The best VR headset market is about to get a shake-up. We're not far off the release of PSVR 2, and elsewhere in 2023 we'll see new headset releases from Oculus (or Meta), as well as Vive and Lynx options too. With the Metaverse's on-going development, VR is definitely going to be in the spotlight more than ever in the coming years. In the here and now, there are some great choices, too. The Oculus Quest 2 continues to be the accessible option for most people, whilst higher-budget headsets like the HTC Vive Pro 2 are the enthusiast's must-have.
To help you navigate this often complicated market, we've rounded up the best VR headsets you can buy at the moment. We've put this guide together based on both our own hands-on experience and by balancing spec lists and price points to find the best value products. Of course, VR isn't the cheapest platform to jump into, especially when times are as hard as they are. For that reason, we've tried to cater to varying budgets in the list below.
These days, it is possible to find some of the best VR headsets for between $300 and $600, so it isn't all doom and gloom. Unfortunately, premium devices can still trickle into the four-figure mark, but if you're looking for the best tech available, we'd argue the money is worth it. Whether you're trying to figure out if PSVR 2 is the best option to go for come the new year, or you're looking for a high-end rig to pair with one of the best gaming PCs, you'll find plenty of buying advice down below.
The best VR headsets you can buy in 2023
The Oculus Quest 2 is still the best value VR headset on the market for the majority of players, even despite an August 2022 price hike that increased the final cost to $399 / £399 for the 128GB model, which is $100 / £100 more than the previous $299 / £299 MSRP. This increase is also reflected on the 256GB version, pushing it up to $499 / £499. That's a considerable blow, especially considering the Quest 2 was the only VR headset catering to this sub-$300 / £300 market particularly well. Still, this remains one of the cheapest mid-range options out there, so if you didn't manage to scoop up the old price it's still worth investigating.
While we were a little disappointed to find the Oculus Quest 2 felt a little cheaper than its predecessor in the hands, we found it more comfortable in our testing overall. That's thanks to its lighter form factor (503g vs the original 571g) and the wider surface area of the thumb rest of the controller. We were also impressed by just how much sharper than resolution is once we strapped this headset on.
You're free to roam your surroundings with no limiting tracking area and a super flexible setup overall. This is an all-in-one self-contained unit with a speedy processor and plenty of RAM for today's games to boot. That means you won't need to invest in a high-end gaming PC to keep things running smoothly here - you're all good to go straight out of the box. And it's difficult to understate just how important that is to Oculus Quest 2's value.
With so many of the best VR headsets costing well over $500 / £500 (and still requiring a separate PC brain to function), packing the tracking features, high-resolution display, 90Hz framerate, and comfortable experience into a sub-$300 / £300 price point is incredibly impressive. We've even started seeing more and more Oculus Quest 2 deals and Oculus Quest 2 accessories entering the marketplace in recent months as well.
Read more: Oculus Quest 2 review
If you're after the best VR headset money can buy, we'd point in the direction of the HTC Vive Pro 2. This is certainly a big kids toy, coming in at $800 for the headset alone, without taking the extra required accessories and high-end PC into account. However, for specialists and budget-busting enthusiasts, the HTC Vive Pro 2's 4896 x 2448 resolution, pinpoint motion tracking, and Steam VR integrations make it a must-see.
That resolution sits at the very top of the current market, offering up super clean visuals that you won't find on cheaper headsets. You are tethered to a PC here, via a Link Box connection, which means the threat of tripping is real if you're up and about.
We did find that setup process a little tedious in our testing, plotting out the base stations took a long time, and we'd heavily recommend wall-mounting them for the best effect (which will take even longer). You'll need to pick up two Steam VR base stations and motion controllers for the full experience, which will set you back around $600 extra all in. However, once you do there's a new level of tracking and motion at your fingertips - one that other VR headsets can sometimes struggle to match unless doing so while sacrificing other features.
The main draw here is that incredible resolution, combined with the 120° field of view and refresh rate of up to 120Hz. If you're going all-in on a future-proofed setup, and want your games to look as good as they possibly can while doing so, this is where the piggy bank should go.
Everything encasing all that tech is also incredibly premium. We loved the futuristic external aesthetic, but not as much as the lightweight design. Even though we were tethered up to a PC, this was a particularly flexible experience.
We did notice that the quality of the HTC Vive Pro 2 does reveal itself over time. It took us a couple of days to fully adopt the correct settings for our eyes, so it's worth noting that you'll need some extra tinkering time for the best result. However, once you're there, the investment you've made is well worth it.
Read more: HTC Vive Pro 2 review
If the HTC Vive Pro 2 was looking a little pricey, the Vive Cosmos Elite system might be the best VR headset for those looking to spend a little less on some of the fancier features and focus instead on room-scale tracking. HTC launched its Cosmos headset to very little fanfare a few years ago, and on its own, the headset sits as a fully modular system that you can upgrade with a different faceplate and SteamVR tracking bases as you please. However, its final form is the Vive Cosmos Elite, making this iteration the best VR headset in its line.
While resolution lacks behind the much cheaper Oculus Quest 2 (the full Cosmos Elite system will do over $800 worth of damage, there's enough power in that 2880 x 1700 display to keep up with the premium Valve Index system. That means no screen door effect and a clear display (supported by a 90Hz refresh rate). If you're after a full suite of tracking sensors, then, this is the most affordable option available to you right now - and it still does a solid job of rendering everything in high-quality graphics.
There are a few features of the Valve Index that we need to get out of the way right at the start. First up is that finger tracking system. Rather than relying on per-controller tracking, the Valve Index has stepped where no VR headset has gone before - adding sensors for each individual finger via a touch-sensitive panel. The second is a 120Hz refresh rate that will cover for a slightly lower resolution by allowing games to slide across the screen without a hint of a flicker.
