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Best VR Headset 2023

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VR headsets can offer both brand new experiences, and new spins on classic games, movies, and more. While it hasn’t been long since this wave of virtual reality has gotten started, tech has already advanced significantly. What’s more, some truly incredible things (like the masterpiece Half-Life: Alyx) are VR exclusive, meaning there are plenty of reasons to pick one up.

While some early outings included slotting your smartphone into a plastic holder, real dedicated VR headsets have advanced tracking and six degrees of freedom (6DoF), so your movements are much more accurately translated into the game world. This provides an incredibly immersive experience, and most modern games and headsets have also solved the “motion sickness” concern many early adopters had.

Fair warning; some of these headsets require powerful gaming PCs to operate. Our list has a little bit of something for everyone, so don’t worry! Some of our favs can run on modest hardware, and some can operate completely independently of a PC, altogether. If you want to get into VR, or simply grab a better rig than you currently have, read on to find our list of the best VR headsets – and click here to find them in the UK.

These are the Best VR Headsets for 2023:

Meta Quest 2

Best VR Headset

Meta Quest 2 - 128GBMeta Quest 2 – 128GB

The Meta Quest 2 has everything you need in a VR headset while remaining relatively affordable — even with the recent $100 price hike. Starting at $399, you get a massive library of immersive VR games to dive deep into the action, along with streaming apps to make you feel like you’re in your own theater or virtual concert. It does all of this as a standalone device thanks to the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip running the show, though you can connect it with a link cable to a PC for access to thousands of more VR experiences.

Once you put the Quest 2 on, you’ll experience crisp and smooth visuals thanks to its high-resolution displays—over 1080p per eye—and a 90-120Hz refresh rate. You can use the device just about anywhere since it’s cable-free, and the built-in camera warns you when you’re getting close to obstacles in your environment. However, if you’re looking for an even more powerful—and significantly more expensive—VR headset, Meta has the Quest Pro, though it's designed for work, not gaming.

PlayStation VR2

Best VR Headset for Console Players

PlayStation VR2PlayStation VR2

Console gamers rejoice as the PlayStation VR2 is here, and it’s great and ready to take your PS5 gaming experience to the next level. Coming in at $550, this VR headset costs more than the console itself, but all the features on offer, from the built-in tracking cameras and eye tracking to the two tactile Sense controllers with adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, make it worth the splurge. And unlike the original, the setup is simple, as you just plug in a single USB-C, do a bit of calibration, and you’re ready to go.

After you’ve got everything configured and the PlayStation VR2 resting comfortably on your head, you’ll enjoy 4K OLED panels offering HDR, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 110-degree FOV for some super smooth, gorgeous images to keep you immersed in the action. You’re truly getting PC-level VR in a headset with more features and better specs than many pricier PC VR headsets, like the Valve Index and HP Reverb G2. However, you, unfortunately, can’t play any of the expansive library of PC VR games or even a majority of the original PSVR games on this new headset, so you’re limited in what you can play currently.

HTC Vive XR Elite

Best Wireless PC VR

HTC Vive XR EliteHTC Vive XR Elite

HTC was arguably the first to create a true standout VR headset, and their latest venture brings a standalone VR experience, similar to the Meta Quest 2, along with PC VR into one headset, the Vive XR Elite. If you want to play some of your PC VR games, this headset lets you do so wirelessly via a WiFi 6/6E connection. You can also hook it up directly to your PC via USB-C, which means you can lose the swappable battery pack on the back of the device, making the headset lighter with more of a glasses-type vibe.

The Vive XR Elite operates at a smooth 90Hz, and with a 1,920 x 1,920 pixels per eye resolution, it almost eliminates any screen door effect. Headphones on the headset deliver spatial audio for greater immersion in the action. Of course, you also get full motion tracking with four cameras and a depth sensor, and it comes with two motion controllers. However, the high cost is somewhat hard to justify, given many of its feature match the Meta Quest 2, which is less than half the price.

Valve Index

Best High-End VR Headset

Valve IndexValve Index

If you have to have the best, this is it. The Valve Index has 1,440 x 1,600 per-eye resolution at a buttery smooth 120Hz. Expanded base stations enable you to map larger areas to play in, and the controllers have full finger tracking.

All that great functionality puts it ahead of the competition, but it’s also lot more expensive, although you can mitigate some of that cost by using original Vive parts. Do this and you’ll be able to customize your setup, based on what you value most, or buy the full Valve Index to have the best visual VR experience available.

HTC Vive Pro 2

Best High-Resolution VR Headset

HTC Vive Pro 2HTC Vive Pro 2

If ‘resolution’ is your buzzword of choice, the Vive Pro 2 is the one for you. With a resolution of 2,448 x 2,448 per eye, the HTC Vive Pro 2 will let you forget all about the screen-door effect, but you’ll need a powerful PC to run it.

It also has a 120-degree FOV and runs at 120Hz, meaning not only will your VR experiences LOOK good, but they’ll feel really good, too. The included Hi-Res Certified headphones mount to the headset to give you immersive audio, too.

Pimax 5K Super

VR with a Wide Field of View

Pimax 5K SuperPimax 5K Super

One of the biggest limitations on current VR headsets is the field of view, or FOV. While many other headsets on this list have 100-degree or 120-degree FOVs, the Pimax 5K Super doubles that, meaning you’ll have more peripheral vision during your favorite VR experiences.

The trade-off for the Pimax headset is that it has a high starting price and needs a very powerful PC to run. This 5K setup runs at double what the older 5K XR did, with this newer model running 1440p screens per-eye, and run those at a very brisk 180Hz. If you have the cash and the PC for it, immersion doesn’t get more expansive than this.

