VR headset (virtual reality headset) is a head-mounted device that consists of a display screen, stereo sound, sensors, and compatible controllers to provide an immersive and interactive audiovisual experience.
Virtual reality (VR) is the world’s fastest-growing content segment.
According to PwC research, VR content will grow at a compound annual rate of 30% between 2021 and 2025, outpacing OTT video, video games, and even traditional cinema.
VR headsets can provide users with an immersive, three-dimensional experience that allows them to consume VR content.
What Is a VR Headset?
A virtual reality headset is a heads-up display (HUD) that allows users to interact with simulated environments and see the world from a first-person perspective (FPV).
VR headsets replace the user’s natural environment with virtual reality content, such as a movie, a game, or a pre-recorded 360-degree VR environment that allows the user to turn and look around as if they were in the real world.
Although virtual reality has been around for a while, the tethered hardware required to experience it has been prohibitively expensive, bulky, and power-hungry.
Mobile VR headsets, which are essentially goggles that hold a smartphone, have now allowed VR apps to enter the consumer market.
Each type of Virtual Reality headset seeks to provide the viewer with an experience so real that the headset itself is forgotten.
VR apps for both mobile and tethered devices use technology like gaze tracking, infrared sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers to move the user’s point of view naturally.
Mobile apps frequently include stereo audio, whereas tethered apps may include surround or even 3D audio.
Eliminating latency to reduce viewer disorientation, headache, and nausea is a development challenge for all VR apps and headsets.
Types of VR Headsets
Oculus Rift – a computer-based system that reignited interest in virtual reality after the Oculus VR startup successfully raised funds on Kickstarter.
Rift employs positioning technology that allows the user to physically move through 3D space, as well as Touch controllers.
Hololens, a standalone Virtual Reality headset from Microsoft.
3D spatialized sound, Wi-Fi, a Kinect-like camera with a 120-degree spatial sensing system, a fleet of gyroscopes and accelerometers, and a transparent screen for each eye are all part of the system.
HTC Vive – for optimal performance, plugs into a powerful gaming PC.
Users can move freely through a 15′ X 15′ area thanks to dual base stations.
The system was co-created with Portal, a video game software company.
PlayStation VR – requires a PlayStation 4 rather than a PC to operate.
The system displays the VR headset display on a TV.
Samsung Gear VR – a smartphone container that makes use of the phone’s processing power.
The system was created in collaboration with Oculus VR and works with high-end Samsung Galaxy models.
Google Cardboard – a low-cost cardboard smartphone container.
There are several low-cost headsets based on the original open source model.
Basic Components of VR Headsets
Virtual reality headsets all have the four components listed below:
An array of sensors
Virtual reality, unlike 2D video, is not a passive experience. Users interact with virtual worlds that adapt to their continuous inputs.
Virtual Reality headsets are equipped with a variety of sensors, including a six degrees of freedom (6DoF) system for head tracking.
A 6DoF system tracks head movements and repositions the display based on gyroscopes, accelerometers, and other sensors. Some headsets also include eye-tracking sensors that detect when the user’s gaze is focused on a virtual object or location.
Lenses and Screens
The lenses and screen configuration comprise the majority of the Virtual Reality headset’s hardware. Between the screen and your eyes are stereoscopic lenses that distort the image to make it appear three-dimensional.
Two images, one for each eye, are passed through the lens, similar to how our eyes perceive and process visuals in the real world.
Furthermore, images in Virtual Reality headsets appear to move side to side to simulate a 360-degree experience, which is accomplished by subtly moving the display content in response to head tracking data.
In the real world, users have a much more layered experience of sound where audio is directly linked to our perception of distance and space.
VR headsets use 360-degree or immersive audio technology to simulate this experience. Binaural audio is one such technology, and the new spatial audio pioneered by companies such as Apple represents yet another step forward in VR audio innovation.
Finally, Virtual Reality headset controllers serve as a link between the physical and virtual worlds. Aside from the standard set of two handheld controllers that come with most headsets, you can use a variety of controllers.
For example, Samsung provides a single hand motion controller for its Gear VR kit, and HTC VIVE has single hand joystick-like controllers that come with a docking station.
Meta is said to be working on a set of haptic-based controllers that will enable pressure-sensitive touch and navigation.
Valve Index also has a distinct take on controllers that incorporate a fist gripping design.
Understanding How a VR Headset Functions
All of these components, in conjunction with sophisticated VR software, enable the headset to function properly.
When the headset is turned on, users are greeted by a realistic virtual environment that serves as a lobby and is analogous to the homepage of a computer.
While there, users can select different apps, interact with other virtual people, change settings, update devices, and access other features.
In the meantime, images are fed into modern headsets via a video source such as a smartphone, desktop, or, more likely, the cloud.
