The Best VR Headset in 2023.
In 2023, the best VR headset will be affordable and comfortable. The options out there can be a bit daunting, especially when comparing headset specs without context. But don’t worry. We got our hands on all the popular headsets from Valve, Meta, HTC, and more to let you know which ones are worth your hard-earned cash.
Because of inflation, the price of the best VR headset has risen by $100, despite the price hike. It still provides the best wireless premium VR gaming experience. So, if you hate the idea of being tethered to a PC, Meta’s headset is the answer to your prayers.
The Quest Pro is an excellent option for those in the VR/AR industry looking to explore next-gen face tracking or mixed reality, but its high price could dissuade others from purchasing it.
Factors To Consider While Buying the Best VR Headset.
When searching for a headset, look for durability and one that will provide an extended gaming experience.
Look for a headset with motion tracking and immersive sound quality to upgrade your experience.
Comfort is key if you use a VR headset for long periods. Choose a device that won’t strain your neck and head.
Display Quality :
Select headsets with a clear image, high resolution, and low latency.
Look for headsets with built-in speakers or headphones so you can enjoy the fully immersive audio of your VR experience.
Fit and Comfort:
Your headset should fit your head comfortably and securely without being too tight or loose.
Price and Availability:
Please take into consideration the price of the headset as well as its availability in your area.
Oculus Rift S:
The Oculus Rift S is one of the most popular VR headsets, thanks to its incredible visuals and improved design over the original Oculus Rift. It supports both seated and standing experiences and room-scale play for those who want to move around in their virtual world.
Our Top Picks For The Best VR Headset in 2023.
Here is a list of products that we have personally tested.
1). Meta Quest 2
The Meta Quest 2, formerly known as the Oculus Quest 2, has enhanced specifications compared to its predecessor and is available at a lower cost. It remains one of the top VR headsets in the market, offered at an affordable price. The device boasts a new LCD with a resolution of 1832 x 1920 per eye, ensuring an immersive experience. Excellent clarity for an entry-level headset price, but this is much more than that.
If you were wondering, the Meta Quest 2 is the same headset as the Oculus Quest 2. Meta owns Oculus, and with its recent rebranding from Facebook, it took the Oculus name with it. You can find some places that still refer to it as the Oculus Quest 2 today, but the transition to Meta has been completed for the most part. It’s unclear why Meta made this change and preferred having it be called Oculus myself.
The Quest 2 has a more transparent and precise picture if you keep the headset level with your eyes in the center. The Snapdragon XR2 System-on-Chip (SoC) from Qualcomm powers that, notably better than the older Quest model’s Snapdragon 835 SoC. Like the original model, it comes with 6GB of RAM instead of 4 GB.
If you want to play a game specifically designed for the stand-alone headset, it will be rendered by the Snapdragon XR2 chip. However, using Oculus Link, you will need a compatible USB Type-C cable to beam games from your PC. We have used the official Oculus Link cable and can say it is expensive. That said, you could use a cheaper cable, keep in mind that some cables won’t deliver the length or power needed as those that are already more expensive do. Not getting those specific things can occasionally pose an issue, but not always.
The Quest 2 can do more than just stand-alone VR with Oculus Link. It’s now an all-in-one VR headset, capable of great on-the-go VR and gaming across SteamVR and Oculus Rift-compatible titles. Thanks to a recent update, it has a 120 Hz refresh rate, making it an even better deal.
- Display: LCD Resolution: 3664 x 1920
- Refresh Rate: Up to 120Hz
- Field of View: 100-degree
- controller: Oculus Touch
- Connections: USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone
|+ Oculus Link tethering||– Mandatory Facebook login|
|+ Improved graphics||– Fiddly strap|
|+ Great price||—|
|+ Steady updates||—|
2). HTC Vive Pro 2
The HTC Vive Pro 2 brings several updates on the display front, making it one of the most impressive mainstream options. The native resolution of 2448 x 2448 pixels per eye is incredible, and when coupled with the 120Hz refresh rate and 120-degree field of view, it makes for one of the best viewing experiences.
The HTC Vive Pro 2 is one of the highest-resolution mainstream headsets you can drop your money on and offers a significant edge over the Quest 2, which settles for 3664 x 1920. It’s excellent for high-fidelity games but a less obvious upgrade in more cartoony titles. You need high-resolution textures and models to enjoy this headset’s benefits.
There’s no noticeable screen door effect either, and at this resolution, it feels like the hardware side of VR has been solved.
