The best VR headset for 2020

Standalone VR devices have been available since Valve’s VR Smash Half-Life: Alyx was released in March – yes, they are still available! – saw a huge surge in interest. However, the concept of a VR device in 2020 is in flux as technology continues to evolve.

This is because companies like Qualcomm (which makes the chips in most standalone VR headsets, including the new ones) Oculus Quest 2) are build new chips this point on a wave of better standalone headsets at lower prices – including those that plug into your phone.

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Meanwhile, older mobile VR or phone-based VR headsets are like that Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream are basically dead. A good number of the current iPhone, Android, and app options don’t even work with the old mobile headsets anyway. When smartphone-based VR comes back, it is more likely to come in the form of small headsets Connect to phones via USB-C for VR games and other purposes.

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Continue reading: Best gaming PCs for 2020

Whether you are a PC gamer, a solid VR headset with PC hookup offers the most versatile collection of software for a complete VR experience and allows this headset to be used for creative and business tools. Note that a more powerful VR system is still largely tied to a desktop or laptop, and a PC VR headset may require external sensors, so these may not be the best option for everyone.

Continue reading: Do you want to play Half-Life: Alyx? Here’s the VR gear that works

And what about console games? The aging PlayStation VR Still fun when it’s for sale, mostly because there are a lot more great games out there for this device than meets the eye.

Just know VR is still here, but the VR experience is evolving. Augmented Reality or AR and Mixed Reality headsets aren’t ready yet. In the meantime, solid VR glasses and a solid VR rig are your best choices for escaping into other worlds. If we’re looking for a VR device, we’re in the market for something that offers solid motion tracking, syncs nicely with our controller, and offers a solid gaming experience. Read on to find out which is the best VR headset for you. (Note that prices are subject to change.)

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Gut: Self-contained and wireless; great touch controller; comfortable design for games.

Bad: More limited library of apps; The stand-alone design restricts advanced apps and tools.

For $ 400 with no need for anything else, the Oculus Quest 2 offers virtual reality games and an immersive VR experience anywhere. It’s faster, smaller, cheaper, and more convenient to carry than the original Quest, but you’ll need to log in to to use it.

The Quest 2 reminds me of the Nintendo Switch for its versatility and fun. In addition, the start only takes a few seconds and fits very well over glasses. The standalone VR headset has self-contained motion tracking and a VR controller with six degrees of freedom (also known as 6DoF) for full movement, identical to those of the Oculus Rift required by the PC, as well as a surprisingly good high-resolution display and integrated function -in loudspeakers. Apps are downloaded directly to the standalone headset’s onboard storage. The more limited mobile processor still plays games like Beat Saber, Moss, and SuperHot VR very well and can even be connected to a PC with a single USB-C cable if you want. Read our Oculus Quest review.

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Gut: Many games; Lower price; works with many PS4 controllers such as DualShock and Move.

Bad: The resolution is not up to date. Sony has yet to develop great VR controllers that can compete with the competition.

Sony’s PSVR headset, over three years old, remains the only head-mounted display for game consoles, and its screen still offers a surprisingly immersive experience. Even better, it often sells for as little as $ 200, sometimes with games thrown in. Sony has supplied (and continues to supply) many excellent virtual reality games, many of which are exclusive. All you need is the PSVR and a PlayStation 4 and you can start playing. (Some good games are listed here.) However, this VR system shows its age when compared to the alternatives. Read our Sony PlayStation VR review.

Juan Garzon / CNET

Gut: Reasonable total price; crisp display; Room tracking in the headset; really good controllers.

Bad: The bulky headset is not very portable. cannot fold up like other VR headsets.

The Oculus Rift S is an improvement on the original Rift PC VR headset 2016 and offers overdue features such as a higher-resolution display and independent room tracking via five cameras integrated in the Rift S headset. No external cameras or sensors are required anymore, which makes the Rift S much easier to use.

Oculus has an excellent collection of games and apps, and the Oculus Store is easy to search for games for first-time Rift users. The in-headset tracking for the Rift S isn’t always as seamless or extensive as the holodeck-like room tracking on the HTC Vive and Valve Index, but the need to not install additional hardware helps a lot. The Rift S still uses one cable plugged into your PC, but at least that one cable is pretty compact.

(Note that the Rift S was not available from Oculus at the time of the last update, possibly due to high demand prior to Half-Life: Alyx. Aside from resellers charging $ 550 or more, Lenovo was the only place that we found it for sale) Read more about the Oculus Rift S.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Gut: Amazing futuristic controllers; high quality headset; works with Vive hardware.

Bad: Expensive; requires room furnishings and cables.

Valve’s new headset is possibly the most exciting virtual reality experience for PCs this year, just because of its fancy new controllers. Valve’s “knuckle” controls are pressure sensitive and can track all five fingers, making them almost like gloves. Not many apps are making the most of it yet, but Valve’s hardware is mix-and-match compatible with the HTC Vive, which is also based on the Steam VR platform. The Index headset offers excellent audio quality and a very sharp, wide field of view.

The index uses external “lighthouse” fields, so you need to set them up in a room first. It’s not as self-contained as the Oculus’ Rift S, which can track the room with in-headset cameras, or the HTC Vive Cosmos. It’s definitely not wireless either, but if you already have Vive hardware you can add bits of the index to mix and match. Read our Valve Index Review.

Angela Lang / CNET

Gut: Modular front panels for additional functions; built-in tracking; Folding visor.

Bad: More expensive than the Rift S or the Original Vive.

A wild card for PC VR is the Vive Cosmos, the successor to the HTC Vive from 2016. The Cosmos has independent tracking like the Oculus Rift S and a display with better resolution than the original Vive, but also has interchangeable front panels, with which more cameras can be added for mixed reality and external sensor tracking (for greater holodeck experiences). The cosmos can get expensive, but its flexibility could be fascinating to creators. Bonus: You can use Valve Index accessories with it. Read more about the HTC Vive Cosmos.

Look at that:

We took Oculus Quest on vacation


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