Best Virtual Reality Headsets

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 28, 2019
Virtual reality is knocking at every door! Discover new amazing virtual worlds, make virtual tours to the most famous sights, objects of cultural heritage, and natural landmarks. And, of course, enjoy 3D video games. It's possible if you choose one of the virtual reality headsets on our shortlist! ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2019
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Display
Field of View
Sound
Movement Sensors
Controls
Interface
Compatibility
Convenience
Weight
Warranty
 
PROS

The system will let you play over 1500 SteamVR games. You can use Vive seated, standing, and/or in any space up to 11'5" x 11'5". The Chaperone system works wonders warning you about the play area's boundaries, keeping you immersed in the virtual reality experience without having to worry about real-life limitations.

CONS

The initial setup will take 1-2 hours. 

OUR VERDICT

HTC Vive Virtual Reality System is up there with the best virtual reality headsets on the market right now. It is arguably the most complete system to date. The platform presents very few limits compared to its direct competition. In other words, you'll be thoroughly entertained.

detailed parameters
Display

3.6’’ Dual AMOLED screen, 2160 x 1200, 90 Hz

Field of View

110°

Sound

Integrated microphone, stereo headphone jack

Movement Sensors

SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity

Controls

Multifunction trackpad, Grip buttons, Dual-stage trigger, System button, Menu button, Interpupillary distance and lens distance adjustment

Interface

HDMI 1.4, USB 2.0, 3.5-mm headphone jack, Power, Bluetooth

Compatibility

Windows® 7 SP1, Windows® 8.1 or later, Windows® 10

Convenience

Adjustable straps and interchangeable inserts, Front-facing camera, Eye relief adjustments, Fits most glasses, 2 base stations, 2 wireless controllers included

Weight

~ 550 g

Warranty

1 year limited

PROS

The Oculus Touch wireless controllers do an excellent job precisely recreating your hands, including every gesture and just about every interaction, making the games feel real. Your slashes, throws, jabs, and grabs will appear in the virtual world with intuitive and realistic precision.

CONS

Certain glossy surfaces will be uncomfortable to look at. 

OUR VERDICT

Oculus Quest is the best VR prospect on the market for people who don't have a high-end rig at home and/or those who'd rather have the ability to take the headset anywhere with them and experience virtual reality in different places. Plus, you'll be able to play original games like Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.

detailed parameters
Display

PenTile OLED screen, 1440 x 1600 per eye, 72 Hz

Field of View

100°

Sound

Headphone jack

Movement Sensors

Insight Tracking sensors

Controls

Adjustment for inter-ocular distance, Volume adjustment

Interface

Wi-Fi

Compatibility

iPhone (iOS 10 or higher) or Android (6.0 Marshmallow or higher) smartphone

Convenience

Oculus App (free download), Adjustable straps, Frame-friendly spacer, 2 wireless controllers included

Weight

~ 570 g

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The device's 3D audio tech will let you accurately perceive the sounds' direction and distance. You'll always be able to tell whether the sounds are coming from above, below, and/or all around you, giving that competitive edge and making the games feel more realistic and immersive.

CONS

There are too many wires required to run the headset. 

OUR VERDICT

Sony PlayStation VR is the easiest decision you'll ever make: if you already have a PS4 and looking to give VR a shot, then there's no reason not to purchase this virtual reality headset. At the same time, as an overall package, the headset plus the console aren't that bad either.

detailed parameters
Display

5.7” OLED screen, 1080 х 960, 120 Hz

Field of View

100°

Sound

Integrated microphone, headphone jack

Movement Sensors

3D depth sensors

Controls

Fits glasses, lens distance from the eye can be adjusted, Interpupillary distance adjustment

Interface

HDMI, USB

Compatibility

PS4

Convenience

3D audio technology, Adjustable headband, Processor unit, PlayStation VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, Stereo headphones, PlayStation VR demo disc included

Weight

590 g

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The supplied controls support six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion control accuracy. The company's Anti-Screen Door Effect tech works wonders effectively delivering more than twice the display's resolution pixel count. The built-in headphones let you experience equally rich and dynamic 360-degree spatial sound. 

