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Greatest VR Headsets of 2023: Our Prime Picks of What We have Examined

$550 at Sony

Sony PlayStation VR 2 virtual reality headset and controllers on stands

PlayStation VR 2

One of the best high-end console gaming VR headset

$600 at HP


HP Reverb G2

Greatest-looking PC VR headset

VR could also be seen as a distinct segment gaming pastime nonetheless, but it surely’s loads of enjoyable for fanatics 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, continues to be the very 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 homeowners, 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 shade passthrough cameras that feels nearly like augmented actuality. The $1,000 Meta Quest Professional has shade cameras and eye monitoring, however feels costly for its minimal enhancements. The $1,100 HTC Vive XR Elite is the same sort 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 related territory.

The price of a brand new VR headset goes up today. The Quest 2 jumped in worth final yr. Even so, the Quest 2 nonetheless provides the very best worth in VR: a totally wi-fi expertise, with entry to an awesome library of implausible video games. It may also be related to a PC to play video games, corresponding to Half-Life: Alyx, or to run a wide range of PC VR functions. Meta retains enhancing its software program over time with added extras.

Anybody within the VR and AR business who’s seeking to discover next-gen face monitoring or combined actuality would possibly contemplate 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 just like that of the Quest 2 and probably with some options which can be on the Quest Professional. (The Pico 4 provides some hints of how the Quest 3 could possibly be upgraded.) You would possibly need to look forward to it, or for the opposite VR headsets on the horizon.

VR stays a powerful however nonetheless restricted proposition for most individuals. Because of great developments within the visuals, monitoring and general efficiency of VR {hardware}, the very best VR headset choices have grow to be extra life like and immersive. Extra superior metaverse platforms and social worlds have given VR homeowners extra to discover, too. Even so, VR nonetheless hasn’t grow to be a obligatory product but.

VR’s strongest functions are typically gaming and health. For health, a standalone headset just like the Quest 2 is virtually necessary, to keep away from wire tangles and ensure you can transfer round.

Oculus Quest 2

The Quest 2 continues to be the very best VR headset proper now, however extra headsets are already on their method.

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 mean time the software program for these units is a piece in progress. Neither Google nor Apple helps VR at a seamless system degree 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. If you need a phone-connected gadget, you in all probability 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 provides probably the most versatile assortment of software program for an immersive VR expertise, and it additionally enables you to use that headset for inventive and enterprise instruments. Observe {that a} extra highly effective VR system will nonetheless be largely tethered to a desktop or laptop computer and will require exterior sensors.

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

We replace this finest VR headset record periodically, however word that costs are topic to vary.

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 the very best and most versatile VR headset of the second. It is also, contemplating it requires no gaming console, cellphone or PC, probably the most reasonably priced. 

The $1,000 Quest Professional provides 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 beneficial decide till a Quest 3 arrives later this yr.

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

The Quest 2 jogs my memory of the Nintendo Swap for its versatility and enjoyable, and it has a rising library of surprisingly efficient health apps. The Quest 2 may 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 dear ($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 implausible 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 special degree. It could possibly be a touchdown spot for high 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 only launch and play VR video games. Most of the video games for this headset are ports of titles you would get on units just like the Quest 2 as an alternative. As extra video games roll out which can be optimized for this {hardware}, nevertheless, the PSVR 2 may shortly stand out from the standalone VR pack. You would possibly need to wait and see what occurs, except you are prepared to leap in and belief Sony now.

Learn CNET’s evaluation.

Additionally reviewed:

Meta Quest Pro virtual reality headset and controller

Scott Stein/CNET

Meta’s step-up VR headset provides eye and face monitoring, shade passthrough cameras that assist create combined actuality experiences, a special sort 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 may work as a PC-connected headset. The Quest Professional is meant as a work-focused professional instrument, 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 a few of the upgrades we’ll see within the Quest 3, which it is best to look forward to.

Learn CNET’s evaluation.


Scott Stein/CNET

The practically 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 may do passthrough combined actuality. It is also PC appropriate. 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 evaluation.



In case your thought of the very best VR headset is to have the very best picture high quality in client VR, HP’s Reverb G2 wins. For severe players (or VR racing sim followers), it is in all probability your most suitable option. The two,160×2,160-per-eye decision and 114-degree area of view are the very best at this worth vary, and the light-weight, cozy headset additionally has implausible 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, but it surely bridges with Steam VR and works with these video games and apps, too. Constructed-in camera-based room-tracking is less complicated to arrange than the Valve Index’s exterior base stations, however is extra liable to monitoring errors. The included controllers, primarily based 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 alternative; there isn’t any headphone jack.

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

Learn our HP Reverb G2 evaluation.


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 may monitor all 5 fingers, making them nearly like gloves. Not all apps profit from them, however Valve’s {hardware} is mix-and-match appropriate 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 nearly as good as opponents.

The Index works with exterior “lighthouse” containers just like the HTC Vive, which means that you must set these up in a room first. It is not as self-contained because the Quest 2 or HP Reverb G2, which might monitor the room with in-headset cameras. It is also undoubtedly not wi-fi, but when you have already got some older HTC Vive {hardware}, you would add on elements of the Index to combine and match. It seems like this {hardware} could possibly be due for an improve ahead of later.

Learn our Valve Index evaluation.

How we check VR headsets

Despite the fact that mainstream VR headsets have been round for practically a decade, the apps they run and the computer systems, telephones and sport consoles they work with hold 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, sport console or cellphone in the event that they’re primarily meant as related peripherals. We use the headsets for a mixture of work, gaming, health and artistic 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 paying attention to particulars we discover we are able to 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 in addition lined a whole lot of the wearable tech, cellphone and laptop panorama. How these units work as sport 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 is not 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 can be higher than what’s right here in the mean time. VR is a know-how that is nonetheless in flux, with firms aiming for merchandise which can be smaller and extra capable of be related to units like telephones. It is in all probability finest to spend as little as attainable 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 intend to do work with it. There are many Home windows-compatible headsets, however they fluctuate in show decision. Increased is healthier, and so is a bigger area of view. Headsets can refresh at as much as 120Hz now, and the sooner they refresh, the extra pure and clean VR motion feels. 

Most PC VR headsets have related controller designs and may bridge to work instruments and apps. For portability or standalone consolation, the Quest 2 does not have a lot competitors proper now. For players with a PlayStation 5, the PSVR 2 is the best choice. Additionally, contemplate the app libraries: The Quest has a whole lot of unique video games, Home windows-connected headsets have numerous compatibility with work apps and experimental instruments. The PSVR 2 has its personal library of video games that are not backward-compatible with unique PSVR video games.

Do any of those headsets work with telephones?

The outdated world of phone-based VR headsets — just like the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream — are principally useless. A great quantity of the present iPhone, Android and VR app choices do not even work with the outdated cellular VR goggles. The Quest 2 does have a cellphone app for streaming content material for a mum or dad to watch, and may obtain cellphone notifications and sync some well being knowledge for exercises, but it surely’s nonetheless not absolutely built-in with telephones. If smartphone-based VR comes again, it would 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 needs to be cleaned gently with microfiber cloths the identical method you’d deal with glasses (however do not use liquid cleaners). A barely damp paper towel (simply moist with a little bit of water) will help clear off exteriors. It is a good suggestion to put money into a case or bag to guard the headset from mud, and hold your headset lined when not in use. 

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

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