It’s safe to say that VR is the next evolution in gaming and media consumption. While the technology behind it is only just beginning to grow, strapping on a headset and diving into a virtual parallel universe is already an astounding experience.
If you’ve ever tried it out, you’d probably agree that it isn’t difficult to imagine a day when virtual reality is indiscernible from everyday reality. If you haven’t tried it out—well, you probably should.
But which virtual reality headsets are the best that money can buy and where can you find them? Read on to find out!
Oculus Quest 2
If you’re looking for a fully immersive virtual reality experience that doesn’t require a PC or console, you can’t go wrong with the Oculus Quest 2. All things considered, this headset easily takes the cake as the best one on the market.
Provided you’ve got access to a Playstation 4, the most affordable headset is the PSVR. It’s over $100 less than the second place winner, the Oculus Quest 2. And don’t think you’re losing all that much in quality by going the cheaper route: The virtual reality experience provided by PSVR is immersive and the game selection is wide.
Virtual Reality (VR) vs. Augmented Reality (AR)
Before we get into the best headsets, it’s important to point out the distinction between VR and AR. While the two have similarities — and many headsets offer both — they are notably different from one another.
VR immerses the user into an entirely virtual world through a VR headset. AR incorporates virtual elements into the real world through the use of an AR device.
While some of the following headsets do offer AR, that is not the primary focus of this list. The choices we’ve made are based on the headsets that we believe offer the highest quality virtual reality experience.
So without further ado, here are the 5 best VR headsets on the market!
1. Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 checks all of the boxes on the top virtual reality headsets checklist — and it somehow manages to be among the most affordable of the bunch, as well. This headset is easy to use. It offers tons of games, has great sound and terrific visuals, and uses simple, but effective controls. It’s also a standalone system, which means that you don’t need a gaming console or PC in order to use it.
Perfect for…Pretty much anybody. It’s a great starting point for VR, but it’s no slouch as far as capability and game selection.
2. HP Reverb G2
While the Oculus Quest 2 has broad appeal for gamers from all walks of life, the HP Reverb is probably a better pick for those that are more serious about their gaming. Not that it wouldn’t be fun for a casual user — it’s just got a heftier price tag. The features that make that price tag worth your while—high resolution and wide field of view—are things that would be best appreciated by veteran gamers with a discerning eye.
Perfect for…Serious gamers who have some disposable income and an affinity for pristine image quality.
3. HTC Cosmos Elite
The HTC Cosmos Elite offers one of the finest VR experiences on the market, with 2880 x 1700 resolution, pristine audio quality, and highly accurate controls. It would probably top this list if it weren’t for two things: Its price tag and the need for a gaming computer in order to use it.
Perfect for…PC gamers who are looking for a high-end VR experience.
4. Valve Index
If all of the VR headsets on this list were cars, the Valve Index would be a Ferrari. It offers incredibly crisp visuals, a super wide field of view, and next-level controls that take advantage of each finger.
Like Ferraris, of course, these systems are wildly expensive. As if the price tag on this headset weren’t already high enough, it also requires you to own a powerful gaming computer in order to run it. Nonetheless, it still deserves to be on this list for the incredible quality it offers.
Perfect for…Anyone looking to experience the cutting-edge features of VR, no matter the price.
5. Playstation VR
If you’re looking for the most affordable VR experience around that won’t leave you feeling a little underwhelmed (like the Google Cardboard might), check out Playstation VR.
Not only can you hop into a number of VR-specific games with this headset, but you can also enjoy some of your favorite PS4 games in a deeply immersive VR setting. The only stipulation here is that you need to already have a Playstation 4. If you don’t, then amazingly enough, the Oculus Quest 2 is your best bet as far as affordability goes.
Perfect for…Anyone with a PS4 and a tight budget that they’d like to maintain.
What’s Coming in the Future?
We said it earlier: VR technology is just getting started. The leaps that headsets are likely to make in the not-too-distant future are liable to make your head spin.
For now, however, you can look forward to the PSVR 2, which is likely to release sometime in 2022 — and of course, you can look forward to the whole slew of games that continue to be released for the headsets on this list every month.
To sum it up, you don’t have to break the bank to get in on the virtual reality fun — but if you don’t mind breaking the bank, you can really dive head first into the things that this incredible, ever-evolving technology has to offer.
The level of immersion that is possible with virtual reality is revolutionizing the way that people are able to experience video games. Any one of the headsets on this list will give you a taste of what the future of gaming is going to be like, so start saving up!