Oculus is a line of virtual reality headsets that you can use to play virtual reality games and enjoy a virtual experience.
It has since been acquired by Meta, the parent company of Facebook. In the past, one of the most common complaints about Oculus was that Facebook required you to have a Facebook account and link it to your Oculus before you could use it.
Anyone who did not have a Facebook account or had a banned Facebook account was out of luck. Many people also didn’t like linking their Facebook accounts to Oculus due to privacy concerns.
Meta has since backtracked on this requirement, and it no longer requires you to link your Facebook account to Oculus. Nevertheless, you must still have a Meta account.
While this Meta account is simply an account to use Oculus and is not linked to your Facebook profile unless you choose to link it (it is also not a social profile), many people might feel iffy about creating an account with Meta. Meta is not exactly known for its stellar protection of user data, and you might not want to create an account and give it your information.
Besides, the Oculus has other problems – some people have experienced issues like motion sickness when using the Oculus, while others complain about the short battery life that it offers.
Fortunately, there are various Oculus alternatives out there. Here are the best alternative virtual reality headsets your money can buy.
Check it out if you are planning to buy one.
Also Read: Best VR Chat Apps
1. Valve Index
The Valve Index is an awesome alternative to the Oculus, released in 2019. It has a field of view of 130 degrees and an IPS fast-switching 1440×1600 LCD panel.
It offers a high resolution and can be used with various controllers, not limited to Valve Index Controllers but also compatible with the HTC VIVE controller. The Valve Index Controller uses sensitive sensors to allow you to use a wider range of hand gestures.
For example, you can reach out to grab objects or open your hand to drop objects, just like in real life – it supports open hand gestures.
The headset also constantly calibrates itself to match your hand size and skin capacitance. Altogether, there are over 80 sensors working together to track the position of your hands and fingers, pressure, motion, and other sensory inputs.
The controller is made of antimicrobial and moisture-wicking fabric to increase comfort so you don’t feel sweaty all the time, allowing you to maintain good hygiene. It is also easy to clean, and since you don’t need to hold onto it all the time, your fingers won’t get tired.
Furthermore, you can adjust it to your head size and quickly swap face pads to keep the headset clean and comfortable.
The display has an optimized pixel layout and a fantastic resolution. It aims to be gentle on your eyes while offering a realistic experience that mimics real life, allowing you to immerse yourself in your virtual world.
You can adjust the distance between the lens and your eye for comfort to avoid straining.
With off-ear audio, you can enjoy a great audio experience as well. In other words, the speakers of the headset do not touch your ears directly, so the sound appears to be all around you – external instead of internal.
It has a battery life of over seven hours, much longer than the Oculus, although actual battery life may vary depending on usage. It also has a strong and fast charging battery.
The headset is SteamVR compatible – you can use it with any content you bought on Steam, even if you bought it for the HTC VIVE, Windows Mixed Reality, Oculus Rift, or HTC VIVE Pro.
Overall, while the Valve Index is definitely more expensive than the Oculus, it is still the best choice if you can afford it. The graphical qualities and tracking capabilities are so much more advanced, and the field of vision is much wider.
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2. HTC VIVE Pro
One of the biggest competitors is Oculus, hands down, is HTC VIVE. In terms of quality, you can’t really compare the two, as the HTC VIVE headsets are light years ahead of Oculus.
Of course, they are also expensive – you get what you pay for. While Oculus is generally considered an inexpensive VR headset, it simply lacks the quality of HTC’s line of headsets.
There are various VIVE headsets, and we’ll focus on them separately. First, we are focusing on the VIVE Pro series.
The VIVE Pro 2 headset, which you can get as a standalone headset or bundled with accessories, has better tracking than the Oculus. It also has amazing graphics and a comfortable strap, with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 5K resolution – and a 120 degree field of view.
Lens distance adjustment allows for eye relief, while the headphones and strap are also adjustable.
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Next, we have the HTC VIVE Focus series, which is an excellent alternative to the Oculus if you are looking for a standalone VR headset that does not require tethering to a computer. You don’t need any tethered PC or base station to use the HTC VIVE Focus.
Again, you can buy it as a standalone headset or as part of a bundle. There are a few versions, and they are mostly designed for enterprise use, making them a great alternative to the Oculus for businesses.
The VIVE Focus 3 has precise tracking capabilities with 26-point hand trackers, allowing you to make gestures and interact with your new virtual world.
You might also want to take a look at the VIVE Focus Plus, which is also for businesses and not that much more expensive than an Oculus. It allows you to set up remote training and collaboration for your team.
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The newest addition to the line of HTC VIVE headsets is the HTC VIVE XR Elite, which is currently available for preorder on the HTC website and will soon be available for purchase.
As one of the newest headsets on the market, you can be sure it will be good. Like the Oculus, it does not require tethering, making it perfect for those looking for a tether-free alternative; it supports PC VR with wireless streaming.
Tethered PC VR is supported as well, just in case you prefer a wired connection for more stable connections.
The headset is lightweight and comfortable to wear, and you can even detach the battery portal for better portability.
With four tracking cameras, the headset offers precise tracking and an unforgettable experience. It supports interpupillary distance adjustment to make the headset more comfortable while using it.
The headset has amazing graphics, an awesome sound experience, and is just a quality headset overall for gaming and entertainment, and you can also use it to create a Virtual Desk and manage your workspace.
Also Read: Rec Room vs VR Chat
5. HP Reverb G2
The HP Reverb G2, by HP, is another great alternative to the Oculus Quest. The speakers and senses were designed by Valve, and the headset also provides excellent resolution and an awesome quality experience overall.
The speakers sit off the ear, allowing you to enjoy a more realistic sound experience, and the headset offers IPD adjustability, allowing you to get the perfect distance between the eyes. It also adjusts to heads of many sizes, allowing you to achieve a custom fit.
There are four cameras built into the headset, and it has certain advantages over the Oculus Quest 2. For example, it has two LCD panels compared to just one LCD panel on the Oculus and a higher resolution (2160 x 2160 per eye on the HP Reverb G2 compared to 1832 x 1920 on the Oculus Quest 2).
It also offers a slightly better experience, especially when it comes to blacks and colors, although this difference is not that noticeable.
The headset is compatible with SteamVR and Windows Mixed Reality.
The Lynx-R1 headset allows you to enjoy a unique virtual reality experience and interact with virtual objects.
It is a mixed reality headset, so it actually offers a variety of experiences. You can use it as a standalone headset or tether it to a PC to enjoy a unique gaming experience.
One of the challenges of finding a good Oculus alternative is that if you prefer a portable and wireless experience, you might not like options that require you to wire the headset to your PC. Since the Lynx-R1 offers both a wired and a wireless option, it is an excellent choice.
It supports both virtual reality and augmented reality – it aims to be the future of mixed reality.
Augmented and virtual reality are not the same thing, despite many people confusing the two. The Oculus Quest is a virtual reality headset.
Virtual reality is exactly how it sounds – a virtual world that replaces the real world – your current reality. When you wear the Oculus Quest or any other virtual reality headset, it will block out your field of vision, so you do not see anything from your real world and instead immerse yourself in a virtual world that does not really exist but feels entirely real.
That is why many people love virtual reality. It allows them to escape the real world and find themselves in a new world that has virtual objects and people that seem real but aren’t – and you can exit this virtual world at any time, whenever you are ready to return to your current existence.
Then there are augmented reality headsets, which are a bit different from virtual reality headsets. Instead of blocking your field of vision and locking you out of your current reality, it simply enhances it – hence the name augmented reality.
An augmented reality headset doesn’t block your field of vision like a virtual reality headset. Instead, you can still kind of see through the headset, but you can see additional things in your field of vision that don’t really exist.
For example, you can still see your living room, but you might see additional characters there that aren’t actually there. Think of Pokémon Go, which is a great example of augmented reality.
In Pokémon Go, Augmented REality involves a projection of Pokémon into your current reality. Sometimes, the overlays don’t involve projecting additional characters but rather data or holograms or decorations or whatever.
Typically, augmented reality headsets and games are more limited than virtual reality, as the augmented reality overlay may only apply to a limited field of vision.
However, finding a headset that offers both virtual reality and augmented reality is a bit more challenging. They are known as mixed reality headsets, allowing you to switch between different modes depending on your mood or even combine the two to offer a unique experience.
The Lynxr-R1 headset comes with six(!) cameras. There are two black and white cameras, two RGB cameras, and two IR cameras for hand tracking.
It is a small startup, so it’s still behind Oculus in terms of company capabilities and reach, but it has a promising future. According to one critic, the headset is one of the most comfortable they have ever used and also has much better hand tracking capabilities than the Oculus Quest 2.
In addition to entertainment, the Lynx-R1 can be used for a variety of professional purposes.
From remote assistance to teleoperations, professionals can use virtual and augmented reality to better help consumers and offer better solutions.
The Lynx-R1 can still improve in terms of specs, and it is more expensive than the Oculus. Battery life is decent – about three hours – although that can also be improved upon (hopefully in future editions).
Nevertheless, it doesn’t require you to have an account with big tech companies like Meta or Microsoft Azure, so it’s a good choice for privacy seeking people.
Also, the code base of the OS is transparent and open to the public for audit – you can also deactivate any sensor or use the device entirely offline to ensure your data is not being uploaded to the internet or monitored by any party.
The company also promises to make all of its profits through hardware sales and not by selling your data.
It can be hard to find a virtual reality headset that is cheaper than the Oculus, especially a good headset. However, if you can’t afford to buy the Oculus and you don’t care for its extra specs, consider looking at the Freefly as an alternative.
This headset works with your smartphone, with a very wide field of view of 120 degrees. It is a pretty lightweight headset, so it will sit comfortably on your head, and it also has strategic padding and a leather finish that allows you to wear the headset for long periods of time without getting uncomfortable.
You can use it whether you have an iPhone, Samsung, etc. Thus, it is a good alternative to the Oculus if you don’t have a PC.
Of course, using your phone instead of your computer for virtual reality does limit you in what you can do, and the Freefly is also a basic budget headset. Nevertheless, if you are simply looking for an introduction to the world of virtual reality and don’t want to spend too much money on a headset just yet, it can be a great choice.
Freefly is also a good choice if you don’t want any of the wired alternatives to the Oculus. One of its drawbacks, though, is that you can’t really use it when wearing glasses.
Therefore, if you are near-sighted, you should get contact lenses when using it, unless your prescription is not that high. If you are far-sighted, you will most likely be able to use it due to the position of the headset in front of your eyes.
The headset comes with a case and a microfiber cloth for cleaning.
The DESTEK V5 VR headset is another good choice if you are looking for a mobile VR headset that is affordable. It’s a great entry-level VR headset, and it is compatible with smartphones that are 4.7-6.8 inches wide.
It comes in several colors, including black, white, and pink. You can use it with most iPhone and Samsung phones, but there are exceptions – for example, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the S23 Ultra, and other models are not supported.
One of the cool things about this headset is that it comes bundled together with a wireless bluetooth controller.
However, what really makes this headset unique, at least when it comes to mobile smartphone headsets, is that it supports wearing glasses. One of the problems people who wear glasses face is finding a headset that will allow them to wear glasses, but the DESTEK V5 headset supports most glasses (not all).
The field of view is also pretty decent, at 110 degrees, allowing you to play games, watch 360-degree videos, and more. Of course, as a smartphone headset, it will be more limited compared to a regular headset, but that’s applicable to all smartphone headsets.
Weighing only 13 oz and coming with a t-shaped headband, this particular headset combines comfort and quality. You can reduce the pressure on your head by using the adjustable straps.
If you only have a smartphone, you might as well get a smartphone VR headset instead of an Oculus. In fact, getting an Oculus would not make much sense, as the availability of VR available apps and mobile games is still quite limited, and they are no match for the hardware of the Oculus.
In other words, the Oculus is a bit overkill for what you would get from a smartphone VR app. Most smartphones only have a resolution of 2k or less, so the extra resolution of the Oculus would be a waste.
In any case, this headset is another great entry level VR headset, with good reviews from customers on Amazon.
If you have a PlayStation, consider getting the PlayStation VR2. As part of Sony’s PlayStation line of products, you will be able to enjoy some of the best graphics that headsets can offer.
Two OLED screens and 120 frames per second combine with the 3D audio technology to give you a 360-degree real life virtual experience that feels just like the real deal. The built-in microphone allows you to interact with friends in your virtual world.
Of course, one of the major drawbacks of the PlayStation VR, which is also why I include it last on this list, is that it is compatible with the PlayStation only and not with PCs.
The good news, though, is that Sony has just released the PlayStation VR2, which is compatible with the Playstation 5. Previously, the Playstation VR was only compatible with the PlayStation 4 and only backward compatible with the PS 5.
Released at the end of February 2023, the Playstation VR2 offers stunning 4k visuals with two 2000×2040 OLED displays and an upgraded experience compared to the original PlayStation VR.
It also offers precision tracking, finger touch detection, eye tracking, haptic feedback, and more.
The eye tracking simulates realistic emotional expressions of your avatar, while the haptic feedback allows you to experience subtle vibrations, intense pulses, and all sorts of experiences and feelings.
It offers a 110 degree field of view. Of course, you will also get access to PlayStation exclusive games, which you will not be able to get on the Oculus.
All in all, it’s one of the best alternatives to the Oculus if you already own a PlayStation, although I would not recommend buying a PlayStation just so you can use the Playstation VR2.
In my opinion, the Valve Index is the best choice, as it offers excellent graphics and an amazing experience.
While the Lynx-R2 is pretty unique and interesting with its mixed reality experiences, it still has a long way to go, so the Valve Index remains my top choice.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.