Best VR Headsets Android Central 2020
When you think of VR, your mind probably immediately jumps to popular games like Beat Saber or Superhot VR. However, did you know that VR headsets can do so much more? From watching movies with friends to meeting new people in virtual social spaces, and even creating incredible works of art in programs like Tiltbrush, VR headsets can provide a wide variety of experiences. Which one delivers the best experience? It's the Oculus Quest by a wide margin. It's an all-in-one wireless gaming headset that requires no smartphone, PC, or console to play.
- Best Overall: Oculus Quest VR Headset
- Best for PlayStation: PlayStation VR Headset
- Best Value for PC Gaming: Oculus Rift S VR Headset
- The Full PC Gaming Experience: Valve Index
- Best for Nintendo Gaming: Nintendo Labo VR Headset Kit
Best Overall: Oculus Quest VR Headset
While every other major VR headset on the market requires a smartphone, PC, or console to power the experience, Oculus has built a headset that does everything you could ever want, all without needing to connect it to any external system. Operating an Oculus Quest is as easy as putting the headset on and immediately entering the world of VR. There's no fiddling with settings, no tangling around wires, and no worrying about incompatibilities with the latest games or apps. Just make sure it's charged and go.
You can play the Oculus Quest anywhere thanks to the Oculus Guardian system, which utilizes the four cameras on the headset to see and map the environment around you and can keep track of your exact pinpoint location in physical space, as well as everywhere you'll be swinging your controllers. Because of the lack of wires and the theoretically infinite playspace, you'll find experiences on the Oculus Quest that you can't get anywhere else, like the incredible Supernatural VR fitness program.
While the Oculus Quest is powered by the same Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset that was found in many 2017 flagship smartphones, the experience is nothing short of the absolute best you'll get anywhere. Every time you put the headset on, it just works.
Under the impressive adjustable lenses sits a 72Hz OLED display with 1440x1600 pixels-per-eye resolution. Speakers are built into the headset, but you can hook up a pair of high-quality wired headphones. You also get on average around three hours of battery per charge. For folks with a gaming PC, you can even hook the Oculus Quest up to your PC with a single USB Type-C cable, turning it into a full-fledged Oculus Rift. It's a win-win-win situation for gamers, and the best way to spend your VR bucks.
Facebook sells the Oculus Quest with 64GB or 128GB of storage, and while this storage isn't expandable, you'll be able to house dozens and dozens of installed games on the system. The Oculus Quest has been the fastest-growing VR headset in history, and is supported well by Facebook with regular updates and features. This means you can rest assured that lots of games are coming out, and will continue to come out in the future. It's also currently the only VR headset that can track your hands in real-time.
- Easy to set up, even easier to use
- Stunning OLED display
- Lots of developer support
- Regularly updated with new features
- Can be used as a PC VR headset
- No expandable storage
- Battery life can be limiting for long play sessions
The very best standalone VR headset
The Oculus Quest is easy and powerful, giving gamers a high-quality VR gaming experience without the need for a PC or console.
Best for PlayStation: PlayStation 4 VR Headset
Because this is the PlayStation VR, you should expect gaming to be at the forefront of the experience. Over the years, Sony has developed a pedigree for great VR experiences, including 2020's biggest VR game launch yet, Iron Man VR. PlayStation VR has tons of exclusives that are only available on Sony's own VR headset, including big names like Blood & Truth, Resident Evil VII, and Astro Bot: Robo Rescue, to name a few.
The PlayStation VR sports a crisp 1080p display that runs at an impressive 120hz, allowing you to play with some of the absolute smoothest visuals on the market. Like most console experiences, the PlayStation VR is plug-and-play. The initial wiring might seem a bit complicated at first, but Sony has done a great job of labeling everything you'll need to plug in.
What's more, the headset itself is adjustable and super comfortable, with padded eye sockets that even allow those who wear glasses to play for long periods. The OLED display delivers the vibrant, beautiful colors that you'd expect from your PS4 games, and the included earbuds are a great way to hear what's happening in 3D space. The headset is wired, and while most games do a great job of keeping you from getting tangled up, it does present some limitations that totally wireless headsets like the Oculus Quest don't have. Sony's controllers also don't have any joysticks or touchpads on them, which can limit movement in some games.
Sony has confirmed that the current-generation PlayStation VR headset will work on the upcoming PlayStation 5. That's great news for anyone looking to jump into VR on their PS4 right now, because the PSVR won't become obsolete once the PS5 releases!
- Beautiful OLED display
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Lots of exclusive games and experiences
- Unique gun controller for shooter games
- Will work on PS5
- Wires can be tricky to avoid
- Controllers can limit movement
- Doesn't support full roomscale VR
- No built-in speakers
Best for PlayStation
A VR experience worthy of the PlayStation name
With tons of exclusive games like Iron Man VR, you'll be sure to get an experience like no other with the PlayStation VR.
Best Value for PC Gaming: Oculus Rift S
You don't want to miss the Oculus Rift S. Facebook has built the Oculus Rift platform up significantly over the years, including dozens of exclusive titles that you'll only find on the Oculus Store. The Oculus Rift S improves upon the original in most ways by offering a better display, hassle-free roomscale tracking, and improved headset and controller designs.
The Oculus Rift S's fast-switching LCD display features a higher resolution (1440x1280 per eye) and tighter pixel structure than the original, meaning you'll be able to see every little detail. An 80Hz refresh rate keeps motion sickness down, and digital IPD adjustment (that's the distance between your eyes) means the Oculus Rift S supports a wide range of faces.
That new headset design features what's known as a "halo strap" design that fits comfortably over-top of your head and tightens up with a simple radial dial in the back. It even has speakers built in. They're not the loudest speakers in the world though, so when you're playing Beat Saber, you may want to consider popping on a pair of cans to really feel the beat.
