Virtual reality (VR) sounded like something out of science fiction to most people. In the 2010s, more consumer-friendly products like the Oculus Rift and Playstation VR helped make the technology a little more popular. Some people were amazed by what these early products could do, while others laughed at the lack of usable software.
One thing was something most people agreed on: VR needs more time. In the 2020s, virtual reality has had enough time to become fun and easy to use. There are a lot of high-quality, cheap, and easy-to-use VR experiences to try, from ones you can do with just your cell phone to complex ones like the Meta Quest. We’re here to tell you about the best VR headsets of 2022.
What to Think About
There are a few things you should think about when choosing the best VR headset for you. An essential item is the platform you select. Not every VR headset can connect to all of your other devices. Please take note of the media you use most often and ensure your favorite VR headset works with them.
Check if a VR headset needs a wired connection to a PC or game console. Most of them do, but some, like the Meta Quest 2, can be used independently, giving them much more flexibility. Lastly, check to see what kind of controllers a VR headset has. Even if a headset has a great screen, if the controllers are evil, the user experience will be terrible.
How We Picked
Many of these suggestions come from people who have used them for hours. We do a lot of research for the products we couldn’t test ourselves. We look at content from expert sources like PC Gamer, PC Mag, Wirecutter, The Verge, CNET, Tom’s Guide, Digital Trends, and others, as well as thousands of customer reviews from online shops like Amazon and Walmart. As for the products themselves, we looked at how well they worked, how they looked, what software they came with, and how much they cost.
Meta Quest 2
Most people should get the Meta Quest 2, which used to be called the Oculus Quest 2. It’s one of the few VR headsets that can be used without a computer or gaming console. Being wireless and cheap makes it an excellent way to get started with VR.
Physically, the Meta Quest is simple, comfy, and has good enough specs to give a good, but not unique, all-around experience. The software in the Meta Quest is made to be easy to use, which is different from more expensive VR headsets. The Guardian system of the Oculus helps users set up and create a play space wherever they are without having to set up a camera.
When you leave the designated play area, the passthrough turns on. This lets you see the natural world and any obstacles you might encounter. The Meta Quest works with much different software, including gaming platforms like Meta and SteamVR and apps like Google VR, Oculus TV, and more.
One of the best VR headsets you can buy is the Valve Index. It has better sound, tracking, and controls than most other headsets, but it’s best for people already familiar with gaming and technical gear. The system stands out from the rest because of the Valve Index controllers.
The controllers strap to your hands and let you move your hands and fingers in any way you want. This is important because the Valve Index can track each finger individually, which makes supported games like Half-Life: Alyx much more immersive and detailed. If you hook up the Valve Index to a powerful PC, you can play games like Elite: Risky and No Man’s Sky, which are beautiful.
All of that accuracy, though, makes it hard to set up. The Valve Index has two ground station sensors that would need to be placed around your room to make the VR play space. You have to use your computer for other parts of the setup. But if you know much about technology, the complicated setup is well worth it.
Vive Pro 2
The HTC Vive Pro 2 stands out from the competition because of how well it looks. It has a beautiful screen with a much higher resolution and field of view than on the market. This makes the HTC Vive Pro 2 great for gaming since most VR software that isn’t made for gaming can’t take advantage of such high resolutions.
Setup is a bit complicated, like the Valve Index. There are two base station sensors and many PC steps to go through. But once everything is set up, the tracking and controls are excellent, and HTC’s VivePort Infinity platform has a massive number of games and apps.
As you might expect, a VR headset with this much power costs a lot and needs to be used with a powerful PC. Anyone with a PC with one of the best graphics cards can connect to the HTC Vive Pro 2 confidently. But one of our other suggestions is better for everyone else.
PlayStation VR, or PS VR, is one of the oldest options on our list. It strikes an outstanding balance between cost, ease of use, and complexity. Like Meta Quest 2, the PS VR is easy to use and set up, and you don’t need to know much about technology to enjoy it. It’s easy to wear and doesn’t leave marks on most people’s faces, even after a long time playing.
The PS VR is all about games, which you’d expect from a VR headset that works with a gaming console. There are a lot of great games, like Batman: Arkham VR, Resident Evil 7, Beat Saber, Moss, Thumper, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission. People who find it annoying that other VR platforms have apps, ecosystems, or ways to sync accounts will like the PS VR’s “just give me the games” approach.
The PS VR shows its age in the Move controllers and single-camera setup. And while the PS5 can use the PS VR, it can’t use the Move controllers. This means that this headset is best for PS4 users. Sony has announced the PS VR 2, which will come after this one and will probably be fully compatible with the PS5.
Labo VR Kit
The Nintendo Labo VR kit isn’t strictly virtual reality, at least not like every other headset on this list. It has much more in common with Google Cardboard, LEGOs, or even arcade games. For starters, putting together the Labo VR kit is half the fun.
The kit comes with a lot of cardboard that you must put together into six different VR game controllers, headsets, and other parts. Each creation takes hours to make, but the Labo software lets you touch through 3D instructions on your Nintendo Switch. The games are also different because each one is made for two people to play.
These games are short, fun, and good for kids. You can control a bird looking for food or fight aliens with a giant blaster. Some 64 games you can play aren’t VR, but they use the Labo Kit’s special controllers. Even though it might not last as long as a traditional VR headset, the Nintendo Labo Kit is a very clever idea. It’s also one of the few VR games made for kids.