I met with ANTVR founder, Qin Zheng during CES 2015. Qin is one of those entrepreneurs who is clearly passionate about their product. In fact his whole team appeared to share the same passion.
What is ANTVR? ANTVR consists of a head mounted display (HMD) and convertible controller that can easily convert itself from a gun to a traditional style controller.
ANTVR consists of the headset and sold separately the controller. Although the controller is not needed, this is what sets this headset apart from many of the other HMD. In fact many of the HMD that I have seen at CES are pretty bad. I can see why Palmer Luckey is waiting until theirs is ready to ensure the experience matches the expectation. Otherwise VR could go the way of 3D TVs.
The headset has a 1920X1080 HD display (LCD panel) and aspherical lens, one of its key differences from the Oculus Rift. Qin says this lens causes less distortion when it projects standard ratio pictures. It can be worn with prescription lens. There is also a pass thru door at the bottom to allow you to see beneath you (perhaps to find your beer?)
The ANTVR is a 1080p screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (1.03 megapixel) and aspherical lens. ANTVR does claim there is no screen door affect, which I will say a little better than the DK2. It still did look a pixelated, not sure if this was a factor of the PC driving it or the screen itself.
Field of View (FOV)
The field of view is claimed to be 100 degrees. Very comparable to the DK2 and Crescent Bay. Although to me it seemed less, perhaps more around 80 or so.
The controller is unique in the VR space, or any space for that matter. With the flip of your fingers the controller can transform from gun to hand held controller, racing wheel or even lightsaber.
As a gun, the control is pretty intuitive. You aim, you pull the trigger, and you kill something, pretty easy.
Moving is via a thumb controlled roller stick which worked pretty well. They even have a reset orientation button on the side to reset your POV if you turn too much whilst standing.
I will say that killing zombies in their demo is way more satisfying with a gun.
I played a zombie game (ANTVR BROOD). Reminded me a little of Dave & Busters, except in VR. Then it was onto Crysis 3 without any modification. Aiming is wherever you look, movement is via the on-controller thumb stick. Although workable, I am old school. Currently FPS is just better with a mouse/keyboard combo.
VR headsets in their current form are more suited to seated type games such as car racing and cockpits.
Qin claims this device works on PC and consoles such as XBOX and Playstation. Consoles were not part of their demo so I cannot vouch for this claim. I suspect the result at best may be similar to the Crysis 3 experience (which is marginal). However with most console games only able to achieve 30 fps, I really cannot envision this being a good VR experience.
Currently only available in Asia. Qin expects the device to start selling in the US within the next few months, perhaps around March 2015.
ANTVR Headset (Includes display): $250 (Expected)
ANTVR Controller: $100 (Expected)
Should you buy one?
In its current form. I would hold off a while longer to see happens in 2015 with Oculus and perhaps Samsung too. It would also depend on what kind of gamer you are. If you're a PC gamer, then probably go with Oculus. If you enjoy tablet type games, then ANTVR is a cheaper alternative to Gear VR.
However at the price range of between $250 and $350 it is most likely in the range of the Oculus Rift CV1, but still cheaper than Gear VR (assuming you include the cost of the Note 4)
Of course CV1 does not exist so I can only compare with Crescent Bay which is FAR superior at this time. If you really want to play non-VR games on the rift, you can always install a driver such as vorpX or VIREio
Recommendation. If you need a VR Device now, get GearVR or DK2. If you can wait for CV1, do that.
Video from their Kickstarter page: