Virtual Reality in 2022 reveals new possibilities that put everyone in the middle of action that just a few years ago would have been confined only to flat 2D screens. The main goal of virtual reality is to transfer the user from the real world to a computer-generated one. To gain the maximum effect of this immersion you would need to look for a proper device and in this overview, we collected for you the most valuable information about the best VR headsets in 2022. So the only thing you have to do is to choose the one that fits your needs the most.
A virtual reality headset is a device that provides input to virtual reality data for the user and is usually attached to the user’s head above the eyes. These innovative headsets are part of a more comprehensive virtual reality system that affects more than five human senses to create an intense virtual experience.
Virtual reality headsets usually have stereoscopic technology that provides a separate image for each of the two eyes. Gyroscopes, accelerometers, and other instruments can monitor most of your movements. Early VR headsets were often made in the context of the gaming industry. However, innovations in VR are now used for medical and military training, as well as for other purposes. Virtual reality is becoming more sophisticated, and headsets and other equipment are evolving very rapidly. VR headsets are becoming more common in consumer technology.
The specs for a VR headset can get quite confusing, but you need to focus on a few key areas.
First of all, is the headset a tethered or standalone device? A VR tethered headset requires a device, such as a gaming PC or console, to provide all the computing power for VR applications. So, you need to make sure that a PC has the right components to run games and support the VR headset at the same time. The standalone VR headset contains all the necessary equipment to run VR applications.
The method of positional tracking of VR headset motion is an important factor too. The current trend is inside-out tracking when the cameras on the headset scan your surroundings and then calculate your movement relative to these fixed reference points. An alternative is outside-in tracking, which is usually more accurate. Inside-out trackers are more portable, elegant and reduce the number of wires. In addition, the high-resolution display panels inside the headset aid the image by downsizing actual images. This makes it less likely that you’ll see a pixel grid when using a headset and makes the experience more immersive. Refresh rate also affects immersion, and 90Hz is a good operating minimum for a headset.
There is another aspect of VR headsets, which needs to be paid attention to: your inter-pupillary distance (IPD). Many VR headsets have adjustable lens spacing. However, if you fall into any of the extreme ends of the IPD range, you may end up with a blurry image. You can check your IPD with the app or, for the most accurate measurement, have it measured by an ophthalmologist.
This is just a small part of what you need to consider when choosing a VR headset. But luckily for you, we’ve done all the needed research to present to you the best VR headsets in 2022 for each category.
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No matter what kind of virtual reality you want to experience, Oculus Quest 2 does it all, at a price that will surprise you the most. The Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t offer the most perfect VR experience, but it’s likely the only VR headset you’ll have to buy. This headset offers a level of absolute flexibility that no other VR system can match.
Oculus Quest – is a virtual reality headset created by Oculus VR. The device is completely autonomous, based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, and also has two controllers with six degrees of freedom.
The Oculus Quest 2 is the best budget VR headset you can buy, given that Quest 2 is both a standalone VR headset and a VR headset for PC thanks to Oculus Link. This way you don’t have to spend any more money on VR hardware other than the Quest 2. Think about it this way: with the Quest 2’s features, you’re actually getting two headsets for the price of one.
Quest 2 also has a significant library of games including those specially developed or ported from other VR platforms.
The cost of the native Quest 2 apps can be a little high for some people, but Oculus doesn’t tie the headset to a single play store, and you can download apps from third-party sources as well. For example, if you already have a VR-enabled PC, you can check out and download cheaper VR games suitable for your PC. In some cases, Quest and Rift versions of the game, such as ‘Star Trek Bridge Command’, are sold as one cross-purchase. This way you can definitely save some money.
The 256GB version of the Quest 2 is recommended because you can’t upgrade device storage after your purchase. There is also a 128 GB model if you want to save up some money.
As for now, there is no VR headset at the same price that offers the same value. That’s why you’ll find Quest 2 in literally every overview of the best VR headsets.
The only obvious issue with any Oculus product is the requirement for a Facebook account. Facebook is the parent company of Oculus and has introduced a requirement that every Quest 2 user must also have a Facebook account. If you don’t have one or you don’t want to create one, you should maybe consider some other candidates from this overview.
With that, we recommend Oculus Quest 2 to anyone looking to enter the world of VR on a budget.
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Valve Index – is a virtual reality helmet developed by the American company Valve.
Like the Oculus Rift headset, the Index is a device that connects to a personal computer with a cable and cannot be used separately from it.
While creating the Index, the developers from Valve were guided by the basic principle of user experience – so that the user can wear a helmet for hours without getting tired. The Index uses a 2880×1600 LCD – 1440×1600 for each eye – with an adjustable refresh rate up to 144Hz. Two special knobs allow you to adjust the physical distance between the screen and the eyes and the angle of view – up to 130 °. Instead of headphones, the helmet uses speakers that are located at a comfortable distance from the ears.
A special feature of the Index is a pair of hand controllers – these controllers, called Knuckles, are designed to recognize the movements of each finger individually. Unlike the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive gamepads, the user does not squeeze these controllers in their hands, but fastens them to the palm and puts fingers through a special frame with 87 sensors that read finger movements. This allows you to perform complex gestures and manipulations with virtual objects. Index controllers are also compatible with HTC Vive and Vive Pro headsets.
Valve’s VR headset is quite expensive, but on the other hand, you get a special Valve’s modular approach. You can buy any component of the kit you want, whenever you want.
So, for example, if you already have old Index controllers, you can upgrade to a new headset but keep your previous motion controllers to save money. This is great news for owners of previous Valve headsets, but the overall price of the kit for new customers is high.
