Best Virtual Reality Headsets

It’s hard to imagine a more difficult buying decision than one in a new product category like virtual reality, especially when innovation seems to be happening in the blink of an eye. We’ll witness many changes in VR platforms in the coming years, including significant enhancements to the VR ecosystem, like eye tracking inside HMDs, peripherals, and controllers that add more realism to games, hand and gesture tracking, and various forms of precision body tracking. What follows are our early recommendations on PC VR systems.

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Best PC Virtual Reality HMDs

Update 10/6/2017: updated with relevant links to Virtual Reality benchmarks and upcoming Mixed Reality products.

Update 7/11/2017: replaced the Razer OSVR HDK 1.4 with the Razer OSVR HDK 2.0.

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Among the many questions we get about how to run PC VR HMDs optimally is what is the best CPU for VR. The game developers and studios always list minimum specs, and right now those are all over the board. We took some time recently to benchmark 11 VR games across a variety of CPUs to answer that question.

We’ve been waiting for new approaches to PC-based VR for a while. To date, we’ve really just had two major players – HTC’s Vive and Oculus’ Rift, plus some attempts with OSVR. There have been multiple efforts under way to bring VR to the masses, whether that’s mobile or just new tricks like Asynchronous Space Warp to bring down the hardware requirements. But we are now on the cusp of a few new initiatives, including standalone HMDs powered by the same SOCs that drive smartphones; and then efforts by Microsoft and its usual group of hardware partners on the “Mixed Reality” front. The latter is closer than you think, and we expect to see some HMDs in the coming weeks. We’ll update this page as we review them, but for now, here’s a comparison of those products.

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  • thetwitt
    This is indeed a great insight to the world of Virtual Reality Head mounted devices. It helped me and guided me to buy my first ever headset that helped me to taste the technology.
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  • Jeff Fx
    The Oculus price should be the same as the Vive or more. You have the price from when the Rift lacked the controllers that are essential to PC VR.
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  • Slandaro
    The rift now does a wonderful job of letting you walk around a huge area now too and multiple sensors can even be added if you want I purchased it yesterday after test driving the vive and ill be honest for quality of graphics feel of headset and its new hand controllers are amazing. oh and at a price tag of 499 for the rift and 100 more for the hand controllers well worth it it also includes an xbox controller with wireless sensor which as a gamer sometimes I like the feel of a normal controller but the rifts new vr hand controllers are frankly amazing and fit well I hope this helps people. p.s. I suggest going to the Microsoft store and checking them both out if possible for me the rift was just a better fit and I thought it had the quality hands down. but that's just my opinion good luck guys and gals see you in the virtual world! oh and I should mention I'm running one of the higher end gtx 970's GeForce and it runs it beautifully with not a single issue.. course the rest of my pc is very high end but as far as graphics card mine is the bottom of their requirements and it doesn't play like its the bottom its smooth as anything non vr ive played and I can play most games at full specs at 75+ fps..
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  • John Nemesh
    Why does your guide show a FULL PC system WITH the Vive? Shouldnt you compare apples and apples, and show the price for the Vive ONLY? Also, while the Rift is a good low cost option, it has a LOT of negatives, not the least of which is the spyware/malware it forces you to run to use it (Oculus Home), and the fact that Facebook owns it and will mine your personal data (and resell it!) for all it's worth and then some. To me, the Vive wins (and won, I have one) HANDS DOWN. It has better tracking, less setup hassles, NO CAMERAS (except the one on the headset which can be disabled completely), SUPERIOR TRACKING, support for play areas FOUR TIMES larger than the Rift supports, and support for 3rd Party hardware such as the TPCast wireless adaptor...and soon, "Vive Trackers". Rift is struggling to compete even WITH their lower prices. I wonder why?
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  • shadowed
    Samsung has the Odyssey HMD for PC's now...
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  • 237841209
    I would wait until a headset is released that has a FOV that's 170 degrees or more. I have tried the OR and the Vive and the main issue which breaks immersion is that it looks like you're seeing everything from 500 feet away and are looking through binoculars. It looks like Odyssey isn't gonna change this. The next HTC/Oculus headsets seem to be fixing FOV and resolution. I'd wait until 2019.
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  • consolecabin
    Great steps taken towards the era of virtual reality. Hopefully everyone enjoy the new technology. This would surely take the gaming platform very high.
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