The creativity we possess has lead us as a species to a path that incorporates thousands of different worlds, each being more beautiful than the other. With science fiction writers long craving for a device to transform them to other worlds, technology has been trying to deliver on the promise of virtual immersion and in the past couple of years, we are starting to move forward towards an age of virtual reality headsets. However, with so many virtual reality headsets currently on the market, which exactly are the best vr headstes?
There are multiple factors that make up a great virtual reality headset. For starters, the device must deliver great visual immersion. However, this is not the only thing that truly makes for a great virtual reality headset. With a diverse pool of virtual reality enthusiasts, there are different criteria that might constitute for the best vr headset on the market. For example, those who are looking for the best immersion, might go for something like the HTC Vive or the Fove VR, while others might argue that the Bobo Z4 VR Smartphone headset is the best vr headset on the market, simply because it gives you the best value for your money.
Whatever the case may be, we’ve decided to take some of the most common factors and criteria people are searching for in virtual reality headset and bring you a list of the Best VR Headsets of 2016. Without further ado, here they are.
Oculus Rift – Great Device from a Company with Questionable Decisions
The Oculus Rift may very well be deemed as the headset that started the virtual reality craze. First appearing on Kickstarter the device quickly gained traction and became one of the most successfully backed projects on this website to date. Even though through the development process Oculus have managed to build a great overall product, multiple questionable decisions from the company have left fans disappointed.
First, Oculus was acquired by Facebook for as much as $2 billion, which was received quite negatively from the fans of the company. However, this was nothing compared with the company’s most recent strategies. For starters, many of the first backers of the device didn’t receive the headset they were offered, while retail stores had enough supply to offer the Oculus Rift to new customers. Furthermore, a virtual reality headset is pretty much nothing without proper controller for interaction. While the Oculus Rift would be a good enough device on its own, without a controller, the main problem people have with the company is the fact that for months they are teasing a controller and publishing release dates of said controller, which are constantly pushed back. Currently, there is no official statement of when the Oculus Rift controller will actually be released.
With all this in mind, it’s quite easy to see why fans have lost their overall respect for the Oculus Rift. Nonetheless, we can’t help but mention it on this top VR headsets lists, simply because the device as a whole is a high-tier one.
Nonetheless the Oculus Rift is one of the best virtual reality headsets currently available on the market. Even though some consider it to be a not-finished virtual reality experience, the truth is that being one of the very first virtual reality devices, the Oculus Rift is currently able to provide not only with an extremely immersive visual experience hardware-wise, but also can provide the user with a huge range of experiences software-wise. This is possible, because developers have been working on new and exciting experiences for the device since a couple of years ago, when the device was first announced.
Furthermore, the Oculus Rift is one of the highest-end virtual reality headsets for the PC market. It gives users an immersive 2160 x 1200 resolution with an impressive 90Hz refresh rate. When it comes to design, the Rift is also one of the most comfortable headsets on the market. With only one cord running out from the side of the wearer’s head, the device is also quite easily adjustable and the cord doesn’t truly interfere with the gameplay or the user’s immersion.
The set-up of the Oculus Rift is quite easy and having been one of the first virtual headsets to be announced, the Rift has a great array of immersive experiences.
- Extremely Comfortable
- Great Visual Immersion
- 90Hz Refresh Rate
- Shipping Problems
- Unknown Details of the Oculus Touch Controller
HTC Vive – The Most Immersive VR Experience
The main competitor of the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive is praised by both critics and customers as being the most immersive virtual reality experience. Incorporating a number of sensors and via its light room set-up the HTC Vive provides the user with a free-roaming experience in a limited space. What further helps the immersive nature of the device are the two controllers that come in the box with the headset, which allow for amazing interaction within the multiple experiences and games offered by SteamVR.
Developed within a collaboration between Valve and HTC, the HTC Vive plugs into PCs and is able to offer full 360-degree head-tracking. With two separate screens and a 90Hz refresh rate, the visual experience offered by the Vive can hardly be compared to any other virtual experience offered by the current headsets on the market.
Being able to capture your movements within a limited space, you are free to roam around in a virtual world. With the great visual experience, one can quickly forget themselves in the virtual world. What’s more, Valve’s long time development success with software and games has been implemented in the Vive and the device comes with the support of numerous exciting virtual reality games and experiences that any eager enthusiast should definitely try.
This makes the HTC Vive truly loved by both critics and consumers for its impressive and immersive visuals and virtual reality experience. Combine that with the numerous experiences and games available for the HTC Vive, one would think that it is the best virtual reality headset to date.
