Virtual reality is an amazing way to explore and experience new places through technology. By using a special headset and advanced motion-tracking technology, VR allows you to look around and feel like you’re actually present in a virtual world or even play games as if you’re inside them. If you don’t want to wait for Apple’s upcoming AR/VR headset called the Vision Pro, here are the best headsets available for purchase right now. Keep reading to discover our recommendations and learn everything you need to know about VR before making a smart buying decision.
What Qualities Make a VR Headset Good?
In my opinion, there are a few important factors to consider:
- and controls
It’s not difficult to put a mobile screen into a plastic VR headset and attach some cheap elastic bands to it. However, it takes skill to create a headset that is well-balanced and doesn’t become uncomfortable after using it for 30 minutes.
Immersion is another key aspect, which is achieved by having high-resolution screens with fast refresh rates. This ensures that everything you see appears clear and smooth. The field of view is also crucial as it determines how much of your vision is covered by the VR screens. A narrow field of view can make it feel like you’re looking through binoculars, limiting the sense of being fully present. On the other hand, a wide field of view can make it feel like you’re actually soaring over the Earth in Google Earth.
When it comes to controllers, the best ones fit naturally in your hands and provide precise tracking. Many companies have adopted the design of Meta’s excellent touch controllers, which have become an industry standard. Additionally, there are exciting advancements like Valve’s gamepads with finger tracking, which offer new possibilities for interaction in virtual environments.
The Best VR Headsets in the Market
1. Meta Quest 3
|Meta Oculus Quest 3
|Meta Quest 3
|Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2
|2064 × 2208
|Field of view
|110-degrees horizontal/92-degrees vertical
|Hand tracking, PC compatibility, voice commands, wireless, Mixed reality
|Touch Plus controllers
The Meta Quest 3 comes in two storage options: 128GB and 512GB. However, there is no middle option with 256GB, which would have been a good balance between storage space and price.
The Quest 3 is powered by the advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, which Meta claims has twice the graphics power compared to the previous Quest 2. It also has an upgrade in memory, with 8GB of RAM, although it falls short of the 12GB RAM offered by the Meta Quest Pro.
The display of the Quest 3 has some improvements. It has a 120Hz refresh rate, providing smoother visuals. The Quest 2 had an experimental 120Hz mode, but having it as a standard feature in the Quest 3 is a welcome addition.
Meta has enhanced the display of the Quest 3 with the 4K+ Infinite Display. It uses two LCDs with pancake optics to achieve a resolution of 2,064 x 2,208 pixels per eye, which is about 30% higher than the Quest 2. The Quest 3 has a resolution of 25 pixels per degree (PPD) in virtual reality and 1,218 pixels per inch (PPI).
When using the full-color video passthrough feature, the resolution slightly decreases. In mixed reality, the resolution is 18 PPD, powered by two RGB cameras, which is an improvement compared to the Quest 2 and Quest Pro.
The Quest 3 has a native 90Hz refresh rate, with an experimental option of 120Hz. It doesn’t currently support a 144Hz refresh rate.
The battery life of the Quest 3 remains the same as the Quest 2, lasting around 2.2 hours on average and up to 2.9 hours for media consumption. It can be fully charged in two hours using the included 18W charger, similar to the charging capabilities of the Quest 2. Also read How to Set Up Meta Quest 3: A Step-by-step Guide.
2. Meta Quest 2
|Meta Quest 3
|Meta Quest 2
|$499 (128GB), $649 (512GB)
|$299 (128GB), $429 (256GB)
|October 10, 2023
|Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 (Gen 2)
|Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
|2064 x 2208 pixels per eye
|1832 x 1920 pixels per eye
|Up to 2.9 hours (rated)
|2-3 hours (rated)
|7.2 x 6.3 x 3.8 inches
|7.5 x 5.2 x 4 inches
|Mixed reality passthrough
|Full color passthrough (4MP 18 PPD)
|Limited black and white passthrough
|Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2
|Up to 90Hz
The Quest 3 outperforms the Quest 2 in terms of screen resolution, processor, storage capacity, and RAM. Both headsets have a similar battery life. Overall, the Quest 3 offers superior specifications compared to the Quest 2.
However, the Meta Quest 2 is the top choice for most people looking for an affordable virtual reality (VR) option. It’s wireless and comfortable to wear for long periods of time. With its price dropping back to $299, it remains the best way to enter the world of VR without spending a lot of money.
One of its strengths is the extensive library of games and experiences available that can be enjoyed anywhere. It also comes with Meta’s excellent motion controllers. Additionally, you can connect the Quest 2 to a gaming PC to access more advanced VR content.