CONS

The headset is relatively heavy. 

OUR VERDICT

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is all about the stunning visuals that will enrich your virtual reality experience and make you never want to leave these virtual worlds. At the same time, the model's sound will make the experience that much more immersive, so you'll definitely feel like you're actually there at times.

detailed parameters
Display

3.5" AMOLED screen, 2880 x 1600

Field of View

110°

Sound

Integrated microphone, headphone jack

Movement Sensors

6-axis ACC & Gyro, 3-axis compass, Proximity sensor, IPD sensor

Controls

Volume adjustment, IPD adjustment, Focus adjustment

Interface

HDMI, USB 3.0

Compatibility

Windows 10

Convenience

Adjustable headband, Anti-screen door effect (Anti-SDE), 2 free months of Infinity subscription and gain unlimited access to hundreds of VR games and apps, Wireless controller included

Weight

644 g

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The controller feels pretty good in the hand. The design is ergonomic and the controller feels responsive enough. The crystal-clear optics work together with the optimized 3D graphics module to provide the highest visual clarity that 200 bucks can buy. 

CONS

The battery life could use some improvement. 

OUR VERDICT

Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset is the best bang for your buck. The virtual experience it is able to deliver is very similar to its much more expensive Oculus Rift counterpart. The screen door effect is minimal. The breathable fabrics and injection foam molding make the headset disappear.

detailed parameters
Display

LCD screen, 2560 x 1440, 72 Hz

Field of View

100°

Sound

Headphone jack

Movement Sensors

Insight Tracking sensors

Controls

Adjustment for inter-ocular distance, Volume adjustment

Interface

Wi-Fi

Compatibility

iPhone (iOS 10 or higher) or Android (6.0 Marshmallow or higher) smartphone

Convenience

Breathable fabrics and injection foam molding, Adjustable straps, Frame-friendly spacer, Wireless controller included

Weight

~ 470 g

Warranty

1 year

HTC VIVE

Flexible Play Area

Every VR headset brings something new to the table. These systems are very different from each other, from basic design to general execution. There are no objective winners and losers here.

That being said, you could definitely make an argument in HTC Vive Virtual Reality System's favor. There are just so many little details that HTC and Valve collaboration have been able to do right compared to the companies' competition.

Let's start with the basics. First and foremost, virtual reality should be fun. Sure, there are various possible real-world applications, but we're not talking about them here. We're talking about entertainment.

As far as entertainment is concerned, this system is big-time. You can use Vive seated, standing, and/or in any space up to 11'5" x 11'5". You'll be able to traverse boundless virtual realms without leaving your desk and/or create a dedicated room-scale play area where you'll have the opportunity to physically walk around.

You'd think that the latter approach poses countless injury concerns but that's not the case here. The Chaperone system works wonders warning you about the play area's boundaries, keeping you immersed in the virtual reality experience without having to worry about real-life limitations.

Plus, the front-facing camera gives you a nice little glimpse of the real world, so you're able to sit down, grab a drink, and/or carry on with a conversation without taking the headset off.

Review of HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System

The Most Complete System

The biggest issue with most VR platforms is that there are so few games to play. As far as HTC Vive is concerned, that couldn't be further from the truth. The system will let you play over 1500 SteamVR games as well as access Steam's countless bonus features, including new releases, automatic game updates, your friends' list, etc.

With virtual reality, immersion is the name of the game and Vive does not disappoint in that department either. The precise 360-degree controller is remarkable. You'll be able to utilize a multifunction trackpad, grip buttons, and a dual-stage trigger. The headset tracking, super-realistic graphics, directional audio, and HD haptic feedback equal realistic movements and actions in the virtual world.

