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Best VR Headset in 2024

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Combining quality VR and affordability, the Meta Quest 3 is our favorite VR headset you can buy in 2024, but there are plenty of powerful alternatives that deliver an incredibly immersive experience. To help guide you to the right VR experience for you, we’ve gathered our top picks below based on our own hands-on testing and reviews.

These are the Best VR Headsets for 2024:

The best VR headsets offer advanced tracking, six degrees of freedom (6DoF), and high resolutions. Apple has even thrown its hat in the ring with the Vision Pro, an astronomically priced, innovative option. To help you navigate the complicated market, we’ve found seven solid options available now – and click here to find them in the UK.

1. Meta Quest 3

Best VR Headset

Meta Quest 3

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Outstanding standalone VR headset running on a powerful Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip that is comfortable on head with excellent optical performance and well-tracked controllers.

Platform: Standalone, PC | Resolution (per-eye): 2,064 x 2,208 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Field of view: 110-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.13 pounds

Pros:

Crisp, smooth visuals from the dual 2,064 x 2,208, 120Hz LCDsFull-color pass-through mode for mixed-reality gaming

Cons:

Significantly more expensive than the Meta Quest 2 at launch

The Meta Quest 3 has everything you need in an entry-level. Starting at $499, it got a big price hike from its predecessor, but with all the impressive upgrades, the cost is justified. This headset is slimmer with better ergonomics than the Quest 2, making it more comfortable to wear. Dual 2,064 x 2,208 LCDs with a 120Hz refresh rate ensure crisp, smooth visuals, while pancake lenses, a wider 110-degree field of view, and other optical improvements make for a better viewing experience. The VR headset is paired with lightweight, well-tracked controllers.

What makes the Quest a standout from other VR headsets is it’s a standalone device that doesn’t require a PC or console to run—you can always grab the link cable if you’re looking to play PC VR offerings. Meta has a massive library of immersive VR games, but at the moment, there aren’t many that showcase the true potential of this headset’s wildly capable Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chip. This headset even has a sharp, full-color passthrough mode for those looking to get into mixed-reality gaming.

The Meta Quest 2’s lenses

2. Meta Quest 2

Best Budget VR Headset

Meta Quest 2 – 128GB

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An excellent standalone VR headset offering crisp visuals and large controllers with haptic feedback that runs without cables.

Platform: Standalone, PC | Resolution (per-eye): 1,832 x 1,920 | Refresh Rate: 90-120Hz | Field of View: 89-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.1 pounds

Pros:

Standalone deviceBudget-friendly and great for beginners

Cons:

Controllers too large for some hands

If you like the sound of the Meta Quest 3 but want to save a few bucks, the $250 Meta Quest 2 is the way to go. You still get a robust library of immersive VR games, streaming apps, and educational content to learn in an enrapturing, fresh format. It does all of this as a standalone device that doesn’t require a phone or PC, though similar to the Quest 3, you can connect it with a link cable and open up a world of PC VR experiences.

The Meta Quest 2 offers crisp visuals and minimal screen door effect while warding off motion sickness thanks to its high resolution and 90-120Hz refresh rate. Since it runs without cables, you can use it anywhere, and its built-in camera warns you when you’re getting close to any obstacles in your environment. The controllers have decent haptic feedback with extra thumb space—only people with smaller hands may find them harder to hold. Sure, everything on the Meta Quest 3 is a little bit better, but the Quest 2 is hands down the best budget VR headset and perfect for those just beginning to test the waters of VR.

The innovative Apple Vision Pro

3. Apple Vision Pro

Best Augmented Reality Headset

Apple Vision Pro

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Revolutionary “spatial computing” headset with stunning displays, gesture control, and immersive experiences for work and play.

