5 Best Virtual Reality Headsets 2020 | The Sun UK
VIRTUAL reality (VR) is growing at an unprecedented rate.
From design to medical applications, this technology is becoming cheaper and more powerful by the day, allowing for new horizons to be explored.
Of course, gaming is still at the top when it comes to VR use, and several games are bringing this tech to the next level.
As this technology evolves, it also becomes more affordable, compact, and easier to use.
Whether you're interested in virtual reality for games or other applications, however, finding the right headset is not always an easy feat, as flag-ship headsets' prices can still be quite prohibitive.
Using our experts' knowledge and user rating around the web, we have selected the best virtual reality headsets for your money.
1. Best standalone VR headset: Oculus Quest
CPU: 4 Kryo 280 Gold (ARM Cortex-A73 based) @ 2.45 GHz + 4 Kryo 280 Silver (ARM CortexA73 based) @ 1.9 GHz. Memory: 4 GB x2. Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB. Display: PenTile OLED 1440 × 1600 per eye @ 72 Hz. Graphics: Adreno 540. Sound: Integrated stereo speakers, 2 × 3.5 mm headphone jack. Input: 6DOF inside-out tracking through 4 built-in cameras. Controller input: 2nd generation Oculus Touch motion tracked controllers. Camera: 4 cameras. Connectivity: USB Type-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi. Online services: Oculus Store. Weight: 571g
- Oculus Quest – £499.00 from Amazon, buy now
If your goal is to enjoy a virtual reality experience free from wires and without the need for powerful computers, look no further than the Oculus Quest.
The first truly all-in-one gaming headset, the Oculus Quest packs some interesting specs at a record-low price.
The tag price of £499.00 may seem daunting, but in the realm of high-specs VR headsets, that's actually a pretty good deal, as you won't need to spend anything else on an expensive PC.
No cables or external sensors also means you can charge your Oculus Quest in minutes via the provided USB-C cable and start playing straight away.
Put on the headset, create manual "gaming boundaries" with the help of the Quest's sensor cameras, and you are ready to go.
The headset will warn you if you're leaving the area, so you can rest assured you're not going to smash your TV while playing Beat Saber.
2. Best VR headset for console gaming: PlayStation VR
Display: 5.7" OLED, 100° field of view. Graphics: 1080p RGB (960 × 1080 per eye; 90–120Hz refresh rate). Sound: 3D audio through headphone jack, and available microphone input. Input: Positional tracking with 9 LEDs via PlayStation Camera. Controller input: DualShock 4 controller, PlayStation Aim, PlayStation Move. Camera: PlayStation Camera. Online services: Play Station Network. Weight: 600 g.
- Sony PlayStation VR – £249.00 from Amazon, buy now
Coming down to only £249.00 but requiring a PlayStation 4 system, the Sony PlayStation VR is undoubtedly the best VR headset for console gaming.
With a responsive refresh rate and excellent head tracking, the PlayStation VR is an excellent competitor in the real of high-specs VR headsets.
It also has access to Sony's numerous PS exclusives and will be also compatible with the upcoming PS5 console.
The main downside of the PS VR headset has been for a while the fact that it required different sensors to work properly, such as PlayStation Camera and Move controllers.
However, Sony has recently started releasing bundles including these accessories for anyone who wants to start experiencing virtual reality.
Do you own a PS4? Then the PlayStation VR is probably the best headset for you.
3. The best headset for mobile VR: Samsung Gear VR
Display: Display of inserted smartphone. Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2 BLE private profile. Lens (interpupilary distance (IPD) / eye relief): 62mm (fixed) / 10mm. Controller input: Motion Controller. Online services: Play Store. Weight: 345 g.
- Samsung Gear VR – £114.49 from Amazon, buy now
Before exploring the two most expensive and high-end VR headsets on the market, it is useful to mention here the Samsung Gear VR, as it is the best mobile headset by a long shot.
Of course, with the Oculus Quest changing the perception of VR on-the-go, it is uncertain if smartphone-powered VR headsets will retail their crown over the mobile VR market.
However, the biggest flaw of smartphone-powered VR headsets so far has been the lack of dedicated controllers, which made the gaze-based navigation frustrating at best.
The 2017 version of the Samsung Gear VR introduced a handy motion controller that works remarkably well.
Combined with the extremely low tag price of £114.49, this makes the Samsung Gear a good and cheaper alternative to any other mobile headset.
Of course, you'll have to have a decent Samsung smartphone to utilise the full power of this headset.