The Quest 2 features fast-switching LCDs with a resolution of 1832×1920 per eye. It offers a smooth 90Hz refresh rate, which is impressive considering it runs entirely on mobile hardware. While its field of view is not the widest at around 90 degrees, it is still sufficient for most VR experiences. You can also use different face pads to slightly increase the field of view. If you prefer a more comfortable fit, you have the option to purchase the Elite headstrap for $49 or $129 with a built-in battery and case. Also read The Best Meta Quest 2 Games for 2024.
Although the Quest 2 may not provide the absolute best VR experience, it is the most accessible headset available in the market.
3. PlayStation VR2
|PlayStation VR2 headset
|February 22, 2023
|2000 x 2040 per eye
|Panel refresh rate
|Field of View
|Approx. 110 degrees
|Motion sensor: Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer) Attachment sensor: IR proximity sensor
|4 embedded cameras for headset and controller tracking IR camera for eye tracking per eye
|Vibration on headset
|Communication with PS5
|Input: Built-in microphone Output: Stereo headphone jack
The PS VR2 is one of the best headsets we’ve tried. It features two high-resolution screens that provide excellent image quality, equivalent to 4K resolution. It’s also very comfortable to wear and has some cool new features like eye tracking and haptic feedback, which can make your virtual experience even more immersive. The best part is that you don’t need an expensive gaming PC; all you need is a PlayStation 5 to enjoy high-quality virtual reality.
However, there are a couple of things to consider before getting the PS VR2. It is pricier than the PlayStation 5 itself, costing $550. Additionally, the game library for the PS VR2 is still growing, and it currently has only a few exclusive titles like Horizon VR and Gran Turismo 7. We haven’t seen many new games released for it lately. Nevertheless, it remains the most accessible way to enjoy top-notch VR and is a significant improvement over the original PS VR.
4. HP Reverb G2
|HP Reverb G2 Headset
|Dual LCD 7.34 cm (2.89 in) diagonal with Pulse Backlight technology
|2160 x 2160 panel resolution per eye4320 x 2160 pixels combinedRGB sub-pixels
|Windows Mixed Reality platform ecosystem (requires Windows 10 May 2019 update)
|Field of view
|Two front-facing camerasTwo side-facing cameras
|HP Reverb G2 inside/out (Six Degrees of Freedom) Gyroscope, Accelerometer, and magnetometer
|64 mm +/- 4 mm by hardware slider
|90 Hz with recommended system specs
|DisplayPort 1.3 portUSB 3.0 Type-C portPower adapter connector
|(1) 2-in-1 DisplayPort 1.3 and USB 3.0 Type-C cable 6.0 m (19.68 ft)(1) Power adapter (for use when USB Type-C does not have power delivery)(1) Mini DisplayPort to full-size DisplayPort adapter
|Tracked area requirements
|No minimum space requirements
|Replaceable face cushions
|Dimensions7.49 x 18.59 x 8.40 cm (2.95 x 7.32 x 3.31 in)Weight550 g (1.21 lb)
If you’re not concerned about having wireless VR and you’re willing to spend a little more on a high-quality PC headset, the HP Reverb G2 is a great choice for you. It was developed in collaboration with Valve and incorporates some of the best features found in more expensive headsets like the Index, such as near-field speakers. The Reverb G2 also boasts sharp screens with a resolution of 2,160 by 2,160 pixels per eye, a refresh rate of 90Hz, and a fairly wide field of view of 114 degrees.
What sets the Reverb G2 apart is that it’s the first Windows Mixed Reality headset to include four sensors. This ensures more precise VR tracking, especially in fast-paced games. I have to commend HP for making a headset that’s incredibly comfortable, thanks to the luxurious cushioning around the eye-piece and rear strap.
While the Reverb G2’s motion controllers may not be my personal favorite, they are a significant improvement over HP’s previous model. If desired, you can upgrade to Valve’s finger-tracking controllers, but that requires obtaining SteamVR sensors and involves more setup. Nonetheless, it’s nice to have the option to upgrade available.
5. Valve Index
|$999 (including 2 controllers and 2 base stations); $499 (headset only)
|Jun 28, 2019
|Dual LCD, canted lenses
|1440 x 1600 per eye (2880 x 1600 combined)
|80, 90, 120 or 144 Hz
|Field of View
|Adjustable up to 130 degrees
|SteamVR 2.0 sensors, compatible with SteamVR 1.0 and 2.0 base stations
|58-70mm IPD mechanical eye relief
|5m tether, 1m breakaway trident connector, USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, 12V power
|Tether cable with DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 3.0; 2x USB controller charging cables; 2x 4.5m base station power cables
|Permanently affixed to removable facial interface, foam covered in anti-microbial microfiber cloth
|960 x 960 pixel, global shutter, RGB (Bayer)
|2x SteamVR 2.0 Base Stations and stands w/mounting hardware; 2x Index controllers; 2x controller lanyards; Cleaning cloth; Regionalized power adapters; Headset power supply;Headset cradle adapter (for smaller heads)
|Weight (without cable)
|1.78 pounds (809g)
Valve’s Index kit is still considered one of the best options for high-end virtual reality. For $999, you get the Index headset, Valve’s controllers that can track your fingers, and two SteamVR base stations. Although there have been headsets with higher resolution released in the past two years, the Index remains a solid choice. It has a resolution of 1,440 by 1,600 pixels, an impressive refresh rate of 144Hz, and a wide field of view of 130 degrees. I would gladly sacrifice a few pixels for the smoother and more immersive screen of the Index, which surpasses most other VR headsets available to consumers.