Nevertheless, there are some issues that strip away the immersiveness of the HTC Vive. For starters, the set-up of the HTC Vive is quite difficult, especially for those who are not used to set up technical gadgets in their homes. Furthermore, the device needs multiple cables, which can ruin the immersiveness of the overall experience, due to their sheer weight. Also, the headset is too heavy to be worn for multiple hours at a time.
Another issue with the HTC Vive is its price. While compared to the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive doesn’t come at that high of a price, if you are considering to buy it, you should know that you’ll need a great computer that costs upwards of $1,500 to actually run the HTC Vive smoothly. That makes the headset perfect for the hardcore gamers and virtual reality enthusiasts who want to experience something new, fun and exciting. However, the device is a long way off from conquering the end-user market.
- Extremely Immersive
- An Amazing Visual Experience
- Light-Room Free-Roaming
- 360-Degree Head-Tracking
- 90Hz Refresh Rate
- Quite Costly
- Difficult to Set Up
- Requires Great and Costly PC Hardware to Run
Sony PlayStation VR
Being released on the thirteen of October, 2016, the Sony PlayStation VR is the console virtual reality headset response to the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Rocking a 5.7-inch OLED low-persistence display, the device differs from its PC competitors by offering up to 120 Hz connection, allowing for the virtual reality dream of 120 fps gaming.
Furthermore, requiring only a PS4 to run, the Sony PlayStation VR is a great headset for those who already own the console and who want to try out the virtual reality experience. With a great design that comfortably fits on the wearers head, the device can also be worn for multiple hours without really being tiring, unlike the HTC Vive.
When the headset was first announced with the project code name of Morpheus Mk1, there were multiple issues with the latency, ruining the immersiveness of the experience. However, the latest version, which was announced, has addressed those issues and currently the device has a tweaked tracking accuracy and an eighteen millisecond reading. This tracking adjustments have been achieved with the help of as much as nine LEDs that help with the positional awareness of the headset.
The great thing about the Sony PlayStation VR is its extremely low price, compared to its competitors. While we’ve already mentioned that the device is perfect for those who already own the console, it also offers an affordable virtual reality experience from those starting from scratch. While the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive require great PC hardware to run, costing over $1,500 for the PC, the Sony PlayStation VR headset only requires the PlayStation 4 console, which is not that expensive.
With that in mind, the Sony PlayStation VR has the potential to be the first widely recognized virtual reality headset on the market. Currently, the headset has become one of the most pre-ordered devices on the gaming market and the trend is looking upwards. With that in mind, the PlayStation VR might very well become the best virtual reality headset of this year, depending on the criteria you are looking for.
- Extremely Affordable
- Easy to Set-Up
- Offers Great Visually-Immersive Experience
- Limited to the PlayStation Console
- Relatively High 18 ms Reading
The Razer OSVR HDK 2 – The Open Source VR Project
Differentiating from its competitors, Razer is taking a relatively interesting open-source approach with their OSVR virtual reality headset. Currently available only through a developer kit, known as Hacker’s Development Kit 2, or HDK 2 for short, the device also stands its ground to the higher-end headsets, despite having a quite lower and more affordable price point.
Incorporating a dual-screen technology, the Razer OSVR HDK 2 has two 1080 x 1200 screens, making its overall resolution 2160 x 1200 and manages to run at 90 frames per second. Combined with the custom optics, the headset is able to provide with a truly great and a highly immersive visual virtual reality experience.
Nonetheless, this headset is not aimed at the general customer. Being open sourced the Razer OSVR HDK 2 is aimed at developers who would like to test out new and exciting virtual reality experiences without having any hardware limitations. To date there aren’t as many new solutions that differentiate the device from others, but there are some significant projects that excite some virtual reality enthusiasts. Such a project is for example, gesture tracking with the help of a Leap Motion faceplate.
The main issue with the device is the fact that it is simply not designed to be comfortable enough to be worn for multiple hours. Even though this may change in later iterations and in an end-user consumer version, today the Razer OSVR HDK 2 has some major issues with the comfort of wearing of the device. Even though the straps hold the device in pace and that there is protective foam, the headset sits pretty heavy on the wearer’s face, making it not a great choice for those who would like to immerse themselves for high hours of playtime. Furthermore, the cables of the device ruin the overall immersion as they are not located at a comfortable position.
The Razer OSVR HDK 2 has an exact audience in mind. The headset is made for developers who would like not to be limited by hardware and software. Thus, the product is great for virtual reality enthusiasts who would like to make VR experiences themselves. However, the headset is still a great option for those who would like a pretty affordable headset running from PC hardware.
