Virtual Reality (VR) is a rapidly developing technology that thrusts users into exciting different worlds with almost no limit to the experiences. VR is computationally intensive and requires a powerful computer to fully realize its amazing potential. Laptop computers which are VR capable can be very expensive—however, not everyone can afford to shell out thousands of dollars for a top of the line laptop.

Fortunately, there are several laptops which are powerful enough to run VR technology without breaking the bank. This article features three such computers; all three come in under $500. While these computers are ‘inexpensive’, that doesn’t mean they’re ‘cheap’ or poorly made. Insert random comment about user reviews here.

Acer Aspire E15

The Acer comes with a 15.6” HD quality screen, a 1 TB hard drive, an 8th gen i3 2.2 GHz processor (with Turbo technology up to 3.4 GHz) and weighs just over five pounds. It also features 6 GB RAM, several useful USB ports and has a super battery, lasting over 13 hours.

Users were impressed with the performance level of this laptop right out of the box, and many commented on the easy accessibility for repair and upgrades. Indeed, many users suggested installing an inexpensive aftermarket SSD (128 or 256 GB) to truly turn this laptop into a powerfully fast and responsive system. Users also suggested upgrading the RAM (again, at a moderate cost) to unlock the true performance of this computer.

The Acer is a magnificent entry-level VR-capable laptop that’s easy on the wallet. Full HD, super battery life, lightweight with plenty of storage. The Acer was slowed by the lack of memory and the mechanical hard drive; two minor inconveniences that are readily overcome.

Acer C910-54M1

Like its less expensive cousin, the Acer C910-54M1 delivers exceptional bang for your computer buck. It features many of the same specs (15.6” HD quality screen, an 8th gen i5 (not i3) 2.2 GHz processor with Turbo technology up to 3.4 GHz) as the E15, but it also has a 32 GB SSD instead of the HDD that the E15 users found slowed down with time. The C910 also comes with 4 GB of RAM and the battery lasts for approximately eight hours.

This Acer comes in at less than five pounds and features the Chromebook OS. The Acer is the first Chromebook to feature a full HD display, Intel processor and exceptional wireless capabilities. Add in the ability to suitably process VR programs, and you have a wonderful laptop platform for around $500.

The only knocks against this system were the lower RAM amounts (though easily and inexpensively overcome) and the smaller SSD (32 GB). The SDD did perform better than the HD of the Aspire, but the storage amounts were often viewed as insufficient. Again, for a moderate sum, an upgrade to 128 or 256 GB would turn this laptop into a top-shelf computer.

The least expensive VR capable Chromebook on the market, the Acer C910 will perform like a much more expensive model yet leave your wallet feeling fine.

Lenovo Ideapad 320

Coming in at less than five pounds, the Lenovo packs a punch into a lightweight design. A 1 TB HD, 4 GB RAM, with a fast Intel 2.4 GHz dual processor makes the Lenovo a wonderful computer with a price of less than $400.

Users loved the speed of the laptop, its lightweight design, lightning fast USB ports and overall utility. They weren’t enamored of the 4 GB RAM and the occasional slowness from the HD/RAM combination. However, both of these limitations are readily overcome with a few inexpensive modifications/upgrades to each. Even those upgrades won’t push the total price above $500; the end result of such minor upgrades yields a top-shelf laptop that can play anything in your VR world!

Even if your budget doesn’t include a comma in the price tag, you can find a VR quality system without needing to spend the money necessary for a high-end laptop.

Over the past couple of years, the commercialisation of Virtual (VR) and Augmented reality has set the precedent for the future of technology. These devices and software have been heralded by the gaming and entertainment industries, with headsets such as the PlayStation headset and the Samsung Oculus taking the lead in popularity.

The commercial potential and accessibility of this technology has made the possibility for everyday life assimilation with this technology even more of a reality. Although there has been a strong push for these technologies over the past couple of years, they are still at the very early stages of their journey.

With AR and VR still at the beginning stages of their success, it’s interesting to gain an insight into how the technology is set to progress…

The new virtual computing platform:

As previously mentioned, there has been a heavy focus on the gaming and entertainment industries for VR, but in an interview, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, stated that VR could actually be the new platform for business and computing. In order to accept new strategies for interviews, training sessions and even business meetings, we need to break out of our convention and the parameters of the business world.

A product on the incline:

According to Zuckerberg, it will take up to 10 years for VR and AR to become fully assimilated into our everyday lives, at the moment the technology is in the very initial stages. In order to gain traction in the market, companies need to channel their app development to focus on finding useful and interesting ways to assimilate the technology into everyday life.

The company Apadmi has a specialist team of researchers, developers and technicians who assisted with the design and creation of the first smartphone, they are using this knowledge to find the break through programming that will gain momentum in the VR and AR world. This process is in the trial and error stages, and Facebook is currently shutting down up to 500 demo sites that haven’t peaked public interest. This could be a tiresome and meticulous process, but this will be worth the efforts.

Experience the world differently:

Virtual reality offers the user an opportunity to view the world differently. There are so many different programmes and applications that can take people off to far off destinations. People can immerse themselves in this virtual reality, exploring hostile and uninhabited destinations such as the Amazon Rainforest, or outer space. This can be used for a number of different purposes, either as a form of escapism, help with mental illness and for educational purposes.

VR and AR is currently limited to the visual and auditory senses, but as technology progresses, developers will seek to include other senses, reminiscent to the 4D cinematic experience, where touch and smell are incorporated.

Marketing potential:

It has been approximated that the VR market will reach a staggering $22 billion by 2020, determined by both hardware and software sales. Augmented reality is set to make the most headway in the technology, this combined with VR is set to be worth a staggering $121 billion, with the potential for even further future grown.

The slow burning success of this technology is perfect for investment, as it is an ongoing process that is undoubtedly going to increase throughout the years, and because of this particular nature, the opportunity to invest has not yet come to a close.

As shown through the failures of Facebook, there are still some uncertainties in the VR and AR market, and finding the peak of consumer interest and assimilation of the technologies into everyday life will certainly prove to be a struggle, but will also come out triumphant.

As the hardware and software for the technology advances, consumer interest will peak and there will be an influx in purchases, and VR and AR technology will gradually become more mainstream and used in everyday life.