What is the Best VR Headset 2018? The Oculus Rift? HTC Vive? The soon to be released Xbox One VR headset?
Virtual reality headsets aren’t a new concept, but their demand and availability has increased exponentially in the last few years.
Technology has increased as well, and all these aspects combined help to provide a great platform for the VR Headsets in 2018. In this review, we’ll take a look at the top VR Headsets of 2018, and combined with user experience and online reviews, we’ll break down what you need to know to find the best VR simulator.
So lets get started on the Best VR Headset 2018 review.
Best VR Headset 2018
|HTC Vive||Tethered||1,080 by 1,200||HDMI, DisplayPort, USB 2.0, USB 3.0|
|Oculus Rift||Tethered||1,080 by 1,200||HDMI, USB 2.0, USB 3.0|
|PlayStation VR||Tethered||960 by 1,080||HDMI, USB 2.0|
|Samsung Gear VR||Mobile||2,560 by 1,440||USB 2.0, USB 3.0|
|Google Daydream View||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None||(Under $80)|
|Google Cardboard||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None||(Under $20)|
|IncrediSonic VR Headset||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None||(Under $40)|
|3D VR Headset||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None|
|Merge VR Headset||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None|
|NeuTab VR Headset||Mobile||Phone Dependent||None|
1. HTC Vive – Best VR Headset 2018
With the VR headset market still in it’s infancy, it’s refreshing to see a product come out that provides a complete user experience. And trust me, this VR headset is on a whole other level than what is currently available. It’s almost a night and day difference. So lets take a look at what the HTC Vive has to offer and what makes it the Best VR Headset 2018.
The HTC Vive VR Headset is a tethered device, so you will need a computer to do all the heavy lifting. So before we start, you’ll need at least the following:
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
- RAM: 4 GB or more
- Output: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
- USB: 1x USB 2.0 or better port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1 or later
As you can see, this isn’t the Google Cardboard experience, but we knew that going in.
At it’s best, the HTC Vive VR Headset provides optimal one-to-one movement tracking; seamless scene transitions, natural 110-degree field of view, and unmatched 3D VR apps. The 2160 x 1200 OLED screen runs at 90Hz, which isn’t the best in it’s class, but the added hardware makes the entire experience flawless.
The HTC Vive VR Headset utilizes the popular SteamVR client that offers the latest games and demos that is unmatched on any other platform available.
Equipped with two camera base stations, the HTC Vive VR Headset is a step above all others which only project from one. Set the base stations up in the room and then let the 72 tracking controllers set you limitations. It’s really the most advanced and well tracker device in the best VR Headset 2018 list.
You’ll also notice faint blue lines projected into your 3D virtual environment that let you know where the edge of the room is. A very handy feature.
The adjustable VR headset is a little bulky, but still comfortable for longer periods of use by a helmet for virtual reality.
Overall, the HTC Vive VR Headset is the class leader in virtual reality at the moment. It’s seamless viewing is a big improvement over lesser virtual reality headsets that tend to tear or lag as you view the 3D world.
If you are serious about VR headsets, then the HTC Vive VR Headset is the best at the moment and why it’s at the top of the best VR Headset 2018. With that said, the upcoming release of the Xbox One VR headset is sure to cause some ripples in the virtual reality gaming world.
2. Oculus Rift
Between the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it’s hard to go wrong in selecting either virtual reality headset. Both offer a great virtual reality experience. But like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift is another tethered device that requires a top of the line stand alone PC to get the most out of it.
Lets take a look at these VR goggles and see why they are ranked high in the best VR headset 2018 list.
The Oculus Rift VR Headset has been on the VR headset market for awhile now and while not a complete success when first introduced, it is now one of the best VR headsets for the money.
Improved upon by the introduction of motion hand controllers called Oculus Touch, the user experience is now one of the best. The downside is that Oculus Touch is not included with the Oculus Rift and is sold separately. You’ll have to settle for the Xbox One Controller that comes with it out of the box and is a huge step down if you don’t order Oculus Touch separately or bundled.