Bottom line, HTC Vive Virtual Reality System is up there with the best virtual reality headsets on the market right now. It is arguably the most complete system to date. The platform presents very few limits compared to its direct competition. You'll be thoroughly entertained.

HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Graphics; Surprisingly good graphics. With supersampling, you can increase the quality of the graphics as well.

Features

Lots of games out for how new the tech is. Granted most of them are "early release" there are some absolutely incredible games to be played.

Size & Weight

It's not heavy and It's comfortable for relatively long sessions.
 

Oculus Quest

Standalone Gaming Platform

The best thing about Oculus Quest is that the device is a standalone gaming platform. You don't have to connect the headset to your PC. There are no wires to worry about here.

In fact, you'll be able to take the headset and controllers with you and play VR games anywhere you want. You'll have no issues playing standing up and/or sitting down. You'll have no issues playing in spaces big and/or small.

The company's Guardian system is able to remember your play space's boundaries and help you avoid nearby objects while you're in the virtual reality experience.

Bottom line, we're dealing with arguably the most practical and convenient virtual reality headset on the market today.

You'll be able to set the system up in seconds. The free Oculus app is compatible with most iPhone (iOS 10 or higher) and Android (6.0 Marshmallow or higher) smartphones.

Of course, that's far from the model's only appeal. At the end of the day, what matters is how fun and immersive the system is and this particular system is plenty fun and ridiculously immersive.

The company's Insight tracking system instantly translates your movements into the virtual world. You won't need any external sensors. The system couldn't care less about which way you're facing. You'll be able to look around, duck for cover, and turn the tide of the battle from just about anywhere in your play space.

Review of Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset

Transporting Your Hands Into the Game

In addition to the headset, you receive two Oculus Touch wireless controllers. These things are fantastic. They do an excellent job precisely recreating your hands, including every gesture and just about every interaction, making the games feel real enough so that you can reach them and touch them. Your slashes, throws, jabs, and grabs will appear in the virtual world with intuitive and realistic precision.

A quality sound system can make the virtual reality experience as much as a subpar system can break that experience. Here, we're dealing with the former. The company's positional audio is built directly into the headset, so you'll be able to hear your teammates and/or your opponents sneaking up behind you without any headphones.

All things considered, Oculus Quest is the best VR prospect on the market for people who don't have a high-end rig at home and/or those who'd rather have the ability to take the headset anywhere with them and experience virtual reality in different places. Plus, you'll be able to play original games like Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.

Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Sony PlayStation VR

The Sony Approach

Sony PlayStation VR is pretty much the promised land for VR on consoles. In some ways, the system isn't necessarily as polished and refined as its Oculus/HTC competition. But this headset doesn't really compete with these platforms.

First and foremost, the price brackets are completely different. This headset is 2-3 less expensive compared to Oculus Quest and HTC Vive. At the same time, compared to the latter, the headset doesn't work independently. You'll need a PS4 to use the headset. Of course, that's still great (on the cost-value front) compared to HTC Vive since the latter is much more expensive and requires a solid rig to run its games.

Now that we've covered logistics, let's talk features and specs because the model is no joke in these departments.

The custom 5.7-inch OLED screen will let you see and experience hyper-real 3D environments come to life.

The headset is able to deliver 120 frames per second, so you'll be able to enjoy ridiculously smooth visuals and just as ridiculously low latency that, combined, will create the most immersive virtual reality experience.

The model's 360-degree immersion works wonders making you an actual part of the living, breathing virtual world with its seamless field of view. Whichever way you turn, the virtual world is still there.

Review of Sony PlayStation VR Virtual Headset

Pinpoint Accuracy

We cannot emphasize how important audio is to the whole virtual equation. Fortunately, the people at Sony understand that. The device's 3D audio tech will let you accurately perceive the sounds' direction and distance. You'll always be able to tell whether the sounds are coming from above, below, and/or all around you, giving that competitive edge and making the games feel more realistic and immersive.

