“Reality is often disappointing.” We all sometimes wish for an escape from our lives. And we have all tried to fulfill this need in a myriad of ways. Film, television, video games, comic books, novels, theater, music, what are they if not doorways to alternate realities? But none of these, in their traditional forms at least, come remotely close to what virtual reality headsets offer. A VR headset is essentially a portal to infinite matrix-esque realities, ones you can unplug from at will. With the best VR headsets, you’ll be beamed into alternate realities. You will experience countless worlds, live a thousand lives, all at the push of a button. Here, we help you on your quest to find the highest-rated VR headsets in 2021.
Best Overall: Oculus Quest 2 VR Headset
The Quest 2 all-in-one virtual reality headset is designed to adapt to your every move. With this, you can explore different landscapes with unrivaled freedom. You don’t even need a PC or gaming console to enjoy this unit. The VR headset blends seamless, ultra-responsive performance with cinematic 3D sound and amazingly detailed next-gen visuals that feature 150% of the pixels offered by the original Quest. Also, you can experience different Oculus Rift titles when you connect your headset to a gaming PC with the Oculus Link cable. The controllers have been redesigned for improved comfort intuitive controls that accurately transfer your motions into the headset.
- Let’s you share your experiences with live-casting
- Features next-gen graphics and ultra-responsive, superfast performance
- Features intuitive touch controllers for precise handling
- Headset is backward compatible and easily setup
Runner Up: HTC Vive VR Headset
The HTC Vive virtual reality headset lets you experience ultra-immersive and super intuitive virtual simulations from your couch. The unit runs on the Microsoft operating system and offers high-resolution surround sound audio that closely mimics real-world sounds for a superior experience. It also boasts a combined resolution of 2880 x 1600 and 615 PPI from its dual OLED display. The VR headset offers USB connectivity and comes in a box that includes a link box containing a power adapter, a display port cable, and a USB 3.0 cable. Engineered for comfort, the headset features an attached face cushion that ensures you remain comfortable as you explore new and exciting worlds.
- Offers immersive, high-res surround sound audio
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Offers consistent and precise eye movement tracking
- Stunning visual performance
- Batteries not included
Honorable Mention: Destek Dream VR Headset
The Destek VR headset is the perfect gift for your kids. It is easy to set up and use, download a VR App into your phone and place the phone into the headset to start your adventure. The headset features fully adjustable HD lenses with blue light filters to cater to reduce eye strain. The unit features a removable and washable face pad made of breathable foam and adjustable head straps to ensure comfort during use. The unit is compatible with iOS or Android smartphones (the mobile devices should be equipped with a gyroscope for 360° virtual reality). The package includes a Bluetooth remote controller and trigger button for maximum compatibility.
- Headset is mobile device compatible
- Anti-blue light lenses prevent eye strain
- Lenses are widely adjustable
- Ergonomically designed for comfort
Contender: Merge AR And VR Hea\dset
The Merge AR and VR headset is an excellent way to make learning fun and more productive for your kids. Winner of the Academic’s Choice Award, this headset was designed for children and teens aged ten years and above; the headset provides over 100 unique virtual field trips from brands like National Geographic, Discovery, NASA, BBC, and more. This way, your wards can safely and cost-effectively explore the world in a controlled environment. The VR headset is made from comfortable, rugged foam that can fit any face. You can use the headset with the Merge Cube to allow users to interact realistically with virtual objects.
- Allows users to interact with virtual objects
- Compatible with most android and iOS smartphones
- Has 100s of unique content for students
- Winner of the Academic’s Choice Award
Also Consider: Peiloh VR Headset
The Peiloh VR headset offers a stunning and ultra-immersive visual experience. It can be used with smartphones running Android and iOS and is best suited to smartphones with screen sizes of 4.6 - 6.3 inches. The headset features a foldable, lightweight design that makes it easy to store and well suited to long-term use. It has heat dissipation technology, so your phone runs smoothly and consumes less power. The lenses are adjustable and blue light-resistant to reduce eye strain and high transmission to produce high definition images. The unit is equipped with high-quality stereo wireless headphones for realistic sound. The headset offers both USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Equipped with wireless headphones for superior sound
- Offers both USB and Bluetooth connectivity
- Compatible with most iOS and Android smartphones
- Lenses are blue light resistant and adjustable
Virtual reality isn’t a new concept to any of us. Thanks to improved technology and sustained growth in public interest, the virtual reality market has seen several significant advancements over the past few years, pushing boundaries and redefining what is indeed possible. With the best VR headsets, we can experience the world in ways we never thought possible. We can travel across galaxies in the blink of an eye and escape into worlds of our choosing.
