Virtual Reality (VR) is a great new way to experience a new environment. Whether that’s a game, or just a city you want to visit next summer. VR headsets come in various sizes and costs, so it can often be confusing when you want to pick one up, but don’t know which one to get. Luckily for you, FinalBoss has you covered. We looked into some of the best virtual reality headsets to buy right now, and here’s what we think.

But before we do list out our top headsets, there are a few things you need to know. VR headsets are of two types – tethered and standalone. Tethered devices (like the HTC Vive Cosmos and PlayStation VR) connect to a PC via a cable. This does make using them a little more difficult, but on the plus side you get much better graphics since the PC is doing all the processing. They also come with more motion tracking and immersive capabilities. Standalone or mobile headsets on the other hand, are usually smaller, lighter and less powerful. They work using your smartphone as a display, so don’t expect a breathtaking virtual reality experience. But that said, they are cheaper, and might be good if you aren’t so keen on immersive experiences. However, they are no longer officially available, after Google discontinued its DayDream headset in 2019. You can still find some online, but they aren’t the latest and will no longer be supported with most new smartphones. 

So when buying a VR headset what do you need to keep in mind? First is the refresh rate, 120Hz is the ideal rate as it prevents cybersickness. Without getting too technical, low refresh rates lead to a disconnect between your auditory and visual inputs, resulting in nausea, headaches, fatigue and even vomiting. Next thing you need to keep in mind is position tracking, especially for immersive gaming. Position tracking allows the VR headset to adjust your presence in the virtual world, based on the real world. So for example, if you move two steps forwards in the real world, you will also move two steps in the game. The best way to ensure smooth position tracking is a camera, which most high-end headsets have. 

Recommended
PlayStation (CUH-ZVR2) VR Starter Pack (PS4)
Money No Object
Vive Pro CE PC
PC Budget Option
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Product Name
Playstation VR
HTC Vive Pro
Oculus Rift S
System
Playstation 4
PC
PC
Software
PSVR
Viveport Infinity | Steam VR
Oculus Store | Steam VR
Controller
DualShock 4 & PS Move
Vive Wand Controllers
Xbox One Gamepad or Touch Motion Controllers
Resolution Per Eye
960 × 1080
1440 × 1600
1280 × 1440
Field of View
100°
110°
110°
Refresh Rate
120hz
90hz
80hz
Display
OLED
AMOLED
LCD
Position Tracking
Sony Camera V2
Laser Tracking Towers
Inside out tracking
Key Feature
Affordable VR Option
Collision Avoidance System
Extensive Games Library
Our Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price
£199
£1119
£560
Recommended
PlayStation (CUH-ZVR2) VR Starter Pack (PS4)
Product Name
Playstation VR
System
Playstation 4
Software
PSVR
Controller
DualShock 4 & PS Move
Resolution Per Eye
960 × 1080
Field of View
100°
Refresh Rate
120hz
Display
OLED
Position Tracking
Sony Camera V2
Key Feature
Affordable VR Option
Our Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price
£199
Money No Object
Vive Pro CE PC
Product Name
HTC Vive Pro
System
PC
Software
Viveport Infinity | Steam VR
Controller
Vive Wand Controllers
Resolution Per Eye
1440 × 1600
Field of View
110°
Refresh Rate
90hz
Display
AMOLED
Position Tracking
Laser Tracking Towers
Key Feature
Collision Avoidance System
Our Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price
£1119
PC Budget Option
Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
Product Name
Oculus Rift S
System
PC
Software
Oculus Store | Steam VR
Controller
Xbox One Gamepad or Touch Motion Controllers
Resolution Per Eye
1280 × 1440
Field of View
110°
Refresh Rate
80hz
Display
LCD
Position Tracking
Inside out tracking
Key Feature
Extensive Games Library
Our Rating
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Price
£560

PlayStation VR


  • The Good: Variety of games, design, 3D audio
  • The Bad: Expensive set, position tracking, user interface

The PSVR is a great companion for PlayStation owners. It offers a 100° OLED display that comes with a 120Hz refresh rate. There’s also 3D audio for a more immersive experience. Unfortunately, the PSVR does not come cheap. If you really want to take full advantage of Sony’s library of virtual reality games, you will need to splash some additional cash on the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move controller. You also need the PlayStation 4. While you can find some good deals on the set, it still adds up to a lot for casual gaming. Then there’s the Pro version, which offers more power if you really need it. 

What about the experience you ask? Well, early reviews of the latest model indicate that it’s far from perfect, but a great system nonetheless. Position tracking can often be unreliable, and the need to switch between the PS Move and DualShock 4 controllers makes gameplay tedious at times. However, very few companies can match Sony’s extensive library of games. So in the end, it’s probably a great buy, but only if you are already invested in Sony’s ecosystem.

