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The 8 Best VR Headsets on the Market
Oculus VR revolutionized the gaming industry when they released the first Oculus Rift VR headset in 2016. In response, game developers and publishers had to quickly adapt to making their biggest titles compatible with the device. So it is no surprise that a lot of brands tried to create their own VR headsets to tap into this new, growing market.
When Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014, other companies like Sony, Apple, Google, and Samsung began developing their own headsets as well. After years of development, consumers now have a wide range of choices, each with exclusive games and apps.
Finding the right VR system for you can get confusing at times, so we are here to help you with that. If you are looking for the hottest gear for virtual reality gaming, check out our list of the eight best VR headsets on the market today to satisfying your VR gaming cravings.
1. Oculus Quest 2
The original Oculus Rift was discontinued by the company in 2019, so the Oculus Quest 2 is now the only available VR headset you can buy from the famous brand. This device was released in 2020 and is the successor to the Oculus Quest. It currently has the highest number of compatible titles on the market as of 2021.
It runs on the Oculus Quest system, an Android-based platform, and can be used on its own or with a computer. Back then, only high-end desktop computers could run VR games due to the high graphics demand. Nowadays, most mid-range laptops are capable of connecting with the Oculus Quest 2. You can even link the VR headset through Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or USB connection.
This headset has different versions depending on the price range, but all units have 6 GB of memory. You can get either 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB of storage. It also uses the Adreno 650 graphics card and the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor. Visuals are the most important part of the VR experience, so Oculus made sure to use a high-quality 120Hz LCD display.
The Oculus Quest 2 is compatible with some of the biggest VR titles like GORN, The Climb 2, Beat Saber, Dance Central, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. Virtual reality game development is still in its early stages, so it is best to get a future-proof headset like the Quest 2. This model will make it easier to get new games later on due to its compatibility, so you won’t need to buy different brands for exclusive titles.
2. Valve Index
The Valve Index is automatically a top-tier VR headset simply due to its developer. Valve Corporation owns Steam, which is one of the largest video game distribution services in the world. There are many games available on Steam for gamers to choose from, and VR titles are no different. With Valve Index, you can connect and play games from the Steam library instantly.
This headset was released in 2019 after almost five years of development. It boasts one of the best displays in the market with its IPS fast-switching LCD panel and a resolution of 1440 x 1600 for each eye. You can set the refresh rate up to 120 Hz normally, but a 144 Hz experimental mode is also available.
It operates on either Windows or Linux and it also supports backward compatibility for HTC Vive, Vive Pro Controllers, and Vive Pro Base Stations. The Valve Index is the perfect VR console to get for big families or groups of friends who enjoy different types of video games. The wide array of game choices will make sure everyone gets to play their favorites all in one VR headset.
Half-Life: Alyx, one of the most awaited VR games in recent years, was marketed to be released to Valve Index buyers for free. This caused a huge spike in Valve Index sales late in 2019 and early in 2020.
3. Atlasonix VR Headset
The Atlasonix VR Headset is one of the more affordable units on our list. It is a great starter VR headset if you’ve only just started getting into virtual reality video games.
You only need to insert your smartphone into the front part of the headset to play any game or movie that you want. This allows you to experience your favorite mobile games and apps in a 360-degree environment. It’s just like going to see 3D movies in the theater or in theme parks from the comfort of your own home. You also have complete control over what you want to watch.
This headset supports resolutions of up to 4K, as well as smartphone screen sizes from 4 to 6.2 inches. It works with almost all smartphone brands, so compatibility shouldn’t be a problem. It only needs Bluetooth for connectivity.
At only 10.6 ounces, the Atlasonix is much lighter than any other VR headset on the market. It is much safer for kids and won’t be a wire hazard unlike the other VR headsets on this list. Get this for your friends and family as an entry point into virtual reality gaming.
4. Sony PlayStation VR Headset
This was one of the most hyped-up VR headsets before its release. The PlayStation has been the most popular console system for many generations, so Sony creating VR gear was only a matter of time.
The Sony PlayStation VR headset was released in 2016 and supports almost all available PlayStation games. It is completely functional with the PlayStation 4 and is even forward compatible with the new PlayStation 5, so you will have no problems playing your favorite video game titles. Doom 3, Star Wars: Squadrons, Marvel’s Iron Man, and Hitman 3 are some of the most popular VR games available for the PlayStation VR headset presently.
