Best VR Headsets for PC and Gaming 2019

Tech enthusiasts waited years for virtual reality (VR) to become a realistic addition to their at-home gaming arsenal. A lot of pieces needed to come together. For one, vendors had to improve the experience on head-mounted displays (HMDs) so that gaming in VR didn't mean feeling sick. We also needed these headsets to be somewhat affordable and accessible. Of course, games and apps that make the next-gen tech even worth considering are essential. Today, we can say VR gaming has all but arrived, and with the right VR headset, you can enjoy incredible, immersive VR gaming right in your living room. We're here to help you choose the best VR headset for you.

Believe it or not, VR is so big now that there are multiple paths to VR gaming. You have HMDs that connect to gaming desktops / laptops. There are headsets that plug into smartphones and others that connect to a gaming console. There are even standalone headsets that don’t need to connect to anything at all -- just strap it on, and you're in VR. 

Here are the best VR headsets for PC and gaming that are actually worth escaping reality to enjoy. 

Credit: Shutterstock / leungchopanCredit: Shutterstock / leungchopan

Quick Shopping Tips

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

  • PC-connected VR is the best, but you'll need an expensive system. The best VR gaming comes from headsets that you tether to a PC. But a VR-ready gaming PC starts at around $900 for a laptop, or a couple hundred less if you build your own desktop. For more wallet-friendly VR, consider HMDs that connect to a smartphone or standalone headsets that don’t connect to any system.
  • Is your PC / smartphone powerful enough for VR? Before buying a VR headset that's dependent on a PC or smartphone connection, make sure your system meets the headset's minimum requirements. Steam has a free test for determining if your PC is VR-ready, and we also test this when we review gaming laptops. If your PC or smartphone doesn’t meet the headset's standards, consider upping your budget or buying a standalone headset instead.
  • 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 games will look.
  • Make sure you have enough square footage. Depending on the HMD, you may need a notable amount of physical space to properly game. For example, the Oculus Rift S recommends a 3 x 3-foot space minimum, and the PlayStation VR (PSVR) recommends a 10 x 10-foot area.
  • Mind your glasses. You can usually wear glasses in VR, but this is more comfortable with some HMDs than others. Check the headset’s IPD (interpupillary distance, the distance between the pupils in millimeters), which might be adjustable. Better yet, opt for an headset with a glasses spacer, like the Oculus Go or Rift S.
  • Another headset is coming. The HTC Vive Cosmos is available for pre-order now but won't hit shelves until October 3. The headset is HTC Vive's first consumer headset that doesn't require external base stations for tracking. 

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 most gamers. Although there are more premium and powerful headsets available, the Quest has the best balance between price and performance. 

Without the burden of requiring you to set up base stations around the room or connect it to a PC or smartphone, this standalone HMD is a quick and easy path into quality VR. In fact, we gamed with it and found it to be as immersive as a PC-connected, room-scale VR system, like the Oculus Rift S. Magically, games like Superhot VR looked just as good as their desktop versions.

Read Review: Oculus Quest

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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 best VR headset for gamers demanding premium, professional-grade VR. Not only does it boast a high resolution, it's super comfortable with an adjustable head strap.

But the costs associated with using this HMD. It requires a PC running a higher-end graphics card -- an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / Quadro P5000 or AMD Radeon Vega RX 56 or better. And in addition to the headset’s already-high $800 / £800 price tag, its required base stations and controllers are sold separately for $300 / £320. Even a pre-made starter kit is $1,100 / £1,120, and that's before counting the cost of your PC.

Read Review: HTC Vive Pro

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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

For a quick, easy and affordable way to get into VR, the Oculus Go is the best budget VR headset. Like the Oculus Quest, the Go doesn't need to connect to a PC or smartphone to work. Bonus: it's great for glasses-wearers too.

On the other hand, the Go is the only headset here that has only 3-degrees of freedom (3-DoF) instead of 6-DoF. That means you’re not meant to walk around with  it. In other words, don’t expect the same quality or level of immersion as you'd get from a PC-connected headset, like the Go’s more capable sibling the Rift S.

Read Review: Oculus Go

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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 our favorite Windows MR headset. Its display resolution is a noticeably higher than the Valve Index, Rift S, HTC Vive and even the Vive Pro. As a result, menu text never looked more clear. Plus, the Reverb is shockingly comfortable and easy to set up.
 
But you may have noticed that the Reverb has the lowest rating on this page. That's because it's limited by Windows MR, which generally suffers from poor tracking of hand controllers. With the Reverb, our controllers floated all over the screen if we left the tracking’s narrow FOV. Only buy the Reverb over other headsets here if you have a reason to prioritize higher resolution over good controllers (or are committed to Windows MR). 

Read Review: HP Reverb

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12 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.
  • Elterrible
    I’m calling BS on this... The quest tracking is literally identical to that of the WMR setups in terms of camera position and field of view... It is also likely that the headset is using very similar cameras and yet you decide it’s the best of the bunch while dogging the WMR models for their tracking.

    I have both a Rift S and an Odyssey+… To me, I don’t see a huge difference in the tracking between the two. There is however an ever so slight edge to the Rift S, but it is there, and that’s likely due to the additional cameras, but it is by no means huge.