The headset comes equipped with a built-in mic. Using this microphone, you'll have the means to chat with your online friends, discuss various in-game tactics, and, again, strengthen your immersion into the virtual world.

As far as precision is concerned, your PlayStation Camera will be tracking the nine LEDs positioned on the headsets' front, back and, sides, providing that pinpoint accuracy within the game world that you need to make these games equally challenging and entertaining.

Long story short, Sony PlayStation VR is the easiest decision you'll ever make: if you already have a PS4 and looking to give VR a shot, then there's no reason not to purchase this virtual reality headset. At the same time, as an overall package, the headset plus the console aren't that bad either.

Sony PlayStation VR Virtual Headset in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Key Specs

Tracks position easily when moving around a reasonably large area.

Features

Comes with a lot of different types of VR demos, games, videos, experiences to try out of the box.

Size & Weight

I have an enormous skull, but the PSVR truly is one size fits all. My kids and wife all wear glasses, but they had no problems wearing the headset.
 

Samsung HMD Odyssey+

Anti-Screen Door Effect

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ definitely has its moments compared to the model's predecessor as well as every other VR headset on the market right now. As far as we're concerned, it all starts with the visuals. There's just something about the model's merged double 3.5-inch AMOLED screen setup with a 3K display (that something is an incredibly realistic all-around view).

At the same time, the headset's 110-degree viewing angle gives you that fluid and immersive virtual experience whenever you glimpse over/around the surroundings.

Sometimes, it is the little details that raise the overall experience.

Other times, it is the company's Anti-Screen Door Effect tech that works wonders effectively delivering more than twice the display's resolution pixel count. Among other features, this technology will make your VR adventures crisp, clear, and as seamless as they come.

Given that the audio part matters just as much as the video part, the people behind the HMD Odyssey+ headset made sure to arm this model with the company's best tech.

Equipped with robust built-in headphones that are tuned by AKG, this headset for PC lets you experience equally rich and dynamic 360-degree spatial sound, providing audio so natural it will make you feel like actual real-life sounds are coming at you from all directions.

There's also the built-in mic that you can use to chat with teammates as well as control your PC via Cortana.

Review of Samsung HMD Odyssey+ with 2 Wireless Controllers

Six Degrees of Freedom

On the logistics front, the headset is just as solid. You'll be able to set the model up in minutes. Simply plug the headset into any compatible PC and you're all set to jump directly into the experience. The experience will prove much more intuitive, by the way, because the supplied controls support six degrees of freedom (6DOF) motion control accuracy.

The model is relatively lightweight (~1.7 pounds) and plenty comfortable. The premium cooling fabric makes sure you don't overheat and that the lenses do not fog up, letting you play for as long as you want. You'll likely forget you're wearing the headset at all. Of course, some might still find this device relatively heavy but the adjustable headband should definitely make the fit comfortable enough.

To sum it all up, Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is all about the stunning visuals that will enrich your virtual reality experience and make you never want to leave these virtual worlds. At the same time, the model's sound will make the experience that much more immersive, so you'll definitely feel like you're actually there at times.

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ with 2 Wireless Controllers in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Oculus Go Standalone

Standalone Headset

Provided you don't own a PS4 console, Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset is the most affordable quality VR headset you can find. It is definitely the most affordable standalone virtual reality headset that can still tussle with the best VR headsets on the market today.

As you'd imagine, that standalone refers to the fact that you can use the headset without connecting this thing with some other device.

Of course, it is all about cutting the cord. You'll still have to link the headset with your smartphone to play games and stream your favorite content. You will, however, be able to do that using the built-in Wi-Fi module, so, again, you won't have to deal with any cords.

Plus, you can always take this very much portable headset with you wherever you go and enjoy quality virtual reality experience just about anywhere you want.