Of course, at these kinds of resolutions, you’ll need a high-end machine to get the most from this headset, with HTC recommending an Nvidia GeForce RTX 20-series or Radeon RX 5000-series GPU to maintain a smooth experience. For testing, we hooked up the headset to our high-end test PC, home to a GeForce RTX 3080.
We had no problems running any games on this setup, but it’s well up there regarding specs.
It’s very much a tethered experience, and while the cable connecting you to your PC is generous, there are times when it gets in the way and yanks you out of your virtual world. If you pine for cable-free gaming, then the headset is compatible with the HTC Vive wireless adapter, but that costs an extra $349 (£359) and limits the refresh rate to 90 Hz not exactly ideal.
The headset is comfortable to wear, although it got hot after a while. Plenty of foam padding to help keep things comfortable, although this also acts as an insulator. It’s not the lightest headset, but it is well-balanced and doesn’t feel overly heavy.
- Display: LCD
- Resolution: 4896 x 2448
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz
- Field of View: 120 degrees
- Controllers: HTC Vive
- Connections: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0
|+ Awesome display||– Ridiculously expensive|
|+ Precise tracking||– It takes time to setup|
|+ Mature tracking||– Gets hot in use|
3). HTC Vive Cosmos Elite
The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite attempts to address some of the problems with the original HTC Vive Cosmos while maintaining the core specifications of that model. Primarily the dual 4.3-inch 1440 x 1700 displays running at 90 Hz.
It comes bundled with the Half-Life Alyx and 6 months of Viveport, an infinity subscription, which at the very least, there are many things to try out with your new headset.
The Cosmos Elite is essentially the original Cosmos, with the first-generation base stations and controllers but a different faceplate attached to the headset. If you’ve already bought the Cosmos, you can upgrade it with a new faceplate for $200, although you’ll need to buy your base stations separately to use it. The modularity means you can even add the wireless adapter, although, at $350 for that alone, this solution can get expensive quickly.
The Cosmos Elite replaces the inside-out tracking of the original Cosmos, returning to base stations to improve accuracy. It’s added to the price and made the setup a little trickier each one needs its power connector and should be mounted above head height but angled downwards to encompass the floor. They have standard fittings for attaching to tripods and light stands, and the bundle even includes the wall mounting brackets (complete with wall plugs and screws).
- Display: LCD
- Resolution: 2880 x 1700
- Refresh Rate: 90Hz
- Field of View: 110 degrees
- Controllers: 1st-gen Vive Controllers
- Connections: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0
|+ High resolutions displays||– First-gen controllers and base stations|
|+ Accurate tracking||– Not massively innovative|
|+ Includes Half-Life Alyx and Viveport Infinity||—|
4. Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 is popular right now. While it is still the best-value VR headset on the market for most players,
While we were disappointed that the Oculus Quest 2 felt a little cheaper than its predecessor, we found it more comfortable in our testing overall. That’s thanks to its lighter form factor (503 g vs. the original 571 g) and the wider surface area of the thumb rest of the controller. We were also impressed by the sharper resolution once we strapped this headset on.
You have the freedom to explore your surroundings without any restrictions on the tracking area, thanks to the highly flexible setup of this device. It is an all-in-one unit with a fast processor and sufficient RAM to handle modern games seamlessly, eliminating the need for an expensive gaming PC. This feature alone makes Oculus Quest 2 an excellent value for money.
- Resolution: 3664 x 1920
- Display: LCD
- Connection: USB-C, 3.5mm
- Field of View: 100°
- Recommended: None (PC optional for tethering)
|+ Wireless||– Requires a Facebook account|
|+ No need for an expensive PC||—|
|+ Oculus Link tethering enabled||—|
5). Valve Index
Our readers need to be aware of the notable features of the Valve Index. Its unique finger-tracking system sets it apart from other VR headsets, as each finger has its sensor on a touch-sensitive panel. This is a groundbreaking feature in VR gaming. Secondly, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, games can run smoothly without any flickering or lag.
For avid PC gamers, the Valve Index is the ultimate VR headset. The headset alone costs £459, while the complete kit costs £919 or $999. Though it may seem pricey, it’s more affordable than the HTC Vive Pro 2. Additionally, this setup boasts superior tracking capabilities over resolution.
With Steam backing it, you wouldn’t be bored in this virtual world, but remember that not every Steam title can take full advantage of the excellent tracking features. By purchasing, you’re almost certainly putting yourself to the test rather than enjoying current technology.
