The best VR headset is able to make you forget, even if just for a moment, you’re wearing a big chunk of plastic and foam on your face. It will make you feel like you’re a part of a game’s world, if only until you walk into your sofa. There are a lot of factors to consider, and price importantly among them, when buying a VR headset, but we’ve tested every major headset today to help you make that decision.
I’ve got my hands on all the popular VR headsets from Valve, Meta, HTC, Pico, and all the rest. Oodles of testing went into helping you decide which ones are worth your hard-earned cash, and I’ve landed on the Meta Quest 2 as the best VR headset for most users.
If money is no object and you’re just looking for the purest, most high-end VR headset out there, the Valve Index is the closest thing to having a holodeck in your office. Yet you should consider waiting for the Meta Quest 3. That headset is set to arrive later this year and it’ll start at $499.
Once you’ve secured one of the best VR headsets, the next step is figuring out the best VR games. Half-Life: Alyx shows what VR is capable of, but it’ll push your PC to the limits. There are plenty of other sci-fi titles to enjoy that aren’t as intense, such as No Man’s Sky. I recommend checking out the best VR games on PC if you want to build out your library in anticipation.
The quick list
The best VR headset
The Meta Quest 2 is the best VR headset available right now for its blend of affordability and capability. You can get higher-end headsets, and you should if you can spare the cash, but for many users the Quest 2 will deliver a superb VR experience.
It might not stay that way for long, however, as the Quest 3 is set to release this year for $499. That’s more money than asked for the Quest 2, which isn’t surprising considering Meta has messed with the Quest 2’s price over the years, but the next-gen headset does promise to deliver. Meta has been spending big on its VR division, Reality Labs, lately, and it’s sure to make a splash with its next-gen headset.
That’s still a good few months out yet, however. If you want a VR headset today, there’s still a lot to like about the Quest 2. Especially if you can find a good deal on one.
At 1832 x 1920 per eye, the Quest 2 offers exceptional clarity for what is priced like an entry-level headset, but is much more than that.
So long as you keep the headset at a decent level with your eyes in the centre, the Quest 2 delivers a crisp and clear picture. Powering that is the Snapdragon XR2 System-on-Chip (SoC) from Qualcomm, which is a marked improvement over the Snapdragon 835 SoC used in the older Quest model. That also now comes with 6GB of RAM, a step-up from the 4GB on the original model.
You can either play games purpose-built for the standalone headset, and thus rendered by the onboard Snapdragon XR2 chip, or beamed from your PC using Oculus Link and a compatible USB Type-C cable. I’ve bought the official Oculus Link cable, although it is really pricey. You can absolutely use a cheaper cable, but bear in mind that some won’t deliver the length, bandwidth, or power that pricier cables can.
There are two storage options to choose from: 256GB and 128GB. There was also a 64GB model, as this was all the storage cheaper option launched with, but you’d probably be looking to buy a pre-owned headset to find one. Meta replaced that with the 128GB model for the same price, so we don’t recommend picking the 64GB model up unless it’s going much cheaper than MSRP.
The Quest 2 is one of the quickest headsets to get up and running on this list. With Inside-Out tracking and hand tracking built-in, you can go from unboxing to up-and-running in VR in just a couple of minutes. The first time setup process will have you removing your headset, memorising Wi-Fi passwords, putting the headset back on again, and then waiting around for a couple of updates. It’s a little fiddly, but you need only do it once and it’s relatively quick to complete.
The standalone experience is admittedly still hampered by the low-power silicon, and there’s no getting around that. The Quest 2 not only deals with the processing onboard, but it’s also trying to conserve battery power to ensure a half-decent run. That’s roughly around two hours of battery life for gaming.
Having originally required a Facebook account, we’re now happy the Quest 2 no longer requires a Facebook login.
As an all-round VR headset for a wide range of uses, the Quest 2 is simply unparalleled. The fact that it’s also the cheapest VR headset we recommend is just icing on the cake.
Read our full Meta Quest 2 review.