- Open Source
- Great Screen and Lens Specs
- High Refresh Rate
- Currently Comes through a Development Kit
- Not Comfortable Enough to be worn for multiple hours at a time
Fove VR – The Most Innovative Virtual Reality Headset
If you want to experience something completely different from the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, you should look no further than the Fove VR. Although still in development, the device is able to stand out from other virtual reality headsets with its unique eye tracking capabilities.
With the help of a few infrared sensors located inside of the device, the Fove VR is able to be aware of what exactly you are looking at in the virtual world. This opens the door of new and exciting possibilities and virtual reality experiences that manage to more fully immerse a person into the virtual world.
Another great thing about the Fove VR is that it has ditched the strap design used by most and instead features a unique futuristic helmet-like design that tightly fits on the head of the user. This allows for a more comfortable virtual reality experience. What’s more, the cables of the device run out of the back of the wearer, making them not as obstructive, as for example the cables of the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive.
While Fove VR also started on Kickstarter, as the Oculus Rift, it was quick to grab the attention of multiple companies. Currently the company has struck deals with multiple giants, including HTC and Samsung. According to the latest press releases, the Fove VR will be able to incorporate the light room technology used by the HTC Vive. If this is done, the headset may become the go-to virtual reality headset for everyone. Furthermore, a number of developers became interested in the possibilities of the depth-of-field eye movement tracking the Fove VR presents them with and new and amazing virtual reality experiences are said to soon come out for the device. The headset will also make use of the Wear VR software platform, making it compatible with Unity, Unreal and Cryengine game engines.
Even though the price may change, currently the Fove VR is also one of the most affordable headsets on the market, being only $349 for one headset. Unfortunately, not having a consumer version, the headset is only available through a wait-list and no official information about a further release date has currently be announced.
- Innovative Depth of Field Eye-Tracking Technology
- Compatible With HTC Vive’s Light Room
- Incorporating Wear VR Software
- Comfortable and Unique Design and Fit
- Immersive Visual Experience
- Currently Only Available as a Developer’s Edition Through a Wait List
- No Official Information about the Release Date Has Currently Been Announced
Homido VR – The Most Comfortable Virtual Reality Smartphone Headset
After Google Cardboard first showed off the virtual reality capabilities our smart phones possess, multiple companies have started releasing new and exciting virtual and augmented reality smartphone headsets. Nonetheless, some do manage to stand out from the rest, due to their amazing and immersive visuals and due to other factors.
The Homido VR is one of the more affordable smartphone VR and AR headsets on the market, but its price should not fool you. The Homido VR is a fully operating virtual reality headset that offers and extremely immersive experience for the end-user. Harnessing the power of a smartphone, the headset manages to stand out from other such devices on the market with its durable quality.
Unlike its competitors at that price range, who simply feel cheap and incorporate low quality plastic in their designs, the Homido VR feels extremely solid and well-made. Furthermore, with its design, the device sits extremely comfortably on the head of the wearer and the customers should have no problem with multiple hours of use at a time. This is even more impressive when having in mind the fact that the device is compatible with almost any smartphone on the market, including most phablets.
The only true downside of the device is the fact that it doesn’t have any input control. If you purchase the Homido VR, you should be aware that you won’t have any way to actually interact with the virtual reality applications offered from your smartphone. This is a slight setback, as even the more cheaper options present the user with either a simple Bluetooth controller or an input button, such as a capacitive touchscreen button or a magnet switch, similar to the one used in the Google cardboard.
Nonetheless, if you are a virtual reality enthusiast who would like to comfortably use their headset for multiple hours at a time, you should look no further than the Homido VR headset. What’s more is that having in mind the affordable price of the device, the lack of input control can easily be overlooked, as you should have enough money left to purchase a nice Bluetooth controller that is compatible with your device.
- Highly Immersive Visuals
- Compatible with Almost Any Smartphone
- Extremely Comfortable
- Feels Durable
- Extremely Well-Built Quality
- Lacks any Input Control
Merge VR – The Most Durable Smartphone Virtual and Augmented Reality Headset
Standing out from a virtual and augmented reality smartphone headset market that is filled with plastic almost-the-same-design headsets, the Merge VR offers customers a unique headset option. Instead of going for plastic, like most of their competitors do, the Merge VR team have decided to make their headset of extremely lightweight and flexible foam.
Compatible with almost any iPhone or Android device, the Merge VR is perfect for those who would like to be able to take their virtual reality headset with them at all times. Easily fitting into any backpack, the headset is one of the most durable headsets on the market to date. What’s more, the device comes in an extremely sleek and modern looking bright purple. The special and innovative design further separates the devices from the other headsets, making it truly one of the most uniquely designed virtual reality headsets of this year.
