The Best VR Headsets (2021 Reviews)

On the hunt for a new VR headset? You want one that gives you the best immersion. Here are the best VR headsets for all budgets.

best value

Oculus Rift S

Best VR Headset
  • Quality high-res display
  • Integrated audio
  • Inside-out tracking
premium pick

HTC Vive Pro

Top VR Headsets
  • Superb AMOLED display
  • Integrated headphones
  • Quality build
budget pick

Oculus Go

VR Headset For PC
  • Standalone headset
  • Good display
  • Affordable

Only a few years ago, when the Oculus Rift first stepped on the scene, it seemed like VR was just going to be passing by, a pastime activity for tech enthusiasts with deep pockets that would fade away into obscurity as soon as the novelty wore off. The truth, however, couldn’t be more different!

The popularity of VR had exploded soon after, with big names like Sony, Google, HTC, and others investing in VR technology, bringing it to PCs, consoles, smartphones, and even developing standalone VR headsets.

Here are some of the best VR headsets (and WMR headsets) that you can get in 2021.

Table of ContentsShow

The Pros:

  • Solid QHD display
  • No external sensors required
  • Quality integrated speakers
  • Approachable price

The Cons:

  • LCD display not as good as high-end OLED

About The Headset

To start, we have the successor to the VR headset that started it all – the Oculus Rift S

Visually, it is very similar to its predecessor – the original Oculus Rift – as it sports a relatively simple matte black exterior, lacking the bombast of other headsets such as the HTC Vive.

Of course, it features an improved display, as well as some other extra features that are bound to make it one of the most appealing VR headsets available.

Our Thoughts

So, how does the Rift S improve upon the original Rift? Well, for one, there’s the higher display resolution – while the original Rift had a 2160×1200 OLED display, the Rift S has a 2560×1440 LCD one. 

The increased resolution leads to improved image clarity. While LCD cannot produce deep blacks as OLED can, the Rift S makes up for this minor shortcoming with advanced optics that enhance immersion and minimize visual artifacts. 

The refresh rate of the display is now 80 Hz, down from 90 Hz, but it is hardly a noticeable difference.

Additionally, a very convenient new characteristic of the Rift S is that it comes with inside-out tracking, meaning that it requires no external sensors to offer realistic room-scale tracking, as the five integrated cameras take care of that. 

Plus, these cameras also enable the user to see what’s going on around them in the real world without actually having to take off the headset.

Best VR Headset 2020

As for the audio, the headset features integrated speakers that offer immersive spatial sound without blocking out external sound, so you can still tell what’s going on around you even while playing a game or watching a movie. 

And in the case that you don’t want to use these speakers, the headset has a 3.5mm jack, so you can also use any headphones, headset, or earbuds that have a 3.5mm connector.

All in all, the Oculus Rift S is a step forward, though not as big of a step forward as some would have liked. It is a tad heavier than the original Rift, but it is more comfortable to wear, and it is a mid-range solution when it comes to PC gaming, as the high-end remains dominated by HTC for now.

The Pros:

  • Quality OLED display
  • Immersive audio
  • No sensors or wires involved

The Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • Dubious value

About The Headset

The next headset on the list also comes from Oculus, and it’s the Oculus Quest. This VR headset, which costs as much as the Rift S, is a bit of a different headset. 

Namely, while the Rift S is a PC headset that also requires sufficiently powerful hardware to run, the Oculus Quest operates independently from any external device.

As such, it is a more mainstream VR headset designed to meet the needs of those who wish to experience VR gaming but don’t have a PC powerful enough to run games in VR.

Our Thoughts

Though it may be a standalone headset, the Oculus Quest is no joke – it boasts a serious 2880×1600 OLED display that even has a higher resolution than that of the Rift S, though the refresh rate is a more modest 72 Hz. 

And much like the Rift S, it uses integrated cameras for tracking and requires no external sensors, all the while also using the same built-in spatial audio.

So, what’s different? Well, there’s the fact that the Quest doesn’t need to be connected to a PC, and is a fully standalone, wireless VR headset. What this also means is that it packs its own hardware. 

To be precise, it uses a Snapdragon 835 CPU, has 4GB of RAM, and there are two internal storage options: 64 GB and 128 GB, the latter being a bit pricier than the default 64 GB variant.

Now, this also comes with a few downsides. First of all, there’s the meager battery life – the headset can take about two hours of use, and it needs nearly as much time to recharge back to 100%. 

On top of that, both the design and the build can feel a bit cheap, which is understandable considering the extra hardware that goes into this headset.

Best VR

Overall, the Oculus Quest is hardly an ideal example of an actual gaming VR headset since it cannot run PC games. Still, if you only intend to play the games that are available on the Oculus store, then this just might be the best VR headset for you.

