With the launch of the Oculus Quest 2 and Valve’s Half-Life: Alyx, 2020 was a great year for VR gaming, but 2021 has been promising for the medium too, which makes now as good a time as any to shop for the best VR headset. With the announcement of Resident Evil 4 in VR, the Quest 2 continues to hold down the fort as the best VR headset out there, capable of both wireless gaming and wired PC VR–and with Oculus Air Link, you can connect to your PC wirelessly as well. Of course, there are a lot of different VR headsets out there, and the Quest 2 might not be right for everyone. It’s not quite as easy as picking a random headset and entering virtual reality.
Note: Earlier this year, the Quest 2 was temporarily unavailable for purchase while Facebook addressed reports of skin irritation from the headset. The Quest 2 recently relaunched with a new 128GB model alongside the 256GB model. So now you’re getting twice the storage as the previous base model for the same price.
Finding the best VR headset for you
The first thing that’s important to know before buying a VR headset is that some VR games are exclusive to specific headsets. Oculus and PlayStation VR both have their own storefronts that offer unique games, unavailable to HTC, Valve, and other companies’ headsets. Of course, you can still get an impressive experience with the Valve Index or HTC Vive line of headsets, especially considering the great library of VR games on Steam. Each VR headset has its advantages and unique qualities, such as high resolutions, AMOLED displays, and built-in speakers.
The Oculus Quest 2 is a powerful mobile VR headset that gives you great experiences without connecting to a PC–no sensors required. The Valve Index requires you to connect to a PC and use sensors, but it also provides the most high-end VR experience available today. And of course, there’s PlayStation VR, which has the benefit of being compatible with Sony’s first-party lineup of VR games. Each headset has its unique features and benefits, so you’ll need to decide which one is the best for you, based on your price range.
The best VR headset for 2021
Whether you’re looking for a VR headset you can play anywhere (and want something better than Gear VR), a high-end headset for the most immersive experience and motion controls on your gaming PC, or something in between, there are plenty of VR goggles to choose from. While the early days of VR gaming made us choose between the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Gear VR, more companies have entered the space. Valve stepped out on its own with the Index, Samsung created a Windows Mixed Reality headset with the Samsung HMD Odyssey+, and Sony released its PlayStation VR, which has proved fairly popular among PS4 players and will be compatible with PS5. Check out some of our top picks for 2021 below.