Virtual reality is increasing in popularity, and there’s no denying that it has a promising future.
It’s easier than ever to travel around the virtual space with just a headset thanks to responsive motion tracking features and enhanced display effects.
While price can be a considerable deterrent for most people when it comes to virtual reality headsets, avid gamers and tech enthusiasts may overlook the cost.
Whether you are a gamer, want to watch movies, or travel virtually, VR headsets can take your experience to the next level.
Table of Contents
- The Top VR Headsets
- Factors to Consider When Purchasing a VR Headset
But what are the best VR headsets currently on the market? Our list provides a breakdown of the options you should consider.
The Top VR Headsets
There are many VR headsets available, and sorting through them all can be daunting.
Fortunately, the options on this list can make the process simple and allow you to easily find the right device for your needs.
1. Oculus Quest 2
- Next-level Hardware - Make every move count with a blazing-fast processor and our highest-resolution...
- All-In-One Gaming - With backward compatibility, you can explore new titles and old favourites in the...
Our pick for the best standalone VR headset goes to the Oculus Quest 2. This is one of the hottest VR headsets on the market and hard to find.
While this headset has a more intuitive design than its predecessor, it still maintains some of the dynamic and cutting-edge features.
Better yet, it has an exemplary track record. Its high performance can’t be overlooked.
With a new LCD of 1832 × 1920 per eye, you experience increased clarity. In fact, the resolution is better than most other standalone headsets.
The Oculus Quest 2 runs on a Snapdragon XR2 chip, which generates more than just AI and visual features. As a result, you get to interact with refined graphics.
One of the best parts is that you’ll experience zero blatant latency.
The headset comes with a USB Type-C port, and Oculus plans to launch a wireless feature. In the meantime, you can beam this device from your PC via the Oculus Link cable.
All you need is an accessory cable to get the hang of PC VR. The cable retails at around $79.
It’s best to check if your PC’s hardware meets the requirements before purchasing this headset.
Updates on the Quest 2 give it the capacity to achieve up to a 90Hz refresh rate. This helps enhance consistent time frames.
The Oculus technical team is working to offer at least 120Hz, and the display refresh rate will be available to some compatible games.
It has two in-built motion tracking features and can operate more like plug-and-play. Setting it up isn’t cumbersome and only takes a few minutes.
Keep in mind that you need to log in using a Facebook account. This might not be convenient for every potential user.
- Competitive pricing
- Enhanced graphics and design for gaming
- More powerful resolution than the Oculus 1
- There’s onboard storage for apps
- Not the best controller ergonomics
- Need a Facebook account
2. Oculus Quest 1
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The Quest 1 is perfect for users who need an entry-level headset that is multifunctional. This device uses wireless technology similar to some top-ranking VR games.
It has a modest design and offers a sharper screen resolution.
The distance for making adjustments between the lenses is wider. In addition, the headset features a resolution display of 1400 × 1600 in each eye. However, this isn’t much when compared to PC-tethered headsets.
If you want a device that doesn’t require headphones, this headset’s invisible speakers are exactly what you’ve been looking for.
The device has angle sensors that solve complex visual algorithms and convert your movements. Oculus likes to call this inside-out tracking.
In order to run fluidly and give you lengthened reality experiences, the headset uses a 2017 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset.
You have the option to pick between 64 and 128 GB of storage. Being an OLED model, the Quest 1 has a refresh rate of up to 72 Hz.
The headset includes four wide-angle tracking cameras. For more grip, you get dual hand controllers. It fits rooms of different sizes and gives you six degrees of freedom tracking.
Velcro straps distribute the headset’s weight and enhance movement. You’re able to turn or face up and down.
Additionally, the Oculus 1 has a focal slider under the front of the headset. This lets you calibrate the focal distance in between the lenses.
