Best VR headsets in 2023: The Chainsaw definitive list is right here. If you are thinking about entering the compelling world of virtual reality (VR) then let’s get started on everything you need to know about the hardware!
VR headsets have gained popularity recently — these devices can transport us to completely different environments. From gaming to education and medical applications, VR has opened up a new world of possibilities for how we work, learn and play.
What is a Virtual Reality headset used for?
A VR headset is a device that can be used to immerse people into virtual worlds. This creates a much more intense experience than simply looking at a screen.
The hardware breakdown
A VR headset will have a display screen inside it, which projects the virtual world to the user’s eyes. It is the display that creates the illusion of a virtual environment.
The display on a VR headset is typically divided into two screens, one for each eye. These screens provide a stereoscopic 3D effect, which means that each screen is a little bit different from the other, creating the perception of depth and distance.
The display quality in a headset can greatly affect a user’s experience. Higher-resolution displays can provide a sharper image, while lower-resolution displays can make the user’s experience seem less immersive or pixelated.
VR headset displays can also have different refresh rates, that is, the number of times per second the screen updates the image. Higher refresh rates mean a more seamless experience, while lower refresh rates affect the quality and can feel like a broken or stuttering experience.
Overall, the display on a VR headset can decide whether the user has a realistic and immersive virtual experience or one that isn’t so convincing.
The headset will also have a lens. A lens on a VR headset is a transparent piece of plastic or glass that is curved. Lenses create the illusion of depth and distance in a virtual environment. High-quality lenses provide a wider field of view, sharper image quality, and reduced distortion. Lower-quality lenses can produce a less immersive experience.
A headset will also have sensors, and these will track head movements and adjust the image on the screen accordingly.
Virtual reality headsets can tether to a computer, a phone, or a games console, or be stand-alone and not need anything else to use it.
VR headsets and work
VR headsets are used in various areas, such as entertainment, gaming, education and training simulations. They can give an immersive and interactive experience that traditional screens can’t provide. Users can explore virtual environments, interact with virtual objects and even collaborate with others in virtual spaces. You can even film your wedding in VR.
VR technology is being used in healthcare, therapy, rehabilitation, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias. VR can also be used for remote training in work situations, keeping the user safe while they learn, rather than putting them in dangerous situations for longer than they need to be.
Is it worth getting a VR headset?
If you are into gaming or would like to train or learn immersively, then a VR headset is something you should consider.
VR headsets can be pricey, with prices ranging from a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. However, prices are coming down. For example, the Meta Quest 2, also known as the Oculus Quest 2, has just come down in price. It is now selling in Australia for $629.99 at the time of writing.
Some VR headsets need a powerful computer or gaming console to run the VR games properly. Make sure the device you plan to use is compatible with the headset you want to buy.
Not all headsets are compatible with all games or programs. Make sure the headset you are choosing can run the program that you want to use it for.
VR can be very lifelike. So much so, that it can cause motion sickness, or intense fear while playing hyperrealistic games. If you get seasick on a boat, you’ll probably get motion sickness with some types of VR.
You can actually rent out VR equipment to see if you like it first, without making a big investment. Or, you can purchase one second hand at a lower price tag.
How much does a VR headset cost?
The price of a VR headset can vary depending on the level of immersion and the brand.
•Entry-level VR headsets such as the Samsung Gear VR can cost around $100.
Also, be aware that sometimes you need to buy extra accessories, like controllers or tracking devices. So if you are starting from scratch try to buy what is called “the bundle” where you can get everything you need in one purchase.
Best VR headsets available in 2023
With news about metaverses constantly hitting tech news sites, there is renewed interest in VR headsets.
Best VR headset
Best For Virtual Reality
Oculus Quest 2, also called the Meta Quest 2, is, in many people’s opinions, the best VR headset for both newbies and VR aficionados. It does not need a games console or a computer to work. It is a standalone VR system. Connecting to a computer however will allow you to access more games. The graphics are usually higher quality when connected to your computer.
The name is a little confusing, the Meta Quest 2 was previously called the Oculus Quest 2, but it was rebranded in the same way that facebook became Meta.
The Meta Quest 2 has a super-powerful processor, so intense games and applications are not a problem. The screen is known to be sharp, and it does give you the feeling of being in virtual worlds.
With the recent price drop, it does make this headset a compelling choice.
