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With games as successful as Flight Simulator or as fun as Beat Saber, virtual reality is becoming more and more popular with gamers of all ages. But how do you choose the best VR headset to suit your gaming style? Read our guide to discover the best VR headsets currently available on the market.
Virtual reality has made it possible to experience gaming like never before because it allows players to immerse themselves completely in the world of a game. The rise of standalone VR headsets such as Oculus Quest 2 has taken VR gaming to new levels. With these headsets, you don’t need to have a powerful PC in order to experience the wonderful world of VR.
As standalone VR headsets became better, inserting your phone into a headset to play a game is no longer a very popular approach. For example, Samsung has abandoned support for its Gear VR with the release of the Galaxy S20. However, this is still an option for casual play on older Samsung phones.
We put together a list of the best PC, standalone and console VR headsets so you can easily choose the one that works best for you. At the end of this guide, you’ll also find our suggestions for the best cheap VR headset and best VR headset for your iPhone or Android phone.
Now let’s have a look at the best VR headsets money can buy right now.
The Best PC VR Headsets
1. HTC Vive Pro 2
Release date: 2021
Price: $1,399 full kit; $799 headset only
The HTC Vive Pro is the best VR headset on the market right now. Even though the headset is expensive, this is one of the most comfortable headsets out there while also boasting significant improvements in visual clarity.
Among the features brought by HTC’s Vive Pro 2, it’s essential to mention the 5K definition (4896 x 2448 pixels) provided by its dual LCD screen. This resolution is of course divided in two, which means 2.5K, or 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye. With this resolution, the device exceeds two of the best VR, the Valve Index and the HP Reverb G2. These headsets have a resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels and 4320 x 2160 pixels respectively.
To provide even better visual quality, HTC has worked with Nvidia and AMD to make it possible to optimize the DSC or Display Stream Compression. This means that users won’t have to get a powerful graphics card or upgrade their entire PC configuration to take advantage of the 5K definition. The HTC Vive Pro 2 is the first VR headset to benefit from such an improvement.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 also focuses on ergonomics for a level of immersion that is both fluid and comfortable. In addition to offering an adjustable strap, it offers the ability to adjust the interpupillary distance, which helps reduce eye strain.
- Best visual quality you can get at the moment
- Excellent tracking
- Foam cushions are not moisture-proof
Reviews for HTC Vive Pro 2 are mostly positive, with gamers praising the stunning resolution and comfort. Downsides include the price and the fact that you can get very hot while wearing the headset.
Content compatibility: Half-Life: Alyx, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, Superhot VR
2. Valve Index
Release date: 2019
Even though it’s heavier than the other headsets on this list, the Valve Index features a comfortable and high-quality design, built-in speakers, and comes with hand-strap controllers that offer pressure-sensitive control.
The headset offers 6-degree-of-freedom VR with full body position and motion tracking, and it has two cameras and a USB port if you want to expand even further. The LCD panel of this headset adjusts the refresh rate of the range according to the processing power of your computer.
- Wide field of view
- Great audio
- Room-scale VR
- Doesn’t come with charging cable
Positive reviews abound for the Valve Index, with many players loving the specs and the overall gaming experience. A downside frequently mentioned in reviews is that setting up the headset can be quite time consuming.
Content compatibility: Beat Saber, Superhot VR, PokerStars VR, Arizona Sunshine
3. HP Reverb G2
Release date: 2020
The HP Reverb G2 offers an immersive gaming experience as well as amazing inside-out tracking and excellent audio. One of the main advantages of this headset is that it can be adjusted to fit your morphology thanks to a mechanical adjustment of the interpupillary distance. This helps to prevent blurry vision for some users and to avoid feelings of nausea as much as possible.
In addition, the cable provided in the packaging is 6m, which gives freedom of movement without being accidentally disconnected. Some reviews mention that the cable management system is messy, but overall, the HP Reverb G2 is a great virtual reality option that’s made extra convenient by the Windows Mixed Reality elements.
- Outstanding near-field speakers
- Very immersive gaming experience
- Sharp high-resolution screens
- Controllers are not perfect
- The Velcro head strap is not very comfortable
Content compatibility: Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency, The Room VR: A Dark Matter, Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency
Best Standalone VR Headsets
1. Oculus Quest 2
Release date: 2020
The Oculus Quest 2 is the best standalone VR headset you can buy right now and it’s also an excellent choice for beginners. It sports a sleek and comfortable design and has intuitive controllers that make gaming a breeze for players of all ages. Because this is a standalone headset, it offers anyone an easy route to the world of VR, without the need of owning a powerful, expensive computer beforehand.
What makes the Oculus Quest 2 stand out from the crowd is its design, which is very sleek for a virtual reality headset. There’s only one smartly placed button on the headset, which contributes to maintaining the seamless design. The strong ecosystem and wide range of games available for the headset make it an excellent choice for those who are looking to dip their toes into virtual reality.
- Intuitive controllers
- Impressive game library
- Very comfortable library
- Controllers are not rechargeable
The vast majority of reviews for the Oculus Quest 2 are positive, with many of them mentioning how easy and comfortable it is to experience virtual reality with this headset. One of the downsides often noted by reviewers is the fact that you need Facebook to play and you have to use a cable that costs extra if you want to link the headset to your computer.
