 hours of battery life on a single charge.
As an Android based device, it'll be compatible with any Google Play Store VR apps and games, as well as apps from the device's custom store. In that regard, the AuraVisor is similar to the Samsung Gear VR, which also has its own custom store, powered by Oculus technology.
Now here's the iffy part. The AuraVisor is a Kickstarter project, which means that there's a chance, however slight, that the project might not get made in the end. The AuraVisor has a better chance than most to be real though; its creator, James Talbot, has Kickstarter experience and has even delivered on past Kickstarter projects, so there's every reason to believe he can deliver on the AuraVisor too. On top of that, the headset is already completed. It seems the money collected from Kickstart is just to fund the production costs.
AuraVisor has even done a handy chart if you want to compare it against other headsets, although the Samsung Gear VR is suspiciously absent.
The AuraVisor is being marketed as a mobile VR experience, since it doesn't require wires or other external hardware that might tether it in place. In that sense, the only headset that might be considered a rival to the AuraVisor is the Samsung Gear VR, which requires a recent Samsung smartphone to run.
Considering that, the AuraVisor sounds like a mighty good proposition for those who want to have a decent VR experience without shelling out the cash for a supported Samsung device. In fact, the device is currently only £155 ($332), though it'll rise in price as the various tiers sell out. So if you're interested, you might as well bite now and pledge instead of waiting till the end of the campaign.