With dozens of VR headsets coming out each year, it has become quite the task to know which ones will provide the ultimate experience and which ones won’t.
Among countless features, how can you know which ones are relevant?
Well, in this article, we will be looking at the best VR headsets for laptops based on performance, features, and situations they will be used in.
We will be taking a look at products across a wide budget range, so regardless of whether you’ve got only a few bucks to spare and want the best value, or you are looking for the best of the best, you will find an apt choice by the end of this article.
Ready? Let’s dive right in.
1. HTC VIVE
The HTC VIVE has a heavier structure than most other VR headsets on this list.
First, It consists of three Velcro straps that safely fold over the user’s head to support it cozily for a firm fit.
This headset is large and comes with a lot of cables, but you don’t need to stress over it tumbling off because the majority of the cables that it uses are carefully packaged together.
You will, however, need to pass one of the ropes through a USB 2.0 port on your PC and another to an HDMI port.
One of the nice things about the VIVE is that you can use your own headphones, which is not something that a lot of other VR devices allow.
This one houses a 2160 by 1200 OLED screen that operates at 90Hz, and its controllers come with a quick touchpad and rear trigger.
While these controllers may be bigger in size than the Oculus touch controllers, their overall functionality is way superior.
Being one of the best consumer VR headsets on the market at the moment, the HTC VIVE virtual reality system does have a lot to offer.
For one, when you initially purchase this device, you are entitled to free content; a 2-month free trial of VIVE point subscription.
This headset really makes the gaming experience completely immersive with realistic graphics, true-to-life movement, HD haptic feedback, and directional audio.
VIVE also stepped up its motion tracking as it is incredibly precise. The 360 degrees controller and headset work in sync to cover your every move to the last detail.
Unlike with most other headsets, with this one, you won’t be confined to your gaming chair.
This VR hardware has two base stations to ensure that you can play while seated, standing, or in any space as long as it is within 15 feet by 15 feet.
This headset is powered by SteamVR, which means that you can enjoy more than 2000 games from Steam, among other offers.
On the one hand, this VR headset is really amazing:
- The gaming experience is incomparable
- It comes with 6 DoF controllers
- It has room-scale tracking
- It is amazingly comfortable
- The interface is wonderfully intuitive, and the high resolution is really noticeable as an improvement in visual clarity
- The controllers are highly responsive and allow you to operate smoothly in your virtual environment from the confines of your physical space
- It is of standard design and has a long battery life
- It dishes out some high-resolution display, which is the icing on the cake to an already immersive experience
On the other hand, it does have some flaws:
- It can take a while to set up this VR headset, which can be a bit annoying
- The cable is rather bulky and a potential tripping hazard
- The headset can be rather hard on the neck and back
- The price is at the high end of the spectrum
2. Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift isn’t just any headset; it is what every virtual reality headset should be.
After the product first launched, it was rated lower among a couple of headsets on this list mostly because of the absence of motion controllers.
Fast forward to now, the Oculus touch remote is being regarded as one of the top groundbreaking innovations in VR history for a couple of reasons.
For one, the touch remote controllers make use of twin sensors tracking system to monitor the user’s movement, and considering how well it works, they are very easy to set up.
The design is novel, with rectangular shaped round edges and flat sides. The arms on the sides of the Oculus logo go up and down, connecting the three straps.
For a device with such high functionalities like it has, the Oculus Rift is adequately light-weighted and was designed well enough to accommodate glasses underneath it, so if you are wearing glasses, you will find that putting it on and taking it off is somewhat less challenging.
Its performance is state of the art. Even though much of it depends on the spec of your computer, the VR device offers smooth graphics at a resolution of 1080 by 1200, an OLED display for each eye and it displays its images for two seconds of each frame.
Its ultra-low-latency tracking, coupled with its very functional controllers, are responsible for its accurate virtual interactions and experiences, and mistakes and glitches are basically nonexistent.
The Oculus Rift comes with six available content that includes Robo recall, Quill, Medium, Toybox, Lucky’s Tail, and Dead and Buried.
And whereas it might get tiresome to wear some other VR headsets after an extended period, it is not this case with this one.
They are absolutely comfortable to wear, and the resolution remains mind-blowing even after a while, provided your RAM and graphics card are up to par.
It has attached headphones and there are no spaces for leakages, so once you are in, you are in and won’t be able to hear anything from the outside world.
This headset gives you absolute immersion and once you try it out, you will come to terms with why some people crave living in virtual reality.
On the one hand, this VR headset has some strong positive sides:
- The touch controllers feel natural in your hands
- Their light weight provides smooth and accurate motion control, which helps make the overall experience truly immersive
- The compact design of this headset makes it very easy to carry and travel with and have on your head for a long period of time
- The physical buttons that this headset offers are very useful for playing traditional games
- When it comes to content, the Oculus Rift can do just about everything: From playing movies and 360 videos to games, and much more, and you can use it with both Oculus and SteamVR platforms.
On the other hand, it does have some flaws that could stop you from buying it:
- It requires four USB ports to function, which can be a bit of an inconvenience
- You need a high-quality gaming PC if you want it to work properly, but other than that, it is a complete beast.
Worth Reading : Best PS4 Headsets Under $100
3. HTC VIVE Pro
The VIVE Pro is one of the best overall VR headsets you will find in the market at the moment.
HTC really stepped it up a notch with this one, taking into consideration a lot of their customers’ input.
With this one, they managed to rectify everything that was wrong with the previous model, so If you want to truly invest in a VR headset, this is the one you should get.