The Merge VR goggles also offer users the possibility to manage the dual-lens focus via 2 sliding buttons on the top of the device itself. What’s more, those buttons are pressable and allow for further interaction with the virtual reality experience, via capacitive touch screen buttons that touch the display of your smart device. This allows the user to further interact with the numerous virtual reality games and experiences that are currently available on both iOS and Android VR.
Depending on the user’s preferences, the MergeVR is able to be put on the head with either one main strap for control or with an additional over-the-head strap for additional security. As the whole device is made from foam, the device sits comfortably on the head of the wearer. However, being so lightweight and made from flexible foam, also means that the device does not manage to balance properly on the wearer’s head once a heavier smartphone or pahblet is put in. This means that your face and nose will be getting the most pressure, once you put the device on, making it not a perfect option for those who would like to play with virtual reality for hours on end.
Nonetheless, the Merge VR is not made with a multiple hours-on-end use in mind. Instead, the MergeVR has focused on those who would like to share the virtual reality experience with their friends, as the device is extremely easy to clean. Furthermore, it’s made for those who either travel a lot, or would simply like to have their headset with them at all times.
The exceptional build quality truly sets apart the Merge VR headset from the other smartphone VR and AR headsets on the market.
- Exceptional Build Quality
- Immersive Visuals
- Lens Control
- Touch-Screen Input Buttons
- Highly Durable
- Easy to Clean
- Not Comfortable, if Worn for Multiple Hours on End
- Can Put High Pressure on One’s Head, Face or Nose, Depending on the Weight of Your Smartphone/Phablet Device
Pasonomi VR – The Most Affordable Virtual Reality Headset
There are multiple virtual reality options for the smartphone headset enthusiasts, all at different prices. The Pasonami VR may very well be both the most affordable VR smartphone headset and the best budget headset on the market today, as it incorporates everything one would need from a virtual reality headset into a simple design and comes at an extremely affordable cost.
Compatible with almost any smartphone and phablet device on the market, including iPhone and Android, the Pasonomi VR headset is a great upgrade from Google Cardboard and offers users an extremely immersive visual virtual reality experience. With 42 mm focal lenses that allow for the user to truly immerse themselves into the virtual world presented to them via their smartphone, the Pasonami VR also comes with a special Bluetooth controller that allows for further interaction with the compatible application.
Even though the device lacks some adjustment options that most enthusiasts prefer to have on their VR headsets, having in mind the extremely affordable cost of the Pasonami VR and what it already offers, the lack of such adjustment options can easily be overlooked. Furthermore, the headset sits pretty comfortably on the wearer’s head, achieving further security with the help of three adjustable straps that allow for further weight distribution. A nice addition, which most headsets, even the high-end ones, don’t include, but the Pasonami VR does, is additional foam nose pads, for further comfort.
The device has a pretty decent built and is able to hold the smartphone of a user pretty firmly and with a sense of security. Furthermore, the design of the device allows for an airflow to go through the smartphone, allowing it to cool off and not overheat.
The Pasonami VR is an amazing virtual reality headset, especially having in mind its price. Coming with its own little Bluetooth controller, thus offering virtual reality experiences right out of the box, with the help of your smartphone, the headset is the perfect option for those who would like to try a more fully-featured and immersive virtual reality experience, without having to spend too much.
- Extremely Affordable
- 42mm Focal lenses
- Air-Flow Cool Off Design
- Comfortable Fit on the Head
- Immersive Visual Experience
- Further Input Control via a Bluetooth Controller that comes with the device
- Compatible with almost all smartphone/phablets on the market
- Lacks Some Adjustment Options
Bobo VR Z4 – The Best Budget VR Headset with Headphones
If you are looking for something that offers not only a visual, but also an audio experience right out of the box, you should check out the Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone VR headset. However, the headphones are not the only thing that make the headset truly unique. In fact, the headset incorporates a number of unique features that truly make it stand out.
One of those features are the wide array of adjustment options. For starters, you are free to adjust the lenses depending on the width of your eyes. However, what’s even better is the fact that you won’t have to wear glasses with the Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone VR headset. In fact it has a knob on the side that regulates the focal distance.
The 42mm spherical resin lenses used in the device are of extremely high quality and truly offer a great visual experience. In fact, the Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone VR headset even took it a step further and managed to include a special design that allows for you not to experience focus blur when in virtual reality.
Compatible with almost any smartphone on the market, the Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone also incorporates a T-shaped head strap design that make the device extremely comfortable to wear even after hours of use.