The Pros:

  • Decent QHD display
  • Affordable

The Cons:

  • Poor battery life

About The Headset

And now, we get to the final and most affordable VR headset that Oculus has to offer – the Oculus Go! It is easily differentiated from other Oculus VR headsets in that it sports a clean white exterior which contrasts the matte black of every other Oculus headset so far. 

But more importantly, what truly makes it stand out is the price, as it is the most affordable standalone VR headset at this time.

Our Thoughts

Much like the Oculus Quest, the Go is a fully standalone wireless VR headset. However, since it comes at half the former’s price, it understandably lacks some of the more premium features. 

Namely, it lacks the integrated cameras, the built-in speakers, and it uses a 2560×1440 LCD instead of an OLED.

The hardware is also more limited, as the headset comes with a weaker Snapdragon 821 CPU and less internal storage – either 32 GB or 64 GB.

As for the battery life, it’s pretty much the same deal as with the Quest – about 2-3 hours of use, based on the activity in question, as gaming inevitably burns through the battery faster than gaming does.

Best Virtual Reality Headset

In the end, the Oculus Go is a mobile VR headset; only there are no phones involved, so you don’t need a flagship or any particular phone model. 

The graphics and the content that you’d experience with it, however, are precisely what you’d get with a phone. But as we’ve mentioned in the introduction, the Go’s key advantage is its affordability.

So, if you’re looking to have some casual VR entertainment from time to time, it could prove to be a good investment. However, if you’re looking for a more premium VR experience, you would have to spend more.

The Pros:

  • Good AMOLED display
  • Potentially good value
  • Accurate tracking

The Cons:

  • Dated
  • Pricey accessories
  • No integrated audio

About The Headset

Next, we get to HTC and their highly popular HTC Vive, which was one of the top VR headsets on the scene following its 2016 debut. 

And though it may look sleek, futuristic, and high-end, how does it fare in comparison with all the newer models that are available in 2021?

Our Thoughts

It may have been the king of the castle before, but the Vive is aging, and it shows. Its 90 Hz 2160×1200 AMOLED display still looks great, though the newer higher-resolution displays with more refined optics ultimately feel more immersive. 

It has a microphone but no integrated sound, and it relies on external sensors for motion tracking, which is far less appealing now that there are so many headsets that feature hassle-free inside-out tracking.

VR Handset

Ultimately, the Vive may no longer be the top of the VR food chain in 2021. 

However, considering the price cuts and the fact that you can get one even cheaper if you’re willing to get a used one, the Vive is still a viable headset today. Still, apart from that, it feels like a very dated product at this point.

As mentioned above, the industry is moving forward, so the bulky HTC Vive with its external sensors and accessories shouldn’t exactly be your top choice unless you can get one cheap or you’re really after that AMOLED display.

The Pros:

  • Superb AMOLED display
  • Quality build
  • Accurate tracking

The Cons:

  • Extremely expensive
  • Pricey accessories
  • On the heavy side

About The Headset

Moving on, we get to what is possibly the best VR headset for PC gaming at the moment – the HTC Vive Pro. Not only does it look great, with a sleek futuristic design highly similar to that of the regular Vive, but it also offers one of the best displays that you can find in a VR headset at the moment.

Our Thoughts

So, what makes the Vive Pro stand out, and does it justify its considerable price tag? Well, for one, there’s the stunning 2880×1600 AMOLED display that few headsets will be capable of matching.

Furthermore, it comes with an excellent headset and an integrated microphone. On top of all that, it is ergonomic and comfortable, despite the apparent bulk.

The Vive Pro still relies on external sensors for motion tracking, which can be both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it makes for more precise motion tracking, but setting up the sensors can be a bit of a hassle. As for audio, it comes with a great, highly-adjustable integrated headset.

Virtual Reality Headset

Now, one of the main issues with the Vive Pro is its price tag, which is $800 for the headset alone. If you want the full package, complete with the controllers and the sensors, the price goes up to a whopping $1100. 

There are several other accessories available, including a $300 wireless adapter, but just like this adapter, most of them are on the pricey side.

The HTC Vive Pro is a premium-quality product. However, it’s unlikely to appeal to many people, not only because of the discouraging price but also because there are other VR headsets available that can offer a comparable experience for less than half the money.

The Pros:

  • Quality display
  • Very affordable without accessories

The Cons:

  • PC support only via third-party software
  • Accessories cost extra

About The Headset

Up next, we have the first – and for now, the only – console VR headset – PlayStation VR. It boasts a recognizable black and white design with signature blue lights, it is quite affordable, and it is still not ready for retirement. You might consider using it even if you don’t own a PlayStation 4.

Our Thoughts

The PSVR is hardly a proper example of a cutting-edge VR headset, seeing as it was released in 2016 and designed to work with a console. 