First, as an improvement from the HTC VIVE, the resolution on this VR device is set at 2880 by 1660 and 615 PPI, and the graphics rich with high definition colors and purposeful details.
The movement in this VR device is seamless, and the controller tracks your movement with accurate precision.
There are no leakages with this one. Its high-resolution sound and high impedance headphones with noise cancellation will completely immerse you as you use the headset.
And what a lot of users find most interesting is that this upgrade allows you to define your own play space as long as it does not go beyond 20 by 20 feet.
On one hand, this VR headset is really amazing:
- It feels very comfortable on the head
- The image is perfectly clear, crisp, and realistic
- The built-in headphones provide an amazing surround sound experience.
On the other hand, it does have flaws that might change your mind and make you go for a different model from the other options:
- It only has one display port connection
- The refresh rate is 90Hz
- The foam cushions aren’t moisture proof
- The price tag is rather high
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The Lenovo Explorer VR headset is easy on the eyes and is, without a doubt, one of the best looking of the first generation Windows mixed reality headsets available.
It makes quite an impression right from when you wear it. Rather than looking like an intellectually challenged android, like when you put on some other headsets, you will look like a futuristic Robocop.
This Lenovo model is part of the PSVR style headsets, which usually come with a head strap that sits on your forehead and bears the weight of the headset.
The adjustment knob at the back lets you firmly grip the head strap around the back of your head for a tight fit.
This design allows the Lenovo Explorer to come with a hinge so that you can fold up the headset if you need to grab something in the real world.
It also comes with a cable clip that organizes the cables coming out of the headset, with one of them being a 3.5 headphone millimeter jack, so you can directly plug your headphones directly into the headset.
In terms of build quality, the Lenovo Explorer can easily compete with other high-end PC headsets.
On one hand, this PC headset does have its merits:
- It consists of removable headband cushions
- It is lightweight and small enough for children to wear.
On the other hand, it has its demerit:
- The non-availability of adjustments for IPD is a deal breaker for a lot of people, and even though you can adjust the IPD within the software, it simply won’t be as good as having lenses that fit your eye distance
Also Read : Best Cheap VR Headsets For PC Gaming
5. Oculus Go
When it comes to VR headset design, the Oculus Go is one of the most balanced VR headsets you will come across.
If you are a gamer, you must know that comfort is everything, and this VR device doesn’t fail to deliver.
For starters, it comes with soft straps that make it easy to adjust when you need to, so it stays glued to the head as long as you are not going crazy and flaring everywhere.
Another reason it is regarded as one of the most comfortable devices of its kind in the market is the thick plush padding in its inner lining.
This is responsible for the soothing feeling you’ll get against your face when you put the headset on.
Now, while some sounds may manage to escape through the headset, this device still provides an immersive audio experience and it shouldn’t be very distracting, especially for people who are well into the game.
One feature that makes the Oculus Go VR headset standout is its unique movement system.
This feature makes it possible for you to seamlessly rotate your head all the way to get a complete view of your virtual environment, thus making the gaming experience more immersive.
Whether you are watching a TV show or playing Call of Duty, this headset’s crystal clear optics and 3D graphics and sounds will help you completely immerse yourself in virtual reality.
With the Oculus Go, meeting up with friends to watch a sports event or attend a concert from literally any part of the world without being physically present, has never been more realistic.
And the device comes with its own content, which means that you have access to over 1000 games, applications, and experiences that you can download.
This device is incredibly light. One of the reasons for this is the absence of wires. This makes the controllers quite easy to use and learning how to use it even more desirable.
On the one hand, this VR headset has some serious advantages:
- Although it works fine with a laptop, it can also work just as fine without one
- It has a large VR application library
- The setup is simple
- The image quality is great
- It comes with a motion controller
- Its 3D sound modeling is simply outstanding, and it’s super lightweight.
On the other hand, it does come with some small disadvantages as well:
- Its motion tracking is limited
- It doesn’t support six degrees of freedom
- The battery life is just two hours
- Its storage isn’t expandable
- There’s no killer app
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6. Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR is my personal choice for the best budget VR headset.
If you are trying out VR for the first time, opting for a budget VR headset is a great idea.
For one, you won’t overspend, so if after trying out your headset you don’t like the experience, you will not have wasted a great deal of cash.
And, its affordability does not nearly mean that it is substandard. On the contrary, the Samsung Gear VR headset is of high quality and it opens you up to many games and new experiences.
The controller lets you easily execute intuitive commands like drop, select, point, and drag.
With the Samsung Gear, you will have a wide range of options to choose from as it allows you access to a wide array of content from both Google Playstore and Oculus, so you can do all the fun stuff like play games, paint in VR, watch shows, and even meet up with friends at any place and time.
Irrespective of its price, it is just as much a high-quality VR headset as the others on this list, and its performance is above many other budget models.
On the one hand, you will love using this headset:
- The controller is excellent and very well made
- The visuals are detailed and crisp
- The voice command is interesting
- The interface is intuitive
- Head tracking is amazing
- It is comfortable to wear during long gaming sessions.
On the other hand, even the best product has some flaws:
- You will need to have one of the supporting Samsung devices
- In order to connect to a PC, you will also need a PC with an NVIDIA graphics card that is compatible with NVIDIA Shield Game Stream, an app called Sideload VR and Wi-Fi set up on your
- PC with your cell phone connected to it
- The controller isn’t rechargeable
- The headset has no room movement tracking
- There aren’t that many games, so you have fewer options than you’d like.
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There you have it; six of the best VR headsets for laptops that you will find in the market at the moment.
But before you decide on which headset to get, make sure to check out each of these options in depth and ensure that it meets your exact needs.