It features a 5.7-inch OLED display with full 1080p RGB graphics. The refresh rate is fairly high at up to 120 Hz. You can also choose between the PlayStation Aim, PlayStation Move, or Dualshock 4 controllers. Weighing only 0.6kg, the PlayStation VR headset is very light and quite durable. It was designed for maximum comfort, preventing any strain for long-term gaming.
Many VR headsets struggle with compatibility because they require high-powered computers to play, but the PlayStation VR breaks the mold. You only need a PlayStation 4 console to use it, which is significantly cheaper than most high-end PCs. As of December 2019, the Sony PlayStation VR has sold more than five million units worldwide.
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5. HTC Vive Pro 2
Developed by HTC and Valve, the HTC Vive VR headsets offer a unique experience as they allow players to move around in the 3D world using their special controllers. This was the VR project Valve worked on before they decided to create the Valve Index headset.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 uses PenTile and OLED display technology in its screens to maximize immersion and is supported by Valve’s OpenVR software development kit (SDK), so others could build similar software that works with SteamVR hardware.
You can choose from a variety of packages, depending on the accessories they come with. You can get the Vive Pro 2 headset on its own or buy the Pro Eye headset, Pro Eye Office, or the entire Pro Eye System with Tracker.
This VR headset supports up to 5K resolution and has a 120-degree field of vision for a completely immersive experience. Additionally, it offers a 120 Hz maximum refresh rate. Enjoy all the new VR games alone or with your friends during game night. You can also all get Vive Pro 2 VR headsets and play the many multiplayer games that are now available.
6. Oculus Rift S
Before production was discontinued, the Oculus Rift S was the sister device to the Oculus Quest. It was released in 2019 as a direct successor to the very popular Oculus Rift and is a predecessor of the Oculus Quest 2. While it is no longer available in official Oculus stores, there are still units being sold in the resale market, so you may still get your hands on one.
The Oculus Rift S uses an older, single, fast-switch LCD screen with an 80 Hz refresh rate, which is still enough to play most VR games smoothly. It also enhances the original Oculus Rift by having embedded speakers in the unit for better audio positioning. Other new features for the Rift S include a halo headband developed by Lenovo that is designed for better weight distribution, light blocking, and overall comfort.
For controllers, the Rift S uses the Oculus Touch. This is the same for the Oculus Quest, so you won’t need to get a different pair if you already have that headset. It is also compatible with any software supported by the Oculus Rift. As for games, you will be pleased to learn that the Rift S supports cross-buying between the Oculus Quest and PC for many titles.
Because of its cross-compatibility, the Oculus Rift S can run a majority of the available VR games today. This makes it a great system to get if you enjoy big-name titles like Minecraft, Jurassic World: Blue, and Epic Roller Coasters.
7. HTC Vive Cosmos Elite
The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite VR system was released before the Vive Pro 2 but is still an excellent system to get for beginners and experts in virtual reality gaming. Its SteamVR Tracking allows you to make very precise movements with its handset controllers at any angle. The improved resolution is now at 2880 x 1700 and works with the new LCD panels to give you the best immersion possible.
This VR headset is compatible with more than 600 games, apps, and media, so you will never run out of things to do with it. The thriving virtual reality gaming industry also produces new games constantly and HTC makes sure to have forward compatibility whenever possible.
The whole package includes the Vive Cosmos Elite headset, base station with power adapters, two controllers, and a converter for its display ports. You can, however, choose to get just the headset in case you already have the rest of the system.
The flip-up screen feature makes it easier to take yourself out of the virtual experience without having to remove the headset. This makes taking breaks trouble-free and reduces wear and tear on the system.
8. HP Reverb G2
HP is one of the world’s leading computer developers and manufacturers. They partnered with Windows and Valve to create the HP Reverb G2 as a successor to both the Reverb G1 and the Windows Mixed Reality systems.
The HP Reverb G2 boasts a top-tier resolution at 2160 x 2160, which is one of the best available to date. Its Dual LCD display has a solid refresh rate of up to 90 Hz. Weighing only 1.2 pounds, this is definitely one of the lighter units out there. So much so that you won’t even feel its weight when you play movement-heavy games for hours on end.
This headset runs on a Windows 10 operating system and uses two front-facing and two side-facing cameras to capture motion from every angle. For connectivity, it works with the USB 3.0 type C as well as Bluetooth.
While the HP Reverb G2 is one of the newer VR systems, it is supported by SteamVR, so it can play hundreds of games and apps without a hitch. Its mid-range price point also makes it affordable for friend groups and families looking to get a solid VR headset to share.
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