It’s no secret that you need a high end PC to get the best our of the top VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Minimum PC specs for the Oculus Rift VR Headset are the following:
- Video Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater
- CPU: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- Memory: 8GB+ RAM
- Video Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
- USB Ports: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port
- OS: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer
Processor recommendations for the Oculus Rift are on par with the HTC Vive, while it’s recommend you have 4GB more of ram (8GB Total). However, the graphics card specs are considerably lower than what is recommended for the HTC Vive. Overall this makes it cheaper to build a capable PC for the Oculus Plus than the HTC Vive.
The Oculus Rift VR Headset is equipped with 3D earphones that sit on top of your ears. They are actually quite comfortable and can be flipped aside if you need to hear something in the real world. You can also use a pair of your own headphones as Oculus has made the Oculus Rift compatible with most headsets.
The Oculus Drift will recognize when you put the headset on and and automatically turn on. Same goes for taking them off, the headset will recognize you took them off and the screen will turn off. A pretty handy feature.
The 360 view is really good on the Oculus Rift. There’s very little tearing and lagging that seems to plague other VR headsets. While you’ll never be able to immerse yourself completely in the VR world do the the feel of the cords protruding out of the Oculus Rift VR headset, it’s about as good as you can get with where technology stands right now in the virtual reality headset world.
The game selection for the Oculus Rift is one of the best offered for virtual reality headsets currently as well. Essentially all of the top games are available like the ever popular Elite Dangerous.
Virtual Reality Videos
Broken down between levels of nausea created, the Oculus Rift games are listed as comfortable, moderate, or intense. So you’ll be able to gauge just how bad the experience might feel if you’re easily motion sick, which will likely happen at some point.
Overall, the Oculus Rift is the second best virtual headset in best VR headset 2018 list. With a capable high end PC and the games that are available, it will let you experience the top of the virtual reality technology movement which is only seconded by the HTC Vive. It’s also more affordable than the HTC Vive and the Oculus Touch motion controllers combine to add a seamless operating atmosphere while immersed in the VR world.
With the upcoming release of the Xbox One VR headset, keep an eye on the the Oculus Rift and how it’s incorporated into the mix. The Oculus Rift Xbox One capable device would be pretty interesting. How much is the Oculus Rift? Check the price below at Amazon.com.
It isn’t surprising that a virtual reality headset like the PlayStation VR is no longer the leader of the virtual reality pack. That’s to be expected since it’s now been on the market for 2 years and newcomers such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive harness newer technology. But with virtual reality still in it’s infancy, the PlayStation VR still ranks high among the best available right now at an even better price. Let’s take a look why it ranks #3 on the best VR headset 2018 list.
The PlayStation VR is centered on one thing, and that’s the ever popular PlayStation 4 console. That’s right, you won’t need to purchase the latest and greatest PC to power the PlayStation VR. Something both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive pretty much demand.
Considering a PS4 is less than $300, that’s quite the savings over having to purchase a top of the line PC that could be well in to the $1000’s.
But that’s not to say you won’t have other added costs beyond the PS4 console just to experience the PlayStation VR. You’ll have to purchase a PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move Controllers just to get the full experience. Just keep that in mind.
However, Sony has made this easier by offering the PlayStation VR in couple different packages. The first is a standalone PlayStation VR package that just comes with the basics such as the headset, headphones, and cables. The second option is to purchase the PlayStation VR Bundle Package that includes everything already mentioned, plus the Play Station 4 Camera and PlayStation Move Controllers.
The PlayStation VR bundle package is everything you would need for the full user experience. It even includes a few games like PlayStation VR Worlds.
The PlayStation VR works by having the PlayStation 4 Camera work with sensors in the headset and controllers. The PlayStation Camera tracks your movements and relays your position to the PS4 which In turn projects the correct visuals. This is great, as long as the camera doesn’t lose track of the controllers, which seems to happen often.
You’re also limited by the distance you can travel since the camera’s range is not much more than 6 feet. A stationary and controlled environment is needed to maximize the user experience with the PlayStation VR.
The 1080 OLED 5.7″ display is on par with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The PlayStation VR is more than capable of letting you immerse yourself into a VR world. Nausea is also a concern, if you’re easily affected by it.
Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, Sony is the leader in the gaming world and the PlayStation VR has it’s support. While other VR headsets are trying to forge alliances with game manufactures or other outlets, the PlayStation VR is set up with Sony’s massive support and game system already in place.