The quality of the headphones is also quite decent, especially having in mind the price point of the device. And even though the Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone VR headset is the best smartphone VR headset with headphones, it still has its drawbacks. One of the biggest things, except the fact that you won’t be able to get higher quality headphones and use it with the device, is the fact that the headphones themselves limit some of the head-strap adjustments and may make the device uncomfortable for some users to wear.
The Bobo VR Z4 Smartphone VR headset may very well be deemed the best budget smartphone VR headset currently on the market. Incorporating a number of high-end features and providing with an amazing and immersive visual and audio virtual reality experience, the Bobo VR Z4 smartphone VR headset is perfect for any enthusiast.
- Great Visual Immersion
- Amazing Lens Adjustment Options
- Decent Sound Quality
- Headphones Limit Some of the Customizability of the Device
- May be Uncomfortable for Some Users to Wear for Multiple Hours on End
Samsung Gear VR – The High-End, High-Tier Smartphone Virtual Reality Headset
The premium choice when it comes to smartphone virtual reality headsets, the Samsung Galaxy VR is quite different from the aforementioned budget virtual reality choices. In fact, the Gear VR has been praised to provide a user with a virtual reality experience that is up to par with the front runners in the virtual reality ring, the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
Although some criticize the closed-approach Samsung is going for with their headset, the truth is that almost no other device than the high-end smartphones of Samsung are actually capable of deliver such a crisp and clear visual experience. In fact, with the recent rumors about an upcoming Samsung 4K smartphone, the Samsung Gear VR might offer a more immersive visual experience than the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
Nonetheless, at this point, the Gear VR is still a great virtual reality choice for those who have a Samsung smartphone. In fact, it can even be argued that you’d be better off purchasing a high-end Samsung smartphone in combination with the Gear VR instead of buying the HTC Vive for example.
The other thing that separates the Samsung Galaxy VR from its PC and console counterparts is the fact that Google has managed to get a number of companies to invest in Android VR experiences. Currently, Samsung offers through its Milk VR system a number of application that run far more easily than the ones on the PC.
The truth, at the end of the day, is that the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are devices for the enthusiasts who already have great PC knowledge. At the same time the Samsung Gear VR headset actually the possibility to reach a wider audience, much like the Sony PlayStation VR, simply because it is extremely easy to use. You simply put your smartphone in the display, run the Milk VR app and you are good to go.
If you are looking for a high-end and high-tier visual immersive virtual reality experience, you should definitely look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR.
- Extremely Easy to Use
- Amazing and Immersive Visual Virtual Reality Experience
- Comfortable Fit
- Durable Design
- Exclusive Look
- Compatible only With Samsung Devices
Zeiss VR One Plus – The iPhone Compatible High-End, High-Tier Smartphone Headset
If you like the Samsung Galaxy VR, but the price is just too low for you and you want something that is truly expensive, you should definitely check out the Zeiss VR One Plus. Compatible with any iPhone and Android device that is between 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches the Zeiss VR One Plus is a truly exclusive headset that just has a premium feel. Ever since you take it out of the box, the device just feels confident and extremely well-built.
Some might argue that the price of the device is too expensive and it is. However, the Zeiss VR One Plus is simply not marketed at those who want a budget smartphone virtual reality experience. In fact it is also not aimed at those who seek great adjustment and customization options. The Zeiss VR One Plus is aimed at an extremely niche crowd of people who can actually afford the luxury of owning this high-end, high-tier smartphone virtual reality headset.
In comparison to the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, the Zeiss VR One Plus is still cheaper. Nonetheless, the Zeiss One comes with specially designed optics from the lens maker Zeiss that truly make it stand out from the rest in any way shape or form. Furthermore with its unique design, the headset is not just another virtual reality headset. It is a true futuristic looking device that stands out with its sleek and stylish beauty.
The Ziess VR One Plus is currently compatible with almost all applications on the Android VR market and iOS. The company is aimed at delivering a new solution for drone drives, so they would be able to more easily drive and control their drones through a VR headset. However, currently Ziess has only released a media player for their Ziess VR One Plus headset that allows the users to watch anything that is 360-degrees. They’ve also launched an Augmented Reality app to show off the augmented reality features of the device.
- Extremely Sleek and Stylish
- Compatible with almost Any Smartphone
- Ideal for High-Tier, High-End Users
- Extremely Expensive
- Not Customizable
There are a multitude of great virtual reality headsets available on the market today. Depending on what you are actually searching for, you should buy the headset that most fits your criteria. The aforementioned best vr headsets of 2016 are just some of the huge array of the virtual reality devices currently on the market, and as opinions differ, you might end up favoring a device, which we haven’t included on our list. Whatever the case may be, be sure to look up the aforementioned devices and check out, which one is most suitable for you.