Read This Before Buying A VR Headset – Screen Rant

With more new features than you thought possible, and all the choices between platforms, you need to read this before buying a VR headset.
While some may claim that virtual reality still has not yet crossed over into the mainstream, there have never been more VR products on the market than now. Even before the pandemic changed lifestyles around the globe, more people were staying at home and living a sedentary lifestyle. As a result, there is a high demand to explore and interact with the world without stepping onto a plane. Suppose you wish to experience exotic destinations from the comfort of your chair, or just want video games to be more immersive. In that case, navigating through the maze of VR models on the market can seem dizzying. When shopping for the right VR product for you, platform, price, and portability are the three most important factors to consider.
Although Google has now discontinued its support for the Cardboard VR platform, the code behind the project is open-source and there are still plenty of Cardboard enclosures on the market. Google Cardboard works with Android and iPhone models sporting four to six-inch screens and is compatible with a variety of apps by placing a phone in a cardboard container and looking through the eyeholes. Not all Google Cardboard options are made of actual cardboard, but even plastic or metal models usually cost $40 or less. Google Cardboard apps are rather simplistic since the platform requires only one button or method of input, and you won't get the smooth experience that you do with the best VR headsets. Nevertheless, this technology serves as a capable and very affordable introduction to the world of VR.
If you are looking to step up from the most bare-bones VR options, there are some other products that utilize mobile phones and won't break the bank. The Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream are unfortunately no longer supported by their respective companies, but the Gear VR can still be found for purchase in many places for $100 or less. The Gear VR operates with the same principle of placing a smartphone into the device, but it also utilizes a USB connection to the phone. The headset features a few controller buttons on its side allowing users to enjoy some slightly more complex Oculus apps compared to the Google Cardboard's limited choices. On the downside, the Gear VR is only compatible with a range of Samsung smartphones, and because it uses a phone as its source of power, it will drain mobile batteries fairly quickly.
The Meta Quest 2 and Oculus Quest 2 are essentially the same device with different names, and provide an excellent mid-tier VR option, with some versions selling for $400 or less. The Meta Quest 2 is a standalone Android-based VR headset that does not require a smartphone beyond its initial setup. The pair of controllers and hand-tracking features allows for a higher level of interaction with games and environments than other mobile phone VR products, and the 1,832 x 1,920 per eye resolution ranks higher than even some of the most expensive VR headsets.
The $999 Valve Index undoubtedly includes the best VR headset features available, but its top-tier performance comes at a high cost and offers little in terms of portability. The unit requires a fairly beefy gaming PC with a video card, as well as a room large enough to place a series of base stations to track movements with enhanced precision. The Valve Index allows for refresh rates up to 120Hz to 144Hz, which reduces the chances of motion sickness and provides the smoothest movement possible in games and environments. Its unmatched Knuckles controllers track finger movements with a high degree of accuracy and the 130-degree viewing angle gives users the most complete perspective possible in virtual environments. The Valve Index is geared toward dedicated PC gamers, and its SteamVR platform offers VR titles inspired by some of the best-selling titles on the market.
A writer of supporting content for Buyers Guides, Adam Corsetti joined the Screen Rant team in 2022. Launching several sites related to PC hardware and gaming, Adam’s primary mission has been to explain how a new piece of technology can benefit a consumer in a digestible fashion.

In addition to being a complete tech addict obsessed with consumer electronics, Adam is also a movie and TV buff and has rewatched the entire South Park series enough times to recite the dialogue by heart.


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