VR headsets transport you inside of your favourite virtual worlds. They do this by offering immersive tracking and high-definition visuals in a comfortable package that you won’t mind wearing for long periods of time. The best VR headset for you will also need to support the games you want to play.
With so much on offer compared to just a few years ago, it really is a great time to get into virtual reality so let’s have a look at 6 of the most featured headset products on offer.
Some of the VR headsets considered to be among the best
1. Oculus Quest 2
A great entry level offering for a great price.
Display: LCD; Resolution: 3664 x 1920; Refresh Rate: Up to 90 Hz; Field of View: 100 degrees; Controllers: Oculus Touch; Connections: USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone; Current Price Estimate: £300; Pros: mobile and portable, high convenience factor, good quality graphics, great price; Cons: mandatory Facebook login, not the most high-end VR quality.
The Oculus Quest 2 improves on the original Quest and delivers higher more modern VR quality for a for cheaper price. With a new LCD at 1832 x 1920 per eye, the Quest 2 offers exceptional clarity for such a cheap headset, through which you can enjoy many games and educational VR experiences either for the stand-alone headset or rendered from your PC using Oculus Link cable attachment.
Because of the Link cable the Quest 2 becomes more than a stand-alone mobile VR headset. It becomes an all-in-one VR headset, capable of mobile VR and gaming across Steam VR and Oculus Rift compatible titles. It’s now capable of a much faster refresh rate, thanks to a recent software update, making it a great deal for beginners who are just starting to explore the world of VR and want somewhere to begin their journey.
The Quest 2 is also quick and easy compared to some other headsets to get set up. With Inside-Out tracking and hand tracking built-into the experience, you can go from unboxing to being in VR in just a couple of minutes. The Quest 2 has also enjoyed a boost in memory capacity recently, with the 128GB model on sale.
There’s only one major drawback to this deal in the Oculus Quest 2’s plan to capture the entry level VR headset Market: it has a compulsory Facebook account login. You need to have a Facebook account; it’s getting obvious that social media companies collect and monetise your data in all sorts of ways. If you’re not a fan of Facebook’s practices, then that could be a deal breaker for what is otherwise an incredible entry level offering.
2. Valve Index
Often featured as the best VR headset for a premium experience on a gaming PC.
Display: AMOLED; Resolution: 2880 x 1600; Refresh Rate: 120 Hz; Field of View: >130 degrees; Controllers:Index Controllers; Connections:Display Port, USB 3.0, USB 2.0; Current Price Estimate: £1,200; Pros: perhaps the best hardware available for the retail market, comfortable to wear, good field of view and almost no screen door gives an incredible visual experience; Cons: setup is somewhat long and complicated, limited support for finger-tracking, expensive.
The Valve Index has perhaps the best visuals of any of the big players in the consumer VR world, with a display resolution equalling the Vive Pro, Quest, and Odyssey+ but paired with a 120Hz refresh rate. The field of view is incredible, at 130°, and there’s virtually no visually detectable screen door effect inside the headset to distract from the experience.
This high-end headset is expensive, but you get what you pay for, with lots of handy convenience features, like per-finger tracking on the excellent Index controllers, USB ports for future accessories, and fantastic, binaural audio via the near-field speakers. It’s easy to see how much work has gone into making this a headset for VR fanatics. It’s also comfortable to wear and built from high-quality materials, that are made to last.
At possibly over a thousand dollars, the complete Index package costs more than three Quest 2s. To sweeten the deal, Half-Life: Alyx comes with it for free.
3. HTC Vive Pro 2
Another great headset with an amazing display, but again it will cost you.
Display: LCD; Resolution: 4896 x 2448; Refresh Rate:120 Hz; Field of View: 120 degrees; Controllers: HTC Vive; Connections: Display Port 1.2, USB 3.0; Current Price Estimate: £700; Pros: all round quality, awesome display, precise tracking; Cons: expensive, takes time to setup, gets hot in use.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 brings with it a great display to make it one of the most impressive mainstream options around. The native resolution of 2,448 x 2,448 pixels per eye is incredibly high, and when coupled with the 120Hz refresh rate and 120-degree field of view, makes for one of the best viewing experiences around.
The full kit comprises the headset, two first-generation controllers, and a pair of Base Station 2.0 satellites. The headset is available on its own as well, which is useful if you’re upgrading from a first-generation setup.
