Virtual reality is growing in popularity, and for good reasons. There are so many uses for virtual reality, from entertainment to gaming and even educational purposes. As the popularity and uses grow, so does the competition, making the options for VR glasses abundant. But picking out the best VR glasses is not as straightforward as you might think—you want to get the best virtual experience you can, right?
Whether you're in the market for a tethered, mobile, or standalone headset, we've got the information you need to pick out the best VR glasses. And to make your life a little easier, we've also picked out some of the best options on the market. Ready to take the virtual realm to the next level? Read on.
What Are The Different Types Of VR
Not only are there different makes, models, and manufacturers of VR headsets, there are also three main categories of VR glasses. The first step in finding the best VR glasses is figuring out whether you want tethered, mobile, or standalone VR headsets.
Tethered VR headsets are attached to a wire that physically plugs into a computer or gaming console. Tethered headsets can deliver a more immersive virtual experience because of the high quality they provide. Head tracking and fidelity features are enhanced because of the use of an external camera, built-in motion sensors, and a dedicated display. These headsets are also more expensive, require more setup space, and a high-powered computing system.
Mobile headsets use your smartphone to deliver a virtual experience. These headsets come with a lens slot for users to slide their phone in. The lenses divide the screen into two separate images, creating a sense of depth. These headsets cost less than tethered ones and are wireless.
The quality of the virtual experience depends on the quality of the smartphone used. We recommended using mobile VR glasses with more recently released smartphones as varying factors, like power, screen type, and resolution will impact the virtual experience.
Standalone headsets are the most recent advance in VR glasses, and they deliver greater convenience because you don't need any additional devices or equipment to use them. These headsets have built-in displays and Android smartphone systems. Using these headsets is as easy as putting them on—no worrying about wires or compatibility.
How To Choose The Best VR Glasses
Figuring out if you want a tethered, mobile, or standalone headset is the first step in the decision process, but a lot more goes into picking the best VR glasses. You'll also want to consider the factors discussed below.
An important part of choosing the best VR headset is considering the compatibility with what you already own. With tethered headsets, will the headset work with the computer or gaming system you already have? With mobile, will your smartphone be compatible with the headset? For example, a recent Galaxy phone will be highly compatible with the Samsung Gear VR, but a Google Pixel phone might work better with the Google Daydream View.
If you don't have a computer, gaming system, or smartphone compatible with VR glasses, and you don't want the added expense of buying one, then you might want to stick with a standalone set.
VR glasses have a huge range in price and can cost anywhere from $10 to $800 or more. Depending on what your VR needs are, you might be just fine with a less-expensive headset, or you might need the high quality and added features of a pricier set. Of course, a $10 headset will not compete with the best VR glasses out there, as more expensive headsets provide a more enhanced virtual immersion experience.
Field of View
The field of view is the size of the display you see when you use your headset. A more narrow field of view is like looking through diving goggles where a wide field of view allows for full virtual immersion.
For the right weight for your VR glasses, try them on and leave them on for at least a few minutes to get a good feel for them. Glasses that are too heavy can be hard to use for extended periods, but glasses that are too light may be too flimsy for an attached strap, making it so you have to hold them up the entire time.
Depending on the VR glasses, your virtual experience can either involve complete interactivity where you can walk around a responsive virtual environment, or deliver a less-interactive experience where you enjoy your virtual reality while sitting or standing.
You'll also want to consider:
- Built-in audio
- Built-in mic
- Refresh rate
- Display technology
Virtual Reality Uses
It can also be helpful to consider the varying uses of virtual reality. For personal use, will you be using your VR glasses for gaming or a non-gaming adventurous virtual experience? Also, virtual reality can be used for business, education, and more. Check out these other virtual reality uses:
- Education and training
- Art and tourism
- Marketing and sales
- Social sciences and psychology
- Engineering and design
- Medical and healthcare
- Military and aerospace
Best VR Glasses
- Get 6 free titles, including: Robo Recall, Luckyʼs Tale, Quill, Medium, Dead and Buried, and Toybox
- Riftʼs ultra low-latency tracking offers unparalleled immersion
- The Oculus Touch controllers bring your hands into VR, letting you interact naturally with the virtual world
Oculus is a big name in the virtual reality world, and the Oculus Rift is a great tethered VR headset choice. This headset has a modern and minimalistic black matte aesthetic, and a ton of features to enhance the virtual experience. The Oculus Rift has a 2K OLED screen with a total resolution of 2160x1200 pixels split into two separate screens.
