Check out this great read from Tom’s Guide to help you make a choice on the wide range of VR technology available to you.
The best VR headsets no longer require a PC or phone. You can just pick up a standalone VR headset and immerse yourself in new worlds, whether you want to fight Darth Vader in a light saber battle or explore places you’ve never been by watching 360 videos.
We tested the
most popular VR headsets available for gaming PCs, phones and consoles,
as well as standalone models, to help you find the right device for
Based on our reviews, the Oculus Quest
is the best VR headset overall, because it lets you play the hottest VR
games without being tethered to a PC. Plus, the Oculus Quest now offers
hand tracking, so you can interact with content without having to use
you can still buy VR headsets for phones, these have fallen out of
favor. Devices like the Samsung Gear VR are best for older Galaxy phones
only. If you’re on a budget we would recommend the $149 Oculus Go instead.
Here are the best VR headsets to buy now.
The best VR headsets you can buy today
1. Oculus Quest
Oculus Quest is the best VR headset overall and the company’s second VR
standalone headset, which means there’s not a wire in sight. Thanks to
the integrated sensors and computer algorithms, you can walk around in
your designated play space without worrying about running into a wall or
a piece of furniture.
The system launched with 50 games, but is
rapidly expanding its repertoire. The cherry on top is the casting
ability, which lets you share your VR experience with others via
smartphone or TV.
Oculus’ Touch Controllers are still the best in
the business. They’re comfortable and lightweight, which means no undue
hand cramps during long sessions. And with the hand tracking feature,
you can go controller-free with some titles.
Oculus is also really
leaning into the social aspect of VR, launching cross-buy and
multiplayer titles. Without a doubt, the Oculus Quest is the best VR
2. Oculus Rift S
Oculus Rift S makes the best VR headset for PCs even better. This sleek
headset sports a crisp 1280 x 1440 resolution (up from 1200 x 1080 for
the original) as well as a speedy 80Hz refresh rate. Its one-pound
design makes it comfortable to wear for hours of VR gaming, and it
ditches the original Rift’s onboard headphones for surprisingly
impressive integrated audio that comes right out of the headband.
Rift S packs Oculus Insight tracking, which allows for room-scale
tracking without the need for setting up any pesky external sensors.
Oculus’ latest PC headset packs in the company’s excellent Touch
Controllers, which make it easy to virtually climb mountains, battle
with swords and create art in virtual reality.
The Rift S also
benefits from what’s become a very impressive library of games on the
Oculus store, including big hits like Beat Saber, Superhot, Job
Simulator and Vader Immortal. Overall, the Oculus Rift S is the best VR
headset for folks looking for a PC-based system that plays a huge
library of great games for a decent price.
3. Playstation VR
VR is the best VR headset for consoles, and it features one of the best
VR game libraries we’ve seen. Sony’s stylish and cozy headset already
offers exclusive heavy hitters like Batman: Arkham VR and Star Wars
Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing Mission, as well as established VR hits
such as Eve: Valkyrie and Job Simulator.
our full review, we praised the PlayStation VR’s ease of use, intuitive
Move controllers and impressive publisher support. If you already have a
PS4, PlayStation VR is far and away the most affordable high-end VR
option out there — heck, you can get the console and the headset for the
price of an HTC Vive. The PS VR has a lower lens resolution compared
with those of the Vive or the Rift, but depending on the game, the PS VR
can deliver a 120-hertz refresh rate — one of the highest available.
you aren’t playing games in VR, you can watch movies. The headset has a
Cinematic mode that allows you to watch movies and TV in a theater-like
setup at 120 Hz. We suggest you try it out with a 4K Blu-ray movie. PS
VR also has a Social Screen so people who aren’t wearing a headset can
still watch the action.
4. Oculus Go
an affordable $149, the Oculus Go is one of the best VR headsets
because it cuts the cord and preserves your smartphone’s battery life.
This standalone VR headset is teeming with intriguing apps and games. In
our testing, we appreciated the clear detail, lovely color and
immersive spatial audio.
evidenced by its game-heavy library, the Go is still very much a
headset for those looking to fight virtual baddies. But thanks to
Facebook’s influence, Go has a larger focus on entertainment and social.
For instance, you can use Oculus Rooms to create your own virtual
apartment, where you can invite up to three friends to join and play
games, watch movies on Netflix or Hulu or share your own 360-degree
from cutting the cord, the major differences between the Go and the
Oculus Rift is the built-in speakers and microphones, the higher
resolution lenses and a built-in Qualcomm processor. The Go is outfitted
with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 CPU with a 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 WQHD
fast-switch LCD display. That translates into 1280 x 1440 per eye, which
is better than the 1080 x 1200 per eye (2160 x 1200) of the Rift and
What you don’t get from the Oculus Go is six degrees of
freedom, so you can’t dodge or duck in games. However, the Go offers a
lot of apps and games at over 1,000 and counting.