One of the best parts about the Oculus Rift S is the Oculus Insight tracking, made possible by the five cameras located all around the front of the headset. This specialized software can see the room around it and map the entire 3D space of your surroundings, providing you with a safe and easy-to-setup roomscale VR experience. You simply put the headset on and follow the instructions to draw a boundary around the safe areas of your room, and the Oculus Rift S will let you know when you're getting too close to the edge.
However, he single best part is the price. For an affordable price, you're getting everything you need for one of the best VR experiences. It's also the easiest way to get access to Oculus-exclusive titles without having to run third-party software. It even supports SteamVR, too, making this the best value and best overall VR headset you can buy for the PC.
- Incredibly crisp, high-resolution panel
- Comfortable headstrap design
- Oculus Insight tracking is simple to use
- Oculus Touch controllers are great
- Easy access to dozens of Oculus-exclusive titles
- SteamVR support
- Cord can get in the way
- Refresh rate could be higher
- Built-in speakers are mediocre
Best Value for PC Gaming
All you need for great PC VR
The Oculus Rift S is the perfect blend of value and features, and it's also the easiest way to get access to Oculus titles.
The Full PC Gaming Experience: Valve Index
When nothing but the absolute best will do, you get a Valve Index. When Valve announced the Index, it blew the minds of VR enthusiasts everywhere. From its incredibly comfortable design to the super-high refresh rate display, the finger-tracking controllers, and even the unparalleled built-in speakers, the Valve Index is just about everything a PC gamer could want in a VR headset.
Part and parcel to the Valve Index experience are the controllers, which are unmatched in terms of precision and realism in the virtual world. Valve's controllers don't just offer a wide range of buttons and movement inputs, but they also can precisely track your fingers and the movements of your hands. You can even let go of the controllers completely and they won't go anywhere thanks to an ingenious handstrap design.
With this design in tow, the Valve Index can provide gamers with unparalleled immersion as they pick up crowbars in games like Boneworks, or explore the deeply interactive world of Half-Life: Alyx. Being able to actually feel like you're grabbing or picking up things in the virtual world helps deliver an experience you simply won't find anywhere else. Valve utilizes the SteamVR tracking system, which is the most precise tracking system on the market and features compatibility with dozens of accessories. It still requires external sensors to be installed in the room, however. You'll also still be plugged into a PC (preferably a powerful one to take full advantage of the Index's specs).
The Valve Index headset is among the single-most comfortable pieces of hardware on the market, with intelligently-designed headstraps that help balance weight and alleviate the strain that other headstrap designs can leave. It's even got the industry's best built-in headphones which, interestingly enough, hover just over your ears and provide an impressive range of sound and volume.
Like the Oculus Rift S, the Valve index features a fast-switching LCD panel with a tight pixel structure that helps eliminate that nasty "screen-door effect" that previous-generation VR headsets had, and delivers one of the crispest, sharpest images in the industry. On top of that, the ultra-high refresh rate display ensures VR motion sickness is a thing of the past, and the ultra-wide angle lenses reveal more of the virtual world than you'll get on any other headset.
- Finger-tracking controllers
- Stunningly crisp display
- 144Hz maximum refresh rate
- 130-degree field of view
- Best built-in speakers on any headset
- Super comfortable headstrap design
- The cord can get in the way
- Third-party software required for Oculus titles
- Requires a beefy gaming PC
The Full PC Gaming Experience
Putting the reality in virtual reality
The Valve Index is the most cutting-edge experience you're going to have in VR right now. It's also the most expensive.
Best for Nintendo Gaming: Nintendo Labo VR Headset Kit
The Nintendo Labo VR Kit is an interesting addition to the rapidly-growing number of VR headsets out there and supports popular Nintendo Switch games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey. With this kit, you'll be able to experience these games once again in a different way entirely, adding a new level of replayability to these games. However, considering that the Nintendo Switch VR headset is splitting the Switch's 1280x720 display into two screens, don't expect the best graphics when playing on this kit.
Nevertheless, like most things Labo, you can create different pieces to add to the VR kit, such as a blaster, camera, and more — all to make playing your gamers that much more immersive. Unfortunately, you'll have to hold your VR kit up to your face since there's no strap to hold it to your head. That can be very annoying, especially when your arms get tired but you want to play some more.
But what really makes the Nintendo Labo VR headset stand out is how its pass-and-play multiplayer allows everyone, such as family and friends, to get in on the fun. With the added creative components, the Nintendo Labo VR kit is extraordinary for both children and adults. It's an extremely unique and fun concept that only Nintendo could pull off.
- Encourages creativity no matter your age
- Easy to set up, play and pass between others
- Extremely inexpensive
- Breathes new life into games you might already own
- No way to secure the headset to your face
- Low fidelity visual experience
- Not intended for long play sessions
Best for Nintendo Gaming
Experience VR with Nintendo for the first time
The Nintendo Labo VR headset is an excellent way to mix creativity with virtual reality in a way that everyone should try out.
Ultimately, the Oculus Quest VR Headset is the best VR headset you can buy, regardless if you own a PC or a console. That's because the Oculus Quest doesn't need any PC, console, or even a smartphone to run the experience. All of it is built in, and the experience is even better than other headsets because of this fact.
The Oculus Quest is great for gaming and social activities, and you can even bring it to your friends' and families' houses since there are no cords and barely any setup involved in the process. What's more, you can even connect the Oculus Quest to your gaming PC to unlock the full power of PC-powered VR.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Nicholas Sutrich has been professionally writing about tech since 2011 and has run through the gamut of tech and gaming. If he's not slicing blocks in Beat Saber he's probably tinkering with some smart home gadget or going on a hike in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
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