Platform: Standalone, Apple | Resolution (per-eye): 4K | Refresh Rate: 90, 96, 100Hz | Field of View: 120-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.4 pounds

Pros:

Innovative performance and hand/eye tracking Impressive 4K displays with pass-through

Cons:

Lackluster battery and uncomfortable design

The Apple Vision Pro lets us glimpse into what the future of “spatial computing” can be, and it’s pretty wild. It delivers a sort of augmented reality, thanks to the stunning almost 4K displays that use 12 cameras to track the world around you and put it right into your eyes. Interacting with the headset involves mostly gestures using not only your fingers but your eyes; it’s not always consistent though still something to marvel at.

Now, the Apple Vision Pro doesn’t offer VR games at the moment, but there are a few Apple Arcade games designed for the Vision Pro that use augmented reality, interacting with the space around you. If you’re looking to watch movies or take advantage of Apple TV’s immersive video, be prepared for wildly realistic, reality-bending experiences. When you want to work, you can place your MacBook screen on the Vision Pro, as well as messages and other windows all about the space around you for easy access.

Admittedly, this headset isn’t perfect, from its exorbitant price tag to the less-than-comfortable design and lackluster battery. But the Apple Vision Pro demonstrates the exciting possibilities of how we will be interacting with this technology down the road.

Headset and sense controllers of the PlayStation VR2

4. PlayStation VR2

Best VR Headset for PS5

PlayStation VR2

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Built-in tracking cameras, eye tracking, 4K OLED panels, and two tactile Sense controllers with adaptive triggers and haptic feedback come with this VR headset designed for the PS5.

Platform: PS5 | Resolution (per-eye): 2,000 x 2,040 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Field of view: 110-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.24 pounds

Pros:

4K OLED displays with HDR and a 120Hz refresh rate Tactile Sense controllers and eye tracking

Cons:

Can’t play PC VR or original PSVR games

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.

See more PS5 headsets.

5. HTC Vive XR Elite

Best Wireless PC VR

HTC Vive XR Elite

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Play PC VR games wirelessly via a WiFi 6/6E connection or wired using a USB-C on this headset with full motion tracking, a depth sensor, and two motion controllers.

Platform: Standalone, PC | Resolution (per-eye): 1,920 x 1,920 | Refresh rate: 90Hz | Field of view: 110-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF

Pros:

Can play wirelessly via a WiFi 6/6E connectionFull motion tracking and two motion controllers

Cons:

Expensive for a similar performance to the Meta Quest 2

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 3, 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 gaming 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.

6. Valve Index

Best High-End VR Headset

Valve Index

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A smooth 120Hz refresh rate, 1,440 x 1,600 per-eye resolution, expanded base stations for larger map areas to play, and controllers with full finger tracking make this high-end headset worth the splurge.

Platform: PC | Resolution (per-eye): 1,440 × 1,600 | Refresh rate: 120Hz (144Hz experimental mode) | Field of view: 130-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.79 pounds

Pros:

Controllers have full finger trackingComfortable

Cons:

Hopefully you scored a solid gaming PC deal, so you can splurge on one of the best VR headsets for PC. 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. It’s perfect for titles like Half-Life: Alyx. Unfortunately, the Steam Deck is not currently optimized for VR experiences, so you won’t be able to use it very effectively with the Valve Index.

7. HTC Vive Pro 2

Best High-Resolution VR Headset

HTC Vive Pro 2

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With a resolution of 2,448 x 2,448 per eye, you’ll forget about the screen door effect, while a 120-degree FOV and a buttery 120fps ensure an enjoyable viewing experience.

Platform: PC | Resolution (per-eye): 2,448 × 2,448 | Refresh rate: 120Hz | Field of view: 120-degrees | Tracking: 6DoF | Weight: 1.9 pounds

Pros:

Sharp 2,448 x 2,448 resolution per eye with 120° FOVImmersive audio

Cons:

Requires a powerful PC to run

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.

Adjustable HP Reverb G2 headset with built-in headphones

Where to Get the Best VR Headset in the UK

Best VR Headset Meta Quest 2

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How to Choose a VR Headset, According to Our Experts

Our above list is comprised of all of our favorite headsets, but this isn’t an exhaustive list, and more headsets are coming. 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 or you want a flexible setup where that is an option – get the Meta Quest 3.