Sony’s PlayStation VR is one of the best looking headsets out there for gaming. Source: PlayStation

Oculus Rift S

  • Price: £560 from Amazon
  • Platform: Windows 10
  • Controller: Xbox One Gamepad or Touch Motion controllers
  • Position Tracking: Inside out tracking
  • Display: LCD
  • Resolution: 1280 × 1440 per eye
  • Field of View: 110°
  • Refresh Rate: 80hz

  • The Good: Halo-style ring, controllers, user interface, vast library of games
  • The Bad: Design, refresh rate, resolution, display

The original virtual reality headset got an upgrade in 2019. The Rift S is but a modest upgrade, offering five cameras and directional speakers replacing over-the-ear headphones. There’s also a new halo-style ring that rests on top of your head, rather than the plastic straps of the old Rift. However, other features make the Rift S feel more like a compromise than a genuine upgrade – the refresh rate is lowered down to 80Hz, it is slightly heavier and Oculus has replaced the manual slider (to adjust the lens) with a software-based alternative. The design too, is plain and uninspiring, making it feel more like a developer tool than a genuine consumer product.

If that hasn’t put you off, then the Rift S is probably worth considering. The Rift has a decent library of games, some of which are exclusive to the platform. The interface is simple and the Touch Motion controllers are often lauded as the best VR controllers in the industry. But the Rift S is far from the best product Oculus has made, so we would recommend skipping this generation for now, hoping that the company launches a true ‘Rift 2’ sometime next year. 

The Rift S isn’t as bad-looking as some of its competitors. Source: Oculus

HTC Vive Pro

  • Price: £1119 from Amazon
  • Platform: Steam
  • Controller: Vive Wand Controllers
  • Position Tracking: IR laser tracking through 2 towers (room-scale VR)
  • Display: AMOLED
  • Resolution: 1440 × 1600 per eye
  • Field of View: 110°
  • Refresh Rate: 90hz

  • The Good: Environment tracking, ability to see surroundings, display, premium head strap and high rez built-in audio
  • The Bad: Lighthouse tower tracking system, software, apps, outdated controllers

HTC’s Vive is big, clunky, heavy and not that great looking. Unlike its competitors, HTC uses two base stations (to be placed at opposite ends) that shoot out lasers to track your motion in the real world. Does it sound cooler? Oh hell yes. Does it work better? Well… not really. The stations need to be placed 6 meters above floor level, with a clear line of sight to each other and if for some reason they still can’t see each other they need to be tethered together with a cable, which can be frustrating.

But it’s not all bad. Unlike its competitors, the Vive tracks your physical environment, throwing up a virtual fence so you know when you are within a foot of the wall or any large furniture. The front camera also gives you a monochrome outline of the world around you, it can also be changed to act as a regular camera so you can see without feeling like you are on a Royal Marines mission.

The Vive software leaves a lot to be desired, it is ill-organised with settings scattered across multiple Vive apps. The catalogue of games for Viveport Infinity isn’t the best either, most of the games feel unfinished according to many reviewers. The 90Hz refresh rate is also a downer at this price point since it limits how long you can play before feeling cybersick. until very recently the HTC Vive Pro was top tier for early adopters, for those who wanted to see just how far virtual reality headsets could go. However with more impressive recent releases, it has become more of a business-focused developer tool than an actual consumer product, but an exciting one nonetheless.

HTC’s Vive Pro a similar style to the original Vive, but with a shiny new blue coat! Source: Steam

Valve Index

  • Price: £919 from store.steampowered.com
  • Platform: Steam
  • Controller: Knuckle Controllers
  • Position Tracking: IR laser tracking through 2 towers (room-scale VR)
  • Display: LCD (Full RGB Colour Space)
  • Resolution: 1440 × 1600 per eye
  • Field of View: 130°
  • Refresh Rate: 144hz

  • The Good: Cameras to see the environment, design, controllers, best in class display, resolution and audio
  • The Bad: Software can be buggy, knuckle controllers have durability concerns

Even by virtual reality standards, the Valve Index is expensive. The headset alone costs £459, and if you want the entire kit (controllers + base station) it will set you back £919. Since HTC’s Vive was built off the Valve platform, they share a lot of similarities. You get the same ‘lighthouse’ base station tech (with its above-mentioned drawbacks), tracking issues and poor software. That said, the Valve does offer some substantial benefits over the Vive. There are two front-facing cameras so you can see the outside world. There’s also a type-A USB port in front, so you can experiment with other devices. And most importantly, the Index offers a 120Hz refresh rate and an experimental 144hz mode, which makes it the fastest VR display valuable right now. Design-wise, the Index offers a padded helmet-like headband. There’s a dial to change the distance between lenses and between your eyes and the lens. The Index also offers a Robocop-like look, which is better than HTC’s Vive Pros and a bit more stylish than the PSVR.

The Valve Index stands apart thanks to its unique Knuckle Controllers. Source: Steam

The unique Index Knuckle Controllers are definitely different, offering a more natural gameplay and comfort experience over other VR controllers with full finger tracking, a first for the VR market. However, Steam VR is a bit hit and miss for people, sometimes it works others times you’re left scratching your head as to what you might have done wrong. This somewhat lets the Index down, as from a hardware standpoint it is a true next-gen VR headset.

In the end, we would recommend purchasing the PlayStation VR if you already own a PlayStation 4. If not, the Oculus Rift S might be worth checking out as it is half the cost of the high-end VR headsets in this list. Of course, there are other options out there, like the excellent Oculus Quest. But if immersive gaming is what you desire, these are your best options today.

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