Since the Index is a SteamVR product, you will need to install two sensors in opposite corners of your room and connect it to your PC with wires. Despite the slight inconvenience, the higher refresh rate and accurate tracking make it worthwhile. It may not be as user-friendly as the Quest 2, but considering the price range, we assume you are willing to tolerate some inconvenience to have a truly high-quality VR experience.
Valve’s finger tracking controllers are also excellent, with a convenient strap that securely holds them on your hands. They make playing games like Half-Life: Alyx incredibly immersive. It’s a shame that other VR games haven’t fully utilized the finger tracking feature yet.
Here, we have summarized the pros and cons of this VR headset to help you make the best possible decision:
|RGB subpixel array eliminates screen-door effect
|Wider FOV than comparable headsets
|Less comfortable than the HTC Vive Pro
|Excellent audio quality
|Cushions are glued on
|Very soft cushion
6. Bigscreen Beyond
|2,560 × 2,560 (6.5MP) per-eyemicroOLED (2x, RGB stripe)
|102°H × 90°V
|IPD (fixed, customized per customer)Eye-relief (fixed, customized per facepad)
|IPD Adjustment Range
|55–72mm (fixed, single IPD value per device)
|DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.0 (2x)
|SteamVR Tracking 1.0 or 2.0 (external beacons)
|SteamVR Tracking controllers
|Audio Strap accessory, USB-C audio output
|MSRP (with tracking & controllers)
The Bigscreen Beyond is a unique virtual reality headset that serves as an upgrade to the Index. Developed by Bigscreen, known for their popular VR video app, it has a different design compared to traditional VR headsets. Instead of being bulky, it resembles a large pair of goggles. Priced at $999, it is the lightest VR option available, weighing slightly more than a deck of playing cards. The Micro-OLED screens on the Beyond are sharp and offer excellent contrast, allowing for deep black colors.
However, the downside is that the Bigscreen Beyond is expensive. If you already have a Valve Index setup and want to upgrade, it costs $999 on its own. But if you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to purchase two Steam VR base stations and a pair of Index controllers, which brings the total cost to a hefty $1,580.
The Bigscreen Beyond also requires a custom face cushion that is created based on a 3D scan of your face when you place your order. This makes it less convenient to share with others. Additionally, the headset is slim and does not accommodate glasses. You can purchase prescription lens inserts from Bigscreen at an extra cost. Furthermore, the Beyond is tethered to your PC with a cable, unlike the cordless Meta Quest headsets that provide freedom of movement.
Despite its complexity, the Bigscreen Beyond offers the most immersive PC VR experience I have ever witnessed. Its lightweight design allows for comfortable extended use, and the impressive screens contribute to a remarkable visual experience. It is the ideal choice for VR enthusiasts who prioritize true immersion and are willing to handle the higher cost and complexity associated with it.
Which VR Headset is the Best for Tracking Your Entire Body?
While we’re still waiting for an amazing VR bodysuit with realistic touch sensations, you can still achieve accurate body tracking with most PC headsets that are compatible with Steam VR. The Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2 are particularly good at tracking your body movements because they use special sensors placed around the room. These sensors can map your body more effectively than the sensors built into other headsets. For even better body tracking, you can attach HTC Vive Trackers to straps on your wrists, legs, and belt.
Unfortunately, the Meta Quest 3 doesn’t have any straightforward solutions for body tracking. However, if you connect it to your PC, you can use Vive trackers to simulate the body tracking capabilities of a Steam VR headset.
Currently, only a few experiences, like VRChat, fully utilize body tracking. There are no body tracking options available for PlayStation VR and VR2 at the moment. However, we’re interested in Mocopi body trackers, which have been announced in Japan by the company and might bring exciting advancements in this area.
What VR headsets work with Xbox?
Right now, you can’t use any VR headsets with Microsoft’s Xbox consoles.
In this article, we aimed to provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a VR headset. If you have personal experience using any of these headphones, we encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our daily newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news and updates regarding social media, apps, and devices.
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