Best VR Headsets

Table of Contents

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality (VR) states a computer experience of the artificial 3D universe where users can communicate with technological gadgets such as special video lenses. In this simulated artificial environment, the user can have a realistic feeling experience. The augmented reality (AR) is different from VR, as AR enhances the physical world by graphic overlays and builds an atmosphere that is not fully immersive. The feature of virtual reality most noticeable is the head-mounted camera. People are visual entities, and monitoring systems often vary primarily from augmented reality to traditional user interfaces.

The concept of virtual reality is based on the normal mixture of two words: virtual and actual. The first means almost or “conceptually” and refers to an experience that the implementation of technology is practical. The software develops and serves virtual experiences in which players are wearing hardware like arms, headphones, and special gloves.

Let us draw a parallel with real-life insights to understand enhanced reality. We experience our world through our senses and the visual functions of our corpse. Senses include savor, touch, smell, visions, sound, spatial awareness, and balance. Our brains can also perceive the information gained through these senses to perceive the logical world surrounding us.

FOV Displays

At present, the VR headsets are confronted by a problem which makes the experience less immersive (FOV). For starters, there was a small FOV in the original Microsoft HoloLens, but HoloLens 2 from Microsoft solved this problem by using laser technology to construct a microelectronic device display. HoloLens 2 will position the waveguides before the users’ eyes and expand the field of view of the device.

More stand-alone VR headsets

Most headsets of VR must currently be connected to high-performance computers via wires, thus reducing VR users’ motion. Separate VR headphones have been set up by various new firms such as Oculus, requiring a telephone and a secure Wi-Fi connection. The VR headset would be much easier to use because it will not fit properly on a big computer or on janky cables (with a stable internet connection).

Eye-tracking

Virtual reality plunges people into the virtual universe now, but VR must be prepared to look and embed them to the next level. Firms like Pupil Laboratories have developed VR headset software and eye monitoring technologies, but this technology will be built into the headset in the future. Eye-tracking technology allows foveal replication, where a certain high-resolution scene only takes place in the fovea region, which is the heart of this field of view. Users will have a more relaxed and tailored experience with VR goggles integrated with eye-tracking and facial expressions. The virtual space may be as enriching and opens a path to new prospects as the real world.

Virtual reality is already very strong, but future advancements are in the work. More VR accessories are one such creation. There are currently a small range of VR items that restrict our capacities in these conditions. Now only equipment such as joysticks and controllers can be connected.

How is Virtual Reality used?

A three-dimensional movie is the easiest example of VR. You get the immersive feel of becoming a part of the movie with an on-site appearance with unique 3D glasses. The leaf dropping from a tree seems to be floating immediately above the audience like as a racing vehicle drives over an abrasion, the viewer can sense the breath of the abyss, and certain spectators can feel falling. Basically, the light and sound signals of a 3D film make us think that something is unfolding immediately in front of us, though there is little in the actual world.

Other than regular 3D lenses, technical advancements made further enhancement possible. VR goggles will now be used to explore further. Enabled by computer systems, you can play “real” tennis (or any sport) right in your living room by playing a computer-controlled game simulation using sensor-fitting rackets. The VR headset that the players wear over the eyes illustrates that they are on a tennis court. They switch and attempt to hit with the sensor-fitted rackets depending on the incoming ball’s pace and trajectory. This consistency is measured by the game control machine, which indicates that the ball is hit too hard and has been exhausted and hit too soft inside the VR game. The game computer determines the exactness of the image.

Other uses of this VR technology include instruction and simulation. First, if you want to get a driver’s license, drivers can practice first-hand driving in VR configuration by manipulating car parts such as a wheel, frequency, and accelerator. Before getting on the highway without the possibility of a crash, it provides a certain amount of driving experience. Real estate sellers can also make use of VR-supported walks in a house or apartment to create a feel for an estate without having a prospective client physically in the area.

History of Virtual Reality

However, in the mid-1980s, the use of the word “virtual reality” was first used when Jaron Lanier, founder of VPL Research, started designing gear, including goggles and gloves, to experience the “virtual reality.” The 1956 Sensorama was a landmark. The history of Morton Heilig has been in the film industry in Hollywood. He wanted to see how people reacted as though they had been in the video. The experience from Sensorama simulated a real urban climate, in which you “drove”. Multisensory enhancement helps one see the road and listen to the engine, since the sound and smell in the “world” are that of the exhaust of the engine.

The seventies and eighties were a heady moment on the planet. Optical progress ran counter to projects on haptic systems and other instruments to travel through virtual space. In the mid-1980s, NASA Ames Research Center brought together a head-mounted computer with gloves to create haptic contact with the virtual interface environment workstation (VIEW) System. Virtual reality’s present gear is grateful to the pioneering inventors of the previous six decades, who have paved the way for low-cost, high-quality, readily available applications.