As far as the overall experience is concerned, there's not that much to cover here. On one hand, the headset is pretty good at bringing virtual experiences to life, delivering rich details and vibrant color with the company's best-in-class lenses. The crystal-clear optics work together with the optimized 3D graphics module to provide the highest visual clarity that 200 bucks can buy.

On the other hand, the available games definitely cater more to the casual crowd. They're fun and engaging but not necessarily challenging.

Review of Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset

It is all About the Games

The controller's story is similar. On one hand, the 3DoF controller feels pretty good in the hand. The design is ergonomic and the controller feels responsive enough.

On the other hand, this controller comes up fairly short compared to its Oculus Touch competition. The former brings your hands into the virtual world, tracking your hand and arm movements.

That's not the case here. The controller hasn't evolved much beyond the usual point-and-click remote.

Having said that, you'll still be able to move this thing around in the virtual space. It is all about the games that you play. With Coaster Combat, you'll be using the controller like a pistol that lets you shoot at/collect coins. It will feel intuitive there but not much more than that.

It is games like Coaster Combat that let this controller truly shine, going beyond selecting things and becoming a part of the virtual world.

In short, Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset is the best bang for your buck. The virtual experience it is able to deliver is very similar to its much more expensive Oculus Rift counterpart. The screen door effect is minimal. The breathable fabrics and injection foam molding make the headset disappear.

Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Virtual Reality Headset?

3D technologies are no wonder today. An experienced user wants to fully immerse into movies or video games and get the real feeling of the virtual reality. These objectives have stimulated the leading electronic producers to the creation of special virtual reality headsets that provide users with new impressions, including the visual and audio effects making cyberspace real. One of the major features of this equipment is its compatibility with game-boxes, smartphones, and PCs. The virtual reality headset creates the panorama around a user. Every eye sees an individual picture, which in combination with a high-quality surround sound, maximizes the effect of immersion into the virtual world.

This review compares the best available models of virtual reality headsets. For the ultimate comfort and pleasure of playing video games, we recommend you to consider buying one of the premium gaming chairs.

What Features to Compare

Picture Quality

If you are going to buy a virtual reality viewer, the first thing to take care of is the picture quality. Modern headsets are either equipped with their own displays or use smartphone screens. The picture quality mostly depends on the resolution, i.e. the higher the resolution is, the better the picture a user sees. If a headset uses the phone display, the resolution will be the one supported by the smartphone. On the other hand, if you have a viewer with a built-in display, you should take the aspect ratio into account. It is recommended to choose a wide-screen display with the aspect ratio of 16:9 and HD resolution. These features define the refresh rate, which is really important for ensuring a smooth changing of frames in dynamic scenes. Another important parameter is the viewing angle or the field of view. The wider it is, the more objects you can see at the same time.

Audio Features and Extra Conveniences

After deciding on video parameters, you should consider the audio features and extra conveniences of every headset. The sound impacts the feeling of reality. You will probably agree that seeing an excellent picture accompanied by a poor sound doesn't give you a feeling of reality. Certain headsets have built-in audio systems, while others use the speakers of smartphones. If the device has built-in speakers, they split the audio signal and create a stereo effect. To improve the audio quality, you can use extra earphones. Some headphones support the 5.1 surround sound providing you with impressive 3D audio effects. Additional conveniences of virtual reality viewers can include motion sensors such as accelerometer, gyroscope or proximity sensor. All these sensors make a VR gameplay truly realistic and fun. If your device uses a smartphone, you should find out whether your phone has the necessary sensors. It is also recommended to look at the controls that might include a sensor panel, built-in keys or buttons or external controller units. It should be mentioned that flagship models feature the adjustment of the focus distance, approximation, or sharpness; all of them improve the picture quality. The lenses on the most advanced models can be adjusted individually for people suffering from myopia or presbyopia. Usually, the headset is connected to the smartphone via a USB port or to a TV set or external monitor through the HDMI slot.

