Top 10 VR headsets to spice up your Thanksgiving


In a Thanksgiving mode this week? These ten headsets will help bring you closer to your family — or help take you away.

And they all make great Christmas gifts.

1. Oculus Quest 2

Use case: Untethered high-end VR experiences.

The Oculus Quest 2 standalone virtual reality headset is the best in all categories given its room-scale VR capability, a large library of games, fast performance, and good resolution, especially for its price point. This does not mean the individual features are their best when compared with Valve Index and other top-tier headsets, but it’s the best overall value.

Although you do not need to connect it to anything to experience virtual reality, other than WiFi, it can also be connected to the PC to play computer-based VR games such as those you can install from SteamVR.

One potential downside? You will need a Facebook account to connect to the headset.

Platforms: Can play Oculus games loaded wirelessly through the built-in app store, and can also be tethered to PCs.

Tracking: Inside-out tracking and hand tracking.

Field of view: 100 degrees.

LCD Display resolution: 3664 x 1920 pixels.

Storage: 64 GB or 256 GB.

Battery life: 2 to 3 hours.

Controllers: Two wireless hand-held controllers.

Connections: USB Type-C, 3.5 millimeters headphone.

Price: $300. Buy on Amazon or directly from Oculus.

 

2. Valve Index

Use case: Half-Life: Alyx and other games that require finger tracking. The wireless Valve Index headset packs in the best features of the high-end VR headsets but they come at a price.

Like the Oculus Quest 2, it can either be used untethered, or can be connected to a PC and play SteamVR games.

Platforms: SteamVR.

Tracking: External stations enable full-space tracking, plus per-finger tracking on the wireless controllers.

Field of view: 130 degrees.

Display AMOLED resolution: 2880 x 1600 pixels.

Storage: 64 GB or 256 GB.

Battery life: 3 to 4 hours.

Controllers: Two wireless handheld controllers.

Connections: DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB 2.0.

Price: $1, 900 for full kit that includes two base stations and the two controllers from Amazon or $1,000 directly from Valve.

 

3. HTC Vive Pro 2

Best use cases: VR titles with high resolution textures and models.

The PC-tethered Vive Pro 2 is the best in terms of resolution with a 5K display but also comes at a prohibitive cost like the Vive Index. The high resolution also solves the screen door effect, besides delivering better clarity and sharpness than the Quest 2 and Valve Index.

Although you would need high-end GPUs with Nvidia GeForce RTX 20-series or Radeon RX 5000-series GPU as recommended GPUs, you can run it on GeForce RTX 3080 and AMD Ryzen 9 5900X which costs less. H

Platforms: SteamVR PC, Viveport PC on Windows with Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or better, and at least Nvidia GeForce GTX1060 or AMD Radeon RX480

Tracking: Two external base stations for full-space tracking, inside-out tracking for hand tracking including per-finger tracking on the controllers.

Field of view: 120 degrees

Display AMOLED resolution: 4896 x 2448 pixels.

Storage: Not applicable, since it tethered to the PC

Battery life: 5 hours.

Controllers: HTC Vive and Vive Pro wireless controller. Also supports Valve Knuckles controllers.

Connections: DisplayPort, USB 3.0, USB 2.0.

Price: $1, 400 for full kit on Amazon or $900 directly from HTC.

4. Playstation VR

Best use cases: Playstation console gamers.

PlayStation’s latest PSVR headset is the best for PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5 console gamers and it comes packed with a good gaming library and easy set-up. You just plug and play. It is also one of the best VR devices with which to play high-end VR because you won’t need to buy an expensive PC if you already have a Playstation. The supported VR titles are created by big-name game development companies.

Platforms: PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5.

Tracking: Playstation camera for position tracking and motion tracking.

Field of view: 100 degrees

Display OLED resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Storage: Not applicable, since it’s tethered to the Playstation.

Battery life: 5 hours.

Controllers: Move controllers.

Connections: USB-to-micro-USB cord, HDMI.

Price: $500 from Amazon for just the headset, plus $100 for the controllers and $60 for the camera. There is also a $350 Iron Man bundle available directly from Playstation that includes the camera and controllers, but it is currently out of stock.

5. HTC Vive Cosmos Elite

Use case: Mid-intensity VR games and experiences at a lower cost than Vive Pro 2 or higher end devices.

The PC-tethered entry-level Vive Cosmos comes with a less-than-perfect six-camera tracking which can be frustrating when playing some titles, but it offers decent VR experience with mid-intensity games.

Platforms: SteamVR; Windows 10 PC with Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better, with GTX 970 4GB graphics.

Tracking: True room-scale 360-degree tracking with  base stations. Supports SteamVR Tracking.

Display LCD resolution: 2880 x 1700 pixels.

Storage: Not applicable, since it is tethered to a PC.

Battery life: 4 to 8 hours.

Controllers: Vive Cosmos wireless handheld controllers.

Connections: DisplayPort and a USB 3.0.

Price: $650 on Amazon. or directly from HTC, including controllers and two base stations.

6. HoloLens 2

Use case: Enterprise-grade mixed reality experiences.

Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 is a an augmented reality headset, with cameras built right into the headset. Its selection of consumer apps and games is meager, however.

Platforms: Windows Holographic, Windows 10 Pro PC 4 core CPUs, with at least 8GB RAM, and

Tracking: Infrared cameras for 3D eyeball position tracking, multiple cameras for motion tracking and head tracking.

Field of view: 65 degrees

Display resolution: 2K 3:2 light engines. Holographic density is 2.5 K radiants.

Storage: Not applicable, since it is tethered to a PC.

Battery life: 2 to 3 hours.

Controllers: Windows Mixed Reality controllers.

Connections: Display Port 1.3, USB 3.0 Type-C.

Price: $3,500 from Microsoft.

Hololens 2. (Image courtesy Microsoft.)

7. HP Reverb G2

Use case: Low-cost 4K display VR experiences.

A huge upgrade from the first-gen VR headsets with huge textures and visuals, the Reverb G2 features a 4K display though not as good as one on the Vive Pro 2.

Platforms: Windows with Intel Core i5, i7, Intel Xeon E3-1240 v5 or higher and minimum 8 GB RAM. SteamVR, and Windows Mixed Reality.

Tracking: inside-out tracking without base stations unlike SteamVR-powered headsets. Tracking based on Based on Windows Mixed Reality tracking system with two cameras.

Field of view: 114 degrees

Display resolution: 2160 x 2160 pixels.

Storage: Not applicable, since it is tethered to a PC.

Battery life: 10 to 15 hours.

Controllers:  HP Reverb G2 Controller.

Connections: Display Port and USB 3.0 cable.

Price: $630 from Amazon or $550 direct from HP, including two motion controllers.

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