In Review

Another reality: the best VR headsets for the virtual world

These gadgets bring the real and digital realms closer than ever before

Oculus Rift

One of the pioneers of modern virtual reality (VR) is Oculus, a US-based gadget firm acquired by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for around $2bn (£1.4bn) in 2014. The company has since become the go-to name for gamers and professionals looking for a powerful VR device.

Oculus’s headset is called the Rift. It has a pair of 1080x1200 resolution monitors for each eye that are housed in a relatively compact frame. The system also comes with two Touch controllers and two motion sensors, which connect to the headset through a lightweight cable. 

You’ll need a powerful computer to be able to run games in VR, but the Rift’s visual quality is among the best. 

£399; Amazon.co.uk

HTC Vive Pro

If you’re on the hunt for the best in VR image quality and head-tracking performance, the HTC Vive Pro is the headset for you. 

Unveiled at the Las Vegas-based Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January, the Vive Pro sports a pair of 1440x1600 resolution OLED screens for each eye. Those figures equate to a 718% increase in image clarity over the previous Vive, while the head strap has been redesigned to make the device feel more comfortable during long periods of use. 

Much like the Oculus Rift, a high-end PC with a powerful processor and top-tier graphics cards will be needed to make use of the Vive Pro.

£799; John Lewis.  

PlayStation VR

Gaming in VR isn’t exclusive to PC users as Sony offers its PlayStation VR headset for PS4 and PS4 Pro players. 

While the headset doesn’t quite match the image quality of the HTC Vive Pro and Oculus Rift, the PSVR is significantly cheaper than both its rivals and compatible with a host of console-exclusive games. These include Gran Turismo Sport VR, Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.

You can plug the PSVR into a PC, but you’ll need to download a piece of software from third party developers Trinus VR.

£259;Amazon.co.uk.

Oculus Go

For those who don’t have a Sony-branded home console or a powerful gaming PC, the Oculus GO [pictured top] is one of the few-standalone VR headsets there is. 

This means there’s no need for an external piece of hardware to drive the Oculus Go as all the necessary computer power is stored in the headset. There are numerous games and videos you can interact with, giving you a taste of VR without the high price tag. 

Oculus Go isn’t on sale yet but it may be soon. Tech Radar says it’s expected to be released shortly after Facebook’s F8 developer’s conference on 1 May.

$199 (£140); Oculus.

Samsung Gear VR 2017

Samsung seems to have every area in the world of gadgets covered and the realm of VR is no exception.  

The company’s Gear VR is a headset that works with your Samsung smartphone. Simply download VR games and apps directly to your phone, before slotting your mobile into the front of the headset.

As the Gear VR makes use of your Samsung smartphone’s AMOLED display, you can expect an impressive picture quality that’s on a par with some of the more expensive headsets on sale.

£119; Amazon.co.uk.

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