Probably everyone who is passionate about technology and IT gadgets has heard or participated in at least a discussion about the best VR headsets and what they can do.
Since the 1950s, when the concept of Virtual Reality (the Sensorama project) began to become popular, users dream of the day when they will have a completely immersive experience that will fool both the eye and the mind.
Some participate in demos, others read about this phenomenon in specialized magazines, and so far, few invest in a device to use strictly for virtual reality applications.
Picking out the Best VR Headset
Because not everyone has extensive knowledge in this field and because more and more companies offer a range of models, we present a guide with the essential selection points.
Quality vs. Price
You probably did not expect to get so fast on this topic. Still, the difference in quality and the possibilities of use with various devices are directly related to the price of the VR headset.
The cheapest gadgets in the market are the famous VR cardboard glasses, which are used strictly with the smartphone, allowing the integration of the phone and the visualization of specially designed VR applications. You have a cardboard box that you assemble at home, and inside, you will place, according to the instructions, the special lenses, and magnets in the package.
The whole assembly is attached with a strap, and the smartphone is inserted in the individual case/pocket. It is easy to understand that they are not very durable, and the quality of the visualization cannot be too high. Their price varies, on average, between 5-20 dollars.
The middle-range VR glasses are priced between 20-150 dollars and are made with a plastic case, more robust and with a unique cover that opens and closes to integrate the smartphone. The most efficient variants also come with their own display (mostly LED / Amoled).
Naturally, they have more durable construction and are the most purchased models, because the necessary acquisition budget is considered one that many users can afford. From this category, you can choose VR headsets like Allview, VRBox, VR Space, E-Boda, specific for the lower mid-range, or models from Noon, HOMiDO, and Samsung – recommended from the mid-range top price.
The high-cost range corresponds to the VR glasses that can be used with other devices for the projection of VR applications; they can be priced from 400 dollars to 1200 or even more. Here we can talk about High-End devices dedicated to users who put above all the reliability of the gadgets and the quality of the VR format playback.
The products offer complex functions such as Head Tracking, high resolution, low latency, a large number of frames per second – in other words – unquestionable graphic qualities, and complete isolation of external stimuli.
The most popular alternatives in this price category are PC models. It is important to remember that, unlike cheaper products, they rarely present the risk of causing motion sickness (an adverse effect commonly encountered when using virtual reality devices).
Most offers in the low and medium price range are compatible only with smartphones. The most expensive and most efficient models can be used for PC and PlayStation 4, respectively. Currently, the only VR headset specially designed for the PlayStation 4 is the Sony Playstation VR.
For mobile phones, you may need to consult a list of compatible models when looking for VR glasses, as there may be several drawbacks, especially if your smartphone is older.
To avoid any selection errors, carefully analyze the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the accepted smartphone model. There is no point in having to replace your phone.
However, if you’re looking for the best VR headset for PC, you have to take into consideration your graphics card since not everyone has a desktop capable of providing the necessary resolution for the large VR applications.
If you do not find this information, go to the manufacturer’s website and analyze the following requirements:
- processor model and generation
- RAM value
- video card
Essential for a completely immersive experience is the presence of sound (speaker) and two other options, present only on High-End devices: Head Tracking and Motion Tracking.
The most common systems that use Head Tracking are based on a gyroscope, accelerometer, or magnetometer. Still, there are also more sophisticated products, such as HTC Vive, which includes laser sensors (Laser Towers) that indicate the position of the user’s head or even the hands. For the most realistic effect, the minimum calculated latency required is 50ms (device response time).
Motion Tracking, on the other hand, involves analyzing the movements of the user’s hands and is an option still in development. For greater efficiency, you will need additional controllers connected to the headset. It is expected that infrared monitoring technologies will be developed very soon, which will analyze the movements of the eyes, to reproduce the focus effect on particular virtual objects perfectly.
Control accessories accompany all the devices based on which you access games or through which you can interact with the rendered applications. Some may be compatible with controllers from other sources (gaming pads, joysticks), others are designed to be managed strictly by certain parts (such as HTC or Oculus models).
Although considered less relevant in the field of television (many accusing big numbers, included in descriptions for the sake of selling monitors / TVs), this feature is essential for gaming and virtual reality. It is an indicator expressed in Hertz, a unit showing the refresh of the image in one second.
In other words, a refresh rate of 60Hz means the image refreshed 60 times per second. The values considered good are equal to or exceed 60Hz.
What is The Best VR Headset?
Based on our latest tests, the Oculus Quest is the first one that made it to our best VR headsets list because it enables you to play the latest VR games without being wired to a PC. Furthermore, this model includes hand tracking, meaning you don’t have to use dedicated controllers. Because of this, Oculus Quest games are amazingly engaging. Plus, you’ll have access to a vast game library, which includes games like Beat Saber, Superhot, and Vader Immortal.
Even though many gamers are waiting for the launch of PS5, the PlayStation VR remains the best VR headset for consoles. All it requires is a PS4 and a PS Camera. After that, the installation process is straightforward, and you can be up and gaming within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, the Xbox One and Nintendo Switch don’t deliver a similar experience, making the PSVR one more potential feather in the PS4’s cap, depending on your gaming habits.
For the record, we do suggest a mobile-compatible model below, but it’s not inevitably the best VR headset you could find on the market right now. Smartphone VR goggles are not technically advanced enough to compete with PC and console-based models.