The Samsung Gear VR is compatible with most Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S9, S9+, Note8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, Note5, S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge.
4. The second-best PC VR headset: Oculus Rift S
Display: Fast-switch LCD 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye) @ 80 Hz. Sound: Integrated speakers. Input: 6DOF inside-out tracking through 5 built-in cameras. Controller input: 2nd generation Oculus Touch motion tracked controllers. Camera: 5 cameras. Online services: Oculus Store. Connectivity: Display Port 1.2, USB 3.0. Weight: 500 g.
- Oculus Rift S – £399.00 from Amazon, buy now
A glance at the specs above will give you an idea why the Oculus Rift S is a great headset.
Like its predecessor, the Rift S requires a high-end PC to truly shine.
The VR experience is somehow encumbered by the presence of cables on the back of the headset, but the trade-off is definitely worth it, as the Oculus Rift S packs in some spectacular graphics.
However, the headset only reached the second place in our list because it's only an incremental update when considering its predecessor Oculus Rift.
In fact, while the Rift S is easier to set up, has a wider game library than the Rift at its launch and has an improved resolution, it is a downgrade when it comes to audio and refresh rate.
5. The best PC VR headset: Valve Index
Operating system: Windows, Linux. Display: 2880×1600 (1440×1600 per eye) LCD @ 80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, or 144Hz. Sound: Integrated headphones, 3.5mm audio jack, built-in dual microphone array. Controller input: Valve Index Controllers (formerly known as Knuckles controllers). Camera: Front-facing 960×960 stereo cameras. Connectivity: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 expansion port. Online services: Steam. Weight: 809 g.
- Valve Index – £399.00 from Steam, buy now
The king of commercial virtual reality on the market, the Valve Index is the next-gen VR headset that everyone has been waiting for.
Extremely-high quality display, tracking of all fingers via motion controller and a wider field of view are only some of the best VR features this headset has to offer.
A consistent upgrade from the HTC Vive, the Valve Index also has an extensive game library via Steam.
With a price of almost £400, the headset is not cheap, but it is the only way to access the world of next-gen virtual reality.
How much is a VR headset?
As you might have noticed from the prices above, virtual reality headsets greatly vary in price, depending on a series of factors. The most obvious one is the distinction between mobile and desktop-powered VR headsets.
The first ones are usually cheaper, starting from a few quid for a Google Cardboard (which you can make yourself if you feel so inclined), to a little over £100 for the Samsung Gear VR, our pick for best mobile-powered VR headset.
If your smartphone is not compatible with the Samsung Gear VR, there are a series of mid-range mobile VR headsets you can check-out on Amazon.
In the middle between smartphone-powered and PC headsets are the standalone ones. A still quite niche category of which the Oculus Quest is the undisputed best.
What do you use VR headsets for?
Virtual reality headsets can be used for a variety of things. While gaming applications are still the most widespread by far, there are many apps today aiding people in various tasks.
For example, shoppers are using virtual reality experiences to visualise items of clothing and try them on.
VR is also used in healthcare, to train surgeons before they operate on humans, and to treat patients who suffer from anxiety and other mental conditions.
Finally, virtual reality is widely used in education, to deliver interactive learning experiences on a larger scale, and to reach rural areas which otherwise would have no access to education.
Can you watch movies in VR headsets?
Of course, you can also watch movies in virtual reality. The quality of the footage itself will have to be high-quality to avoid blurry images, and the resolution of your headset will play a fundamental part in delivering an optimal experience.
That being said, in order to be able to watch something from "within the scene", the footage you're watching needs to be recorded using a 360 camera. YouTube is full of such videos, and you'll be able to experience them yourself with any VR headset.
If the video you're trying to watch was not filmed with a 360 camera, however, what you'll get is more or less a traditional "cinema" experience.
Many headsets have integrated software to play videos, and if you try to watch a regular movie, it will play in front of you, as if you were standing in front of a giant screen.
Not as immersive as with a 360 video, but definitely worth a shot if you have a good VR headset.
What do you need for virtual reality?
As mentioned earlier, you can assemble a complex system to enjoy virtual reality's capabilities to the fullest.
In addition to your headset and controllers, you'll be able to add further sensors for more accuracy in your control of the virtual environment, a sound system to enjoy truly directional sounds, and much more.
However, if you usually play virtual reality in a small space or if you can't be bothered setting up a complex system, you can always use a mobile VR headset and jump into the action immediately.
Enjoyed our roundup of the best VR headsets? Then why not take a look at our UK iPhone deals?
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