Virtual Reality Videos
The visual 3D world projected by the PlayStation VR is not as good as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift at their best, but it will allow you to feel fully immersed in the VR world. The lagging and screen tear are minimal, and the experience only improves if you upgrade to the PS4 Pro with its extra processing power.
For these reasons and its affordability, the Sony PlayStation VR is still one of the best VR headsets available in a market that is still in its infancy. With Sony backing it and the PS4 platform always improving, it will be a tough contender for years to come. The Sony PlayStation VR ranks #3 in the best vr headset 2018.
As you may have noticed, Samsung has reintroduced the Gear VR headset recently. This new virtual reality headset is similar in design to the old Samsung Gear VR, so don’t picture anything too drastic (although it is available in white). With Samsung’s new partnership with Oculus and the release of the Galaxy S7 line, the two help add more features that make the experience so much better. Lets check out why the Samsung Gear VR makes the Best VR Headset 2018 list.
The new Samsung Gear VR has a few design changes from the earlier version Gear VR. These changes come in the form of added comfort for longer periods of use. The rubber seal that sits against your face is of a more rugged design and the straps which secure the Gear VR to your head have been redesigned to allow for more adjustability.
You’ll also find added USB connections that weren’t available on the original Gear VR. This allows you to connect other devices such as motions sensor cameras compatible with the new Galaxy 7 USB-Type C connection.
The user interface is very similar and if you’ve used the Samsung Gear VR headset before, you’ll easily be able to navigate the Oculus interface you’re familiar with. But you will need a Samsung phone that is compatible with the Samsung Gear VR. The Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, S7 and S7 Edge will all work.
As you can see though, the Samsung Gear VR is limited in the same ways that the Oculus Rift and HTV Vive were, in that they need a very specialized group of equipment in order to use it. Unfortunately it’s a matter of biting the bullet with the top virtual reality headsets on the market at the moment until an all-in-one device come about. But who knows when that might be?
The good news is that Samsung is offering a special combo deal currently that allows you to get the Samsung Gear VR for free with the purchase of a qualifying Galaxy S7 phone. That’s a pretty good deal if you ask me.
The Samsung Gear VR is equipped with many of the same features from the earlier version. The slider is still located on the top of the headset which allows you to adjust the distance the screen is from your face for added clarity.
With the combination of lighter phones and the lighter Samsung Gear VR, the whole apparatus is more comfortable to wear. And you’ll very rarely have to take it off since Samsung installed several user interface options on the outside of the device that you can use while immersed in the VR world. A touch panel, return button, and volume adjustment are all location on the right side of the Samsung Gear VR for easy adjustments. You won’t have to remove the headset to make adjustments, something that has plagued other virtual reality headsets on the market.
While not on the same level as the 360 degree view offered with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the Samsung Gear VR still gives you 96 viewing degrees which is enough to get a decent virtual reality experience at an affordable cost.
The teaming of Samsung with Oculus has also stepped up the game development that’s offered now. Netflix has even joined in to provide a platform that mirrors your living room in the virtual world as you navigate games and VR 3D apps.
Image quality and 3D experience are limited by the mobile device you have installed in the headset. The 5 inch display and HD resolution is great for everyday mobile phone use, but the games and 3D VR apps just haven’t caught up yet. Don’t expect a flawless virtual world just yet. Lagging and low quality tearing are prevalent with the Samsung Gear VR.
However, it’s an affordable device that provides an introduction into the virtual reality headset world and for most people that is enough. If you already have a compatible Samsung phone the it makes even more sense pick up a Samsung Gear VR and see what all the fuss is about.
Currently Googles flagship virtual reality headset design, the Google Daydream View is another wireless VR headset that incorporates compatible mobile devices into a 3D virtual experience. But how does the Google Daydream view compare to other VR headsets and what does it have to offer? Lets take a look at why it’s included in the best VR headset 2018 list.
The Google Daydream View has the classic VR headset design seen with most other manufacturers including the Samsung Gear VR. A compatible mobile device is placed in the front compartment and held secure by a top latch. The adjustable head strap is pretty basic and offers little more than the obvious.
But that’s not to say the Google Daydream View isn’t a capable virtual reality platform. It works just fine for what it is and Googles vision was that of simplicity. And we all know with simplicity comes a good price. While not cardboard price, it’s still a step up and you won’t look like you cut up a packing box to experience the virtual reality world.