- Resolution: 2880 x 1600
- Display: AMOLED
- Connection: DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB 2.0
- Field of View: 130°
- Recommended Hardware: Quad-core processor+, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070+, USB 3.0, SteamVR tracking base stations, DisplayPort 1.2
|+ Dramatically reduces screen door effect||– Difficult to find in stock|
|+ Wide field of view||– Only available via Steam|
|+ Excellent controller tracking||—|
6). HP Reverb G2
The HP Reverb G2 is a hidden gem worth considering, even though it may not be on everyone’s radar. It’s important to note that finding this headset outside of the US can be a bit challenging, whereas, in the UK, special editions are available, but they come with a steep price tag of over $1,000. This headset prioritizes resolution and offers convenient quality-of-life features, such as a display that flips up to allow you to view your surroundings. Although it may not surpass some of the more expensive VR options available, it still has much to offer and is worth considering.
The HP Reverb G2 has an excellent resolution, with dual 2160 x 2160 LCDs. The most impressive feature here is the audio, which HP claims is 1.5x better than other headsets on the market. Coupled with its refresh rate of 90Hz, you’re getting an incredibly immersive experience regardless of what
The HP Reverb G2 is a Windows headset that cameras easily connect to your PC. With little setup and external tracking sensors, the experience is simple and easy. If you are looking for value compared to Oculus, the HP Reverb G2 offers solidity in its buy for PC enthusiasts who want quality without spending extra time completing installations or software tweaks at home.
- Resolution: 4320 x 2160
- Display: LCD
- Connection: DisplayPort, USB 3.0
- Field of View: 114°
- Recommended Hardware: Intel Core i5, i7, Intel Xeon E3-1240 v5, AMD Ryzen 5+, DX12 capable graphics, DisplayPort 1.3, USB-C 3.0
|+ Great resolution||– Asks a lot from your PC – would aim higher than minimum recommended specs|
|+ Not as expensive as other premium headsets||– Not much UK availability|
|+ 90Hz refresh rate||—|
Q. Should I wait to buy a VR headset?
A. Although no one knows for sure what the future of VR holds, it’s safe to say that there will be newer and better devices on the market in the next few years. So, if you can wait to buy a VR headset, seeing what comes out may be worth it. The Quest 2 is still a great device and offers much value for its price point.
Q. What should I look for in a VR headset?
A. If you’re buying a PC for work, get a headset compatible with Windows with a high resolution and refresh rate. Most VR headsets have similar controller designs and can be used for professional applications.
Are you in search of a portable or stand-alone virtual reality option? The Quest 2 is the most suitable choice in that case. However, if you own a game console, the PlayStation VR is your sole option, though it may be worth waiting for the PSVR 2 if you own a PS5. Additionally, app libraries are a crucial factor to consider. The Quest features numerous exclusive games, while headsets connected to Windows provide compatibility with work applications and experimental tools. Lastly, Sony’s PlayStation library also has some exclusive VR games.
Q. Do any of these headsets work with phones?
A. The new world of VR headsets is here, led by the Oculus Quest 2. The old-school phone-based VR headsets, like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, can’t keep up with the current iPhone, Android, and other app options.
Even though Quest 2 has a phone app for streaming content so that parents can monitor it more efficiently and iPhone users can get notifications while in the game and sync some health data for workouts, it’s still not fully integrated with phones. If smartphone-based VR makes a comeback anytime soon (which is doubtful), small headsets will plug into phones via USB-C to play VR content or gaming.
Q. How do I care for my VR headset?
A. Since they are constantly in use, it’s not uncommon for VR headsets to get dusty and grimy. To clean them properly, gently wipe the lenses with microfiber cloths (avoid using liquids). Investing in a silicone cover or extra face covers that can be swapped over time might also be a good idea.
When you’re not using your VR headset, it’s essential to keep it covered. You should also be careful about exposing it to direct sunlight since the sun can damage the display if its beams hit the lenses. I like to play it safe by keeping my VR headset in a case or turning the lenses away from windows when I’m not using them.
In conclusion, finding the best VR headset depends on many factors. The Oculus Quest 2 is excellent if you value portability and affordability. But if you want to get into professional or experimental tools, a PC-connected headset like the Valve Index may better suit your needs. Either way, consider the cost, what apps and games are available, comfortability, and how often you will use your headset before purchasing. Once you have that figured out, all you can do is enjoy your virtual reality experience!
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