Virtual Reality has proven to be one of the most important forms of entertainment. It’s no longer an over-priced toy for techies. Even your kids can get the best VR experience at a budget price.
This year, several manufacturers have come out with their version of a VR headset, from standalone headsets to phones and PCs. Choosing the best VR headset that fits your system requirements and provides you with a decent level of entertainment can be a bit tiresome.
The good news is that the VR industry now has many models coming out at affordable prices. In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best VR headsets on the market to help you come to an informed decision before choosing which one you want to take home. Without further delay, here are the Best VR Headsets.
Oculus Rift – Best VR Headset Overall
If there is so much competition that exists in the VR industry, it can be attributed to one person, Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus. In his teen years, Luckey was so fascinated by the VR technology that he started collecting VR systems and thought of designing his own VR headset. After several prototypes, the company was funded by Facebook, which eventually led to a $2 billion acquisition. Today, Oculus is one of the leading manufacturers of VR headsets.
The VR headsets from Oculus have grown leaps and bounds with the addition of touch controllers and many other new features. The Oculus Rift can be easily plugged into your PC with HDMI or USB ports. The headset can also quickly track your head movements and deliver an amazing 3D experience.
The Oculus Rift comes with an impressive resolution of 2160 x 1200 and works at almost 233 million pixels per second. It also has a refresh rate of around 90Hz, which comes close to the HTC Vive.
The Oculus touch controllers have surely made a world of difference to the VR headsets, and when compared to other headset models in the industry, they work extraordinarily well as it can recognize your hand movements quickly. Support for room-scale has also been added, but you may need to buy an additional sensor to get the kind of tracking you can get with the HTC Vive.
The Oculus Rift platform really provides you with a complete VR experience. Even though the headsets feature touch controllers, the price is still on the lower side. It seems that Oculus was satisfied with the conclusion of its “Summer of Rift” event, and it suddenly slashed its price to $399.
Overall, when we look at the complete VR experience, including quality and price, we can assure you that Oculus Rift leads the pack in the VR Race.
- Affordable pricing
- Complete VR Experience
- Backed by Facebook
- Pioneers in VR technology
- Touch controllers
- Limited room-scale support
HTC Vive Pro – Best Premium VR Headset
If you are willing to spend money and invest in one of the best premium headsets available, then better take a look at the HTC Vive Pro.
HTC Vive is certainly a complete package in itself as it includes 2 motion controllers, a headset, and 2 base stations. When you look at the Vive Pro from a technical angle, it is quite impressive as it can easily track all your movements even in a 10-feet cube. The motion controllers with the Vive Pro are much more advanced when compared to the PlayStation Move.
The Vive pro features dual cameras on the front that largely help in tracking your movements, and with the best-in-class refresh rate of 90 Hz along with 70 sensors, you can get 360 degree head tracking, providing you the complete VR experience you’ve always wanted. The Vive pro has also scaled up its resolution to 2880 x 1660. This certainly makes the Vive Pro one of the best performance VR headsets on the market.
The only aspect that stands in the way of the Vive Pro is its above average price of $800, and even at this price, you don’t get the controllers included. However, if you aren’t worried about the price, then the Vive Pro along with its sensors and controllers will give you a premium VR experience that you can ever have with any other VR headset on the market.
- Excellent room-scale VR experience
- Most comfortable VR headset in the market
- High resolution display
- 360-degree head tracking
- 90 Hz Refresh rate
- Built-in headphones
- Very Expensive
- Controllers and Sensors not included
- Cumbersome setup
PlayStation VR - Best VR for console gamers
Even though the HTC and the Oculus lead the pack in the VR headset competition with their best-in-class headsets, in order to get the best VR experience, you also need a pretty substantial gaming PC to support them, and that means you need to make a hefty investment.
If you’re looking for the best VR experience at a budget price, the PlayStation VR doesn’t need a high-end PC, just a PS4 console. Even though playing games on a PS4 can be much different than on a PC, the Sony PlayStation VR surprised us with a decent refresh rate, responsive movement, and excellent head-tracking.
