Oculus Rift SSource: Android Central

Best Oculus Quest 2 Alternatives Android Central 2021

The Oculus Quest 2 looks like a standout sequel to the original Oculus Quest. It's smaller, lighter, and more powerful thanks to a new Snapdragon XR2 processor. It's also cheaper than the original Oculus Quest, and quite affordable regardless of how much storage you get. While the Oculus Quest 2 looks promising, it isn't for everyone. For a variety of reasons, people might prefer to get a headset from a different manufacturer. There are also better VR headsets for certain tasks, such as PCVR. While the Oculus Quest 2 can play PCVR games through Oculus Link, it lags behind some more expensive gaming PCVR headsets. With that said, here are the best oculus quest alternatives.

A quick note about the Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Rift S is a fine PCVR headset — in many ways, it's great — but Facebook is discontinuing it. Facebook will no longer make the Oculus Rift S after 2021 and is instead moving people toward using the Oculus Quest 2 with Oculus Link. Because the Oculus Rift S is on the way out, we won't include it in this list.

Best Overall: Vive Cosmos

HTC Vive Cosmos TrackingSource: Android Central

If what initially allured you to the Oculus Quest is its wireless nature, then you should check out the HTC Vive Cosmos. It's compatible with the HTC Vive Wireless Adapter, allowing you to walk around your home or office while playing VR. It also has inside-out tracking with its built-in cameras, meaning you don't need to set up any external sensors. Whether you use it wirelessly or tethered, the Vive Cosmos will provide a substantial VR experience. The main difference is that no matter how you use the Vive Cosmos, it requires a gaming PC. There are some excellent PCs for VR gaming, but they can get costly.

The Vive Cosmos has a 2880x1700 combined resolution, which is higher than many competing headsets. It also has a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. The HTC Vive Cosmos supports SteamVR Tracking 1.0 or 2.0, so you can use a mixture of accessories with it.

One unique thing about the Cosmos is that it's modular to a point. You can purchase the headset and controllers and enjoy VR with just those, or you can add things like the wireless adapter. There's also an external faceplate on the way that will allow you to connect the Vive Cosmos to external towers, resulting in more precise tracking.

Pros

  • Works with HTC Vive Wireless Adapter
  • 90Hz refresh rate
  • Supports SteamVR Tracking 1.0 and 2.0

Cons

  • Higher price
  • Add-ons quickly increase price

Best Overall

HTC Vive Cosmos Se Crop

HTC Vive Cosmos

Wireless or tethered VR

This headset supports the HTC Vive Wireless Adapter and has built-in sensors, letting you freely enjoy VR.

Best Budget: PlayStation VR

Call of Duty Infinite Warfare VRSource: Android Central

PlayStation VR (PSVR) has a massive benefit of working with a console that millions of people already have. You don't need to grab a gaming PC to jump into VR, assuming you already have a PlayStation 4. PSVR's price can depend greatly on if you get it in a bundle. It's worth waiting to get a good deal since it occasionally goes on sale for as low as $265 with some games. Its effective cost is lower than several competing headsets if you already have the PS4 required to use PSVR. If you're willing to grab a refurbished one, they can go for as low as $200.

PSVR is also the best headset on this list for sharing VR, at least in person. You can easily share your VR session onto a TV and allow your friends and family to watch. This doesn't rely on wireless casting like the Oculus Quest either, so it's a simpler set up to share your games. Speaking of games, PSVR has an extensive library, including several exclusives to enjoy like Until Dawn: Rush of Blood.

PSVR is a bit old at this point and could do with a refresh. Its controllers are also far behind competitors. If you're a VR enthusiast or want the best VR experience, PSVR isn't for you. If you want a budget-friendly VR experience that you can share with your friends, it's a great choice.

Pros

  • Works with a console many already have
  • Large library of games, including exclusives
  • Easy to share on TV

Cons

  • Bad controllers
  • Aging hardware

Best Budget

PSVR render

Playstation VR

Easy-to-share virtual reality

PCVR has a vast library of games to play, and you can easily share them on your TV.

Best Premium Headset: Valve Index

Valve Index PressSource: Valve

If you want a high-end VR experience, the Valve Index is the headset to beat. It has several specs near the top of the VR market, including a 130-degree field of view and a 144Hz refresh rate. Because the Valve Index focuses on precision, it utilizes external tracking over inside-out tracking. You need at least two base stations for the Valve Index, which help ensure precise and smooth tracking.

The "Knuckles" controllers of the Valve Index are among the best on the VR market. They can rest in your hand without you having to grip them at all times, which frees up your hand movements for gameplay.

The two most significant drawbacks of the Valve Index are its tethered nature and its price. You need to have a gaming PC connected to your Valve Index to play in virtual reality. On the price side of things, the Valve Index has the specs to justify its price; it just has a higher entry price than many competitors. If you already have some base stations or other hardware, you can purchase the Valve Index without them for as little as $499.

Pros

  • 144Hz refresh rate
  • 130-degree field of view
  • Precise tracking

Cons

  • High price
  • Requires wired tethering to PC

Best Premium Headset

Valve Index Reco Big

Valve Index

Top of the line VR

This headset delivers a precise VR experience through high-end hardware, including a 144Hz set of displays

Bottom line

Picking the best VR headset for you depends largely on your budget and what you want to use it for. The HTC Vive Cosmos is an excellent headset with a high resolution display that has a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. It also works with SteamVR Tracking 1.0 and 2.0, so you can use quite a few accessories with it. The headset's accessory support is what makes it stand out. You can build it up over time to meet your playstyle. There are optional add-ons for wireless PCVR and an external faceplate that allows you to connect the Vive Cosmos to external towers.

If you're on a budget, and especially if you already have a PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR is a good choice. It's relatively inexpensive, works with one of the world's most popular consoles, and has some great games on it. It's one of the more social ways to play VR as well, at least regarding being social in person. You can easily share PlayStation VR on your TV for friends and family to see.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author: Oculus Quest closeup

Sean Endicott is a news writer at Windows Central and the head of Oculus Quest coverage at Android Central. His office echoes with the sounds of footsteps as he dips, dives, ducks, and dodges his way around in VR. Hit him up on Twitter: @Sean_Michael_UK.

Author: Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt is a staff writer at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on PC, laptop, and accessory coverage, as well as the emerging world of VR. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

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