The Google Daydream View is covered completely in a soft cloth material that sets itself apart from the uninviting hard plastic that so many other virtual reality headsets come with. This sense of refinement is a nice added touch.
The Google Daydream View is compatible with all google daydream phones, so that basically just means the Google Pixel phone at the moment. Considering the Google Pixel phone is currently around $600, it’s another virtual reality headset set up specifically for the manufacturers hardware. Which isn’t much of a problem if you already have a Google Pixel Phone, but a difficult proposition if you don’t and aren’t looking to upgrade.
Once the Google Pixel Phone is positioned in the Google Daydream View, it will automatically sense the connection and start the VR headset Apps. This is a pretty handy feature when it works.
The Google Daydream View pairs with the controller that is included with the virtual reality headset. It’s similar in design and function to the Oculus Rift controllers. Unlike the Samsung Gear VR who’s external controls are mounted on the side of the VR headset itself, the Google Daydream View controller allows you do all that without having to raise your hand to fumble for control button. This allows for a more seamless interface as you interact with 3D VR apps and selection screens within the device display.
The home screen for the Google Daydream View is a virtual forest that shows popular apps and games. Scrolling through the different options is pretty easy and everything seems to be set up in a intuitive manner. You’ll be able to select Google Street View, Youtube VR, and many other 3d VR apps.
It’s still important to keep in mind that expectations with most virtual reality headsets that utilize mobile devices are still in the infancy stage of development. The Pixel Phone will allow you to experience the best that mobile phone hardware is capable of projecting, but it’s still not the experience you would get from the top VR headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Expect some minimal lagging and screen tears, as well as a limited field of view.
Regardless, if you have a Google Pixel phone and want to experience the 3D virtual world, the Google Daydream View is the right choice for you at a really good price. The interface is user friendly and the headset itself is one of the most refined on the market currently. The Google Daydream View ranks #5 on the best VR headset 2018 list.
6. Google Cardboard – Best Budget VR Headset Under $20
At first glance one might think Google Cardboard is a joke and ask why is it included with the other Best VR Headset 2018? Well, maybe it is a joke, but when a company such as Google develops an inexpensive plan to provide 3D experience and availability to a large group of people, it should be applauded. Lets take a look at the Google Cardboard and see what it has to offer.
Cardboard and more Cardboard. I hope you’re not allergic to cardboard. All kidding aside, the simplicity and design of the google cardboard is about what you would expect. It’s essentially a cardboard case with two glass lenses. But when paired with VR app and your mobile device, it’s an inexpensive virtual reality machine and a great introductory platform.
When the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive cost $1000’s to get going, the Google Cardboard requires less than $20 assuming you already have a compatible mobile device. The Google Cardboard does not have a head strap though, so all viewing will have to be done as you hold it to your face. That is of course unless you would like to rig up a head strap yourself.
The Google Cardboard works great with Google Play and the Apple App Store. There’s a ton of 3D VR apps and games available to try out too. The user experience is a lot lower than the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, but we knew that going in. You can easily pass the Google Cardboard around to friend so they can see what all the fuss is about. And really that was the reason for the Cardboard design, a virtual reality device that is easily shared and capable of being viewed by as many people as possible.
Expect the same user experience plagued by most mobile VR headsets on the market today. Your degree of viewing will be limited and the experience will only be as good as your smartphone and 3D VR apps can provide. With that said, the Google Cardboard still remains a great introductory VR Headset at the best price possible and ranks high in the best VR headset 2018 list.
Compatible Smartphone Devices Include:
- 4.0-6.0 inch screen Android Devices
- Samsung S3 S4 S5 S6 S6edge S6edge+ Note2 Note3, Note4 Note5
- iOS Devices: iPhone 4/4S, iPhone 5/5S, iPhone 6 4.7, iPhone 6 Plus 6S
The IncrediSonic VR Headset comes with a handy remote included that acts as a mouse, game joystick, music controller, and camera zoom. The Bluetooth controller pairs with your mobile device within seconds.
The IncrediSonic VR Headset opens up to allow for the placement of you mobile device and openings on the side allow access tot he audio jack to connect headphones.