The lens will split the video image in two and calibrate them to create the stereoscopic 3D image you see on the screen.
The environment changes subtly as you look around, shift your gaze, or raise your hands, thanks to built-in sensors.
Aside from this fundamental function, VR headsets are extremely powerful.
For example, there are productivity apps that allow you to design products in VR and save them as 3D files to the cloud.
Sophisticated Virtual Reality headsets have a very high screen refresh rate, allowing them to render and update content in real time.
What Makes a Good VR Headset?
A good VR headset has a few distinguishing characteristics, such as:
Light form factor – The screen and sensors can increase the weight of the headset, and anything heavier than 500-600 grammes will be difficult to use on a regular basis.
This is why the current 150-gram weight of Apple’s upcoming mixed reality (MR) headset is such a breakthrough.
Easy-to-use controllers – The controllers will inevitably have a plethora of buttons, wheels, and sticks to aid in VR navigation.
They must be ergonomically designed and offer a consistent user experience.
Onboard storage – While most VR headsets rely on the Internet and the cloud, at least 32GB of onboard storage is recommended to install applications, ensure timely updates, and store a few files without slowing down the system.
According to IDC’s December 2021 report, after surpassing 9.36 million shipments in 2021, VR headset shipments are expected to reach 13.59 million worldwide by 2022.
As demand grows, we can expect new innovations based on these existing core functionalities to create more enriching, seamless, and accessible VR experiences.
The Best VR Headset Deals This Week
Deals chosen by our commerce team
- HTC Vive Cosmos Elite Virtual Reality System — $699.00 (List Price $899)
- $399.99 Meta Quest 2 128GB VR Headset with Beat Saber
- $499.99 Meta Quest 2 256GB VR Headset with Beat Saber
Our Best Head Set Selection
- Oculus – Quest 2/Meta Quest 2
- Sony – PlayStation VR
- Valve – Index VR Kit
- HTC – Vive Pro 2
More on Our Selections
Oculus Quest 2/Meta Quest 2
Best Standalone Experience
The Oculus (or Meta, if you prefer) Quest 2 headset improves on the original in nearly every way, and at a lower price.
It is the best $300 VR headset for both new and experienced users.
- No need for cables
- Sharp display
- Powerful processor
- Accurate motion tracking
- Optional PC tethering via accessory cable
- Limited battery life
Sony PlayStation VR
Best for PlayStation Gamers
The Sony PlayStation Virtual Reality headset adds powerful, compelling virtual reality to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. It also supports motion control.
- Immersive VR experience
- Compatible with non-VR apps and games.
- Motion control assistance.
- Low entry cost when compared to PC-based headsets.
- This game requires the PlayStation Camera, which is not included.
- Slightly less powerful than its main competitors.
- Some motion-tracking hiccups when playing in well-lit environments.
Valve Index VR Kit
Best for Revolutionary Controllers
The Valve Index is the most impressive consumer VR headset we’ve seen yet, thanks entirely to its groundbreaking, finger-tracking controllers.
- Immersive and finger-tracking controllers
- A high refresh rate of 120Hz ensures smooth motion
- A wide range of VR software is available on PC via SteamVR
- At times frustrating tethered design
HTC Vive Pro 2
Best for the Highest-Resolution VR
The Vive Pro 2 is the highest-resolution Virtual Reality headset we’ve seen yet, and it’s also the most expensive. If you want the best VR experience possible and don’t mind mixing and matching components, it’s worth considering.
- The highest resolution for VR gaming
- Smooth motion tracking
- Compatible with Valve Index controllers
- Lacks necessary base stations and controllers
HP Reverb G2
Best for Simple, Tethered VR
The redesigned HP Reverb G2 VR headset provides a more comfortable fit and a more dependable experience than its predecessor, while maintaining the same sharp image and reasonable price.
However, it lacks some of the more compelling advantages of the competition.
- High resolution for the price
- Comfortable headset and controllers
- Reliable compatibility with SteamVR
- Camera-based tracking has occasional hiccups;
- Much more expensive than the Oculus Quest 2, even with the optional cable for PC tethering; and
- Windows Mixed Reality is nearly extinct as a VR platform.
Related Articles: Oculus Quest 2 – Best All-In-One Virtual Reality Gaming System
The Big Question: What Is the Best VR Headset?
Modern VR headsets are now classified as either tethered or standalone.
Tethered headsets are physically connected to PCs and include the HTC Vive Pro 2, PlayStation VR, and Valve Index (or in the case of the PS VR, a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5).
The cable makes them a little unwieldy, but putting all of the actual video processing in a box that you don’t have to directly strap to your face allows for a much more complex VR experience.
Thanks to motion-sensing controllers, either external sensors or outward-facing cameras provide full 6DOF (six degrees of freedom) movement tracking for both your head and your hands.
