The Best Virtual Reality Headsets Out There (2022 Edition)
Updated: Feb 25
Updated 1/26/2021 : We added #7: Pimax 8K X
Pandemic got you wishing you could escape to a new world and experience more? If so, this is the perfect time to consider your options in the realm of virtual reality (VR) headsets!
Here are echo3D’s top choices of VR headsets that would really elevate your gaming and movie experience during semi-quarantine:
The current gold standard when it comes to VR headsets. This sleek all-in-one user-friendly tether-less gaming headset delivers a fully immersive experience for individuals looking to really get a sense of what VR is all about. Oculus Quest 2 requires no tedious setup or syncing with other devices and has a large library of VR games, live events, shows, fitness games and one-of-a-kind social experiences available for download directly from the headset itself. This headset beats the original Quest with 50% higher resolution and an LED screen instead of an OLED one. It’s also lighter and faster than its predecessor. The Quest 2 now requires a Facebook account instead of your Oculus account so be prepared for that extra step.
The Vive Pro 2 upgraded to wireless capabilities after its predecessor (finally!). This beefy headset has ergonomic upgrades from the original design and better graphics compared to the original Vive. How much better? About 4.5x better. It also comes with a wider field of view and for convenience sake, a battery life indicator. That means less guessing and less panic-charging last minute. It also loads about 33% faster than the original and they’ve joined the USB-C gang for their charging ports.
Calling all gamer out there! The PlayStation VR by Sony links to your PS4 console to provide a truly unique gaming expire. With a collection of over 200 games (many of them exclusive), a movie-watching mode and a social share-screen option, the PS VR is the perfect addition to your PlayStation. The headset was sold separately in the past but today, it is bundled with two PlayStation Move motion controllers, the PlayStation Camera and two games. Next month Sony is expected to release a new bundle with the highly anticipated Marvel’s Iron Man VR game. We only wish this one wasn’t tethered and had better resolution.
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This is another great option if you are fine with being tethered. HTC Vive Cosmos is HTC’s newest VR headset for everyday users (as opposed to the more expensive Pro version for professionals). This PC-tethered VR headset offers better-resolution display and improved tracking compared to the first Vive headset. It is also the first to offer a flip-up display and removable faceplates (and we’re kinda into the blue colors!). However, make sure you have a powerful computer to back you up and the cash to spare. Although it is an investment, it is worth it for VR enthusiasts looking for an unparalleled VR experience.
Credit: B&H PhotoVideoAudio
5. Valve Index
It’s too expensive, tethered, and requires a lot of setup but we had to include Valve Index on the list since it represents a big step forward in the world of VR headsets and controllers. Valve Index introduces pressure-sensitive “knuckle” controllers that track all five fingers as well as external “base station” boxes to better map the space around you. It has great audio and the widest field-of-view display compared to any other consumer VR headset out there.
Valve Index can be purchased via the Steam Store $999 as part of a full kit that includes the headset, two controllers, two base stations and the game Half-Life: Alyx (or $749 without the base stations).
6. HP Reverb G2
This recently announced VR headset, built by HP in collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, is already available for pre-order. Described by HP as the “no-compromise VR headset,” the HP Reverb G2 offers higher resolution and better options and tracking volume compared to other tethered options in the market. Its audio system is the same one offered as part of the Value Index yet it comes at a lower price point. However, it doesn’t seem that HP Reverb G2 would support hand tracking and the Microsoft Mix Reality controllers accompanying the headset, while sporting a new design, have the same battery life as previous versions.
Credit: B&H Photo Video Audio
7. Pimax 8K X
This is perhaps the most advanced headset available now. It’s the most power hungry and for good reason! With dual 4K displays, this is the closest to real life with insane immersion and clarity. Some of the impressive features include an ultra wide 200 degree field of view and a 90Hz native refresh rate. Their KMDAS head strap comes with advanced audio acoustic design for a high fidelity audio experience. The HMD exterior shape is designed for optimal tracking including FULL BODY tracking (!). It can also do eye tracking, VIVE tracking, hand tracking and mind tracking. Wait, scratch that last one (but it probably could, just saying). Some say the strap fits a little funky but it’s easy to overlook that when you get SO much with this headset.
We are teasing you a bit here because Panasonic has not given us a release date yet or a cost. This tiny headset is pretty cool coming in at just 8 ounces and is one of the few small glasses that offer a full VR experience. You can fold them and tuck them away taking up almost zero space and the speakers are built right into the frame so no need for bulky peripheral add-ons. From what we can tell, the headset does not need a wired connection to drop into the metaverse but we can’t confirm.
If Sharper Image had a VR mascot, it would probably be this. This is an engineering-first headset that focuses on having a tightly buttoned up headset with peak brightness, eye tracking, ridiculous visual fidelity and a very wide view (115 degrees to be exact) for edge-to-edge clarity. It works just fine with SteamVR and doesn’t require a subscription (we hope that won’t become a “thing”!), but it does require a compatible PC and base stations to run. This also does not come with controllers so…there’s that! Vive wands and Index controllers are compatible with this headset.
This gets an honorable mention because last we heard, they haven’t shipped any out yet but you can place your order directly on the Varjo site for $1,990.
Pico Neo 2 Eye
This headset is unfortunately only available to enterprise-level clients but we were lucky enough to try it during the last CES trade show and were really impressed. Pico Neo 2 Eye offers outstanding 4K resolution as well as build-in eye-tracking capabilities and even allows you to stream PS VR content.
Pico New 2 Eye is currently available only to businesses for around $900 on Pico’s website.
The HIGHLY anticipated headset design finally dropped (in Feb 2022) and it’s a good looking headset with impressive features: 4K HDR visuals, intuitive and sleek controllers and an arsenal of new games! Reminiscent of Jetsons-era design, it’s futuristic and rounded to enhance the 360 view users see when stepping into “reality”. The design is focused heavily on ergonomics and comfort. This includes more advanced headstrap and lens adjustment capabilities. The headset comes with the PSVR2 Sense controllers and all together is about half the weight of the first version. It is still tethered but the inside-out tracking means no more PlayStation Camera (or the PS Move controllers).
There is still no release date or final price, so stay tuned! You can learn more here.
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echo3D (www.echo3D.co; Techstars 19’) is a cloud platform for 3D/AR/VR that provides tools and network infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy 3D apps, games, and content.