Electronics, Tech Blog

Difference between Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

Optinvent ORA-2 smart glasses

Both Augmented Reality (AR)  and Virtual Reality (VR) are types of immersive technologies able to replicate or duplicate the physical world by making use of simulations for creating an environment. Almost every “Tech Dick, Tom and Harry” misuse or overuse the terms “virtual reality” or “augmented reality.”

This is due to the resurgence and use of VR techs like VR headsets, Concepts such as the HTC Vive Pro Eye, Oculus Quest and Playstation VR and the adaptation by various social media platforms and games.

Augmented reality vs virtual reality

VR and AR Generally Confused as VR

Of the both of them, VR gets more coverage due to its widely adapted use, and for most people who may never have seen an actual AR or VR device, they just basically lump everything up under VR, which has prompted a lot of augmented reality vs virtual reality debates aiming to highlight differences and comparative advantages of AR/VR.

Though most times, there are a lot of blurs when it comes to the differentiation of these types of immersive technologies due to similarities in most of their use, they are quite unique in their own way, in use, properties and functionality. 

Here’s another of our blog posts you may like:

10 Best Augmented Reality Smart Glasses in 2020

Difference Between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality, also known as expanded reality employs technology overlaying virtual objects or digital content in a real-world environment. It allows virtual objects to be superimposed on the real world environment through the use of digital devices such as heads-up-displays, laptops, tablets, smartphones or augmented reality glasses

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality creates an artificial world through digital means. It is often a complete replacement of the real world, as it changes or replaces every sensory activity; sometimes it replicates real-life scenarios. This type of reality is a fully immersive experience that allows a user to escape and fizzle out the real-world environment and enter into a completely digitized environment through the use of VR headsets or equipment.

Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality

Before debating augmented reality vs virtual reality, understand that augmented and virtual realities (AV/VR) have commonalities. The commonality is their ability to alter our comprehension and awareness of our environment. The primary difference is how we as the user perceive our appearance.

They are both opposite expressions of one another with what either of the  technology tries to redress, or achieve for usage.

Key differences

  • Virtual reality brings about the reconstruction of the digitized version of  the real environment, while augmented reality conveys the virtual elements to the real environment as a covering or additional layer.  
  • Virtually reality gives the user the ability to escape real-life setting and experience exchanging it with a simulated reality. In contrast, augmented reality digitally enhances the existing real-life reality.
  • Virtual reality makes use of full immersion, so this makes VR devices to shut you out completely from the real-life world or settings. The lens used on the  smart glasses adapted for use in augmented reality, on the other hand, are transparent and allow you to still be aware of the environment you are in. 
  • VR replaces reality completely, taking you to an entirely different environment while  AR just buttresses the reality, adding layers of information on top of the environment.
  • AR adds virtual units or parts like images or other multimedia, sensory feelings as an additional layer of interactivity with the actual environment while VR does not. It creates its own version of reality solely  created by digital devices.
  • VR uses controllers mounted on the head or are held by hand. Through these  devices users connect to the new reality, and these devices allow them to direct their actions, making navigation smooth and hitch-free in the simulation of the real world created. With AR, users generally use laptops, tablets, smart-phones, and other kinds of mobile devices, which then adds additional information to the real environment through images and other kinds of media.


Despite the differences between augmented and virtual realties, both technologies adapt well into several industries and fields for use. Because both provide life-like interaction in a digital space, their respective spaces will continue to grow as the technology matures.

About Richard

Richard Webb is an entrepreneur, fitness author of Fat Burning Secrets (available on Amazon), bodybuilder, blogger of fitness & technology, and a digital nomad working mainly from Mexico and travels frequently to Texas and California. He has 25 years experience working in software technology, so he truly considers himself as an unusual combination of bodybuilder-tech nerd.

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