3 ways to try Virtual Reality today

You've probably heard big tech sites raving about Virtual Reality going mainstream. But that's not why you can be damn certain about it.

We recently visited MBK Center, one of the biggest malls in downtown Bangkok. On its famous 4th floor (a geek paradise) all the shops started selling VR head mounts just very recently. Chinese factories already know.

In fact you can take a deep dive into VR right now. The options are many, and suited to any wallet.

1. Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift is the most advanced VR platform on the market today. Its story started in August 2012 with an incredibly successful campaign on Kickstarter, and it's been acquired after 18 months by Facebook.

The Rift, unlike the cheap VR head mounts, doesn't work with your phone. It needs to be connected by cable to a Windows PC powerful enough, and it's using a standalone, insanely high resolution infrared positional tracking system (Constellation) sitting on your desk. It comes with an Xbox wireless gamepad, or with a pair of Oculus Touch, a handheld motion controller.

The Oculus Rift can be pre-ordered for $599, and it's expected to ship in July.

2. Google Cardboard

Oculus Rift is expensive, and requires powerful gaming hardware. Google's Cardboard is the exact opposite. This simple head mount is utilising the screen and accelerometer of your phone, and it's compatible with both Android and iOS. It features one single button.

It's so simple you can even build your own at home, but it's probably easier to order one of the Cardboard-certified models from Google's site. Prices start from around $30.

Google Cardboard might be simple, but it's incredibly powerful. There are already more than a thousand apps for the platform, from games to educational software.

3. Samsung Gear VR

If you happen to have a compatible Samsung phone (Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Note 5) buying a Gear VR is a no-brainer. It's Google Cardboard on steroids, sleek, elegant and comfortable, with additional motion sensors, a touchpad, and a fine focus wheel. You can even wear your glasses under the Gear VR.

Gear VR is using Oculus technology, and apps are installed through the Oculus Store. The number of apps might look somewhat discouraging, but the Gear VR is compatible with Cardboard apps, too.

The Gear VR is widely accessible in Samsung stores for a very generous $99.

A few more things to watch

HTC Vive, a VR kit developed in partnership with Valve, will be available for pre-order most probably at the end of February. It's going to be expensive, possibly above the price of Oculus Rift. If you ever wondered how it feels to be dead (and in the middle of a zombie apocalypse) you should book your tickets to Virtually Dead, HTC's late March PR stunt in London.

Sony is working on PlayStation VR compatible with PS4. It's supposed to hit the shelves in the first half of 2016 at a $399 price.

Ah, and please don't buy any of the Chinese VR head mounts in Bangkok, or anywhere else. They are fine for watching 360° K-pop videos on YouTube (we've tried!), but none of them are Cardboard-compatible at this point.

Anything we left out? Tell us in the comments!