Also, contrary to what is commonly held, the applications of this technology are not limited to gaming and entertainment alone. VR finds use in many other industries such as education, healthcare, sports, and research. So you see, with virtual reality, the possibilities are near endless.
Virtual Reality, also called VR, uses computer-generated imagery to create a virtual (simulated) environment that you can explore in all directions. Here, a user is placed inside the simulated environment for an immersive experience.
VR applications use interactive devices such as headsets, gloves, bodysuits, helmets, or goggles to simulate reality. These devices send and receive information that helps the user interact with virtual reality.
A virtual reality headset, VR headset, is a device that allows a user to enter and interact with the simulated environment on which VR is based. The headset blocks visual and auditory stimuli from the real world and replaces them with ultra-immersive video and audio that is perceived in 3 dimensions. The technology is supplemented by head and body tracking to synchronize the user to the virtual world.
Virtual reality is often used as an umbrella term to describe all technologies that function similarly to the authentic VR experience. But what exactly is this authentic VR experience? Virtual reality immerses the user into a fully digital experience. It is a fully immersive experience with realistic images, sound, and sensations generated by a computer program. Here, real-world stimuli are blocked out to varying degrees, and you can often move around the virtual world and interact with objects (active VR).
Augmented reality, AR, on the other hand, imposes virtual/computer-generated elements on real-world elements. It doesn’t create an entirely new world as true VR does. It builds upon/ supplements reality.
Mixed reality (also called merged reality), like augmented reality, combines re world and virtual elements. But it does this in a different way than augmented reality does. With MR, you can interact simultaneously with the physical and virtual objects and environments using next-gen sensing and imaging technologies. Some refer to mixed reality as a hybrid of virtual reality and augmented reality.
VR headsets can be classified in many different ways. Some of these include tethered headsets, untethered headsets, and smartphone headsets.
These are VR headsets that have cables that link them to a computer or gaming console. The cable permits transfer of information from the computer to the headset and vice versa. These are most commonly seen as the most powerful of the three types. They are also very simple to connect and use. The disadvantage of these wired models is that the range of movement is dependent on the length of the connecting cables.
These headsets do not have cables for connection to computers or consoles. They rely on wireless connection systems like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for the transmission of information, allowing more motion than the tethered headsets but are generally less powerful. Many wireless models offer wired connections, giving you the best of both worlds.
These models are designed for use with mobile devices. Here, the smartphone is placed directly into the VR headset. Smartphone virtual reality headsets are typically less expensive and less powerful than the other models.
Now that we know what the VR experience entails and the different types of VR headsets we can find today, we will now dive into the meat of the matter, figuring out the suitable model for you. Here is a list of some things to consider before you choose your equipment.
Arguably the most crucial consideration where VR headsets are concerned. The quality of the images in your alternate reality depends on the headset’s resolution you use. The greater the resolution, the higher the number of pixels per frame, and the higher the number of pixels, the more detailed and clearer the visuals.
As we already mentioned, you can use virtual reality in many disciplines to serve different functions. Different VR headsets are designed to perform various functions. And so, the type of headset you need depends very much on the functions you intend for it to subserve. For example, if you need a VR headset for gaming, a tethered or hybrid headset is probably best for you.
Comfort is critical, anywhere, anytime. For the best VR experience, you need equipment that you can wear for however long you need with little or no discomfort. How comfortable your headset will be, depends largely on the weight and what factors the manufacturers have put in place to ensure your comfort. These factors can include adjustable headbands and memory foam face pads.
Another factor to consider is what devices you plan to use the headset with and whether or not the headset you are considering supports that device. Check the headset’s user manual to see what the manufacturer says about compatible devices and the methods of connecting the unit offers.
Additional features to pay attention to include the accessories that come with the package, adjustable lenses for people with vision defects, blue light filters to reduce eye strain, and life-casting to share your experiences with friends.
A: No. Although virtual reality is often used as an umbrella term to describe virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, the three terms mean different things. Virtual reality involves the generation of a completely virtual world with stimuli from the real world blocked out. Augmented reality adds virtual objects to an existing reality.
A: Yes, some VR headsets are smartphone compatible.
A: A VR headset is a head-mounted device that allows users to enter and interact with a simulated/computer-generated/virtual environment. It replaces visual and auditory stimuli from the real world with ultra-immersive video and audio perceived in 360°.