Best VR Headsets for PC and Gaming 2019

Tech enthusiasts waited years for virtual reality (VR) to not only get worthwhile consumer apps and games, but to be offered in an accessible and relatively affordable fashion. By 2019, not only are their numerous VR headsets you can game with at home, there's a variety of choices. From head-mounted displays (HMDs) that connect to gaming desktops / laptops, smartphones, or consoles, to standalone headsets that don’t need to connect to anything at all, there are numerous paths to VR gaming.

To help you achieve your optimal VR experience, we broke down the best VR headsets for PC and gaming that are actually worth escaping reality to enjoy. We made our choice based our own rigorous testing. 

Credit: Shutterstock / leungchopanCredit: Shutterstock / leungchopan

Quick Shopping Tips

When choosing a VR headset for gaming, consider the following:

  • PC-connected VR is best but requires a pricey system. The best VR experiences come from PC-connected headsets. However, a sufficient gaming PC starts at around $900 for a laptop, or a couple hundred less if you build your own desktop. For a less costly VR, consider HMDs that run off a smartphone or standalone ones that don’t need to connect to a system.
  • Is your PC / smartphone powerful enough for VR? If you want PC or smartphone-connected VR, make sure your system meets the headset's minimum requirements. Steam offers a free test for checking if your PC is VR-ready. If your PC or smartphone doesn’t meet the standards, consider upping your budget or opting for a standalone headset.
  • When it comes to specs, bigger is better. Generally, the greater the refresh rate, field of view (FOV), resolution and pixel density (measured in pixels per inch or PPI), the smoother and sharper the gaming experience.
  • Make sure you have sufficient square footage. Depending on the product, you could need a notable amount of physical space to properly use a VR headset. For example, the Oculus Rift recommends a 3x3-foot space minimum, while the PlayStation VR (PSVR) recommends a 10 x 10-foot area.
  • Mind your glasses. You can typically wear glasses in VR, but some headsets makes this more comfortable than others. Check the headset’s IPD (interpupillary distance, the distance between the pupils in millimeters), which may be adjustable. Better yet, opt for an HMD with a glasses spacer, like the Oculus Go or Oculus Rift.
  • New headsets are coming this year. We're still waiting on the HTC Vive Cosmos (price TBD) to debut in Q3, and the Valve Index will start shipping this month. The Vive Cosmos will be HTC Vive’s first foray into tether-free VR for gamers. The Index (starts at $499 / £459) is the first VR headset from the makers of Steam.

Best Virtual Reality Headsets

Oculus QuestOculus Quest

1. Oculus Quest

Best Overall VR Headset

Rating: 4.5/5 (Editor's Choice)

Connectivity: None | Display: 2x OLED | Per-eye Resolution: 1440x1600 | PPI: ? | Refresh Rate: 72Hz | FOV: ~100 degrees | Weight: 571g

Pros: Reasonable price • Easy to configure • No wires • No need for a computer • Good-looking design

Cons: A step back in VR graphics quality • Requires a smartphone for initial setup • Restricted to Oculus Store content

The Oculus Quest is the best VR headset for gamers right now based on its good balance of price and performance. Despite lacking the power of more expensive headsets, it has what most consumers need from a VR headset.

Without the burdensome requirements of base stations or connection to a PC or smartphone while gaming, this standalone headset is a quick and easy path into VR, and we found it to be as immersive as a PC-connected, room-scale VR system, such as the Rift. Don’t worry, games like Superhot VR looked just as good as their desktop counterparts.

Read Review: Oculus Quest

MORE: Best Graphics Cards

MORE: How to Buy the Right Graphics Card

HTC Vive ProHTC Vive Pro

2. HTC Vive Pro

Best Splurge VR Headset

Rating: 4.5/5 (Editor's Choice)

Connectivity: PC | Display: 2x 3.5-inch AMOLED | Per-eye Resolution: 1440x1600 | PPI: 615 | Refresh Rate: 90Hz | FOV: 110 degrees | Weight: 769g

Pros: Extremely comfortable • Excellent build quality • Ready for next-generation tracking • Best-in-class image quality

Cons: Headphones lack bass response • Pricey • Foam cushions not moisture-proof

The HTC Vive Pro is the premium VR headset available to consumers today. It offers top-level display resolution, plus an amazingly comfortable and adjustable head strap. But running this pro-level HMD gets pricey.

First, you’ll need a PC running a higher-end graphics card - an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / Quadro P5000 or better or an AMD Radeon Vega RX 56 or better.

Second, in addition to the headset’s already hefty $800 / £800 price tag, its necessary base stations and controllers are sold separately for $300 / £320. That’s a total of $1,100 / £1,120 to start, not including the cost of your PC.