Since the VR headsets have the support of Sony, a pioneer in the gaming industry, the game list is quite impressive. During the launch of the PlayStation VR, only around a dozen games were included, but within a year, the list has increased extensively.
One big complaint made by many gamers with Sony is that the VR headset doesn’t come with many accessories, but with the PlayStation VR, Sony has answered its critics by adding accessory bundles that include things like PlayStation Camera and Move controllers.
The PlayStation VR features a 5.7 inch OLED display with 1080p resolution and comes with a refresh rate of 120 fps, but honestly, when you get a product from Sony, you wouldn’t expect a refresh rate any less than that. When you add the 3D audio system, it certainly becomes one impressive VR system.
- Affordable Price
- Close to PC-quality performance
- Great selection of games
- A PS4 is enough to get the best VR experience
- Quite comfortable and adjustable
- sealing out light is not great
- Average motion controller tracking
Samsung Gear VR – The best mobile VR headset
The Samsung Gear VR is another impressive VR headset that comes at a budget price. The only catch with the Samsung Gear VR is you need to have a compatible Samsung mobile phone to use the VR headset. Certainly when looking at other models on the market, the Samsung Gear VR is one of the best mobile VR headsets with its impressive set of features.
The Gear VR sports an all-new controller that’s a lot lighter than previous versions and has an included USB-C connector that allows you to easily hook it up with your Samsung phone. When you look at the motion controller included with the Gear VR, there are some traces of the HTC Vive controller in the design, including a touchpad and a trigger button.
Since the VR headset is powered through your mobile phone, the VR experience you get may vary based on the mobile phone you have. If you have a high-end Samsung mobile phone, then you can certainly get the best-in-class VR experience, whereas with an older model will only give you average performance.
The major highlight with the Samsung Gear VR is all you need is a Samsung Galaxy Smartphone or equivalent, and if you already have one, then you only need to invest around $55 to get the best VR experience.
- Light weight design
- Supports various Samsung phones
- Affordable price
- Great motion controllers
- More expensive than Google Daydream View
- Controller batteries cannot be recharged
What to Look for in Virtual Reality Headsets
One of the most important aspects to consider while buying a VR headset is the platform as some popular video games are available on only a specific platform. A complete and immersive platform can give you the best VR experience, whereas others may depend on your phone or the app store for the content.
When it comes to getting the best VR experience, resolution plays an important role as the higher the resolution, the more clear and complete VR experience you can get. If you’re going the mobile-based VR route, you’ll want to look at getting a quality smartphone with good resolution or go for VR headsets that come with optimal resolution.
Another important aspect to look for in a VR headset is the time taken to set up the headset. Along with the setup time, it’s also important to look at the space needed for using the headset along with all the bundled accessories. For mobile based VR headsets, you also should factor in the time taken to install the software.
Design and Comfort
The success of any product can be attributed to the comfort it offers to its users. It’s best to try your headsets on before buying one to make sure it’s not too bulky or overweight for you. Make sure to wear it on your head for some time to feel how it feels on your head and whether it is adjustable and secure.
When it comes to getting the complete VR experience, it’s the controllers that help to track your movements, so look for a VR headset that comes with the best-in-class controllers and sensors that feature full-tracking and follow your hands completely.
What type of VR you need?
When it comes to VR headsets, they generally fall into 2 categories, Mobile and Tethered headsets.
Mobile headsets are the ones that are dependent on your smartphones and are relatively lower priced when compared to the tethered ones. Mobile VR headsets are literally shells equipped with lenses where you place your smartphone. It’s these 2 lenses that separate the screen into 2 images for your eyes and turn your smartphone into a VR device instantly.
When it comes to Tethered headsets, they are the ones that provide you with a complete VR experience but are more expensive than the mobile VR headsets. Tethered headsets need to be connected to your PC or gaming console. You get a dedicated display with the Tethered headsets and much better head tracking.
There are a few standalone VR headsets, but they are still new on the market. They’ll provide you with a convenient alternative since you don’t need any additional hardware to get the best VR experience.