The best VR headsets of 2023
Virtual reality may be seen as a niche gaming hobby, but it offers a lot of fun for enthusiasts and casual fans alike, and there is a lot to be excited about ahead. We just reviewed a newly released $550 from Sony PlayStation VR 2which provides a best-in-class VR experience for PlayStation 5 owners. Several years old Meta Quest 2, a $400 wireless headset, is still the best VR headset for most people. $1,500 Meta Quest Pro Too expensive, but the next Meta Quest 3 It might be worth waiting.
The cost of a new VR headset In constant progress These days, striving 2 jump at last year’s price. However, the device still offers a completely wireless experience, with access to an impressive library of Great games. It can also be connected to a computer to play titles like Half-life: Alex, or to run a variety of PC virtual reality applications. Meta keeps improving its software over time with additional additions.
Anyone in the VR/AR industry looking to explore the next generation of face tracking or mixed reality might consider the Quest Pro, but its high price tag means it won’t make sense for anyone else right now. Keep in mind that Meta is releasing Quest 3 this year, with a price that’s expected to be similar to Quest 2 and possibly with some of the features found in the Quest Pro. (the Pico 4 He gives a few hints on how to upgrade the Quest 3.) You might want to wait for that, or other VR headsets on the horizon.
It is expected that Apple will have some form of advanced VR/AR headset This year, which could be very expensive. We’ll likely see more standalone VR headsets in smaller sizes, with additional mixed reality features that blend the virtual and real worlds with cameras that blend your surroundings into the experience. Quest Pro does this, as well as the next HTC Vive XR Elite.
Virtual reality remains an impressive offering but still a limitation for most people. Thanks to huge advances in the visuals, tracking, and overall performance of VR hardware, the best VR headset options are becoming more realistic and immersive. more developed Metaverse platforms And social worlds It gave VR owners more to explore, too. However, virtual reality has not yet become a must-have product.
The strongest applications for VR tend to be gaming and fitness. to fitnessA stand-alone headset like the Quest 2 is practically mandatory, to avoid tangling wires and ensure you can move around.
Do you want a headset that works with your phone? Qualcomm is making progress on a wave of VR and AR headsets that connect directly into the phones, But for now, the software for these devices is still a work in progress. Neither Google nor Apple really supports seamless system-wide VR for phones yet, which means hardware has to figure out inconvenient solutions. But Apple will likely fix this soon.
Meanwhile, Samsung, Google, and Qualcomm have announced a partnership for future products, indicating the possibility of a mixed reality headset arriving in the next few years. If you want a device that’s connected to the phone, you’ll probably have to wait and see how these Apple/Samsung/Google products beat.
If you are a PC gamer, this PC connected VR headset still offers the most diverse software suite for an immersive virtual reality experience, and also allows you to use this headset for creative and commercial tools. Note that a more powerful VR system will still be largely attached to a desktop or laptop computer and may require external sensors.
And what about a gaming console? original aging PlayStation VR
It still exists, but you’re better off getting a PSVR 2 if you have a PS5 and have the money to spend (and don’t mind a tethered cable).
We update our list of best VR headsets periodically, but note that prices are subject to change.
The Quest 2 was $299, but a sudden price hike to $400 (or $500 for the version with more storage) made Meta’s two-year-old virtual reality headset even more affordable. But even with the higher price tag, the Quest 2 remains the best and most versatile VR headset out there right now. It’s also, considering it doesn’t require any game console, phone, or PC, the least expensive.
The $1,500 Quest Pro offers screen and controller upgrades and adds features like better mixed reality and eye/face tracking, but its value to everyday VR explorers isn’t worth the steep cost. Quest 2 remains the recommended pick until Quest 3 arrives later this year.
The base model’s 128GB of storage is plenty for storing dozens of games and apps, though keep in mind that there’s no way to add more storage after purchase. Meta now also allows accounts to bypassacebook logins, although a new Meta account is still required.
Quest 2 reminds me of the Nintendo Switch for its versatility and fun, and it has a growing library of surprisingly effective fitness apps. Quest 2 can also connect to a PC to run more advanced apps from Steam’s or Meta’s library of apps, using a single USB-C cable or wirelessly.
You receive alerts about Meta Quest 2 prices
PSVR 2 is very expensive ($550), and it needs a PlayStation 5 for it to work. It’s tethered, not wireless. However, the HDR OLED display, graphics quality, built-in eye tracking, and impressively advanced controllers — which have the same vibration and adaptive feedback strength as the PS5 DualSense controllers — give this headset a premium feel that puts its best games on a different level. It may be a landing point for the best VR games for PC, but right now it already has some exclusives like Gran Turismo 7, Resident Evil Village, and Horizon: Call of the Mountain.