Oculus Rift S

Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset

Oculus was one of the first companies to utilise the new virtual reality hardware at a cheaper price point. With their first iteration of the virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift was providing users with the experience of lifetime inside virtual reality all while being at a reasonable price. However, their newest PC VR headset, the Oculus Rift S, shows to be an updated model using more advanced software for motion tracking, better visuals all while being cheaper than the original Rift at its release. 

This VR headset requires a computer with mid-level parts, which is the power behind the new visual and updated software brought with this new product. For most games, a graphics card such as a GTX 1050 should be substantial enough. But with the introduction of the upgraded graphics of the Rift S, some games have been created with more stunning landscapes and better implementation of the environment which would cause some forms of frame stutter on this graphics card. To reduce the risk of this happening, it is required that a GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM and above are used in conjunction with this headset to ensure the user with the most accurate and stable gameplay. 

The Oculus Rift S introduces us to a new software called Oculus Insight which allows the headset to use 3 simultaneous tracking methods. Which all allow for a more precise position and orientation detection as well as more accurate recognition of change in both. Over time, these sensors tend to drift and because of that an anchor is needed to be made. With the high accuracy of the visual sensors on the headset itself, it can detect edges of surrounding environments with something such as a high contrast pattern on a rug. The IR emitters on each controller are tracked using the headset to ensure that any weirdness or latency caused by the onboard sensors can be quickly corrected. This provides for one of the most pinpoint location tracking you can get from a VR headset and today still sits as one of the most advanced VR devices available. 

Further details about the device and the updated softwares are shown in the full keynote presented by Oculus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7OpS7pZ5ok

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System

The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite being the most recent and most expensive product in the HTC VR headset line up coming at an outrageous $1000. With this much money being invested in a headset you would expect one of the most advanced and exciting virtual reality experiences, and that is exactly what you get. HTC is known for providing high end VR products with reliable hardware that has very little flaws.

Vive provides owners of the Vive Cosmos Elite with the Vive port, which comes with 6-months unlimited access to thousands of VR games, videos and applications as well as Half-Life Alyx. This device allows users to break the immersion and ease their way back into the real world with active hinges on the front screen so the vive can be flipped up for easy access to the real world at any time. 

The Cosmos Elite is built with the same hardware as the original Cosmos, however, the faceplate has been altered slightly to allow for better tracking cameras and some of the major issues that were reported on the original Cosmos by consumers have now been fixed. Majority of the software, such as the lighthouse tracking has been slightly improved. However for roughly around the same price as the original, it is a much better option as a premium VR headset. As you are going to have to spend a large chunk of money for a high end headset, this is one that we recommend the most as it has one of the highest quality screens available. 

Valve Index

Being created by one of the most popular and leading companies in gaming gives this product a large amount of respect and leaves the company attempting to meet high expectations. Being one of the most expensive VR headsets available currently, the Valve Index is a must buy if you are going all out when creating your high end gaming setup. Because of the high intensity colour and graphics that the screen of the Index provides in addition to the groundbreaking tracking software, this VR requires a beefy computer with some pretty high end specs. The high price tag attached to this product shouldn’t mean you can spend the most amount of money on this and leave the computer with little to work with. The computer and headset go hand-in-hand, working together to create the ultimate VR experience. 

Like the HTC Cosmos Elite, the Valve Index includes the Half-Life Alyx VR game with the purchase of the headset. Unlike the other 2 headsets on here, the Valve Index does not support HDMI connection, only display port. Which shouldn’t be an issue when paired with a high end pc as most newer graphics cards include a singular or multiple display port connections.

Not only does this headset’s screen provide some of the most intense visuals but also comes with a whopping 120hz refresh rate, which before this was unseen in the virtual reality scene. The screen also has a 130 degree viewing angle which combined with the 120hz brings a whole new meaning to immersion.

Samsung Odyssey+

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless Controllers 3.5″ Black (XE800ZBA-HC1US)

The Samsung Odyssey+ is the only Windows Mixed Reality headset that we are mentioning in this list and for good reason. Windows has seemed to have a little trouble in the past in terms of creating quality virtual experiences. However, the new Odyssey+ is the complete opposite of this. With this product breaking Windows out of their current rut and leading them into the possible competition with some of the other leading VR systems on the market.

Like most VR headsets on this list, the Samsung Odyssey+ comes with a 90hz display and incredible screen DPI. However, unlike other goggles we’ve reviewed, these have their own over-the-ear headphones and adjustable IPD range. Meaning these goggles will fit your eyes comfortably no matter what. With the impressive cushioning on both the headstraps and the nose area, you should be able to game for extended periods of time without having too much pressure built up from the headset. 