Read Review: HTC Vive Pro

MORE: Best Gaming Laptops

MORE: How to Buy the Right Gaming Laptop

Oculus GoOculus Go

3. Oculus Go

Best Budget VR Headset

Rating: 5/5 (Editor's Choice)

Connectivity: Smartphone | Display: 1x 5.5-inch low-persistence LCD | Per-eye Resolution: 1280x1440 | PPI: 538 | Refresh Rate: 60-75Hz (depending on the app) | FOV: ~100 degrees | Weight: 485g

Pros: Great priceLightweight • Tons of content • High-quality build

Cons: No spatial tracking • Longer charge time than run time

The Oculus Go is a quick, easy and affordable way to immediately immerse yourself in VR, since you don’t need to connect it to a PC or smartphone. All the computing power is built into the HMD itself, and it’s great for glasses wearers too.

However, the Go is the only headset on this page that offers 3-degrees of freedom (3-DoF) instead of 6-DoF, so you’re not meant to walk around while wearing it. In other words, don’t expect the same level experience as you would from a PC-connected headset, like the Go’s more capable sibling the Oculus Rift.

Read Review: Oculus Go

MORE: Best Gaming Monitors

MORE: How To Choose A Monitor

4. HP Reverb

Best Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Rating: 3.5/5

Connectivity: PC | Display: 2x 2.89-inch LCD | Per-eye resolution: 2160 X2160 | PPI: ? | Refresh Rate: 90Hz | FOV: ~114 degrees | Weight: 498g

Pros: Exceptional visual clarity • Lightweight • Simple setup process • Pre-paired controllers • Built-in Bluetooth

Cons: Poor controller ergonomics • Faulty controller tracking with limited FOV • No IPD adjustment

The HP Reverb is the best Windows MR headset you can get. Its display resolution is a noticeable jump from the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro and even the upcoming Valve Index. Menu text never looked more clear.  It’s also surprisingly comfortable and easy to set up.
 
However, other headsets on this page are more highly rated. Windows MR is limited by its poor tracking of hand controllers. Ours were drifting all over the screen after exiting the tracking’s narrow FOV. This headset is best reserved for the few with reason to favor higher resolution over good controllers.

Read Review: HP Reverb

MORE: The History Of Virtual Reality

MORE: Virtual Reality Basics

MORE: All Virtual Reality Content

11 comments
    Your comment
  • sebastian.schnur
    Don't agree. Every serious review of the Vive Pro foiund it lacking and way too expensive (1'500 including all you need to play). The Odyssey+ (!) also has a better picture quality w/o screendoor effect. Only the inside out tracking is inferior to the Vive Pro, but that at a third of the price. The Rift also needs the base stations to use, so the price comparison is wrong.
    Odyssey should be both the Value Winner and the Overall Winner.
  • awarmfuzzy
    Samsung Odyssey + Vivo Pro = Same Resolution and Panel but only $399.
  • awarmfuzzy
    The upgraded Samsung Odyssey + has Been out since Oct 2018 ($399) and the reviewer is too inept to review the current model that has the same image sensor and resolution as the Vivo Pro but 1/3 the price.
  • awarmfuzzy
    Who's the moron that wrote a Feb 2019 article and reviewed the OLD Samsung Odyssey when the NEW upgraded version has been out since Oct 2018 and is only $399. https://www.samsung.com/us/computing/hmd/windows-mixed-reality/hmd-odyssey-windows-mixed-reality-headset-xe800zba-hc1us/
  • gasaraki
    Odyssey+ is now only $299 as of 3-4-2019. So $299 vs. $1,100 for a headset that's not as good but close enough. Odyssey+ is a steal.
  • gasaraki
    Quote:
    Who's the moron that wrote a Feb 2019 article and reviewed the OLD Samsung Odyssey when the NEW upgraded version has been out since Oct 2018 and is only $399. https://www.samsung.com/us/computing/hmd/windows-mixed-reality/hmd-odyssey-windows-mixed-reality-headset-xe800zba-hc1us/


    Cause they didn't rewrite it. They just copy and paste from their old article.
  • DotNetMaster777
    May be I can try Oculus Go because of the low price
  • dx_houle
    Quote:
    May be I can try Oculus Go because of the low price


    Just get a foam or carboard "VR holder" for your phone. It would be much cheaper and the same idea.
  • dx_houle
    Quote:
    Don't agree. Every serious review of the Vive Pro foiund it lacking and way too expensive (1'500 including all you need to play). The Odyssey+ (!) also has a better picture quality w/o screendoor effect. Only the inside out tracking is inferior to the Vive Pro, but that at a third of the price. The Rift also needs the base stations to use, so the price comparison is wrong. Odyssey should be both the Value Winner and the Overall Winner.


    I agree that the Odyssey+ could be the best Value and Overall winner. I can't say for sure, because I haven't tried it. But the rest of your comment doesn't make any sense at all. The Vive Pro won best Splurge headset. Every single site says it is the best VR headset, when you don't consider the price, hence "Splurge". Then you talk about the Oculus Rift which is not even on the list...
  • moogleslam
    This list is so outdated. Hopefully everyone ignores it.