- The OLED display makes the entire experience more realistic
- Easy to set up via the Oculus mobile app
- Perfect for spaces with various dimensions
- Efficient battery life that lasts up to three hours of non-stop gaming
- Budget-friendly price
- Not PC powered
- The chipset it runs on isn’t the most powerful
3. Valve Index VR Full Kit
If you are looking for a headset with stellar image clarity, the Valve Index VR Full Kit might be exactly what you need.
While this model is pricey, it provides a top-of-the-range display resolution that matches the Quest Oculus 2 or Vive Pro.
Valve powers its own Lighthouse tracking system. A few other reputable brands share the same tracking system.
The model’s base station tends to record excellent aperture quality. It’s easy for pro gamers to tweak the refresh rate using its pilot feature.
Aperture Hand Lab’s demo doesn’t fall short of clarity. The Valve Index provides refresh rates of up to 144Hz.
However, to hit 90Hz on your PC, you need powerful graphics. Ultimately, it’s able to produce head-mounted display (HMD) quality, making it hard to ignore this best-in-class display.
The Index tethers to a PC and offers more comprehensive FOV adjustments. What we like about its FOV is that it outdoes most headsets in the close-range category.
Currently, the field of view stands at 130 degrees. That leaves no room for any discernible screen door effect.
The VR headset has finger-tracking controllers. They strap to your hands and track finger movements.
In terms of downsides, this headset is a bit bulky and needs a data cable connection. Fortunately, its image clarity more than makes up for these shortcomings.
- Powerful hardware
- Wider FOV than most headsets in the market
- Interactive room-scale VR experience
- Excellent pressure sensors for finger movement
- Superb audio quality
- Narrow finger-tracking features
- One of the priciest VRs
4. HTC Vive Pro 2
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When it comes to PC gaming, it’s difficult to beat the HTC Vive Pro 2.
The Vive Pro 2 is a noteworthy upgrade from its predecessor. In contrast to the prior model, it seems to have forward-looking features.
This latest version comes with prospects to cure issues with the initial Pro VR. It’s a gem for PC VR enthusiasts.
Its highest selling point is the 5K display. You get a 120-degree field of view, which is enough to immerse you in a wider virtual environment.
With refined pixels, it’s easy to eliminate any screen-door effect. Another exciting feature is its 120Hz refresh rate.
Overall, the design isn’t much different from the previous version. Consequently, you’re likely to feel the weight when gaming for longer hours.
On the bright side, the headset has ultra-modern ergonomic features.
It’s worth pointing out that the Vive Pro 2 needs a cable to connect to your PC. While wireless systems are available, they’ll cost you a bit more.
Beyond having a spectacular resolution, the Pro 2 has an army of sensors. You’ll find them all over its head-mounted display. The sensors detect movements in real-time.
On the headset, there’s a plastic head strap that uses a hand-crank mechanism for comfort and easy cushioning. Users can easily make adjustments depending on the shape of their heads.
The Vive Pro 2 runs on the same SteamVR tracking system as that of the Valve Index.
Compared to the Oculus Quest 2, this headset offers more accuracy during movements. In addition, it yields sharper tracking with low latency.
- Clearer and sharper resolution
- Zero screen door effect
- Smooth refresh rates
- Uses market-leading tracking system No contract
- Odd-looking design and a bit bulky
5. PlayStation VR—Marvel’s Iron Man Bundle
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PlayStation lovers will appreciate the PlayStation VR — Marvel’s Iron Man Bundle.
Sony’s PS VR continues to make gaming a captivating experience. It’s compatible with both PS4 and PS5.
The unit includes movement controllers, a headset, demo disc 3.0 and a camera.
It’s super affordable and has a fairly responsive refresh rate. The price range for most PSVR games falls between $20 to $40, while some go for $60.
This shows that there’s a vast library of inexpensive games available. Consider opting for this headset if you’re on a strapped budget.
Additionally, this could be the model for you if you want an ultra high resolution VR. There are rumors that PlayStation could launch the next-generation VR.
It has a low barrier to entry, meaning you don’t need a powerful PC. All you need is a PS4 or PS5 console.
