Greatest VR headsets: Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, PSVR, & extra
Ready to immerse yourself in a whole new digital adventure world? The capabilities of the best VR headsets may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but virtual reality hardware is finally catching up with the standards set by futurists decades ago.
Whether you jumped on the VR bandwagon early with your well-read copy of William Gibson’s Neuromancer, still tasting the popcorn from your first viewing of The Matrix, or were lucky enough to be an early adopter of the first wave of Oculus Virtual Being reality hardware, the best VR headsets have come a long way since they first appeared in arcades in the early 90s.
There are huge companies like Facebook and Valve with their Oculus Quest 2 or in digitized playgrounds.
Track your movements and show your interactions on a screen right in front of your eyes, VR gameplay, videos and experiences are some of the most haunting moments modern technology can offer right now. It is almost hard to fully describe the feeling of stepping into a virtually realized environment, and the best VR headsets only enhance the comfort and immersion found with these incredible devices.
Whether you are using the power of your gaming PC for high-end virtual reality experiences or you are looking for the flexibility of an all-in-one wireless headset, our roundup of the best VR headsets will help you choose the right head -Mounted display for you.
And if you choose to buy one of these awesome headsets, head over to our VR Headset Deals hub to find the best deals. We are constantly updating it with new offers as they pop up.
The best VR headsets of 2021
1. Oculus Quest 2
(Photo credit: future)
Oculus Quest 2
Platforms: Platforms: Oculus Store (standalone and via PC) | Price: From $ 299 / £ 299 | Resolution: 1832 x 1920 per eye | Field of view: 90 degrees | Update rate: 120 Hz | Controller: Oculus Touch / Xbox One and Series S / X controllers
Wireless and portable
Excellent game library with PC support
Not the last word in clarity
The wireless, standalone Oculus Quest 2 is the perfect introduction to the joys of virtual reality. This relatively affordable wireless headset has everything you need to get started with VR gaming right away. It’s powerful enough to run some of the most enticing VR experiences without breaking the bank, and accesses Oculus’ ever-growing library of exclusive virtual reality titles.
Its screen isn’t the sharpest, but its wireless nature makes it one of the easiest and most comfortable to wear. And for those who have really invested in the virtual reality scene, it will even work with titles that were originally developed solely for PC VR gamers. This is thanks to the Oculus Quest 2’s flexible support for additional wired gameplay via a PC and the wireless PC streaming connectivity for those with sufficiently strong Wi-Fi connections.
2. valve index
(Image credit: valve)
Best powerhouse VR headset
Platforms: Steam VR (PC) | Price: $ 999 / £ 919 | Resolution: 1440 × 1600 per eye | Field of view: 130 degrees | Update rate: 144 Hz | Controller: Valve Index Controller, HTC Vive and Vive Pro Controller
Incredibly impressive screens
The best VR controllers on the market
Great over-ear speakers
No wireless functionality
If you are looking for the most luxurious virtual reality experience you should invest in a Valve Index headset. It’s one of the more expensive devices on this list – not just because of its high specs, which include a super-sharp screen and extra tracking stations that need to be spread around the room, but also because it is expected to be addicting to this headset up to a relatively high-quality PC. There is no wireless option with the Valve Index kit.
What you get instead is arguably the most complete VR experience yet, thanks to the Valve Index’s larger field of view, high-resolution display, and “knuckle” -style controllers that let you use each of your fingers and thumbs individually in a VR environment . It is the model for upcoming VR devices and the perfect companion for the best VR experience to date – the science fiction horror adventure Half-Life: Alyx, which was developed in conjunction with the Valve Index headset. It can be hard to sell out on a regular basis and we expect an updated model to hit the market shortly. But if you can afford the price and meet the PC and space needs, this is the best VR experience money can get right now.
3. PlayStation VR
(Photo credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC)
The best VR headset for consoles
Platforms: PS4 / PS5 | Price: $ 399 / £ 349 | Resolution: 960 x 1080 per eye | Field of view: 100 degrees | Update rate: 90 Hz | Controller: DualShock 4, DualShock 5, PlayStation Move, PlayStation Aim
Runs on a game console that you (probably) have
Excellent exclusive games
Move controllers aren’t that great
Low resolution screen compared to the competition
Given the relatively low-power PS4 console it’s tied to, the PlayStation VR (PSVR) wired headset still offers a hell of a good time for gamers. Based on its first-party development studios and publishing friends, Sony has put together a great library of exclusive titles to play with, including the adorable Astro Bot Rescue Mission, the terrifying Resident Evil 7 (with PSVR-exclusive virtual reality mode) and James Bond- Bait Blood & Truth.