Top 10 Best VR Headset Compared
1. Oculus Quest – Best Overall
Some of those interested in purchasing the best VR headset may be willing to spend considerable amounts on these gadgets. If you are among them, the Oculus Quest is our recommendation.
The performance and quality offered by this model are difficult to match by any other models on the market. And to illustrate, we can start by mentioning the four ultra-wide-angle sensors that precisely monitor the environment and instantly transmits your movements into VR.
Moreover, the two diamond Pentile OLED displays have an individual resolution of 1440 × 1600 pixels, a refresh rate of 72Hz and a field of view of 110 degrees – both specifications higher than any other VR models.
The fact that this system launched with 50 games (still rapidly expanding) will attract many fans of VR applications. The reason many people love this product is that it lets you share your VR experience with others via smartphone or TV.
Overall, it is a high-performance, comfortable product that delivers a faithful, detailed image without bothering the user’s eyes.
Analyzing both the device itself and the various user reviews, we can say that it was difficult for us to find any real disadvantages. The price may be the only discouraging factor, as it is considerably higher than other models and something beyond the purchasing power of the average customer.
- All-in-one VR solution
- Large library of apps
- Capable of room-scale VR
- Can cast content to smartphones and TVs
- A bit pricey
2. Oculus Rift S – Best for PC
When the question arises, what is the best VR headset for the PC, the majority will agree that Oculus Rift is the indisputable example. It is part of the latest generation device category. Still, it is not the most expensive model out there, standing at the base of the most enthusiastic user reviews so far. As a typology, it is a product that connects to desktop devices and offers 3D visualization at a high resolution (quality and clear images), 1200x1080px.
It offers an OLED display (2) with a refresh rate of 90Hz (90 images per second), a field of view of 110 degrees, and elements that enhance the authenticity of the visual experience. It includes a microphone and speaker, motion sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, tracking camera, and magnetometer) and is compatible with Oculus Touch controllers. The interface offers HDMI, USB 2.0, and USB 3.0 slots to guarantee various connection possibilities. A wire indeed connects it, so it shuts off the movements a little, but this aspect will be quickly overlooked.
Unfortunately, some users complained about the motion sickness caused by the games and videos viewed with these Oculus Rift glasses. But hey! No practice, no play, right?
- Built-in room tracking
- Great game library
- Included touch controllers
- 110 degrees field of view
- Requires PC
3. HTC Vive – Best for Immersive Experience
Vive from HTC is undoubtedly among the best VR headsets on the international market. This model is part of the superior range, being an ultra-performance headset, which promises to capture you through the experience offered. The product connects via wire to the PC and integrates OLED display with 1080x1200px resolution, thus guaranteeing the high quality of the images played.
With a refresh rate of 90Hz and a field of view rated at 110 degrees, this set with built-in speaker and microphone proves that it will break you from reality. There is poor user feedback that specifies motion sickness, so you don’t have to worry about it. We can also mention the interface equipped with HDMI input, along with USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. It can connect to Android phones and iPhones, so you can receive messages and alerts when you enter VR mode.
The desktop that you are going to use your glasses with must provide at least 4GB of RAM, an Intel i5-4590 or later processor, and of course, quality video cards, starting with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 and Radeon RX 480 or better. It offers Motion / Head Tracking based on a complete system, with a magnetometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, and laser.
- Easy to use and highly adaptable
- Great game library
- Smooth graphics with little latency
- PC and Smartphone compatible
- No built-in audio
4. Sony PlayStation VR – Best for Consoles
If you already own a compatible console, these PS4 VR glasses will be the perfect accessory, allowing you to step into the shoes — almost literally — of some of your favorite characters. The piece is equipped with a 5.7-inch OLED display, offering 3D visualization and 360-degree image analysis capabilities.
With the 120 frames per second offered, it has every chance to ensure a qualitative experience from a visual point of view, mainly since it works with a resolution of 1920x1080px, and it provides a 100-degree field of view. The immersive audio system manages to offer a complete experience, even though it does not fit perfectly on any physiognomy (some users accuse that there may be slots through which light is perceived from the outside).
The microphone allows you to communicate online with your friends in the game, and the movement of the head is analyzed based on camera sensors and the 9 LEDs strategically positioned on the headset. It works with the Dualshock 4 joystick, but also with the PlayStation Move – recommended wireless controller. Package includes glasses, processing unit, stereo headset, USB and HDMI cables, adapter/power cord.
- Easy to set it up
- Good game library
- Wireless controller compatibility
- Relatively affordable
- PS Compatible
5. Samsung VR – Best for Smartphones
Samsung has launched these VR glasses, at a reasonable price, especially for the Android owners. The phone will be inserted in the intended place (under the lid, in the headset), and the image of the dedicated 3D applications will be magnified with the help of the lenses. The headset allows a perfect connection with the Galaxy range phones, which can be easily integrated.
The product itself is quite light, weighing 345 grams. It attaches to the head with an adjustable elastic band. Moreover, on the side, there are three buttons: one for the “Home” command, which will send the user to the Oculus Home page, one to the previous menu (back), and a touchpad, which lets you easily control the applications, through finger movement.
For optimal viewing, remember that it includes an AMOLED display and Oculus technology. You are not annoyed by connection wires or other unnecessary accessories. Even more, the field of view extends to 100 degrees, competing, based on this value, with High-End devices.
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- Light weight
- Supports several Samsung phones
- You can’t recharge the controller batteries