Another big selling point for Index is that you won’t find anything that works better with SteamVR. This is the hardware that SteamVR is designed for after all. The ‘Half-Life Alyx’, quite possibly the best VR game ever, has been developed for Index. You can play it fine on other SteamVR compatible headsets, but Index is the ultimate experience for this game and a few others.
It’s also important to note that the Valve Index is a position-tracking VR headset. While the general trend in VR seems to be towards inside-out tracking as the standard, the Index relies on base stations to provide accurate room-scale tracking.
Positional tracking is better and more accurate than inside-out tracking, but it has some drawbacks. You need to set up a permanent VR space using base stations and set it up again when you want to move to a new location.
Compared to the Oculus Quest 2 VR experience on PC, where you can take your PC anywhere, plug in the Quest 2, and be up and running in seconds, you can see why inside-out tracking could be more popular, even if it’s less accurate.
Overall, the Valve Index is the best PC VR headset in 2022 on the market.
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Sony PlayStation VR – is a virtual reality helmet developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Designed to work with the PlayStation 4 game console.
Control in games and applications of virtual reality is carried out using the DualShock 4 or PlayStation Move controller. The movement of the head in the helmet is tracked using the PlayStation Camera.
Other features worth mentioning are eye-tracking cameras that follow your line of sight as you focus or look around. Using advanced rendering techniques, the image quality is adjusted to pinpoint what you’re focusing on, thus creating an enhanced visual experience.
Four built-in cameras can track you and the DualSense controller in real-time, and this data is used to reflect your actions in the game.
The PlayStation VR has a sleek design that has received a lot of positive feedback. The device looks like it was part of the filming of a space science fiction movie.
The PlayStation VR weighs 610 grams (it’s worth noting that the HTC Vive weighs 550 grams and the Oculus Rift only 470 grams). Despite this, PS VR is considered the most comfortable virtual reality glasses. How is this possible? It’s all about the distribution of centers of gravity. The PlayStation VR has a solidly sealed top and back element. Thanks to this, the heaviest part of the screen will not lean forward. The equipment is perfectly balanced and the weight is distributed very well over the entire head.
Very often, users complain about the complexity of installing and configuring virtual reality glasses. In addition to the fact that you need to deal with all the wires, you also need to pay attention to installing drivers, installing third-party applications, and several other problems. As for the PlayStation VR headset, everything is quite simple. The software of the device and the software of the console itself are installed independently. The installation and configuration process usually takes 5 to 15 minutes.
Sony PlayStation VR is equipped with high-quality 3D sound, which is well synchronized with the image. While playing, you can determine exactly where the sound is coming from and how far away it is. In addition, the microphone built into the glasses makes it possible to communicate with other players online. It is also worth noting that the built-in headphone jack works with all kinds of headphones.
Low resolution is probably the biggest disadvantage of the PlayStation VR. Users complain that pixelation is too visible. Objects in the foreground are clear, everything else is pretty blurry. This is especially noticeable when trees, distant spaceships, bushes, or tall skyscrapers are displayed in the background.
The last and biggest issue is non-technical and common to all VR systems available today – the content. The number of games mentioned in the press releases doesn’t give much hope. The games usually lack variety. Users complain that after a while, the fascination with the three-dimensional image passes, the player gets used to it and interest in this device as a whole disappears.
Sony PlayStation VR2
Recently, Sony announced the new Sony PlayStation VR2 that will come out in late 2022 and will be compatible with Sony PlayStation5.
The VR2 version uses more powerful technology in its design, as well as several other quality-of-life improvements for the PS5-exclusive device that could potentially compete with other popular VR headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve Index.
From the VR2 version, you can expect 2000×2040 resolution per eye using OLED HDR displays, a 110-degree field of view, and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. In addition, a six-axis motion sensor, four cameras throughout the setup, and an IR eye-tracking camera are used to track the headset and controller. Sound is delivered through a traditional 3.5mm jack and dynamically adapts to your position and head movements.
Most importantly, the headset will be connected to the console via a single USB-C connection, greatly reducing the messy collection of cables from the first PS VR headset.
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The HTC Vive VR headset helped shape virtual reality as we know it today. The first major product for the consumer market with bundled motion controllers made everyone realize that you cannot just dive into the virtual space – you can move in it. Now, three years later, HTC is ready to move on. Vive is being replaced by Vive Cosmos, but where the original helmet was a revolution of its kind, the novelty is forced to play catch-up with a crowd of competitors.
Vive Cosmos is a headset that connects to a computer. It occupies a niche between Oculus Rift S and Valve Index. Like the Index, the Cosmos offers a higher quality display and a more open design. At the same time, it is united with the Rift S by the use of built-in cameras instead of external sensors. In addition, the controllers adapted the design of the Oculus Touch, which gained popularity, abandoning both the previous devices and the futuristic ideas of the Index.
Theoretically, Vive Cosmos may be of interest to those who want to purchase a relatively inexpensive helmet with rich functionality.
The appearance of the headset is just outstanding. The navy blue case with a slatted front panel speaks of the unwillingness to follow the industry’s favorite minimalism in black tones. Two large square cameras are located in the center of the front panel, complemented by four more on all sides, providing a 310-degree tracking area.
The panel can be detached, and HTC promises to release replacement parts with different functionality, the first of which will be the laser beacon-enabled panel from the old Vive. From the convenience of ergonomics, we noted the ability to raise the screen, like a visor on a motorcycle helmet, to look at the real world without removing the headset from your head.
The pros include intuitive controls with good battery life, high-resolution displays, and a solid selection of built-in games.
The cons are that it is pretty hard to set up, the software is buggy, expensive, and takes up a lot of space.