Compatibility and Comfort

Finally, we would like to clarify the meaning of such criteria as the compatibility and comfort. Planning to purchase the virtual reality headset with a smartphone as the source of signal, you should find out what screen size range is supported by the headset. The majority of VR headsets are compatible with phones with the displays from 4'' to 6'' wide. If a headset needs to be connected to a personal computer, you should also be sure that it's compatible with PC's operating system and hardware. For the ultimate comfort, the design of virtual reality headsets allows adjusting them to almost all possible head sizes and shapes. Apart from physical positioning, the convenience also depends on the weight of a VR headset. If you wish to enjoy the virtual reality for a long time without any harm to your health, you should use the lightweight models.

Virtual Reality Facts

The Idea Is Not That New

Most people probably reckon that virtual reality has been around for ~5 years but the idea is actually much older than that. Of course, we're talking about virtual reality devices that are at least remotely similar to these modern-day headsets. Various contraptions that were designed to create and/or emulate different immersive experiences have been around for decades. The actual term is neither that old nor that new though. It was coined in 1987 by Jaron Lanier during that 80s period when people were almost as heavily invested in the idea as we're now.

The People Are Very Much Behind Virtual Reality

It goes without saying that young people are into virtual reality because young people are always interested in new things/experiences. At the same time, it is not just young people that have shown major interest regarding these devices. According to multiple polls, somewhere around 65% of baby boomers find the idea interesting and these modern-day headsets (and the devices to come) very much intriguing.

Of course, young people are still the biggest driving force behind the industry's recent growth. The market is already worth over $5B and is projected to reach $45B by 2024. Needless to say, these are insane numbers but, at the same time, they're actually pretty conservative and many people believe that we'll see much more incremental increase than that.

The Variety Is Already Here

A few years ago, people had to choose between the same three to five products. That's not even remotely the case anymore. There are over 9000 products listed on Amazon under the "virtual reality headset" category that are currently available for purchase. The folk at Google have been able to sell more than 88 million Cardboard VR headsets in 2016 alone.

People usually associate these headsets with mobile-based platforms, and they're not wrong there. Almost 90% of virtual reality headsets are smartphone-based, usually meaning that you place your smartphone into the headset and use the phone's display as the virtual screen. That being said, there are headsets that can be used independently but also paired with your smartphone to run certain applications.

At the same time, most people associate these headsets with gaming application/purposes but that's actually not the case. Somewhere around 40% of VR content is game-related these days, meaning that the application range goes far beyond these silly little games that the headsets were originally designed for.

Healthcare, among other industries, is huge on virtual reality. From diagnostics and treatment to practising invasive surgical procedures, the field has already benefited big-time from these virtual reality devices and it's only uphill from here.

The government loves VR. Both NASA and the United States military are investing major financial assets in virtual reality. The former organisation uses VR to connect engineers with the devices they send into space. The military uses virtual reality tech to recruit and train soldiers before deploying them.

Sources:

1. Virtual Reality Headset, Wikipedia. September 9, 2016.

2. Sean Buckley NotCulus Rift: How I Hacked Together My Own Serious VR Headset, Gizmodo. March 2, 2015.

3. Sherri L. Smith VR Mega Guide, Tom's Guide. April 5, 2016.

4. Jakie Dove VR Q&A: What You Need to Know About VR Headsets, Techwalla.

5. VR Headsets, Science Focus.

6. Adi Robertson The Ultimate VR Headset Buyer’s Guide, THE VERGE.

7. VIRTUALREALITY 101, CNET.

8. David Cardinal How to Buy the Right VR Headset: Our Complete Guide, Extreme Tech. April 25, 2016.

9. Lindsay Handmer Buyers Guide: VR Headsets, Lifehacker. June 17, 2016.

10. Lewis Painter The Complete Guide to VR: VR Headsets, VR Games, Apps & More - VR Explained, TechAdvisor. June 24, 2016.

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