The Valve Index is a VR headset for those fully invested in the PC gaming space, the specialists that already have the PC humming away in the corner and are looking to put it to the test. While the headset itself costs £499 / £459, the full kit will set you back $999 / £919. That's cheaper than the full price of the HTC Vive Pro 2 and all of its gadgets, though you're favoring tracking over resolution this time.
With the whole of Steam behind it, you'd be hard-pressed to be bored in this particular virtual world. However, it is worth noting that fewer Steam titles can take full advantage of these unique tracking features so you're certainly proofing yourself rather than enjoying today's tech with this purchase.
Not many have the HP Reverb G2 on their shopping list, but HP does have a sleeper hit on its hands with its $600 VR headset. It's worth noting that this is much easier to find in the US, and you'll likely be limited to special editions running over £1,000 if you're browsing in the UK. With heavy emphasis placed on resolution, but some nice quality of life features baked in (how has nobody else thought of having the display flip up so you can see your surroundings?) there's plenty to love here, even if overall this set doesn't quite beat out some of the higher options on the list.
You won't need any external tracking sensors here, the HP Reverb G2 takes care of all of that itself with cameras. Plus, there's very little setup to get out of the way. This is a Windows headset through and through, so connecting to your PC is as simple as plugging it in and letting Windows 10 or 11 complete your installations and software tweaks.
While tracking a little behind Oculus in its value offering, the HP Reverb G2 is a solid buy for any PC enthusiasts who don't want to have to kit out their home to step into a virtual world.
Best VR headsets 2023: FAQs
What is the current best VR headset?
The best VR headset for the vast majority of people is going to be the Oculus Quest 2. It's an affordable option that still offers plenty of functionality with a wide range of services and games, and can hold its own against the technical chops of some of the bigger players to boot. However, if you're after the full experience, we'd recommend a headset with full room tracking, like the HTC Vive Pro 2. For people who do a lot of their gaming on PlayStation, it might make sense to go with the PSVR, or wait for PSVR 2, since that will allow you to keep all your gaming kit within one ecosystem.
Is it worth buying VR in 2023?
Even the best VR headsets won't be worth it for everyone - in fact, the very top of the range will likely only make sense for a small selection of people. However, now that developers have started producing more and more larger-scale games (Resident Evil, Half-Life, and Star Wars franchises all have recent releases) and those prices are starting to fall, it's well worth investing in a VR headset if you're keen on exploring a new avenue in gaming.
Which VR headset is the most realistic?
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Speaking broadly, all VR headsets will give you a sensation of realism like no other type of gaming. The entire appeal of the platform is that it puts your sensations in the middle of whatever virtual experience you want. In terms of realistic visuals, however, one headset beats out the rest by having a stronger resolution. If you want the best of the best, our top pick would need to be the HTC Vive Pro 2, which has a 120 degree field of view and a 2448p LCD display.
What do you need for VR?
The first thing you'll need to get started in the world of virtual reality is a VR headset. Of course, finding the right model is easier said than done, but if you're looking for a solid experience while just starting out, we'd recommend sticking with the Oculus Quest 2. It's a fully standalone headset, which means you won't need a premium gaming PC to run it (or the cables to hook it up).
However, if you're opting for something a little more luxurious, you will likely need a PC with at least an Nvidia GTX 1060 graphics card, 8GB RAM, and an Intel i5 processor - better specs will produce a far better result, of course.
On top of that, you may also need to purchase additional controllers and tracking stations to complete your setup.
How to choose the best VR headset for you
One of the biggest factors when choosing the best VR headset for you will likely be your budget. If cash is your only factor, you'll find a breakdown of the best VR headsets in each price range just below, but be aware that there's plenty more to this story if you're browsing above $600.
- $100 - $300 - Oculus Quest 2
- $300 - $600 - HP Reverb G2
- $600 - $900 - HTC Vive Pro 2
- $900 - $1,000+ - Valve Index
Beyond cash value, there are a number of features that separate budget, mid-range, and high-end headsets. Generally, these are screen resolution, panel type, field of view, and tracking support.
The best VR headset is generally the one with the biggest resolution. That's because resolution is such an important aspect of the virtual reality experience, and a high-quality display will remove the screen door effect and keep your games feeling fresh and immersive. If you're spending more than $600 on your headset, you'll want to make sure you're getting a resolution of above 3664 x 1920.
VR headsets are quickly adopting OLED displays moving forwards, thanks to the increased color contrast and vividity. If you want to remain on the cusp of emerging developments, then, it might be worth waiting for the perfect headset with an OLED panel (many of the best options today still use an LCD).
Field of view
The average field of view among the best VR headsets is around 100 degrees, with variances running around 10 degrees either way. The higher the field of view, the more you're going to be able to see around you, and the better the headset will recreate natural human vision. If you're looking to use your VR headset for gaming, then, it's well worth making sure you're hitting at least 100-110°.
Cheaper VR headsets use onboard cameras to track their placement, and your heads, within a virtual world. However, moving up the price scale, more specialist devices often employ additional hardware like tracking bases to set up room-scale tracking with far greater accuracy. You can game on a headset with onboard tracking, and if you're simply looking for casual entertainment, we'd recommend sticking with this far more affordable solution. However, if you're splashing some cash, it's well worth investing in a rig that can accurately track your whole play space.
Many of the best gaming laptops are also VR-ready now, but if you're keeping your search strictly to headwear, check out our guide to PSVR vs HTC Vive vs Oculus for more buying advice. Find out more about how we make our recommendations with the full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.