The Rift headset is controlled with Oculus Touch Controllers with two face buttons, an analog stick, a touch pad, a trigger, and grip button. The Oculus sensors are equipped for room scale motion tracking. This headset also comes with detachable headphones, adding for noise isolation which provides a deeper level of immersion.
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- FULLY IMMERSIVE - True-to-life movements with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback.
- PRECISION MOVEMENT TRACKING - 360-degree controller and headset tracking covers your movements to the millimeter,...
The HTC Vive may be one of the most advanced VR glasses headsets out there today, providing a stronger room-tracking capability than the Oculus Rift. It also comes at a higher price tag. The HTC Vive gives you the ability to peek at your phone or the pass-through camera while you're in the virtual world, giving you real-world access when needed.
This headset also features the option to bring real-world items, like your golf club, into the virtual world through the use of the Vive Trackers. The Vive has a display similar to the Oculus Rift with two OLED displays delivering a collective 1080x1200 pixels per eye. While the HTC Vive is a tethered headset, for an added expense it can be used wirelessly.
- Be transported to amazing new worlds, in games, video and images / Use the intuitive controller that comes in the box to...
- Supported Devices: Galaxy Note9 (Additional Adapter needed), Note8, Note FE, Note5 / Galaxy S9, S9+, S8, S8+, S7, S7...
- International Version with 1-month seller warranty / Exactly same device as US version / English Manual Enclosed / Plug...
Moving onto mobile VR glasses, the Samsung Gear VR is one of the most popular mobile headsets on the market today. The Samsung Gear VR features accurate and responsive controls, effective voice commands, and an easy-to-use interface. The headset comes with an inconspicuous and highly effective touchpad with volume buttons and a single trigger.
The Samsung Gear VR was developed with the help of Oculus, so it has access to the Oculus store providing a large variety of advanced games. The Samsung Gear is only officially compatible with Samsung phones.
- Don't just see the world, experience it. With daydream view, you can teleport from virtually anywhere to Pretty much...
- Browse from an ever-growing Collection of apps and games in the daydream app - a home for all of your virtual reality...
- You can always get the best seat in the house with daydream view. Experience concerts, sports and more in full 360...
Leave it to Google to come out with a unique VR headset, which is exactly what they did with the Daydream View. In multiple colors and made of microfibers with padding, this headset delivers maximum comfort. The Daydream View remote control has a touchpad, home button, contextual App button, volume buttons, and motion detection.
The Daydream View has more phone compatibility than the Samsung Gear but still requires that phones have a 1080 pixel OLED screen with the ability to refresh at 60 Hz and an operating system of Android 7.0 Nougat or better.
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If you're looking for a VR headset and don't want to worry about your PC, gaming console, or phone compatibility, the Oculus Go is a great option. This standalone VR glasses headset is packed with great apps and games. Coming from the makers of the Oculus Rift, the Oculus Go works almost as well as tethered headsets but with the convenience of a standalone piece. It also features a comfortable fit, limited screen door effect, and impressive visuals.
- Contains: PlayStation VR headset, Processor unit, PlayStation VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, Stereo...
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If your main purpose for using virtual reality is gaming, then the SONY PlayStation VR glasses are a great option. This headset has one full HD OLED screen and up to a 120 Hz refresh rate. This headset relies on built-in sensors and the dual-lens PS camera for accurate motion tracking.
When you're not using this headset to play video games, you can use it for an immersive movie-watching experience. Plus, the social screen makes it so that people who aren't wearing the headset can still get in on some action.
Whether you're looking to use VR glasses to up your gaming, partake in lifelike sports, or go on an epic adventure without leaving your home, there's a headset that's just right for you. Now you know the different categories of headsets, the components to consider before making your choice, and some of the best options out there.