If you’re looking for the very best display around, particularly as an upgrade, there’s certainly a case to be made for the Vive Pro 2. The price will come down in time, and it’s good to look out for deals where you can pick it up for much cheaper.
4. HP Reverb G2
The best VR headset that’s intended to work with Windows Mixed Reality software.
Display: LCD; Resolution:4320 x 2160; Refresh Rate:90 Hz; Field of View: 114 degrees; Controller: Odyssey Controllers; Connections: DisplayPort 1.3, USB 3.0; Current Price Estimate: £700; Pros: easy setup, quality visuals with no screen door effect; Cons: the field of view is below average, limited tracking.
The HP Reverb G2 deserves a place here with the best VR headsets, mainly due to its fantastic resolution. If future-proofing your hardware in terms of image quality is your main concern, it’s a good option for a reasonable price. With 2160p per eye, the Reverb G2 manages to completely alleviate the screen door effect that can cause issues with some lower resolution headsets, provided you have a powerful enough GPU to be able to handle all those pixels.
Even playing in lower resolutions, you get to take advantage of great features like the highly inclusive, physical inter-pupillary distance toggle on the underside of the headset; the range is impressive compared to other options on the market. You also get a very comfortable headset, which is such an important factor that many hardware designers overlook as they focus their attention of specs. A great all-round headset although it does lack a little in terms of field of view. But you might not even notice this in most in-game situations.
While this headset is not quite on the level as some of the above, it has enough great features for a decent price, that does make it worth a consideration.
5. HTC Vive Cosmos Elite
HTC delivers improved tracking accuracy.
Display: LCD; Resolution: 2880 x 1700; Refresh Rate:90 Hz; Field of View:110 degrees; Controllers: 1st-gen Vive Controllers; Connections: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0; Current Price Estimate: £600; Pros: high resolutions display, very accurate tracking, includes Half-Life: Alyx and Viveport Infinity; Cons: first-gen controllers and base stations, not massively innovative over the competition.
The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite is designed to address some of the original HTC Vive Cosmos problems while maintaining that model’s core specifications. There are two displays within the headset being driven separately; The two 1440 x 1700 pixel displays running at 90 Hz are amazing to see. The Cosmos Elite comes bundled with Half-Life: Alyx and 6-months of Viveport Infinity subscription, which at the very least means there are lots of things to try out with your new headset.
The Cosmos Elite is essentially the original Cosmos bundled with the first-generation base stations and controllers. This means you lose some of the originals inside-out tracing convenience but get improved accuracy for the trouble. That’s a trade-off that does feel worthwhile if you want to be as immersed as possible in your favourite games without ever having to worry about tracking quality. You will need a decent play area fin order to make the most of this opportunity.
The price is quite high, but, if you’re looking for a premium VR gaming experience, you’re going to have to pay for it, whichever solution you go for.
6. Oculus Rift S
This is the most suitable VR headset for a huge library of available games.
Display: LCD; Resolution: 2560 x 1600; Refresh Rate: 80 Hz; Field of View: 110 degrees; Controllers: Oculus Touch; Connections: DisplayPort/Mini DisplayPort, USB 3.0; Current Price Estimate: £300; Pros: excellent resolution and refresh rate, an incredible library of games which makes it all worthwhile, convenient inside out tracking; Cons: lower display quality that the competition, 80Hz is slow in the modern era of VR.
It’s nearly the end of the sales life cycle Oculus Rift S, according to Facebook, it will no longer be replenished at retailers. So, should you snap one up? The Rift S was amazing at one time, but it’s largely been replaced by the Quest 2, a VR headset that cheaper, and offers better specs too.
It is however still an enjoyable experience, and it does have an impressive library of games to call on, and so it might be worth it if you can live with the old hardware and get a good deal.
It’s still an impressive piece of hardware and a great way for PC owners to dive into VR on a budget. Obviously, it’s a Facebook product like the Quest 2 so you need to make a judgement on if you like that or not.
All in all, there are many amazing options out there for people looking to explore VR, available for most budgets and price points. The above summaries with let you decide what you want to prioritise in a purchase, whether that be price, game library, tracking, resolution and screen, or portability.
VR has come such a long way from just a few years ago on both the software and the hardware side of things, that any of the above options would be an amazing offer from the perspective of just a couple of years ago. Look for deals, think it through, and make a choice that is right for your needs.