The price of getting a new VR headset appears. The best headphones are still $400 . Facebook (aka Meta) has raised the price of its 2-year-old Quest 2 headset by $101, but it’s still the most complete and standalone VR headset available. That being said, now you might want to wait a few months to see what’s next.
New waveexpected in the next six months. Meta has a new one (presumably the Quest Pro) will support face tracking and mixed reality, and will undoubtedly come with a pretty hefty (over $800) price tag. Similarly, Apple is expected to be some kind of pioneer either the end of this year or the beginning of next year, which could also be very expensive. Sony is also expected to sell it , will work with PlayStation 5 and introduce new controllers. And in the meantime, we might see more phone-related headphones also start to open.
In 2022, VR remains an impressive but still limited offering. Thanks to huge advances in visuals, tracking, and overall VR hardware performance, the best VR headset options have become more realistic and immersive. These advancements have made VR a viable option for many applications and more attractive to businesses that are beginning to consider the power of the technology and its potential to become a larger part of everyday life in the future. More advancedand VR also gave owners more to explore. However, VR has yet to become a must-have product for most people.
If you’re looking for the best VR headset, the ideal choice will depend on what you enjoy doing in the virtual world. VR’s strongest applications are gaming and fitness. Theit’s great , is still one of my favorite ways to play the game. But you still have to decide whether you want a headset that plugs into your PC or console, or a stand-alone option like the Quest 2 (which can also double as a PC headset).
Companies like Qualcomm (which makes the chips inside most standalone VR headsets, including the Quest 2) are developing new chips that signal a wave of better stand-alone headsets at lower prices, including ones that connect to your phone – – but these haven’t quite materialized yet.
If you’re a PC gamer, a PC-connected VR headset offers the most versatile set of apps for an immersive VR experience, and also lets you use the headset for creative and business tools. Note that a more powerful VR system will still mostly be tied to a desktop or laptop and may require external sensors.
But what about console games? Aging PlayStation VR
it’s still fun, but it’s better to wait If you have a PS5.
Increased- andit’s not yet ready for everyday use, although next-generation VR headsets may start mixing AR using pass-through cameras. We update this best VR headset list periodically, but keep in mind that prices are subject to change.
Well: Independent and wireless; excellent touch controllers; comfortable design for the game; Doubles as a PC VR headset; many programs
The Bad: It’s now $101 more expensive
The Quest 2 used to be $299, but a surprise price hike to $400 (or $500 for the version with more storage) made Meta’s nearly two-year-old standalone VR headset even more expensive. But despite the increased price, the Quest 2 remains the best and most versatile VR headset out there. It’s also the most affordable considering it doesn’t require any game console, phone or PC.
Meta/Facebook is expected to have a new “pro” headset later this year, but its face tracking and better displays could add up to $1,000 to the price. Quest 2 remains the recommended option until Quest 3 arrives, which may not happen until 2023.
The base model’s 128GB of storage is enough to store dozens of games and apps, though keep in mind that there’s no way to add more storage after purchase. Meta also allows accounts to override Facebook logins, although a new Meta account will still be required.
The Quest 2 reminds me of the Nintendo Switch in that it’s versatile and fun, and it has a growing library of surprisingly effective fitness apps. The Quest 2 can also be connected to a PC to run more advanced apps from Steam or Meta’s own software library with a single USB-C cable or wirelessly.
Well: Really sharp high-quality display, excellent audio, comfortable design
Bad: Mid-level supervisors
If your idea of the best VR headset is to have the best image quality in consumer VR, HP’s VR headset wins. For serious gamers (or VR racing sim fans), it’s probably your best bet. The 2,160×2,160 resolution per eye and 114-degree field of view are the best in this price range, and the lightweight, comfortable headset also features fantastic pop-up speakers made by Valve. Technically, it’s a Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality headset that prefers to run on Microsoft’s native Windows 10 VR ecosystem, but it integrates with Steam VR and works with those games and apps as well. Indoor camera-based room tracking is easier to set up than Valve Index’s external base stations, but is more prone to tracking errors. Based on Microsoft’s VR controller design, the included controllers feel more solid than the Quest 2 controllers or the Valve Index controllers. Also, over-ear speakers are your only audio option: there’s no headphone jack.