The audio quality provided can give you an immersive gaming experience, while the performance matches that of the Oculus Go.
- Easy to set up
- Expansive library of compatible games
- Modest pricing
- All needed accessories not included
- Subprime motion controls
6. Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
For VR enthusiasts on a budget, the Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset is worth considering.
The Rift S has finer touch-ups compared to the Rift. It has a more precise setup process, while new features help generate an elevated gaming experience.
When compared to the Quest, the Rift uses an LCD panel instead of OLED technology. It’s able to display a resolution of 1280 × 1440 per eye.
Also, unlike the Oculus Quest, this model has access to more VR software. The former is a standalone type, while the Rift S needs a cable connection.
In general, the headset design is simple yet comfortable. The other great feature is how its movement tracking syncs with the visuals.
It works with two lenses facing outside that both give you a 3D experience. You don’t need to have external sensors, unlike former generations.
The three-point headband and strap help suppress discomfort while gaming, and there’s a wheel at the back for making adjustments.
This headset is a tethered model. As an alternative to HDMI, it connects via a DisplayPort. Consequently, you might need to use an adapter if the port is missing.
Similar to most other tethered models, there’s no doubt you need powerful graphics. Oculus suggests at least 8GB of RAM.
The device offers symmetrical mirroring and position tracking. These features give you six degrees of freedom when making movements.
- Easy setup
- Accurate motion tracking
- Access to a large software library No contract
- Uses tethered connection
- Resolution is lower than the Oculus Quest
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a VR Headset
When deciding which VR headset is right for you, make sure to evaluate these factors.
PC Processing Power
Most virtual reality headsets will run without faults. It’s best if your PC has the latest generation of GPU.
You will first want to check whether or not your PC is powerful enough.
For example, Oculus has its own set of minimum requirements. To experience its full functionality, you need a Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card or higher.
Check whether the headset is running on the latest technology. It’s best to consider the overall refresh rate and resolution per eye.
Some headsets use LCD, while others have OLED displays. For movement tracking, headsets will have different types of sensors and fields of view. Others have advanced motion-sensing controllers.
You also want to look at other things like latency and screen door effects. In general, higher specs will give you a better experience.
Ease of Use
Most modern VR headsets are either tethered or standalone. You’ll need to connect tethered headsets to your PC. Tethered models include the HTC Cosmos Vive or the Valve Index.
Some users don’t find the tethered type suitable for gaming. It’s easy to trip over the cord.
You have to look at the overall ergonomics of the headset. Also, test if the motion controllers are responsive.
Price & Availability
Pricing varies depending on the features you need. Most VR headsets are either standalone, PC-based or console.
It’s worth noting that new releases come in a limited batch and may cost more.
You probably have some questions before you purchase a VR headset. Here are some frequently asked questions that may help.
The leading VR types are Standalone VR, PC VR and Console VR. Standalone VR headsets work without a cable connection.
They also don’t require a powerful PC to achieve a great gaming experience. On the other hand, a PC VR such as the HTC Vive requires a PC. Additionally, it needs a set of accessories.
Finally, Console VRs support gaming consoles such as the PlayStation
First, you want to test the VR for space. If it’s a tethered headset, make sure that it allows you to walk around freely.
Second, you want to evaluate whether your PC meets the minimum hardware requirements. Also, look at the motion tracking features and the overall field of view.
Design and ergonomics also help achieve a great VR experience.
It’s best to check whether your PC or smartphone is VR-ready.
Compatibility depends on the suggested minimum requirements. We recommend having an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card or higher.
To make the gaming experience more responsive, you need at least 8 GB of RAM. Make sure your PC has a DisplayPort or USB port.
Finding the right VR headset can take your movie, gaming or virtual travel experience to the next level.
Choosing the right VR headset depends on your preferences. Evaluate price, specifications, processing power and more before making a purchase.
Don’t get discouraged by the number of options currently on the market. Regardless of the type of VR experience you want, there’s a headset out there for you.