That said, it’s surprising that it has a high-quality OLED display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. However, since it’s a 1080p display, it doesn’t look nearly as good as some of the newer headsets, and that’s not even considering the limited hardware power of a PS4.

However, the PSVR is not entirely without merit – mainly, it’s quite affordable now. On top of that, while it only has native compatibility with the PS4 – be it a regular, slim, or Pro model – it can also be used with a PC with the help of third-party software

This is hardly an ideal solution, but it can work if you want to try VR out on your PC but can’t afford one of the better headsets.

Virtual Reality Headsets

Furthermore, it should also be noted that motion controllers don’t come bundled with the headset, and neither does the PS Camera, which is required for motion tracking. However, there are bundles available, which include not only these accessories, but also some VR games.

Overall, we feel that the PSVR holds up relatively well in 2021. Still, although it can be made to work with a PC, we wouldn’t recommend it as the primary choice for anyone who doesn’t own a PS4.

The Pros:

  • High-resolution display
  • Ergonomic and lightweight
  • Fairly affordable

The Cons:

  • Some noticeable motion blur
  • Plastic-y build

About The Headset

Next up, we come to yet another exciting product, and it’s a Windows Mixed Reality headset manufactured by Acer

As the name suggests, the platform itself was developed by Microsoft for Windows 10, but the actual hardware is mostly left to partners such as Acer, HP, and others.

As for Acer’s take on a WMR headset, it is quite recognizable due to the striking blue exterior, and it comes with many features that make it a highly appealing mid-range VR headset for PC gaming.

Our Thoughts

The Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset is an interesting product. It sports a 2880×1440 LCD screen with a typical refresh rate of 90 Hz, and it looks quite good. 

On top of that, it also has inside-out tracking that relies on the two sensors on the front. Something that makes this Acer headset stand out is the fact that it’s incredibly lightweight, weighing in at only 6oz (about 170g). 

This is super lightweight compared to most other VR headsets, which tend to hover at around 16-18oz (about 450-500g). This makes it comfortable to use, and it is relatively affordable to boot.

Best WMR Headset

This headset is a solid pick if you’re looking for a more affordable VR headset for PC gaming. The only real problem is the noticeable motion blur during quick head movements, but the resolution makes up for it. 

Other than that, the plastic build can feel a bit cheap at times. But, since the headset itself is also quite affordable – although still packing all the essential features – it’s hard to hold this against Acer.

The Pros:

  • High-resolution AMOLED display
  • Quality build
  • Immersive audio
  • Solid inside-out tracking

The Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • Not the best ergonomics

About The Headset

Next up, we introduce a headset designed for the Windows Mixed Reality platform, and it’s the Samsung HMD Odyssey+.

Unlike the above Acer model, it’s not exactly a budget-friendly product, though it is a more premium-feeling solution comparable to the Rift S.

Our Thoughts

There is not much to say about the capabilities of the HMD Odyssey+ that hasn’t already been said for other headsets in this price range. It features reliable inside-out tracking and immersive, integrated headphones, though its crowning feature is its beautiful 2880×1600 AMOLED screen.

Top Virtual Reality Headset

All of this makes it a highly appealing solution as far as the spec sheet is concerned, especially when it comes to the display. However, it’s not as good in the ergonomics department, as it is front-heavy and can get uncomfortable to use for prolonged periods.

Ultimately, the HMD Odyssey+ would be a good purchase if you’re willing to spend a little bit of extra money on that AMOLED display.

Still, if not, then the Rift S would undoubtedly prove to be a better investment – unless you can catch the Odyssey+ at a discount, of course.

Conclusion – The Best VR Headset For 2021

Best Mixed Reality Headset 2019

All in all, it’s challenging to pick out the single best VR headset for 2021, since the market is getting quite diverse, with more contenders than ever before.

When it comes to which headset we found to be the best overall, we’d have to go with the Oculus Rift S, as it undoubtedly offers the best value for your money, as far as the mainstream is concerned.

When the high-end is concerned, the HTC Vive Pro is the obvious choice, though we wouldn’t recommend splurging on it just yet, since it does lack some of the convenient features that are now being introduced, not to mention the exorbitant price.

And finally, when it comes to VR gaming on a budget, the Oculus Go casts a wide net. It is relatively inexpensive and offers customers good value for their money, though the limited battery life is a problem.

But those are only our picks. Every VR headset listed here has its own merits and shortcomings compared to other models, so as long as you keep your personal preferences and the headset’s capabilities in mind, any of them could suit your needs!

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Samuel Stewart
Samuel Stewart

Samuel is GamingScan's editor-in-chief. He describes himself as a dedicated gamer and programmer. He enjoys helping others discover the joys of gaming. Samuel closely follows the latest trends in the gaming industry in order to keep the visitors in the flow.

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