The PSVR 2 lacks any metaverse social software yet and feels more like a headset designed for shooting and playing VR games. Many of the games for this headset are ports of titles you can get on devices like the Quest 2 instead. And with more games being released that are optimized for this hardware, PSVR 2 could quickly stand out from the standalone VR pack. You might want to wait and see, unless you’re ready to jump in and trust Sony right now.
Read CNET’s review.
If your idea of the best VR headset is to get the best picture quality in consumer virtual reality, HP’s Reverb G2 wins out. or serious gamers (or VR racing simulator enthusiasts), this is probably your best option. The 2160 x 2160 resolution per eye and 114-degree field of view are the best in this price range, and the comfortable, lightweight headset also has great pull-down speakers designed by Valve. It’s technically a Microsoft Windows mixed reality headset that you’d rather launch into Microsoft’s native Windows 10 VR ecosystem, but it connects to Steam VR and works with those games and apps, too. Camera-based room tracking is easier to set up than Valve Index’s third-party base stations, but it’s more prone to tracking errors. The inline controllers, based on Microsoft’s VR controller design, feel sturdier than Quest 2 controllers or Valve’s benchmark controllers. Also, over-ear speakers are your only audio option; There is no headphone jack.
It’s usually $599, but it’s often on sale for even less.
Read our HP Reverb G2 review.
Valve’s headset isn’t as cutting-edge as it was when it debuted in 2020, but its compatibility with Steam VR and Vive hardware, its excellent sound, and its fancy controllers still make it worth considering for hardware. Valve “knuckle” controls are pressure sensitive and can track all five fingers, making them almost glove-like. Not all applications make full use of it, but Valve’s hardware is compatible with the “HTC Vive” operating system, which is also built on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset has excellent sound and a sharp, wide screen, but the display resolution isn’t as good as the competition.
The Index works with external “lighthouse” boxes similar to the HTC Vive, which means you need to set it up in the room first. It’s not a standalone like the Quest 2 or the HP Reverb G2, which can track a room using the cameras in the headset. It’s also definitely not wireless, but if you already have some older HTC Vives, you can add bits of index to mix and match. Looks like this device might be due for an upgrade sooner rather than later.
Read our valve indicator review.
Frequently asked questions about VR
Should I wait to buy a VR headset?
It’s not a bad idea. With a Quest 3 and a mysterious Apple device expected this year, there may be many better devices on the way than what’s here at the moment. VR is a technology that’s still in flux, with companies aiming for products that are smaller and more capable of connecting to devices like phones. It is probably best to spend as little as possible to avoid investing in outdated equipment.
What should I look for in a VR headset?
It depends, really, on whether or not you connect to a computer… and whether you plan to work with it. There are plenty of headsets that are compatible with Windows, but they differ in display resolution. Higher is better, as is a larger field of view. The headset can refresh at up to 120Hz now, the higher the refresh rate, the more natural and smooth VR action will feel. Most VR headsets for PC have similar controller designs and can connect business tools and applications. or portability or standalone comfort, the Quest 2 doesn’t have much competition right now. or gamers using PlayStation 5, PSVR 2 is the best option. Also, consider app libraries: The Quest has plenty of exclusive games, and Windows-connected headsets are compatible with work apps and experimental tools. PSVR 2 has its own library of games that are not backward compatible with the original PSVR games.
Do any of these headphones work with phones?
The old world of phone-based virtual reality headsets — like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream — is dead. A large number of existing iPhone, Android, and VR app options don’t even work with older mobile VR glasses. The Quest 2 has a phone app for streaming content for a parent to monitor, can receive phone notifications and sync some health data for workouts, but it still isn’t fully integrated with phones. If smartphone-based VR returns, it will most likely be in the form of small headsets that plug into phones via USB-C for VR content, VR gaming, and other uses.
How do I take care of my VR headset?
VR headsets can get dusty and dirty. Pay special attention to the lenses, which should be cleaned gently with a microfiber cloth in the same way you would treat eyeglasses (do not use liquids). A slightly damp (dampened with a little water) paper towel can help clean the exteriors. It’s a good idea to invest in a case or bag to protect your headset from dust, and to keep your headset covered when not in use. Be careful not to expose your VR headset to bright sunlight: the sun can damage VR screens if the rays hit the headset’s lenses. (To be safe, I keep my case, keep the lenses away from windows, and cover them with an old t-shirt or towel if I don’t have a case)
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