In the last few years, virtual reality has become more affordable and accessible to the average gamer. Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a headset that might become obsolete in months, you can pick up one that will offer you an immersive experience for a fraction of the cost.
While there were initially only one or two brands to choose from, it feels like every company is working on making its own VR headset, so picking the right one can be challenging. With that in mind, here is our list of the best VR headsets for 2020.
Until recently, if you wanted to play a VR game, you needed a pretty powerful PC with plenty of USB ports to support the headset and its associated software. If you didn’t have a computer, the technology was out of reach. The Oculus Quest from Facebook changes that with a fully self-contained system that works independently of a computer. Simply hook up to your home’s Wi-Fi, and if you already have games in your Oculus Library, you’re good to go.
— Oculus Gaming (@OculusGaming) June 4, 2019
It’s not perfect — you’ve only got 2 to 3 hours of playtime between charges. However, it’s a more affordable option if you’re looking to dip your toes into the virtual reality world without diving in headfirst with an expensive gaming PC.
If you’re familiar with VR gaming, you’ve probably heard of the Valve Index. This next-generation VR headset provides some of the most immersive controls of any model currently on the market. The knuckle controllers don’t just respond to your button presses. They also use haptic sensors to detect where your hands are on the controller, tracking the movement of each finger. The result is a more immersive experience.
— Valve (@valvesoftware) March 4, 2020
The Valve Index is one of the most expensive entries on this list, but for the kind of immersive next-gen experience you’ll get, it’s worth every penny. It does require a computer with a reasonably powerful processor and video card, so keep that in mind before you start ordering.
If you’re not a PC gamer, you’re in luck. The Playstation VR is easily one of the best headsets on our list and works with the Playstation 4 and its games. Its head-tracking is more responsive than some of the PC-based headsets on our list, and there is an impressive number of titles available.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) October 20, 2018
The only downside of the Playstation VR is that it’s expensive — not because of the initial cost, but because it doesn’t come with all the required accessories that you need to get started. If you find one that looks like it’s cheap, it’s because it doesn’t have the controllers or other accessories, which means you’ll end up buying them separately.
Oculus Rift S
The Oculus Rift S is a nice middle-ground between the high-end Valve Index and the stand-alone Oculus Quest. You do need a decent PC to support this headset, and it’s better than previous incarnations of the tech because it doesn’t require external tracking to play.
— Oculus Gaming (@OculusGaming) March 20, 2019
With older Oculus headsets, you needed a dedicated play space, and up to three sensors spread out around the room. With the Rift S, you don’t need anything other than the headset and the controller. The only downside is that this headset is prone to crashes. However, it’s backward compatible with all original Rift games and any new titles that come out in the future.
Choosing the Right Headset in 2020
Choosing the right VR headset could mean the difference between an immersive gaming experience and owning a $500 paperweight. Take the time to look into each option to see which one is best for you. If you can, try the headsets on to see if they fit and feel comfortable.
This guest article has been prepared by Martin Bank. Thanks, Martin, for the contribution!
Photo credit: The feature image is owned by Sony Interactive Entertainment and was made available for press usage.