The IncrediSonic VR Headset works great with Google Play and the Apple App Store. There’s a ton of 3D VR apps and games available to try out too. Included as a bonus you will find an NFC Sticker Tag. This is strictly for NFC enabled Android phones. The NFC tag sends a beacon to your phone when in close proximity, and using the free app from the Google Play store named “NFC Task Launcher”, you can assign actions to perform once the connection has been made such as “Launch Google Cardboard”. This makes it simpler for the phone to recognize it has been placed in the VR Glasses by attaching the sticker to the inside of the device behind where the phone is to be placed and also makes the application launch hands free.
The IncrediSonic VR Headset is a nice wireless option VR headset, however, user experience will be heavily dependent on which smartphone device you pair it with. The parable Bluetooth remote adds a nice feature that increases the user experience that isn’t standard with other devices listed in the best VR headset 2018 review.
BNext latest offering in the virtual reality market is the 3D VR Headset. Introduced as another introductory VR headset, it’s price is right in line with what you would expect from such a device. It helps round out the best VR headset of 2018.
Compatible Smartphone Devices Include:
- iPhone 7/6 plus/6/5s/5c/5
- Samsung Galaxy s5/s6/s7/note4/note5/edge
- Google Pixel
- 4″- 6.0″ smartphones ( iOS/Microsoft/droid )
- LG, Huawei, HTC, Nexus & Sony.
BNext designed the 3D VR Headset with a fully adjustable head strap, eyesight protection system, and a soft nose piece to reduce pressure. Remaining comfortable during long session will not be an issue.
The 3D VR headset offers FD and OD adjustments (wide FOV) to expand the viewing angle and perfectly match focal distance and unilateral myopic alignment for reduced distortion.This is important as VR headsets are not set for each user automatically and need adjustments to better fit the individual user.
Top Features Include:
- Breathable Foam Face for Extended Wear
- Comfortable and Adjustable Head Straps
- FD and OD Adjustments for Reduced Distortion
- Eyesight Protection System
- Supports Screen Resolutions: HD, 3D, 720p, 1080p
There are over 200 games and app in the Google Play and the Apple App Store. User experience will be dependent on the smartphone device you use. Expect it to be inline with other mobile 3D virtual headsets listed in the best VR headset 2018 review.
Often recognized for it’s iconic purple outer display, the Merge VR Headset is one of the best virtual reality headsets available for kids 10 and up. Lets see why it’s included in the best VR Headset 2018 review.
Compatible Smartphone Devices:
- iPhone 6 and newer
- Galaxy S5 and newer
- HTC One M8 and newer
- LG G4 and newer
- Compatible with most iOS and Android devices from the last 2 years and fits iPhone 5 to iPhone 6 Plus in size.
Made of soft form foam, the Merge VR Headset comfortably conforms to the contours of your face. Its one of the most comfortable VR headsets of 2018.
It’s dual inputs provide unique input system using both left and right buttons that allow you to perform two different actions at once, such as run and jump or steer left and right. No need for a dedicated controller.
The rugged foam unibody design can withstand daily wear and tear, so you can throw it in your backpack or toss it in the back seat of your car. The Merge VR Goggles are designed to go anywhere.
Additional features include: audio ports, anti-fog channels, camera access for augmented reality, and optional top strap for added support.
Neutab is not a well known manufacturer in the virtual reality headset world, but they’ve managed to provide a product that is on par with Google Cardboard, while not made out of cardboard itself. Lets take a look at the NeuTab VR Headset and see why it rounds out the best VR headset 2018 review.
Compatible with massive models of phones which have a screen size from 3.5” to 6.3”. Just put the phone in
the tray, connect your headphone, put on the headset and surf!
Size of Supported Smartphones include:
- Phone Width: 2.3 to 3.1 inches
- Phone Height: 3.5 to 6.3 inches
- Phone Thickness: 0.27 to 0.37 inches
Compatible with both Apple Store and Google Play Store including hundreds of 3d VR apps and games available.
Wrapping it Up
Hopefully the question of what is the best VR headset has finally been answered and you have found the right VR simulator for your needs. With the host of 3D VR Apps available and those that are being developed currently, the VR world is only going to improve in the years to come. This virtual reality glasses review touched on the best VR headsets of 2018, while providing a comparison list of what’s available for all price points. Check back for updated reviews as new VR headsets are released.
Xbox One VR
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