Content compatibility: Beat Saber, Vader Immortal, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Pistol Whip: 2089
2. HTC Vive Focus
Release date: 2019
Just like in the case of the Oculus Quest 2, the HTC Vive Focus is a standalone headset, which means that it’s wireless and you don’t need any additional devices to run it. You can get a complete VR experience in a single device. This is a very lightweight headset powered by a 835 chipset that allows you to get an overall resolution of 2880 x 1600 pixels.
The HTC Vive Focus offers great overall tracking and since the headset is so light and comfortable, you can play for hours without any discomfort. Just like in the case of most other VR headsets, some users mention that the HTC Vive Focus causes a slight feeling of dizziness when you rotate. The
- Lightweight and comfortable headset
- Great graphics and resolution
- Smart battery management
- Only 32GB of local storage, which may not be enough if you want to download multiple games at once
The HTC Vive Focus continues to get lots of positive reviews years after its launch. Users are particularly impressed with the tracking and resolution of the headset, as well as with the level of comfort it provides. Some of the downsides often mentioned in reviews include the fact that the controller only has three degrees of freedom, which causes disconnection at times because of the lack of movement tracking and the lack of an extra controller.
Content compatibility: SuperHot VR, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition, Skyrim VR
3. Lenovo Mirage Solo
Release date: 2018
This is a standalone VR headset from Lenovo that doesn’t require a PC or smartphone to work. It features a 5.5-inch LCD display that offers 2560 x1440 pixels per eye and comes equipped with 4 GB of RAM. The estimated battery life is seven hours and the headset has 64 GB of storage plus a microSD card slot if you need more space.
The Lenovo Mirage Solo is compatible with Google’s Daydream VR platform, which means that you can get access to a wide library of content. The headset is designed to fit multiple head proportions and face shapes and it comes with specific load distribution, which reduces strain on the front side of the head.
- You can use the headset with glasses
- Comfort-oriented design that suits multiple face sizes and shapes
- Long battery life
- Headset feels a bit bulky
- Limited motion tracking
Content compatibility: Blade Runner: Revelations, Eclipse: Edge of Light, Dreadhalls and Affected: The Manor
Best Console VR Headset
1. PlayStation VR
Release date: 2016
The PlayStation (PSVR) is Sony’s virtual reality headset for the PS4 (PlayStation 4). It’s the only VR headset currently available for consoles and it has sold more than 5 million units to date. One of the main advantages of buying this VR headset is the incredible content library available for it. From Resident Evil 7 to Skyrim and No Man’s Sky, you can play all the biggest VR hits on the PSVR. Many of the games available for this console are not available for other popular headsets such as the Oculus Quest 2.
The 5.7” OLED screen of the PSVR has a resolution of 1920×RGB×1080 and a field of view of about 100 degrees. One of the best things about the headset is its design, which is fully adjustable so it fits players of all ages and sizes.
- Excellent library of games
- Smooth visuals
- Affordable if you already own a PlayStation 4
- Accessories are not bundled
- Motion tracking is not perfect
Even though the PSVR doesn’t have the best range of motion tracking, it’s an excellent choice for people who already own a PS4. Reviews praise the comfortable design of the headset and the excellent catalogue of content, but some users complain about the imperfect motion tracking.
Content compatibility: Fairpoint, Robinson: The Journey, Resident Evil 7
Best Cheap VR Headset
1. Oculus Rift S
Release date: 2019
The Oculus Rift S is the heir of the Oculus Rift and is one of the best VR headsets that comes at an affordable price. The headset is comfortable to wear, and it has indoor tracking for a great room-scale VR experience without any external sensors. Indoor-outdoor tracking uses five cameras placed on the helmet.
The resolution of this headset is higher than the Oculus Rift at 1280 x 1440 versus 1200 x 1080 pixels per eye. However, the refresh rate is slightly lower at 80Hz as opposed to the 90Hz on the Rift.
The device uses touch controllers and pass-through cameras to let you see what’s going on when you walk in VR. The controllers come with sensors on the gamepads and buttons so you can do finger-pointing gestures in virtual reality.
The Oculus Rift S needs a USB 3 and DisplayPort connector, and it comes complete with the AAA batteries for the controllers.
- Easy to set up
- Full software library
- Accurate motion tracking
- Lower resolution than Oculus Quest 2
- No HDMI
Oculus Rift S is regarded as the best affordable VR headset available on the market, and the reviews typically highlight the accurate motion training and the large number of games available for this headset. Negative reviews often mention the low resolution and lack of HDMI support.
Content compatibility: Beat Saber, SuperHot, Half-Life: Alyx, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners
Best VR Headset for Your Phone
1. BNEXT VR PRO
Release date: 2017
This headset is a low-cost one, which makes it ideal for people who don’t want to spend much before making sure VR is indeed for them. The headset is easy to set up and is the best choice out there if you want to put your iPhone or Android phone to good use and experiment with the world of VR on a budget.
Since this is a budget headset, you shouldn’t expect the same level of comfort and overall great experience you can get with the premium headsets listed above. There’s a bit of light leaking into the headset and the resolution of the image depends on the type of phone you use. However, you can expect a decent wide field with this headset.
- Costs a fraction of the price of the top VR headsets
- Easy to set up
- Comfortable design
- Not very user friendly
- Not interactive
The headset receives positive reviews that mention the quality you get for the price, especially when it comes to the level of comfort. Downsides include light leaking into the headset and the fact that the headset is not interactive.
Content compatibility: Any VR content available for smartphones