Which VR headset should you buy? It’s the question anyone who’s ever considered getting into VR has asked themselves, I know I have. Despite a huge amount of enthusiasm around VR it’s still proving difficult to work out which headsets are good, which are bad and what they require to work.
What’s needed is a simple comparison between all the major headsets (there are more than listed here, but they are mostly copycats). Check out my comparison table and quick summaries of the most popular VR headsets out now and it might make your decision slightly easier.
VR Headset Comparison Table 2019
|Specs||HTC Vive||Oculus Rift||PSVR||Samsung Odyssey||Oculus Go||HTC Vive Pro||Lenovo Explorer||Samsung Gear VR|
|Max Field of View||110°||110°||110°||110°||100°||110°||110°||96°|
|Max Resolution||2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)||2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)||1920×1080
(960 × 1080 per eye)
|2880 x 1600
(1440 x 1600 per eye)
|2560 x 1440||2880 x 1600
(1440 x 1600 per eye)
|2880 x 1440
(1440 x 1600 per eye)
|2560 x 1440|
|Screen Type||Duel AMOLED||Duel AMOLED||AMOLED||AMOLED||Fast-Switch WQHD LCD||Duel AMOLED||LCD||AMOLED|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, gyroscope||Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer||Accelerometer, gyroscope||6-Axis ACC & Gyro, 3-Axis Compass, Proximity sensor, IPD Sensor||Gyroscope||SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensor||Proximity, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer||Accelerator, gyrometer, geomagnetic, proximity|
|Max Refresh Rate||90Hz||90Hz||90Hz, 120Hz||90Hz||Unknown||90Hz||90 Hz||60Hz|
|Tracking||6 DOF IR Laser-based 360-degree tracking using “Lighthouse” Base Stations||6 DOF Constellation camera optical 360- degree IR LED tracking||6 DOF PlayStation Camera optical 360-degree LED tracking||2 x 6 DOF camera||Orientational Tracking||–||2 x Inside-out motion tracking cameras||N/A|
|Requirements||PC with VR ready specs||PC with VR ready specs||Playstation 4||WMR Compatible PC||None||PC with advanced VR ready specs||WMR Compatible PC||Samsung Smartphone|
|Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price||Check Price|
What you should lookout for
If you’ve just become interested in getting a VR headset you may not understand some of the terminology or what it means, so let me try and clear things up for you.
Field of View: The higher the better. This refers to how much of your eyesight will be covered when wearing theVR headset. The human eye has a field of view of around 180 degrees, so a field of view of 110 will pretty much cover your whole vision
Resolution: Again, the higher the screen resolution of your headset the better. Higher resolution screens are able to produce a clearer image and more immersive experience.
Pixel Density: Many technology journalists consider pixel density to be a more accurate measurement of how clear a VR headset image will be. The pixel density is essentially how many pixels are visible in a square inch. The more pixels the less likely you are to see the individual pixels and the clearer the image will be.
Screen Type: Most headsets utilize AMOLED screens which are considered superior to LCD screens.
Tracking: This is a slightly more complicated subject, as some headsets are not designed to track your whole body and some can track you around an entire room. The PSVR uses a camera to track hand movements, however you’ll be limited to the wire attaching you to the system. The same is true for more advanced HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, however these utilize more accurate body tracking. Some headsets are stand alone and require no wires or cameras, however these usually don’t allow for advanced body tracking.
- Room Scale Tracking
- 6Dof Controllers
- Large Gaming/Software Ecosystem
- Duel AMOLED Screens
- Requires Powerful PC
- Lots of Wires
- Lower ppi compared to cheaper headsets
The HTC Vive is often considered to be the pinnacle of VR headset technology thus far. It’s been in a constant battle with the Oculus rift for best selling full headset. The Vive now has to compete with several other headsets (including it’s new big brother, the Vive Pro) which have some superior specs, however the Vive has a huge backlog of compatible games and software.Check Price
- Accurate Motion Controls
- Duel AMOLED Screens
- Built in 360 Audio
- No Room Scale Tracking
- Required Powerful PC
The Oculus rift is the device that sparked the VR revolution and since Facebook took over development, has become one of the most popular headsets yet. The Rift utilized two AMOLED displays with an average pixel density. The Rifts main strength is the huge amount of games available on its ecosystem, which is even larger than the Vive. While you’ll need a fairly powerful PC, the requirements are not as extreme as some other headsets.Check Price
- Cheaper option
- Many amazing games available
- No PC required
- Lower Resolution
- Less Impressive Immersion
- Requires Playstation Camera and Move controllers for full experience
The PS4 VR headset is proving to be a very popular option for VR enthusiasts, and developers are taking notice with a constant flow of new games. The PSVR is considered a less powerful but cheaper option, and it’s guaranteed to work with your PS4. If you already have this console then it might be a no brainer to at least try out the PSVR and see how you feel with it. While the headset itself isn’t too expensive, you’ll need the camera and move controllers for the best experience, which can make the full package a bit pricey still.Check Price
- High PPI
- High Resolution Screen
- High Build Quality
- Tracking not as accurate
- Not as many games or software available
The Samsung Odyssey is one of a range of headsets designed for the Windows Mixed Reality ecosystem, which is essentially Microsoft’s way of getting into the VR game. These headsets are all designed to work with Windows PC’s and Laptops, but usually the requirements aren’t as high as other headsets. The Odyssey is the most adanced WMR headset yet and comes packed with one of the best screens and ppi of any VR headset. If clarity is what you are after then the Odyssey might be for you, however some have said the tracking capabilities are not as good as the HTC Vive or Rift.Check Price
- Excellent Screen
- Lots of Content
- Stand Alone
- No Body Tracking
- Low Refresh Rate
The Oculus Go is probably the best selling headset ever thanks to the famous name and low price. The Go is desigend to be accessable to anyone and doesn’t require a laptop or a phone to work. The first stand alone VR headset comes with a high resolution screen which makes for a pretty clear experience when vewing VR video or playing games. The low price makes the Go one of the best ways to get into VR but you need to be aware that it’s not the same experience as its bigger brother the Oculus Rift. The Go can only track your head and controller movement, this is known as 3 degrees of freedom and limits when you can do in the VR world. The Go is best used for viewing VR video and playing simple games and thankfully there’s almost an endless supply of such content on the Oculus Store.
See Also: Oculus Go vs PSVR