However, the PlayStation VR gear now looks a bit old. Though it’s regularly bundled with games way below MSRP, the screen resolution is low, the controllers (based on an old PS3 motion controller design) are behind the pack, and the wired breakout box is a faff to set up.
And while hardware and software are compatible with the new PS5 console, it has already been confirmed that a PSVR 2 is in the works at Sony headquarters. If you haven’t dealt with VR on your PlayStation yet, it may be worth waiting for the sequel at this point, which promises greatly improved controller ergonomics and far more detailed displays. There’s no release date for this yet, but we expect to find out more in 2022.
4. HTC Vive Pro 2
(Image credit: HTC Corporation)
HTC Vive Pro 2
The best high definition VR headset
Platforms: Steam VR (PC) | Price: $ 1,399 / £ 1,299 | Resolution: 2448 × 2448 per eye | Field of view: 120 degrees | Update rate: 120 Hz | Controller: HTC Vive and Vive Pro controllers
Dissolution of superlatives
Wide field of vision
If you’re looking for pure fidelity in your PC VR gaming experiences, you will struggle to find a better headset than the HTC Vive Pro 2. With a staggering 5K resolution, it’s about as sharp as VR headsets before entering any really niche enthusiast territory. With a fast refresh rate and a large field of view, you can really see every detail of your time in VR, to the point where you get close to photorealistic quality in some high-end apps.
Unfortunately, such clarity comes at a high price, and we’re not just talking about the cost of the HTC Vive Pro 2 kit itself. To run this headset at a stable frame rate, you need a very high quality PC and graphics card, whatever Can make endeavors unaffordable.
And given the forward-looking spec sheet of actual display tech here, other elements of the package feel a little dated. As a wired device, HTC hasn’t updated its wireless joysticks in a long time, and the power-hungry base stations that track your movements (albeit closely) can be frustrating to set up. This screen can get hot too – which isn’t surprising given the power required to run it. It’s an incredibly top notch experience from a visual standpoint, but be aware of its limitations elsewhere.
5. HTC Kosmos Elite
(Image credit: HTC)
HTC Cosmos Elite
The most customizable VR headset
Platforms: Steam VR (PC) | Price: $ 899 / £ 899 | Resolution: 1440 x 1700 per eye | Field of view: 110 degrees | Update rate: 90 Hz | Controller: HTC Vive and Vive Pro controllers
Expensive compared to comparable competition
A bit older than the HTC Vive Pro 2, think of the HTC Cosmos Elite as its cheaper, less flashy brother.
While it doesn’t have the stellar specs of the newer Vive Pro 2 model, it still has a lot going for it. Its base stations track movement well, its field of view is relatively large, and its game library (both via the Steam VR marketplace and via the HTC VIVEPORT subscription service) is deep and fun.
However, the Vive Pro 2’s weaknesses are evident here too – they’re the same unwieldy controllers, and you still need to find places to put its motion tracking base stations in a room as well. However, all in all, it’s still a solid VR choice, especially when age means you can pick it up at a bargain price.
6. HP Reverb G2
(Photo credit: HP Development Company, LP)
HP Reverb G2
The best mid-range VR headset
Platforms: Steam VR (PC) | Price: $ 549 / £ 530.80 | Resolution: 2160 x 2160 per eye | Field of view: 114 degrees | Update rate: 90 Hz | Controller: HP Reverb G2 controller
High resolution display
A higher refresh rate would be desirable
The HP Reverb G2 takes an unusual place on this list. On the one hand, its high-resolution screens make it stiff competition for the Valve Index and the HTC Vive Pro 2, but on the other hand, its low refresh rate means it can’t keep up with the natural smoothness of any of these devices.
Then there’s the price – at $ 549 / £ 530.80, it’s the same affordability as the Oculus Quest 2 and PSVR. But it doesn’t come with controllers in the box, and its wired nature means you still need a pretty powerful (read: expensive) PC to pair it with. And yet, it has a physical IPD slider (which lets the lenses adjust more precisely to the distance between your pupils) while the Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t.
Mix in some tracking issues and a relatively narrow field of view and the whole package just doesn’t quite fit together. If you really need to have a high resolution display in your PC VR headset and don’t want to completely break the bank, this is a great option. That being said, there are more complete and satisfying setups elsewhere on this list.
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