The controllers come with the headset in the packaging and rock a somewhat inverted design to the Oculus controllers. With the tracking ring being seen underneath the hand, this also helps with weight distribution of the controller and stabilisation, with just as much of a comfortable design. This headset is one of the best on the market and is definitely worth picking up if you’re a fan of Windows Mixed Reality and want to give the virtual reality experience a go.

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung Gear VR w/Controller – US Version

The Gear VR is one of the leading products in portable, phone controlled VR systems. This device is easy to set up and can be taken basically anywhere. The headset is still the same model from 2016 however, Samsung have now introduced a wireless motion controller that allows you to control your smartphone through the VR using the Oculus app.

While this VR system is powered by Oculus, this is not one of their mainline headsets and is not compatible with computers or the onboard system introduced by the Oculus Quest. However, this headset allows for users to easily place their phone in the front compartment and dive straight into the world of mobile VR.

Mobile VR systems have been around for years now, and while they are still being updated today, this is one of the most promising budget products that we can recommend. That is if you have an android phone to go with the headset. Using Youtube’s 360 degree video integration, you are able to watch videos in VR in full immersion. Samsung also holds many apps and games on the Play Store that have VR incorporated into them. 

Samsung’s Gear VR is very similar to the discontinued Google Daydream, but with many more features. The Gear VR controller introduces a larger navigation wheel that’s easier to feel when the headset is strapped to your head, along with a feature lacking from the Google Daydream, a new trigger at the front of the controller.

Samsung VR introduces new astounding features into the world of mobile VR systems and for the budget price that doesn’t break the bank, we would definitely recommend giving this product a try.

Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 — Advanced All-In-One Virtual Reality Headset 

Oculus has recently released their second generation of the Quest headset, the Oculus Quest 2. This device comes in 2 different sizes of storage, a 64GB version and a 256GB version. Both versions have plenty of space and more than enough storage for basic VR apps and games.  While the Quest 2 may appear more similar to the Oculus Go headset, the form factor and components more than relate to the original Quest, with upgraded specs of course. The Quest 2 comes with an upgraded cloth strap with adjustable size constraints. With the Quest 2 being one of the lightest VR headsets to date, it still has the same weight distribution as some of the others, meaning that it doesn’t fully immerse you where you feel like there is nothing on your head. However, with the low weight and the cloth strap, this allows for the headset to be easily packed in a backpack and gives the product amazing compactness. 

The Quest 2 comes with improved speakers sitting on the back side of the facial mount with audible improvements from the first iteration of Quest, however, if you were looking to go just that one step further into immersion, there is a 3.5mm audio jack on side of the headset which allows just about any pair of headphones to be plugged in, allowing for premium sound quality. This model sports the newer USB-C port for charging as well as usage of the Oculus Link which allows users to stream games from their desktop for even more storage, as well as sideload games that aren’t available on the built in Oculus store. 

With a higher resolution scale in addition to an incredible 90hz refresh rate featured on the Quest 2, users immediately found that they were more comfortable reading text on the screen as well as scouting distant landmarks in games. 

This headset also provides consumers with an updated version of hand tracking technology allowing for a more accurate visualisation of your hands while playing games. However, the controllers might be more your style as they include incredible haptic feedback and an outstanding ergonomic design.

Oculus Go

Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality Headset

The Oculus Go was introduced as Oculus’ more user friendly and comfortable headset. Including only one controller, the Oculus Go is obviously the best way to ease your way into the virtual reality scene. It’s a halfway point between the Oculus Quest and the Samsung Gear VR. With its reasonable price tag and compact form factor, the Oculus Go seems like the best way to introduce someone into the world of virtual reality.

With many of the same features as the first Oculus Quest, the Go provides users with a relaxed experience, allowing them to play less involved games or even just use the device as a sort of home media system, being able to watch movies and videos in a more realistic way. 

The Go provides two selections of storage, a 32 GB version and a 64 GB version. Since this headset is believed to be used more in home entertainment and less in full game immersion, the controller is very simplistic with a single trigger, a selection wheel and two buttons on the front for navigation. Because of this single controller, it restricts consumers from playing more involved games such as Half Life Alyx or Beat Saber. 

Final Verdict

Every single one of the VR systems featured on this list are worth a try and are an incredible way to get into the virtual reality scene. Although, if you are looking for more of a relaxed time with a device that has the flexibility to be able to handle more visually intense games, we totally recommend the Oculus Quest 2. So far the Quest 2 has been all the evidence we need to confirm that incredible advancements are being made in the virtual reality field. With its budget friendly price tag and it’s hard to beat specs, this product is one of the best, if not THE best, VR headset created to date.