When you think of VR, your mind probably immediately jumps to popular games like Beat Saber or Half-Life: Alyx. But did you know that VR headsets can do so much more? From watching movies with friends, to meeting new people in virtual social spaces, VR headsets can provide a wide variety of experiences. Which one delivers the best experience? It's the Meta Quest 2 by a wide margin. It's an all-in-one wireless gaming headset that requires no smartphone, PC, or console to play, yet can be optionally used with a PC to deliver even grander VR experiences.
Meta Quest 2
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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. Using a Oculus Quest 2 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.
The Meta Quest 2 is a significant upgrade over the original Oculus Quest in almost every way. In our Meta Quest 2 review, we detail exactly why, but in a nutshell, the Quest 2 is not just significantly more powerful than its predecessor: It features a 50% higher resolution screen, better speakers, faster Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and plenty of extras you might not even consider.
That new 50% higher resolution display utilizes a specialized fast-switching LCD panel built for VR, featuring an ultra-crisp RGB-stripe sub-pixel arrangement. It's also running at 90Hz, which makes the action 25% smoother than the original Quest and helps cut down on motion sickness. A recent update added an experimental feature to headsets that expands the display to 120Hz. The speakers are in the same place as the original Quest, but are louder and deliver higher-quality sound.
On top of this, the new cloth headstrap can be completely removed and changed out with different straps, like the Elite Strap with battery. This strap not only makes gaming on the Quest 2 more comfortable, but it also doubles the battery life to up to six hours in a single charge. Speaking of battery life, Oculus improved the Oculus Touch controllers this time around with better ergonomics, better button placement, a thumb rest, and battery life that's out of this world. Many people have reported still having full battery after a month of usage, which is unheard of on any console.
You can play the Oculus Quest 2 anywhere thanks to the Oculus Guardian system, which utilizes the four cameras on the headset to see and map the environment around you so you don't knock into anything. Because of the lack of wires, you'll find experiences on the Meta Quest 2 that you can't get anywhere else, like the incredible Supernatural VR fitness program. However, if you have a gaming PC, you can hook the Quest up with a single USB Type-C cable, known as an Oculus Link cable (opens in new tab), turning it into a full-fledged Oculus Rift.
Facebook sells the Oculus Quest 2 with 64GB or 256GB of storage, and while this storage isn't expandable, you'll be able to house dozens of installed games. The Meta Quest 2 has, thus far, been outselling even the original Oculus Quest, which is one of the most successful VR headsets in history. Wide-reaching developer support, an extensive community, and exclusive features like hand-tracking make this the very best VR headset you can buy.
PlayStation VR Headset
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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 exclusive VR games like Iron Man VR. PSVR has tons of exclusives, including big names like Blood & Truth, Resident Evil VII, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission, to name a few.
The PSVR 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 PSVR 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 2 don't have. Sony's controllers also don't have any joysticks or touchpads on them, which can limit movement in some games.
If you're planning on picking up a PS5 (or already have), know that PSVR works perfectly well with it, although you'll need to request a free adapter from Sony. The PS5 will further enhance PSVR visuals from what's presented even on the PS4 Pro, including rendering in a higher resolution and at a higher frame rate, as well as enhanced textures and model detail in certain games. That means no matter if you own an original PS4, a PS4 Pro, or a PS5, the PSVR is the best way to play VR games on the PlayStation platform.
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
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 and Oculus Quest 2, 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. As a result, the Index 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.
Pico Neo 3 Link
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Oculus Quest 2 may be our favorite when it comes to VR headsets because of its portability, graphics, and responsiveness, but there's a new competitor on the standalone VR headset market. The Pico Neo 3 Link looks very similar to Meta's flagship VR device, but it has a few features and specs that could give it an edge if the price dropped a tad.
The vast majority of the Pico Neo 3 Link's specifications are an almost identical match to the Meta Quest 2. However, a lot of attention has been poured into the Pico Neo 3 Link's graphics delivery. Unlike the Oculus Quest 2 that delivers "nearly 4K," the Pico delivers actual lossless 4K for a stunning, immersive visual experience.
It can deliver a theater quality experience for movie viewing in a virtual space. It also has a pair of coverless, stereo headphones that shoot the sounds to your ears just like a Meta Quest 3. The Pico Neo 3 Link's headset itself is also a bit more balanced because the battery pack has been moved from the headset to behind the head strap.
Both the Oculus Quest 2 and the Pico Neo 3 Pro can run titles that aren't available on its standalone catalogue through a PC that's powerful enough to run VR games and software. Pico's connection method gives it a slight edge over the Meta Quest 2.
The Pico Neo 3 Link connects to a PC through a DisplayPort cable, with a USB-C plug for the computer. This allows for a faster, uncompressed video stream with no latency using the full power of the PC's graphic card. The DisplayPort end also has a lock that keeps it in place while its plugged in, so you can't accidentally pull out the connection when the action in the game requires you to be more physical.
The only noticeable downsides are the price and the games. Since this headset is more focused on enterprise markets, the options are a little limited. The Pico Neo 3 Link only has one device available: A headset with 256 GB of space that launched with a price of €449/£399, and it's not available in the U.S. yet, so it's not worth doing the conversion to dollars.
The game catalogue has some popular titles like Superhot, Red Matter, and Hyper Dash, but some huge games are missing that have been on the Oculus Quest 2's store for a long while, like Capcom's VR remake of Resident Evil 4 and Beat Saber.
If you live in an area of the world where you can get your hands on one while supplies last, and you don't mind spending a few extra bucks for a crisper looking round of Contractors, it might be worth your while.
Ultimately, the Oculus Quest 2 is the best VR headset you can buy, regardless of whether you own a PC or a console. That's because the Oculus Quest 2 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 Meta Quest 2 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 2 to your gaming PC to unlock the full power of PC-powered VR.