June 2, 2023

$550 at Sony

PlayStation VR 2

The perfect high-end console gaming VR headset

$600 at HP


HP Reverb G2

Finest-looking PC VR headset

VR could also be seen as a distinct segment gaming passion nonetheless, nevertheless it’s loads of enjoyable for lovers and informal followers alike, and there is a lot to get enthusiastic about for the longer term. Nevertheless, you are higher off spending as little as you possibly can proper now. The several-year-old Meta Quest 2, a self-contained $400 headset that is wi-fi, remains to be one of the best VR headset for most individuals, however the upcoming Meta Quest 3 could possibly be price ready for. Sony’s newly launched $550 PlayStation VR 2, which delivers a best-in-class console VR expertise for PlayStation 5 house owners, is a wonderful expertise, however is not wi-fi and is an costly accent. Nonetheless, it is our second favourite VR headset proper now.

There is a new wave of combined actuality VR headsets, too, which mix VR with video of your environment with colour passthrough cameras that feels virtually like augmented actuality. The $1,000 Meta Quest Professional has colour cameras and eye monitoring, however feels costly for its minimal enhancements. The $1,100 HTC Vive XR Elite is the same kind of product that is even smaller, however does not have included eye monitoring. Count on Apple’s upcoming and sure costly headset to fall into comparable territory.

The price of a brand new VR headset goes up nowadays. The Quest 2 jumped in worth final yr. Even so, the Quest 2 nonetheless gives one of the best worth in VR: a very wi-fi expertise, with entry to a terrific library of improbable video games. It can be linked to a PC to play video games, reminiscent of Half-Life: Alyx, or to run quite a lot of PC VR purposes. Meta retains enhancing its software program over time with added extras.

Anybody within the VR and AR trade who’s trying to discover next-gen face monitoring or combined actuality may think about the Quest Professional, however its excessive worth means it will not make sense for anybody else proper now. Be mindful, Meta is releasing the Quest 3 this yr, at a worth that is anticipated to be much like that of the Quest 2 and presumably with some options which might be on the Quest Professional. (The Pico 4 provides some hints of how the Quest 3 could possibly be upgraded.) You may wish to look forward to it, or for the opposite VR headsets on the horizon.

VR stays a formidable however nonetheless restricted proposition for most individuals. Because of large developments within the visuals, monitoring and total efficiency of VR {hardware}, one of the best VR headset choices have grow to be extra reasonable and immersive. Extra superior metaverse platforms and social worlds have given VR house owners extra to discover, too. Even so, VR nonetheless hasn’t grow to be a needed product but.

VR’s strongest purposes are usually gaming and health. For health, a standalone headset just like the Quest 2 is virtually necessary, to keep away from wire tangles and be sure to can transfer round.

Oculus Quest 2

The Quest 2 remains to be one of the best VR headset proper now, however extra headsets are already on their manner.

Scott Stein/CNET

Qualcomm has been making headway on a wave of VR and AR headsets that plug proper in to telephones, however in the meanwhile the software program for these units is a piece in progress. Neither Google nor Apple helps VR at a seamless system stage for telephones but, which means units have to determine awkward options. 

In the meantime, Samsung, Google and Qualcomm have introduced a partnership for future merchandise, suggesting a mixed-reality headset could possibly be arriving within the subsequent few years. In order for you a phone-connected gadget, you most likely ought to wait and see how these Apple, Samsung and Google merchandise shake out.

When you’re a PC gamer, a PC-connected VR headset nonetheless gives probably the most versatile assortment of software program for an immersive VR expertise, and it additionally allows you to use that headset for artistic and enterprise instruments. Notice {that a} extra highly effective VR system will nonetheless be largely tethered to a desktop or laptop computer and should require exterior sensors.

And what about console gaming? The getting older authentic PlayStation VR nonetheless exists, however you are higher off getting the PSVR 2 in case you have a PS5 and have the cash to spend (and do not thoughts a tethered cable).

We replace this finest VR headset listing periodically, however be aware that costs are topic to alter.

Oculus Quest 2
Sarah Tew/CNET

The Quest 2 was $299, however a shock worth bump to $400 (or $500 for the model with extra storage) has made Meta’s two-year-old, self-contained VR headset much more costly. However even with the elevated worth, the Quest 2 stays one of the best and most versatile VR headset of the second. It is also, contemplating it requires no gaming console, cellphone or PC, probably the most inexpensive. 