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 PSVR2 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. The Apple Vision Pro doesn’t even offer VR gaming at the moment, while only a select few Apple Arcade games let you take advatage of augmented reality on the headset.

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.

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, options that only track head movement instead of body movement is the way to go. 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 3 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 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.

VR Headset FAQ

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. Apple’s Vision Pro uses AR in extremely fun and innovative way.

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.

What’s a Good Meta Quest 3 Alternative?

The Meta Quest 3 appears to be in a league of its own with its standalone functionality, impressive motion tracking, and budget-friendly price. That means finding a suitable alternative is a challenge.

Of course, you could go with the Meta’s Quest Pro, but it’s pricey and not even meant to play games. The HTC Vive XR Elite offers similar specs to the Quest 3 and even lets you play PC VR games wirelessly over a WiFi 6/6E. However, the astronomical $1,000 price is hard to justify when you get very few extras and can snag the Quest 3 for $500.

That leads us to our best Meta Quest 3 alternative: the Pico 4. The Pico 4 and Quest 2 have a lot in common, as they’re both standalone wireless headsets, run on a similar processor, and support PC VR. A longer battery life, lighter design, more clarity, and a wider field of view even give the Pico 4 a slight edge over the Quest 3. But as great as the Pico 4 sounds, it has limited availability in the US, sometimes making the reasonably priced headset more expensive stateside. If you decide to grab the Pico 4, be sure to do research and shop around before purchasing.

What VR Doesn’t Need a PC?

The majority of VR requires a PC to function, which can be difficult if you don’t have a powerful computer ready to run these often graphically intensive games or want freedom in where you play. Luckily, there are a few standalone VR headsets and options that run on other devices.

You can use Meta Quest 3 and the whole lineup of Meta headsets without being connected to a PC thanks to powerful processors. But if you’re looking to play some PC VR offerings, you can always link Meta Quest to your PC. The Pico 4 is another great standalone option similar to the Quest 3. The HTC XR Elite is also ready to run VR apps and games sans a connection.

Those with a PlayStation 5 can grab PlayStation VR2 for a truly spectacular VR experience, though you can’t use the headset with PCs. There are also a few smartphone VR options, like the Atlasonix VR Headset, but don’t expect too much from these budget VR headsets that use your phone’s screen.

Of course, Apple’s Vision Pro is an extremely powerful standalone device. But it’ll easy integrate into the Apple Ecosystem and connect to MacBooks for an innovative way to work on your devices.

Does the Nintendo Switch have VR?

Yes, the Nintendo Switch has VR and a handful of VR games, but it’s relatively simple and lackluster compared to what the VR headsets are capable of on this guide.

For the Switch, you’ll usually rely on the device’s own screen and slot it into a headset. One of the most popular options is the Nintendo Labo VR Kit, which features fun-shaped cardboard designs that you create yourself. Otherwise, you’ll find slightly more robust options with straps. There is a convoluted process to using the Switch with a more high-tech VR headset. However, it’s quite complicated and requires additional hardware. So, if you’re looking for a more immersive experience when playing the gaming handheld, you’re better off grabbing one of the best Nintendo Switch headsets than seeking out VR.

What’s Happening to Windows Mixed Reality?

Microsoft has announced it will be forgoing support of Windows Mixed Reality, its virtual and augmented reality platform, in a future Windows software release expected in late 2024. This will include both the Portal app and SteamVR driver, which are necessary for the Windows Mixed Reality headsets to function. The VR headsets should continue to work with Steam until late 2026. After that, there will be no updates or technical support.

When Do VR Headsets Go on Sale?

Although some of the best VR headsets never actually get discounted, there are generally a few times a year when you can find discounts on popular models. One of the overall best shopping events for VR discounts is Amazon Prime Day, which takes place in July every year. After that, Black Friday and Cyber Monday tend to have the best overall deals consistently. Both events tend to primarily offer Meta Quest deals, but sometimes other headsets are avaialable at a discount.

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).

Kaynak

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