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Experience Virtual Reality at Home With the Best VR HeadsetsLast updated: 10 Jun 2022When it comes to immersion, VR headsets are the perfect way to deliver immersive content. They simulate visual (and, to an extent, auditory) reality through technology and programming. You can turn your room into a dojo, a castle, a futuristic cityscape, and more with a touch of a button. And, with so many games and experiences you can try out these days, VR has become more popular than ever before. So whether you’re curious to try out VR for the first time or are looking for another headset to use on a daily basis, we’ve got you covered. From budget options to more premium devices, the top-rated VR headsets of 2022 will be sure to deliver the finest VR content available today.Show Contents
Choosing a High-Quality VR Headset: A Buyer's Guide
What Is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a technology that immerses the user in a virtual environment that simulates reality. It is typically experienced via sight and sound, and VR headsets come equipped with the technology to reflect this. VR experiences work by tricking the brain into thinking that what you are hearing and seeing is real and in front of you, when in fact it’s just a series of digital frames and sounds.
Virtual reality has been around for quite a while, but it’s gained recent popularity due to the technology making notable improvements. VR headsets have also become more affordable in the last few years, and this has made virtual reality more accessible to those interested in trying it out.
Types of VR Headsets
PC/Console VR headsets
This is the traditional type of VR headset, which works by connecting directly to a system that supports VR experiences. Usually, this is either a PC or a video game console such as a PS5. While these headsets can be very powerful and deliver great performance, they come at the cost of requiring a direct and constant connection to the PC or video game console to function.
Due to needing a direct system connection, these sorts of headsets introduce a unique problem: wires. For how immersive VR can be, there’s nothing more immersion-breaking than feeling the tug of a wire cord or having one of the cables just pop out entirely. Of course, VR headsets are designed to work around this as much as possible, but there’s only so much you can do.
Still, it isn’t always a bad thing. Because you're connected to a powerful computing device, the only thing the VR headset has to do is render the video and audio, and this means there’s more room for hardware to improve the VR experience. If you’re looking for the best VR experience possible, PC and console VR headsets are what you’re looking for.
Standalone VR headsets
As the name suggests, standalone VR headsets are systems that do not need to connect to a system such as a PC or a video game console. They run on a built-in operating system that’s optimized for VR, which also eliminates the need for wires.
Tips for Using VR Headsets
Adjust the angle of the lenses
VR headsets, especially those made by manufacturers such as Meta and HTC, will usually have lenses that you can adjust and move around. Try fiddling around with these lenses until you find the right distance between them. When using a VR headset, doing this can dramatically improve how clear the images look on the display.
Clear out an area
VR experiences, especially interactive ones, require you to move around quite a bit. Be sure you clear out a sizable area before using a VR headset so you don’t nudge into things or damage furniture.
The Price Range of VR Headsets
If you wanted to buy a VR headset five years ago, you were looking at a pretty big financial investment. These days, however, there are great budget options. In particular, the Meta Quest 2 can go for just $300, making it the perfect budget headset to get. But, if you want to experience VR to its fullest, you’ll need to save up at least $1,000 for all the bells and whistles.
The Top VR Headsets of 2022 in Detail1
The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite VR Headset has been one of the most popular VR headsets to date, and for good reason, too. It’s got great performance, delivers amazing graphics, and has superior tracking on both your head and hands. The HTC Vive works by connecting to your PC and, with VR-supported games or experiences, lets you dive right into any world of your choosing. You’ll need to invest in a good PC to make the most out of Vive’s specs, but if you have one, it’s definitely worth the investment. Because of its outstanding specs, amazing tracking, and sleek design, we’ve chosen this VR headset as the best on our list.
- 2880 x 1700 combined resolution for immersive graphics
- Superior tracking on all devices
- Works easily and seamlessly with PC
- Requires a beefy PC for optimal use
Previously named the Oculus Quest 2, the Meta Quest 2 VR Headset is said to have ushered a new generation of VR users. Why? Because of how affordable it is. At $299, you’re getting a standalone, fully-operational, wireless VR headset that has plenty of support for games and apps. In fact, it’s so cheap that it’s seen as the perfect entry-level headset for those getting into the hobby. The Meta Quest 2 can also work off VR games on your PC with the right setup, so you don’t always have to rely on the device’s onboard software.
- Extremely affordable headset
- Plenty of games and apps to choose from
- Wireless and standalone — no PC connection required
- A Facebook/Meta account is required
The Oculus Quest VR Gaming Headset was the predecessor of the Meta Quest 2. It’s got plenty of similarities with the Quest 2, too. In terms of design and features, they’re nearly identical, and the standalone software allows you to use the device completely wirelessly. Like the Quest 2, this VR headset does require a Facebook or Meta account to log in, so keep that in mind before purchasing. There’s no real reason to buy the original Quest with the Quest 2 already out, but if you’re someone who likes collecting VR headsets, they’re still available.
- 64GB storage support for games and video
- Can be played either standing or sitting
- Comes with touch controllers
- Quest 2 makes the original Quest obsolete
- A Facebook/Meta account is required
One of the main problems with VR headsets today is that they can be pretty heavy to wear. This is especially true for higher-end VR headsets, as you’ll need to cram in more hardware inside for better performance and graphics quality. The Samsung Gear VR Headset, released in 2015, is a great example of a headset made with comfort in mind. Its small size and easy-to-use touchpad make it very convenient for anyone who uses the device. It may be discontinued, but if you’re looking for something usable on your Samsung smartphone devices, this is the headset for you.
- Light form and design
- Convenient touchpad interface
- Works with Samsung smartphones
- Discontinued by Samsung
Even with how affordable VR headsets can be these days, not everybody has the money to save up for one. Luckily, there’s an alternative that pretty much anyone can try out, and that’s smartphone VR headsets. These devices mount to your phone in such a way that both your eyes are looking at two parts of the screen. VR headsets of this type do not do anything on their own, but with the right device, you can enjoy games, movies, and more without having to shell out hundreds of dollars on a standalone device.
- Affordable entry-level VR headset
- Works with most modern smartphones
- Does not require any batteries
- Good smartphone necessary for proper VR emulation
People Also AskAre VR headsets bad for my eyes?
Research has shown that prolonged exposure to VR headsets can lead to eye fatigue, so it’s best to limit your usage of VR headsets whenever possible.Do VR headsets need batteries to run?
Not all of them. While some VR headsets run on batteries, most VR headsets work by plugging the device directly into an external power source.Are VR headsets heavy?
VR headsets can get a little heavy, especially those with bulky frames. If you feel any discomfort when using the headset, consider limiting your usage of the headset to minimize neck and head stress.