Best VR headsets for 2021
In a world where people are stillVirtual reality has taken on a whole new meaning over the past two years. VR still isn’t the social gathering place or the workplace that I would like it to be, but it’s closer. The Oculus Quest 2 has become the closest thing to a it was never available. But virtual reality is also always evolving, technology constantly evolving.
VR Games Are Better Than Ever: From Valve’s Half-Life VR Masterpiece: Alyx toand much more on PCs, and and , too much. But you still have to decide whether you want a headset that plugs into your PC or console, or choose a standalone option like Oculus Quest when playing a VR game. At the moment, the new is the best and most affordable option for VR, but it does require a Facebook account to function.
Other changes will come. Companies such as Qualcomm (which makes the chips in most standalone VR headsets, including the new Quest 2) arethat point to a wave of at lower prices – including those that plug into your phone.
Meanwhile, the mobile VR headset and the phone-based VR headset – like theand — is . Many of the current iPhone, Android, and VR app options don’t even work with older mobile VR glasses. If smartphone virtual reality returns, it will likely be in the form of small headsets for VR content, VR games and other uses.
Either way, if you are a PC gamer, a solid PC connected gaming VR headset offers the most versatile software collection for an immersive VR experience and lets you use this headset for creative tools. and professionals. Note that a more powerful VR system will still largely be connected to a desktop or laptop, and a PC VR headset may require external sensors, so these may not be the best option for everything. the world.
And what about console games? Agingis still fun if it’s on sale and you have a PS4, mainly because there are a lot more great games for this device than you might think. But the , while he , needs older controllers and adapters, and doesn’t have a lot of graphically enhanced VR games yet. You may want to wait for the (which will not be there this year).
Just know that virtual reality is still here, but evolving. Augmented reality headsets andaren’t ready for everyday home use just yet, so in the meantime, a solid VR headset is your best bet for escaping to other worlds. Read on to determine what works best for you. We update this periodically, but note that prices are subject to change.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Good: Autonomous and wireless; excellent touchscreen controllers; comfortable design for games; doubles as a PC VR headset.
Wrong: Requires a Facebook account.
At $ 300 and nothing else is needed, the Oculus Quest 2 offers VR games and an immersive VR experience anywhere. It’s faster, smaller, cheaper, and more comfortable to wear than the original Quest, but you have to log into Facebook to use it.
The Quest 2 reminds me of the Nintendo Switch for its versatility and fun, plus it only takes seconds to boot and fits great on glasses. The standalone VR headset features standalone motion tracking and a six-degree-of-freedom (aka 6DoF) VR controller that’s identical to the Oculus Rift required by PC, plus a surprisingly large, built-in high-resolution display. . -in speakers. Applications are downloaded directly to the built-in storage of the standalone headset. Its more limited mobile processor still plays games like Beat Saber, Moss, and SuperHot VR extremely well, and it can even connect to a PC if you want, using just one USB-C cable.
Facebook is making the Quest 2 its only VR headset going forward, dropping its own PC VR headset, the Oculus Rift S, next spring. The Quest 2 is currently the better option over a Rift for this reason, but also keep in mind that PC VR users have plenty of other headset options.
Read our Oculus Quest 2 review.
Good: Truly crisp high-resolution display, great sound, comfortable design
The bad: Poor controllers
If you are looking for the best image quality in consumer VR, the latest VR headset from HP wins. For serious gamers (or VR racing simulation fans), this may be your best choice. The 2160 x 2160 resolution per eye and 114-degree field of view are the best in this price range, and the lightweight, comfortable headset also features fantastic Valve-designed pop-up speakers. It’s technically a Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality headset that prefers to jump into Microsoft’s native Windows 10 VR ecosystem, but it bridges Steam VR and works with those games and apps as well. The camera-based integrated room tracking is easier to set up than the Valve Index’s external base stations, but is more prone to tracking errors. The included controllers, based on Microsoft’s VR controller design, feel clunkier than either Oculus Touch controllers or Valve Index controllers. Plus, over-ear speakers are your only audio choice – there’s no headphone jack.
The Reverb G2, considered a sim racing device.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Good: Amazing futuristic controllers; high quality headphones; works with Vive hardware.
Wrong: Expensive; requires room setup and connection cable.
Valve’s headset could be the most exciting PC virtual reality experience this year, just for its fancy new controllers. Valve’s “knuckle” controllers are pressure sensitive and can track all five fingers, making them almost like gloves. Few apps make the most of it yet, but Valve’s hardware is compatible with the HTC Vive, which is also built on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset has excellent sound and a large, crisp field of view display.
The Index uses external “headlight” boxes, which means you need to install them in a room first. It’s not as stand-alone as Oculus’ Rift S, which can track the room with cameras built into the headset, or the HTC Vive Cosmos. It’s certainly not wireless either, but if you already have Vive material, you can add parts of the index to mix and match.
Read our review of the valve index.
Sarah Tew / CNET
Good: A lot of games; Lower price; works with many PS4 controllers such as DualShock and Move.
Wrong: The resolution is not cutting edge; Sony has yet to make great VR controllers that match the competition, but a new version could arrive next year.
Sony’s years-old PSVR headset is still the only head-mounted display for gaming consoles, and its display still offers a surprisingly immersive experience. Best of all, it’s often on sale for as little as $ 200, sometimes with games added as well. But Sony has confirmed that it is working on a next-gen PSVR headset for the PS5 (with a new set of controllers) that could arrive in 2022, if you want to wait. In the meantime, Sony has shipped (and continues to provide) many great VR games, many of which are exclusives. All you need is the PSVR and a PlayStation 4 and you can start playing. (Some good games to start with are listed here.) This VR system is showing its age, however, compared to the alternatives. And, the new PS5, while working with the old PSVR, will need your old PS4 controllers and camera, as well as a camera adapter, to work.
Read our Sony PlayStation VR review.
Angela Lang / CNET
Good: Modular facades for additional functionality; integrated monitoring; folding visor, works with Steam VR.
A generic choice for PC VR is the Vive Cosmos, the follow-up to the HTC Vive of 2016. The Cosmos has standalone tracking like the Oculus Quest 2 and Reverb G2 and also has interchangeable faceplates that will add more cameras for reality. mixed and external sensor tracking (for larger holodeck-type experiments) .You can mix and match Vive and Valve Index accessories with, but we prefer the Reverb G2 and Valve Index over Cosmos at the moment.
Learn more about the HTC Vive Cosmos.