The cheapest tethered options are currently around $400, and that’s before you consider the processing requirements; the HP Reverb G2, Valve Index, and Vive Pro 2 require fairly powerful PCs to run, while the PS VR requires a PlayStation 4. (And the upcoming PS VR 2 will require a PlayStation 5).
Standalone headsets provide the most physical freedom by eliminating all cables and eliminating the need for an external device to handle processing.
The Oculus/Meta Quest 2 uses outward-facing cameras similar to the now-discontinued Oculus Rift S to provide 6DOF motion tracking and controls.
The Quest 2 lacks the processing power of a dedicated gaming PC, but its high-end mobile processor can still deliver detailed, smooth graphics. If you’re ready to learn more about the best VR headsets, read on.
Which VR Headset Is Best for the Metaverse?
The rebranded-to-Meta Facebook could eventually push the Quest 2 and other Oculus devices even further, with a greater emphasis on broad platform integration.
The company’s plans to build a “metaverse” will almost certainly include AR and VR systems, with the Oculus division serving as the natural conduit.
Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s VP of AR/VR, has stated that the metaverse will “build the connective tissue” between Oculus headsets and other Facebook/Meta devices, implying that they will be involved.
The metaverse is still a hazy concept, and Meta hasn’t been entirely clear about what it intends to do with it. Based on the few details available, our metaverse guide will help you understand what’s going on.
Should You Use a Phone-Based VR Headset?
VR headsets that use your smartphone as both the brains and the display of the system were once common, with Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear VR allowing anyone with a compatible phone to get a VR experience for less than $150.
The production of these headsets has slowed to a trickle, with Google discontinuing its Daydream View headset and Samsung discontinuing the Gear VR.
Although cheap shell headsets are still available, the software ecosystem and support for them are almost non-existent.
For the time being, phone-based VR is effectively dead.
The Best Augmented Reality Headsets
Other well-known visual headsets that have appeared in recent years include the Microsoft HoloLens and the Magic Leap One.
They aren’t on this list for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is that they are augmented reality (AR) headsets rather than virtual reality headsets.
And, yes, there is a distinction.
Should I wait to buy a VR headset?
As previously stated, there are several anticipated headsets this year and next year, including Meta’s Project Cambria, PlayStation VR 2, and Apple’s mystery device.
There will undoubtedly be others.
VR is a developing technology, with companies aiming for smaller products that can be connected to devices such as phones.
To avoid investing in outdated equipment, it’s probably best to spend as little as possible.
Even at its higher price, the Quest 2 remains the best value and most complete headset, but a true Quest 3 upgrade could arrive next year, and competition is likely to heat up.
What should I look for in a VR headset?
It really depends on whether you’re connecting to a PC… and whether you intend to do work with it.
There are numerous Windows-compatible headsets available, but their display resolution varies.
Higher is preferable, as is a wider field of view. Headsets can now refresh at speeds of up to 120Hz, and the faster they can refresh, the more natural and smooth the VR movement feels. Most PC VR headsets have similar controller designs and can connect to work tools and apps.
The Quest 2 currently has no competition in terms of portability or stand-alone comfort.
The PlayStation VR is the only option for gamers with a game console, but if you have a PS5, you should probably wait for the PSVR 2.
Consider the app libraries as well: the Quest has a lot of exclusive games, Windows-connected headsets have a lot of compatibility with work apps and experimental tools, and Sony’s PlayStation library has a lot of unique VR games.
The Best Smartphone VR Headsets in 2019
Price – $ 50
The BNEXT VR PRO is a high-quality plastic VR smartphone headset with large lenses that are easily adjustable for user comfort.
The HMD is not cheap, but users praised the build quality and customer service.
- Works with iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones
- Positive feedback from users on build quality and comfort
- Expensive pricing in this VR category
Price – $ 60
Users praise the DESTEK V4’s comfortable design and fit, which is compatible with a wide range of smartphones.
Furthermore, a touch button/trigger on the HMD allows for better VR interaction, but controllers can also be purchased.
- Anti-blue light lenses help reduce user eye strain
- Bluetooth or Daydream remote controller options for improved VR interaction
- Not the cheapest VR smartphone headset available Gear VR
Price – $ 130
This Virtual Reality headset, by far one of the most well-known on the market, has received regular updates over the years. The controller is regarded as one of the best in this VR category, and the connectivity options outperform most smartphone Virtual Reality headsets (USB, micro USB and Bluetooth).
- High build quality and comfort of the HMD
- Positive user feedback on the controller
- Limited compatibility with a limited number of Galaxy smartphones
- Expensive in comparison to other mobile VR HMDs
Price – $ 29
This mobile VR headset is designed for children and includes child-friendly features as well as a comfortable user experience. The HMD has won awards, and the manufacturer app includes curated kid-friendly content.