The $1,000 Quest Professional gives upgrades on the show, controllers, and provides options like higher combined actuality and eye/face monitoring, however its worth for on a regular basis VR explorers is not well worth the excessive price. The Quest 2 stays the really helpful choose till a Quest 3 arrives later this yr.

The bottom mannequin’s 128GB of storage is lots for storing dozens of video games and apps, though take into account there is not any manner so as to add extra storage after buy. Meta additionally now permits accounts to bypass Fb logins, though a brand new Meta account remains to be required.

The Quest 2 jogs my memory of the Nintendo Change for its versatility and enjoyable, and it has a rising library of surprisingly efficient health apps. The Quest 2 can even join with a PC to run extra superior apps from Steam or Meta’s personal app library, utilizing a single USB-C cable or wirelessly.

You are receiving worth alerts for Meta Quest 2

Sony PlayStation VR 2 virtual reality headset and controllers on stands
James Martin/CNET

The PSVR 2 is pricey ($550), and desires a PlayStation 5 to even work. It is tethered, not wi-fi. Nevertheless, its HDR OLED show, graphics high quality, built-in eye monitoring and improbable superior controllers — which have the identical vibrations and adaptive force-feedback triggers because the PS5 DualSense controllers — give this headset a premium really feel that makes its finest video games carry out at a distinct stage. It could possibly be a touchdown spot for prime PC VR video games, however proper now it already has some exclusives like Gran Turismo 7, Resident Evil Village and Horizon: Name of the Mountain.

The PSVR 2 lacks any social metaverse-type software program thus far and feels extra like a headset designed to simply launch and play VR video games. Lots of the video games for this headset are ports of titles you can get on units just like the Quest 2 as a substitute. As extra video games roll out which might be optimized for this {hardware}, nevertheless, the PSVR 2 may rapidly stand out from the standalone VR pack. You may wish to wait and see what occurs, until you are prepared to leap in and belief Sony now.

Learn CNET’s evaluate.

Additionally reviewed:

Meta Quest Pro virtual reality headset and controller
Scott Stein/CNET

Meta’s step-up VR headset provides eye and face monitoring, colour passthrough cameras that assist create combined actuality experiences, a distinct kind of design that may match extra simply over glasses, smaller controllers which have their very own monitoring cameras, and a a lot increased worth than the Quest 2. The Quest Professional runs the identical apps and software program because the Quest 2, and can even work as a PC-connected headset. The Quest Professional is meant as a work-focused professional device, and does not really feel optimized for gaming. Nevertheless it additionally is not really optimized for most individuals’s work wants, both, since VR headsets nonetheless aren’t seamless instruments with PCs and telephones. The Quest Professional’s show decision and lens high quality is significantly higher than the Quest 2, although. It is possible a preview of among the upgrades we’ll see within the Quest 3, which you need to look forward to.

Learn CNET’s evaluate.

Scott Stein/CNET

The almost glasses-like XR Elite headset appears at first look prefer it’s a pair of bizarre glasses. It is a full standalone headset just like the Quest Professional, and can even do passthrough combined actuality. It is also PC suitable. The XR Elite’s benefit is its dimension, however its software program feels far behind the place Meta is at for standalone apps and options. It does present how future {hardware} is more likely to get even smaller and extra modular, however this is not the reply but.

Learn CNET’s evaluate.


In case your thought of one of the best VR headset is to have one of the best picture high quality in shopper VR, HP’s Reverb G2 wins. For critical avid gamers (or VR racing sim followers), it is most likely your best option. The two,160×2,160-per-eye decision and 114-degree area of view are one of the best at this worth vary, and the light-weight, comfortable headset additionally has improbable dropdown audio system designed by Valve. It is technically a Microsoft Home windows combined actuality headset that prefers to launch into Microsoft’s native Home windows 10 VR ecosystem, nevertheless it bridges with Steam VR and works with these video games and apps, too. Constructed-in camera-based room-tracking is simpler to arrange than the Valve Index’s exterior base stations, however is extra liable to monitoring errors. The included controllers, based mostly on Microsoft’s VR controller design, really feel clunkier than both the Quest 2 controllers or the Valve Index controllers. Additionally, the over-ear audio system are your solely audio selection; there is not any headphone jack.

It usually lists for $599, nevertheless it’s usually been on sale for much less.

