There is a wide range of VR headsets available on the market these days. Knowing which one to spend your hard earned dollars on can be challenging. Each has its own set of features and things that it does well and not so well There is not yet a VR headset that smashes it out of the ballpark in all facets but they are quite a few that do deliver an amazing VR experience. We have reviewed for you the most popular VR headsets available on the market today.
Virtual Reality Headset Buying Guide
This guide has been specifically created to help you in your search for the best Virtual Reality headsets in the market. You need to factor in the following as you look around; budget, the space you have and your expectation from the VR experience.
Some of the headsets simply work by inserting them to a smartphone while others must be connected to a PC for VR gaming.
- Oculus Quest
Commonly referred to as a standalone headset which gives users a full room-scale movement. The headset functions independently without support from a smart phone or PC to work while giving you the six degrees freedom. Even though its Snapdragon chipset may compete with systems like Rift S it far much better than other VR systems.
For its specification, the Oculus Quest combines both the OLED display resolution at 2880 x1600 with a rate of 72Hz. As for the battery life, it goes for 2-3 hours.
The Quest also gives users much space to move around without worrying about the cable of the headset. When considering Oculus Quest as a headset you would want to buy, remember to consider the following: –
- Oculus Quest does not require any form of exterior sensors which includes motion controllers and onboard processes.
- A product that gives the consumer a great user experience is something that most consumers always look out for. Oculus is easy to install and quickly introduces newbies to the VR experience.
- Affordability is another factor to be considered when looking out for the best VR headsets. This makes is the best headset that you can quickly look out for.
- It performs excellently without a PC.
- Gives the user a wireless experience.
- The tracking capabilities are top notch especially when viewing a 360-degree video or playing a game.
- When you lean close to objects, there is a possibility that it can lose sight of your hands especially the gadget is held behind your back.
- They can be very uncomfortable during when used for longer sessions. This means that it is not comfortable like a typical headset that you would have for longer periods. The weight is another factor that attributes to the longer sessions that most users experience.
- The battery life for Oculus Quest is around 2 hours. This means that the more games you play the more the battery life will be eaten up.
- Oculus Rift S
The Rift is the latest version from Oculus that has been modified to give users the best VR experience. Users with this type of headset takes around 5 minutes to setup and uses only one single cable.
The Oculus Rift S model is known to be the perfect replacement for the Rift CV1 and is known to require a PC to power it. When it is compared to other headsets such HTC Vive, the gadget has a high resolution LCD display.
The headset design. The front panel features two outward facing cameras functioning with two more on the right and left corners. This helps is providing tracking while giving environment recognition without the use of an external sensor.
- The price is pocket friendly especially for those who love to buy VR headsets that are affordable.
- The other advantage and key component that can be factored in is that there are no external sensors that are required.
- It has a high resolution display.
- When you buy these headsets, there is no need to purchase extra headphones.
- The touch controllers are excellent
- The colors are not deep as on the LCD display.
- Compared to the Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S has a physical cable that has to be connected to a PC.
- It has lower resolution when compared to Oculus Quest.
- No HDMI port.
- HTC Vive
This is the type of headsets with motion controllers which can be used either with your laptop or PC. This pair of headsets gives the user to experience a virtual world in the highest possible quality.
You will see movements in VR with the help of the motion controllers. The HTC Vive VR headsets are purely for those who are looking to have a full VR experience on PC.
- HTC Vive has two 1080 x1200 OLED displays at 90Hz one for each eye. It also has a combined resolution of 2160 x 1200.
- Also equipped with a 720p camera that can be used for taking a peek at the outside world.
- Has two motion controllers and earbuds.
- It has a large roomscale space that you are able to walk around in the VR.
- Video output: 1x HDMI 1.4 port
- Its processor is better than Intel Core i5.
- It has a poor setup and one can take more than an hour to download and download the software’s and games.
- It is also time consuming when setting up the playing area and controllers.
- Only suitable for a powerful game on the laptop or PC.
- PS4 VR
PS4 VR delivers a new experience in the world of gaming with its level of immersion on the home consoles.
The VR headset has LEDs all around it with DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller and a move motion controller.
- The headset is comfortable and is easy to adjust.
- It has a great mechanical relief system hence it gives users a good experience.
- Sony also developed a PSVR that is very clear and sharp. With its resolution being lower than that of the Rift and Vive, the company has proved that resolution is not everything.
- It is easy to set up simply because one just has to plug the VR and camera to the PS4 VR and its ready.
- Produces seamless visuals that will keep you connected to the 5.7’’ OLED 1080p headset screen.
- The movement that is captured by the PS camera is able to track the VR headsets LEDs DUALSHOCK 4 controller.
- Well balanced, comfortable and can be adjusted to give you an impression that it does not exist so as to keep you glued to the game.
- The hardware takes up a lot of room so you have to watch out for the many wires that will be on the floor.