It usually retails for $599, but is often on sale for less.
Read our HP Reverb G2 review.
Good: Futuristic controllers; high-quality headphones; Works with Vive hardware
Bad: expensive; requires room installation and connecting cable
The Valve headset is getting old, but its Steam VR and Vive hardware compatibility, great sound, and sleek controllers are still worth considering. Valve’s “knuckle” controllers are pressure-sensitive and can track all five fingers, making them almost glove-like. Not all apps make the most of them, but Valve’s hardware is compatible with the HTC Vive, which is built on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset has great sound and a sharp, wide field of view.
The Index works with external “beacon” boxes similar to the HTC Vive, meaning you have to set them up in a room first. It’s not standalone like the Quest 2 or HP Reverb G2, but it can monitor the room with in-earphone cameras. It’s also not necessarily wireless, but if you already have older HTC Vive hardware, you can add parts of the Index to mix and match.
Read our Valve Index review.
Well: Plenty of game; low price; Works with many PS4 controllers such as DualShock and Move
Bad: The resolution is not advanced; Sony has yet to create great VR controllers to match the competition, but PSVR 2 will bring a lot of improvements
It’s Sony’s nearly six-year-old PSVR headset yet is the only head-mounted display for gaming consoles, and it still delivers a surprisingly immersive experience. But with PSVR 2 expected to arrive later this year, anyone with a PS5 should look forward to what will come with superior hardware and a new library of games. The PS5 works with the older PSVR, but it’s complicated and requires an output box full of wires to connect. It also needs older PlayStation Move controllers for some games or older PS4 controllers and your camera to work, plus a camera adapter.
The PS5 and PSVR 2 may cost a lot more than the Quest 2’s $400 price tag, but it could be a more advanced gaming platform for VR.
Playing PSVR on PS4 still works. Sony has delivered and continues to deliver many excellent virtual reality games, most of which are exclusive. (Here are some good games to get you started.) Note that these PlayStation VR headsets are getting harder and harder to come by, and that may continue as Sony evolves into the PSVR 2.
Frequently asked questions about VR
Should I wait to buy a VR headset?
There are many anticipated headsets this year and next, as I mentioned above: Meta’s Project Cambria, PlayStation VR 2, and Apple’s mystery device. There are others for sure. VR is a technology that companies are targeting to get products that can be smaller and more connected to devices such as phones. It is better to spend as little as possible to avoid investing in obsolete equipment. The Quest 2 is still the best value and most complete headset at a higher price, but the true Quest 3 update is coming next year and the competition is likely to increase.
What to look for in a VR headset?
It really depends on whether or not you’re connected to a PC… and what you plan to do with it. There are many headsets that are compatible with Windows, but they differ in screen resolution. Higher is better and so is the wider field of view. Headsets can now refresh up to 120Hz, and the faster they refresh, the more natural and smooth VR motion feels. Most PC VR headsets have similar controller designs and can communicate with work tools and applications. For portability or standalone convenience, the Quest 2 currently has no competition. For gamers with a gaming console, PlayStation VR is the only option, but if you have a PS5, you’ll probably want to wait for PSVR 2. Check out the app libraries, too: Quest has plenty of exclusive games, Windows-connected headsets have plenty of compatibility with desktop apps and experimental tools, and Sony’s PlayStation library also has unique VR games.
Do any of these headphones work with phones?
The old world of phone-based VR headsets – like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream – is mostly dead. Many of the current iPhone, Android, and VR software options don’t even work with older mobile VR goggles. The Quest 2 has a phone app to stream content for a parent to watch, and the phone can receive notifications and sync some health data for workouts, but it’s not yet fully integrated with phones. If smartphone-based VR does make a comeback, it will 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. As you care for your glasses, they should be cleaned gently with microfiber cloths (do not use liquid) and pay extra attention to the lenses. It’s a good idea to invest in a silicone cover to protect the face plate from sweat and dirt, or look for additional face covers to replace over time. It’s a good idea to keep your headphones closed when not in use. Take extra care not to expose the VR headset to bright sunlight: the sun can damage the VR display if the rays hit the headset’s lenses. (To be safe, I keep mine in containers or turn the lenses away from windows.)