HP Reverb G2

Best Windows Mixed Reality Headset

HP Reverb G2HP Reverb G2

The HP Reverb G2 is a super comfy VR headset, with built-in headphones and the highest resolution on this list, with a total combined resolution of 4,320 x 2,160. A physical IPD slider will help you adjust the headset to match your eye width, which helps create a much cleaner, focused image. While it may run at just 90Hz, that is largely due to the intensive power needed to run at these resolutions.

With inside-out tracking, you also won’t need to set up external cameras or base stations, which means HP can charge much less than Valve for the Index and setup is a breeze. All of this combines to make a VR headset that lets your eyes, head, and mind relax as you engage with your favorite experiences.

Where to Get the Best VR Headset in the UK

Meta Quest 2Best VR HeadsetMeta Quest 2 £399.00

What to look for in a VR Headset

Our above list is comprised of all of our favorite headsets, but this isn’t an exhaustive list, and more headsets are coming (including Meta's Quest 3). To determine which VR headset is right for you, keep these key things in mind:

Platform

The best VR headset is the one you can (and will) actually use. If you already have a beefy gaming PC, or are willing to spend serious cash to buy or build one, and you have space in a room large enough for room-scale VR, grab a SteamVR headset, which will give you the best experience, overall.

If you want the ability to play on a standalone system without a PC, even at the cost of lower graphical quality, or you want a flexible setup where that is an option – get the Oculus Quest 2.

Games

If there are any exclusive games you want to play, that is another huge factor. Buying the excellent PSVR2 will get you access to a bunch of great exclusive PSVR games, but that doesn’t do you any good if you want to play Half-Life: Alyx.

Moreover, buying into the PSVR2 means you will be dependant on Sony to release more games and support it, while the PC-centric nature of the other platforms gives you more flexibility in how the headsets can be used.

SteamVR works on basically all of the PC-based headsets, which is great. Meta also has some exclusives, and although they may be playable on SteamVR devices with Revive, there is no guarantee.

Resolution & Refresh Rate

Performance is always incredibly important in gaming, but this can actually impact your health, too. While low resolutions can result in the “screen door effect,” which makes things look worse, poor frame rates and resolution can also cause eye strain and even motion sickness. While these normally occur at refresh rates lower than 90Hz, your mileage may vary. I personally found the 72Hz Oculus Quest more than smooth enough.

Another thing to keep in mind is that resolution isn’t everything. While, on paper, the Quest has higher resolution than the HTC Vive, that only reduces the screen door effect. The Quest still has lower quality graphics. That said, when comparing different models by the same manufacturer, you can safely pick the one with the highest resolution.

Stationary vs Room-Scale

The most immersive VR experience is the room-scale one. Being able to move about freely (called “six-degrees of freedom”), jump, crouch, and move around lets you truly experience the wonder of VR. Realistically, not everyone has room, or the ability, to participate in that.

If you have limited mobility, or don’t have room in your home, things like the Oculus Go or the smartphone-based Google Daydream View are better suited to your needs. While they only track head movement instead of body movement, this is perfectly suited towards watching movies, and similar activities.

Tracking System

Much like the difference between Station VS Room-Scale, the tracking system is also really important and it will influence how your headset feels to use.

The Meta Quest, HP Reverb, and more use inside-out tracking, which means the headset tracks your movement using cameras and sensors built into the headset. This means you don’t have to set up external cameras around your room, but it also means it’s less accurate.

If you are operating in a smaller space, or are a more casual user, inside-out tracking might be for you. If you want the best experience and have access to extra room, pick a headset with external tracking.

Wired vs Wireless

This originally wasn’t a choice at all. The first VR headsets had cables, but lately more and more wireless options are becoming available. Like many of the other choices on this list, this basically comes down to “freedom” vs “performance.”

While wireless sets mean you won’t trip over a cable, and you can wander more freely in a larger space, wires aren’t that obtrusive once you get used to them, and they will give your headset higher bandwidth, which generally means the best resolution and image quality. Having a wire also means you don’t have to worry about headset batteries running out.

If that is important to you, picked a wired set, although there are several very high quality sets (HTC Vive Pro 2, Meta Quest 2, etc.) that can be used both wired and wirelessly, which is a great way to go if you aren’t sure what you want.

VR has tons of promise, and not just in the gaming space. As the years go on, you may be able to attend concerts for all of your favorite bands, visit other planets in our solar system, and more, all from the comfort of your own home. Follow our guidelines, and we hope you’ll discover a whole new frontier of entertainment, education, and more.

What's the difference between VR and AR?

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are terms often thrown around in the gaming world but have some distinct differences.

AR is a much more accessible technology, as almost anyone with a smartphone can use it. With AR, you get virtual features in the real world, often through your phone or headset’s camera. One of the best examples of an AR game is Pokemon Go, where you use your phone's camera to navigate through the real world, and virtual elements, such as Pokemon or PokeStops, appear. You can even interact with these elements through your device. But, of course, they are not actually physically in front of you. Augmented reality is just adding to your current surroundings.

VR uses some aspects of AR but takes things to another level by eliminating the real-world setting. Instead, your entire world is computer generated, so it doesn’t matter where you’re actually physically located. All of your surroundings are replaced, and what you see is controlled by a computer system. Therefore, headsets block out the real world, blindfolding you for a fully immersive experience. Some great VR game examples are Half-Life: Alyx, which places you in a dystopian sci-fi universe, or the PSVR 2 version of Gran Turismo 7, where you’ll be residing in the cockpit of a car.


Brian Barnett writes reviews, wiki guides, deals posts, features, and more for IGN. You can get your fix of his antics on Twitter (@Ribnax) or check out his show on Twitch (The Platformers).

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