Learn our HP Reverb G2 evaluate.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Valve’s headset is not as cutting-edge because it was when it debuted in 2020, however its Steam VR and Vive {hardware} compatibility, its glorious audio and its fancy controllers nonetheless make it {hardware} price contemplating. Valve’s “knuckle” controllers are pressure-sensitive and might observe all 5 fingers, making them virtually like gloves. Not all apps profit from them, however Valve’s {hardware} is mix-and-match suitable with the HTC Vive, which is also constructed on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset has glorious audio and a pointy, wide-field-of-view show, however its show decision is not pretty much as good as opponents.

The Index works with exterior “lighthouse” packing containers much like the HTC Vive, which means it’s good to set these up in a room first. It isn’t as self-contained because the Quest 2 or HP Reverb G2, which might observe the room with in-headset cameras. It is also positively not wi-fi, but when you have already got some older HTC Vive {hardware}, you can add on elements of the Index to combine and match. It appears like this {hardware} could possibly be due for an improve ahead of later.

Learn our Valve Index evaluate.

How we check VR headsets

Although mainstream VR headsets have been round for almost a decade, the apps they run and the computer systems, telephones and recreation consoles they work with preserve altering. We run key apps and software program on the headsets, utilizing them primarily in standalone mode in the event that they’re designed to be self-contained, or with a PC, recreation console or cellphone in the event that they’re primarily meant as linked peripherals. We use the headsets for a mixture of work, gaming, health and inventive makes use of, and keep attentive for the place the headsets have ache factors (moments of discomfort, emotions of disconnect, or sensations of nausea or distortion). Utilizing know-how like VR can usually be a extremely subjective expertise, however by taking note of particulars we discover we will uncover the place every product is uniquely helpful. Comparability can be key: I’ve checked out just about each wearable AR and VR gadget of the final 15 years, and likewise lined a variety of the wearable tech, cellphone and laptop panorama. How these units work as recreation consoles, health units, work equipment and social instruments are all key areas. We additionally take into consideration shows, audio, controllers and lodging for eyeglasses.


Ought to I wait to purchase a VR headset?

It isn’t a foul thought. With the Quest 3 and Apple’s thriller gadget anticipated this yr, there could also be many units on the way in which which might be higher than what’s right here in the meanwhile. VR is a know-how that is nonetheless in flux, with corporations aiming for merchandise which might be smaller and extra in a position to be linked to units like telephones. It is most likely finest to spend as little as doable to keep away from investing in outdated gear. 

What ought to I search for in a VR headset?

It relies upon, actually, on whether or not you are connecting to a PC or not… and whether or not you propose to do work with it. There are many Home windows-compatible headsets, however they fluctuate in show decision. Larger is healthier, and so is a bigger area of view. Headsets can refresh at as much as 120Hz now, and the quicker they refresh, the extra pure and easy VR motion feels. 

Most PC VR headsets have comparable controller designs and might bridge to work instruments and apps. For portability or standalone consolation, the Quest 2 does not have a lot competitors proper now. For avid gamers with a PlayStation 5, the PSVR 2 is the most suitable choice. Additionally, think about the app libraries: The Quest has a variety of unique video games, Home windows-connected headsets have plenty of compatibility with work apps and experimental instruments. The PSVR 2 has its personal library of video games that are not backward-compatible with authentic PSVR video games.

Do any of those headsets work with telephones?

The previous world of phone-based VR headsets — just like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream — are principally lifeless. A very good quantity of the present iPhone, Android and VR app choices do not even work with the previous cell VR goggles. The Quest 2 does have a cellphone app for streaming content material for a mum or dad to observe, and might obtain cellphone notifications and sync some well being information for exercises, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not totally built-in with telephones. If smartphone-based VR comes again, it is going to extra possible be within the type of small headsets that plug into telephones through USB-C for VR content material, VR gaming and different makes use of.

How do I take care of my VR headset?

VR headsets can get dusty and dirty. Take additional care with the lenses, which ought to be cleaned gently with microfiber cloths the identical manner you’d deal with glasses (however do not use liquid cleaners). A barely damp paper towel (simply moist with a little bit of water) might help clear off exteriors. It is a good suggestion to spend money on a case or bag to guard the headset from mud, and preserve your headset lined when not in use. 

Take additional care to not expose your VR headset to vibrant daylight: The solar can harm VR shows if beams hit the lenses of the headset. To be protected, I preserve mine in circumstances, flip the lenses away from home windows, and canopy them with an previous t-shirt or towel if I haven’t got a case.

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