- Water and shock resistant mobile VR HMD
- Two control buttons for improved VR interaction
- Some users have complained about how difficult it is to slide the smartphone into the VR goggles.
Price – $ 29
Users praise the ease of use and professional build quality of the handheld VR HMD (240g).
Users can easily interact with the VR content thanks to the action button.
- Lightweight headset allows for extended use
- Action button allows for easy engagement with content
- Homido VR Center provides access to a wide range of VR content
- No headstraps because it is a handheld VR viewer
Price – $ 29
- TV streaming allows others to see the user’s VR experience
- Controllers enhance the interaction with VR content
- Tailored VR content on the Daydream platform
- Only works with a limited number of Android phones.
- Expensive in comparison to other VR smartphone HMDs.
Are VR headsets worth it?
Even the best VR headsets will not be worth it for everyone; in fact, the very top of the range will most likely only make sense for a small group of people.
However, now that developers are producing larger-scale games (Resident Evil, Half-Life, and Star Wars franchises have all recently released) and prices are starting to fall, it’s well worth investing in a Virtual Reality headset if you’re interested in exploring a new avenue in gaming.
Ten Most Popular VR headsets Amazon
1. Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
2. Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming Headset
3. Oculus Quest 2
4. BNEXT Virtual Reality Headset
5. OIVO VR Labo Goggles Headset for Nintendo Switch
6. Topmaxions Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset
7. Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset
8. Pansonite Headset with VR Controller
9. Sony PlayStation VR
10. Destek V5 VR Headset
VR Headset Cheap
5 amazing (and cheap!) VR Headsets under $100
- Google Cardboard – The Best VR Headset on a Budget.
- Google Daydream View.
- Homido VR Headset for iPhone and Android.
- Samsung Gear VR.
- Merge VR Goggles.
VR Headset Games
What games are compatible with a Virtual Reality headset?
The best virtual reality games are:
- Half Life: Alyx.
- Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners.
- L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files.
- Rez Infinite.
- Superhot VR.
- Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes.
- I Expect You To Die.
VR headset for PC – What Virtual Reality headset do you need for PC?
The Oculus Quest and Vive Focus platforms are excellent examples.
A professional PC VR requires a PC and a specially equipped location where the act of virtual reality immersion will take place.
HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets are examples. They have some impressive hardware capabilities.
VR headset PS4 – Can Virtual Reality headsets be used on PS4?
With a PS VR system, your PS4 and a PS Camera, you can experience the future of gaming in virtual reality.
Is there a VR headset PS5?
Not only is the PS5 backwards compatible, but it also supports the original PSVR.
That means you can use the headset to play original PSVR games, but you’ll need a special adapter to connect the PS4 Camera to your PS5.
VR Headset Jumia?
Cell Phone VR Headsets can be purchased online at Jumia Nigeria.
Find a large selection of Cell Phone Vr Headsets.
What is the difference between VR headset and Oculus?
3DOF headsets and controllers, such as the Oculus Go, only track orientation, whereas the Quest and Rift S track everything.
That makes a huge difference in VR because it allows you to move around and manipulate your surroundings in a three-dimensional space.
Is VR headset for Xbox available?
No VR headsets are officially supported by the Xbox Series X/S.
What does the VR headset Oculus do?
Oculus provides highly immersive graphic experiences thanks to screens with 1832 x 1920 resolution for each eye and supported refresh rates of up to 90 Hz.
Oculus aspires to pave the way and become a household name in the future of virtual reality gaming, socialisation, entertainment, and other applications.
Is the Steam VR headset any good?
The Valve Index is the most immersive VR experience you can put in your home right now, from the ergonomics of the headset to the intuitiveness of the controllers.
There are a few drawbacks to consider: it’s expensive, the setup process can be time-consuming, and it’s a wired device.
How much is a PlayStation VR Headset right now?
It’s now back to the full price of $349.99, which is a hefty sum to pay when the new PSVR 2 technology is set to arrive later this year.
Still, this is one of the only places you can get the PSVR headset, PlayStation Camera, Move controllers, and a copy of Marvel’s Iron Man.
Is the Apple VR headset available?
Apple’s AR/VR headset could cost $2,000 in 2023.
Apple has remained silent on its rumoured AR/VR headset, but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the iPhone maker plans to ship 1.5 million units of the face-mounted device in 2023 at a price of up to $2,000, as reported earlier Sunday by MacRumors.
Although VR devices have improved over time, there is still a long way to go before it stops being science fiction and becomes a part of everyday life.
2.5 million virtual and augmented reality devices are expected to be sold in 2016. According to a CCS report, 24 million VR devices are expected to be sold by 2018.
VR is unquestionably worthwhile, and we recommend that every household purchase at least one headset.
Why? Because virtual reality gaming and applications are the way of the future. They will function as a standard communication device, much like smartphones.