The design is slick, and the controllers are comfortable to use. It is also becoming renowned for the fact that users can use their bare hands to control the system.
The downside is that the battery life tends to be short: use time is two to three hours between charges.
Overall though, this device has great features, a great design, and it is now at a really good price.
Best VR headset for Playstation users
The PlayStation VR2 is an upgrade from its predecessor when it comes to graphics, sound, and tracking technology. If you have a PS5, then this is an obvious choice.
The new headset is lighter, sharper, and has more features, like eye-tracking technology. It does, however, require a connection to the console — the cord is four metres long and needs to be plugged into the back of the headband.
Many VR enthusiasts say that this VR headset outperforms the Meta Quest 2, while being more affordable than high-end headsets like the Valve Index.
This headset is good if you want to play PlayStation-exclusive games like Gran Turismo 7.
It’s also known for its superior experience, so if you have a PS5, then you are in luck.
Best virtual reality headset for PC
The HTC Vive Cosmos VR headset is technically impressive, but it is pricey. It is known for having great motion controllers and a comfortable headset, however it does have a cable to tether it, while other headsets are totally wireless. While this is a technically impressive headset, cheaper options can create a similar experience.
Best virtual reality headset for full immersion
The Valve Index is impressing VR aficionados with its evolutionary, finger-tracking controllers. The headset has a 120Hz refresh rate which means virtual worlds will seem really realistic.
This particular headset is considered the best headset for PC gamers who want advanced graphics and totally realistic immersive gameplay.
Best VR headset for beginners
There are a few ways to lower risk on price for beginners. Some headsets only need a phone to run, and these headsets can be very cheap. For example, the VR Shinecon Headset is just $74. While the quality isn’t going to be like the higher-end headsets, it is still a good enough experience for someone to enjoy the world of VR.
Which are the best augmented reality headsets?
While VR headsets are great for gaming and meetings, augmented reality (AR) is more aligned with work at construction sites, in manufacturing, and in other work remits.
An AR headset and a VR headset have two different experiences on offer. AR headsets overlay computer-generated images onto the real world. Users see and interact with virtual objects while still being aware that they are in the actual world. VR headsets, on the other hand, immerse users in a totally virtual world.
Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap One, and Google Glass all make these kinds of glasses.
Microsoft HoloLens 2:
The Microsoft HoloLens 2 is one of the most advanced AR headsets. It is known for its quality optics and impressive field of view. This headset is used in mainly industrial settings.
Magic Leap One
The Magic Leap One AR glasses are lightweight and are designed for both consumer and enterprise use.
The Nreal Light AR headset is designed for consumer use and is compatible with most Android smartphones.
The Vuzix Blade headset looks like a pair of sunglasses. It has voice control and gesture recognition. It is used by surgeons, car makers, and in mining.
Best VR Games
There are many amazing VR games available, and some have stayed at the top of the “most downloaded” tables for years.
What are VR games?
A VR game has the added dimension of immersion. Instead of watching the action on a screen, you are right in the middle of it and can feel like you are actually there.
The most popular type of VR games is the first-person shooter game. This puts players in the main character role. Half-Life: Alyx sits at the number one position on the charts due to great plot lines and realistic graphics.
War Thunder is another VR game that is very popular. It is a free-to-play military game with fighter jets, tanks, and naval craft.
Beat Saber is a rhythm game available on multiple platforms, including Oculus Quest/Meta Quest, PlayStation VR, and PC VR headsets. Players are required to use virtual lightsabers to slice through oncoming blocks to the beat of music.
Superhot VR is available on multiple platforms, including Oculus Quest 2/Meta Quest 2, PlayStation VR, and PC VR headsets. In this game, players must navigate through different levels while killing enemies.
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners
The Walking Dead has intense combat scenes as players navigate a post-apocalyptic city.
This is a Star Wars VR game, where players have to wield a lightsaber and use the force.
These are just a few examples of the many amazing VR games available. There are many other great titles across different VR platforms, and the best VR games for you will depend on your interests and which VR headset you own.
Conclusion: The best VR headsets
VR headsets are revolutionising the way we experience technology and entertainment. VR and AR devices have made it possible to transport ourselves to virtual worlds and explore new experiences.
As the technology continues to evolve, there is a lot to look forward to, from virtual conferences to interactive learning experiences, to the best time you ever had playing games at home.