- The VR is not as smooth as the Rift or Vive
- Other people consider it not to be pocket friendly in its pricing.
- Valve Index
Where does VR go to next? There seem to be only two suggestions that most people actually believe in: either it is the Oculus Quest or the Rift.
But enters the Valve Index which is the most comfortable headset in the market. Its demand has also increased tremendously.
If you are thinking of purchasing these headsets, then you will need a gaming PC to use it. It is not your perfect choice when it comes to portability.
- This pair is believed to be highly priced compared to other headsets.
- Gives the user a wide field of view.
- User-friendly. The headsets are very comfortable hence they can be used for several hours without feeling too much.
- It offers very solid visuals hence gives a good experience.
- Also has some of the best controllers that are available in the market.
- Very expensive when compared to other headsets.
- Tethered to a PC
- The lighthouse setup is inconvenient.
- Samsung Gear VR
This VR kit combines both the portability of a smartphones with great experiences with VR gaming. It has the best features when compared to Oculus Rift or HTC vive due to its compatibility and weight.
The Samsung gear VR equally offers comfort to the user as the headset is fitted with a good amount of foam padding so that the plastic side does not push to your face when you are gaming.
- Improved in quality compared to its predecessors.
- Lightweight and portable. This makes it more usable especially when you are planning to have longer sessions.
- Comfortable to for longer gaming sessions. This is due to the fact that it has been fitted with enough padding that it gives the user a great experience to use for even longer sessions.
- It is also compatible with several galaxy devices through the use of the removable port modules.
- The Samsung Gear VR is much better to preserve the virtual reality experience due to the fact that it blocks light from your environment.
- Pretty simple to set up.
- The Samsung Gear VR mostly consist of plastic construction.
- It is not compatible with non-Samsung devices.
- Not durable
- Poor quality in the audio/visual areas.
- Oculus Go
Compared to all other great headsets, the Oculus Go is actually the most comfortable and convenient headset available. Just like the Gear VR, this headset is completely mobile which means that it offers users 3 degrees of freedom. No attachment to a computer that is needed.
It is completely self-contained as there is no need of inserting a mobile phone. Oculus Go also provides with comfort when wearing the headset.
- The Oculus Go is a highly affordable standalone headset without the need of having a console or PC or other accessories.
- The Oculus mobile app offers lots of apps, games and experiences.
- 2560 x 1440 display.
- The displays rates are up to 72Hz.
- Has internal speakers.
- It requires WiFi access for streaming sessions.
- Limited in its mobile hardware.
- Limited by the battery life that goes for 2-2.5 hours per charge.
- No position tracking, it only gives a head tracking allowing 3 degrees of freedom.
- HTC Vive Pro
This is an upscale and upgrade version of the HTC Vive that was developed sometime after the Vive had been established in the market. It is a tethered headset just like the HTC Vive that is designed to work on laptops and PCs.
Windows is the recommended platform for this set of headsets even though SteamVR, MacOS and Linux functionalities also work. It plugs to a Link Box which turns into a wall outlet for power and DisplayPort for graphics.
The body quality is amazing and also durable and is built to last for quite a long time. You can easily tell this by a simple look or touch of the headset that is of high quality. Actually its design is similar to that of the HTC Vive the only difference is that its comfortable and adjustable to any of the HTC products.
For those who use glasses, this set of headset is the most ideal to buy than any other in the market. This is because of the high precision adjustable optics which gives sufficient room within the face plate to accommodate the size of the face.
- Well known in the market as the best resolution headsets available in the market today.
- It has an upgraded room tracking feature and additional camera.
- The HTC Vive Pro is durable and also of high quality.
- Good quality noise-cancelling headphones.
- It is expensive when compared to other headsets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
- You may be forced to do an upgrade on your PC to support the upgraded features. This is due to the fact that its specs are much more demanding than your average headset.
- Setting up the gadget is more complex compared to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Overall, it depends on your budget and what you want to get out of your VR experience. For entry level users and those just wanting to try VR for the first time our recommendations are the Oculus Go or Oculus Quest as these are on the lower end in terms of price and they ae both very easy to setup and use straight out of the box without a high end graphics card or PC or laptop. The Oculus Rift S is a great choice for the middle end and those with a powerful enough graphics card and laptop. Those with higher budgets and more room who are heavily into gaming and want the highest resolution available might want to consider the HTC Vive Pro or the Valve Index. For existing PS4 owners the PS4 VR headset is a decent choice also. There are headsets which are not really dedicated headsets but they allow mobile phones to be used within the headset to give a VR experience, Google Cardboard is one such one. However, for those looking for the best VR experience possible a dedicated VR headset is the smarter choice. Hopefully our guide has shown you what you need to consider when choosing the best VR headsets that are right for you. You can also read our individual reviews on each headset to learn more about each VR headset.