5. HTC Vive
of the best VR headsets for PC use, the HTC Vive stands out for a
number of key features, including room-tracking capability right out of
the box. With the Oculus Rift, you have to pay $59 extra for that level
of immersion. HTC also gives you the ability to access your phone while
in VR as well as the pass-through camera, which delivers a peek at the
real world when necessary.
Vive has also debuted a number of innovative accessories, including the
Vive Trackers, which let you bring real-world items, like a tennis
racket, into the virtual plane. The $299 TPCast add-on lets you take the
Vive totally wireless, eliminating the nagging fear of tripping over
that 6-foot cable tethering you to your laptop or desktop. If you’re
looking for more immersive audio, check out HTC’s $99 Deluxe Audio
Strap, which adds a pair of adjustable headphones.
The Vive is
still trying to catch up with Oculus in terms of content, but its
375-plus games and apps aren’t t too shabby. In addition to letting you
purchase individual apps and titles, HTC has its Viveport subscription
service. Starting at $6.99 per month, Viveport allows you to pick five
games or apps from a curated list of content to use each month.
6. Valve Index
The best controls and tracking in VR Check AmazonGreat build qualitySmartly designed controllersFuture expansion optionsNo charging cable in the boxHeavy
ought to know a thing or two about gaming experiences, and the
company’s experience working with HTC and its work on Lighthouse
tracking technology have all fed into the Index. From the moment you
wear the headset, you can appreciate the high-quality construction,
built-in ear speakers, and comfortable cushions, although it is
noticeably heavier than other VR headsets on the market.
controllers are one of the highlights. Since they strap onto your hand,
you don’t need to keep a grip on them at all times, plus they’re
customizable to your own hand shape and include pressure-sensitive
controls, adding extra immersive potential to games that support it. The
display is an LCD panel which offers a range of refresh rates to suit
your computer’s processing power, plus it offers images just as high-res
and sharp as its rivals. There’s also a pair of cameras and a USB
expansion slot on the front, which can theoretically allow the Index to
be upgraded in the future without needing to replace the whole headset.
headset can suffer from technical problems, is heavy to wear, and for
some unfathomable reason there’s no included USB-C cable to charge up
the components, but don’t let this put you off the benefits the Index
will have for your in-game enjoyment.
7. Pansonite 3D VR Glasses
Best cheap VR headset Check AmazonCompatible with a number of smartphonesLightweight, comfortable designAR/VR supportNo remoteSome light leakage
Pansonite is as close as you can get to a high-end virtual-reality
headset without paying an exorbitant price. It features a cloth design
in front, similar to Google’s Daydream, along with an adjustable plastic
headband that’s reminiscent of the PlayStation VR. Pansonite’s headset
also packs built-in headphones with an aux input — which is great if
your phone still sports a headphone jack or if you have an adapter on
hand — and a dial on top for adjusting the focus.
front, the headset features a small flap for holding your phone in
place, leaving the camera uncovered for any AR-based mobile apps.
Despite all that open space, the Pansonite manages to block out almost
all external light for a pretty immersive experience.
Roller Coaster VR on this headset was exhilarating, and this 360-degree
shark experience was a blast. Even this fan-created Star Wars VR video
on YouTube was fun to watch through the Pansonite. Nothing about the
headset detracted from any of these experiences, making the Pansonite
one of the best overall VR headsets at this price.
How we test and rate VR headsets
are a number of factors we consider when reviewing virtual-reality
headsets, such as setup; design and comfort; interface; controllers and
accessories; and content selection.
also evaluate each device’s respective controllers, head tracking and
interfaces, to see how easy it will be for the average user to jump in
and start playing.
first step in reviewing any virtual-reality headset is setup. For PC
and console-powered devices, we examine how much space is needed to use
the headset and any bundled accessories. For mobile VR headsets, we
focus on software installation time and how securely the phone fits into
product can look great but still be uncomfortable to use. Aside from
testing out all the various content, we spend at least 30 minutes
wearing each headset. We test to make sure any embedded air vents are
keeping things cool. And if it does get sweaty, we see how well the face
guard wicks away moisture. We also weigh the headsets, because even the
lightest gadget can feel heavy after long periods of use. Finally, we
test how adjustable the head straps are and how secure they feel.
the de facto face of your virtual experience, the interface is vitally
important. We test how responsive and intuitive the home page and
subsequent menus are, as well as test special features, like voice
commands and gesture control.
Whether it’s a traditional gamepad or something more elaborate, like
the Rift’s Touch Controllers, we’re checking to see if the input devices
are ergonomically designed; after all, no one wants hand cramps. We
also test tracking and responsiveness in a number of games.
Games and content:
Hardware without great software is just an expensive paperweight. We
not only examine the size of a device’s library but also scour the
listings and test out some of the higher-end apps and titles. At this
point, a good library should feature a number of games, apps, movies and