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Best VR Headsets for PC and Gaming 2019

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Hopeful enthusiasts waited years for virtual reality (VR) to become a realistic consideration for their at-home gaming arsenal. A lot of things needed to come together first. For one, vendors had to improve the experience of head-mounted displays (HMDs) so that VR gaming 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 worth investing in are also essential. Today, we can say VR gaming has all but arrived. With the right VR headset, you can enjoy incredible, immersive games right at home. We're here to help you find the best VR headset for you.

Believe it or not, VR has grown so much that there are various ways you to get into VR gaming. There are HMDs that connect to gaming desktops / laptops. You have headsets that plug into smartphones and the PlayStation VR (PSVR), which connects to a gaming console. There are even standalone headsets, which are HMDs that don’t need to connect to anything at all -- just strap it on, and you're in VR. 

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

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 PC. For more wallet-friendly VR, consider standalone headsets that don’t connect to any system or ones that can connect to your smartphone. 
  • Is your PC / smartphone powerful enough for VR? Before buying a VR headset that relies 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 increasing 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 PSVR recommends a 10 x 10-foot area.
  • Mind your glasses. You can usually wear glasses in VR, but some HMDs make 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 headset with a glasses spacer, like the Oculus Go or Rift S.
  • We're not expecting new headsets this year. With the HTC Vive CosmosOculus Rift S, Oculus Quest, Valve Index and HP Reverb on the market, we're not expecting any more major VR headsets to debut in 2019. So if you want a new VR headset before 2020, there's no need to wait any longer.

Best VR Headsets

Best VR Headset

Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest

Best VR Headset

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

Reasonable price
Easy to configure
No wires
No need for a computer
Good-looking design
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 shoppers. There are more premium and powerful headsets available; however, the Quest strikes the best balance between price and performance. It's also easier to setup than some other headsets, which is great for people new to VR. 

The Quest is a standalone headset, so you don't have to connect it to a powerful PC or smartphone. Plus, you don't have to set up base stations around your room, like some other, more premium headsets require. Ultimately, this HMD is a quick and easy path into quality VR. In fact, when we gamed on it, we found it to be as immersive as a pricier 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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Best VR Headset Splurge

HTC Vive Pro

HTC Vive Pro

Best VR Headset Splurge

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

Extremely comfortable
Excellent build quality
Ready for next-generation tracking
Best-in-class image quality
Headphones lack bass response
Pricey
Foam cushions not moisture-proof

The HTC Vive Pro is the best VR headset for those seeking ultimate, professional-level VR. Not only does it boast a high display resolution for great image quality, it's super comfortable with an adjustable head strap.

But getting this headset going is expensive. 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. Plus, in addition to the headset’s already-high $800 / £800 price tag, its required base stations and hand controllers are sold separately for $300 / £320. Even a pre-made starter kit is $1,116 / £1,300, and that's before counting the cost of your PC.

Read Review: HTC Vive Pro

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Best Budget VR Headset

Oculus Go

Oculus Go

Best Budget VR Headset

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

Great priceLightweight
Tons of content
High-quality build
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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Best Windows Mixed Reality Headset

HP Reverb

Best Windows Mixed Reality Headset

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

Exceptional visual clarity
Lightweight
Simple setup process
Pre-paired controllers
Built-in Bluetooth
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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  • abryant
    Archived comments are found here: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3793668/virtual-reality-headsets.html
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • awarmfuzzy
    Samsung Odyssey + Vivo Pro = Same Resolution and Panel but only $399.
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • 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/
    Reply
  • 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.
    Reply
  • gasaraki
    awarmfuzzy said:
    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.
    Reply
  • DotNetMaster777
    May be I can try Oculus Go because of the low price
    Reply
  • dx_houle
    DotNetMaster777 said:
    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.
    Reply
  • dx_houle
    sebastian.schnur said:
    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...
    Reply