Which virtual reality glasses should I buy?
The best virtual reality glasses
Virtual reality - virtual reality - is fascinating, but this fascination does not necessarily reveal itself based on descriptions of the experience: VR is best to be tried out for yourself.
VR has had a correspondingly difficult time in recent years; the technology has not yet been able to live up to the hype it caused at the beginning. Since the appearance of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Playstation VR in 2016, a lot has happened. This applies to both the technology and the number of users and the range of software.
We tested a total of 17 VR glasses, 11 of which are currently still available. Here are our current recommendations in the short overview.
Brief overview: Our recommendations
The Oculus Quest is the first fully-fledged mobile VR glasses. It requires neither a PC nor a mobile phone and can also be used by beginners without any problems. Still, it offers the VR experience of PC-VR and even better tracking than Playstation VR. At the moment, these virtual reality glasses are the best on the market for us. Especially since Oculus is developing them further: In the meantime, the Oculus Quest can also be used as full-fledged PC glasses.
Good as well
Sony Playstation VR
For the Playstation VR you only need a Playstation 4 or Playstation 4 Pro (they should still work with the soon to be released Playstation 5), and the price for the VR glasses themselves is comparatively low. This makes virtual reality affordable for everyone for the first time. A big plus point is the ingenious holding system that absorbs the weight of the VR glasses well and gives the Playstation VR by far the highest wearing comfort of all VR glasses. The lower resolution compared to the Rift and Vive, on the other hand, is hardly significant thanks to a cleverly chosen RGB display.
For pc gamers
Oculus Rift S.
The Oculus Rift S is a tip for price-conscious VR beginners on the PC. The Rift S completely replaces the Oculus Rift CV1, which has been available since 2016, the old model is no longer in stores. On the other hand, Oculus now offers better image quality and significantly more comfort when setting up and using it: In terms of wearing comfort, the Rift S is even one of our absolute favorites.
HP Reverb G2
Headsets for Windows Mixed Reality of the first generation, such as the Lenovo Explorer, are hardly available in stores anymore, with a little luck you can still find a remaining stock. The second generation WMR is on the way - with the HP Reverb G2, Windows Mixed Reality conquered the honor for the current best image quality in virtual reality.
When money doesn't matter
Valve knows many PC gamers for the Steam platform and games like Half Life or Counterstrike. However, the company has also been working on VR hardware for years, for example with HTC. Now the company is daring to enter the VR market with Valve Index without a partner - and in our opinion very successfully. The glasses themselves are very successful and the controllers are one of the most comfortable that we have been able to test so far. In the overall package, Valve delivers the best VR experience, but the Index is also significantly more expensive than its competitors.
|Our favourite||Good as well||For pc gamers||Mixed reality||When money doesn't matter|
|Oculus Quest||Sony Playstation VR||Oculus Rift S.||HP Reverb G2||Valve Index||HTC Vive Cosmos||Oculus Rift CV1||HTC Vive Pro||HTC Vive Cosmos Elite||Oculus Go||Pimax 5K +|
|Show product details|
|requirements||-||Sony Playstation 4, Playstation 4 Slim or Playstation 4 Pro||Windows 10, NVIDIA GTX 1060 / AMD Radeon RX 480 or better||Windows 10 Update from May 2019||Windows 10 or SteamOS / Linux,|
Dual-core CPU with hyperthreading, 8 GB + RAM, NVIDIA 970+ or AMD RX480 +, DisplayPort required, USB 3.0+
|Intel CoreTM i5-4590 or AMD FXTM 8350, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 or AMD RadeonTM RX 480, 1x USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2||NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 or better, Intel i5-4590 or better, 8GB + RAM||Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 or AMD Radeon RX480, 4 GB RAM, DisplayPort 1.2, 1x USB 3.0, Windows 8.1||PC Windows 7 to Windows 10||-||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon or better|
|resolution||2x 1,440 x 1,600||960 x 1,080||2,560 x 1,440||2,160 x 2,160||1440 × 1600||1,440 x 1,700 pixels (per eye), 90 Hz||1080 x 1200||2,880 x 1,600||2880 x 1700||2560 x 1440||2x 2,560 x 1,440|
|Display technology||Pentile OLED||RGB OLED||LCD RGB stripe||LCD||RGB LCD||LCD||OLED||OLED||LCD RGB stripe||LCD||LCD RGB stripe|
|Cable length||-||approx. 4.5 meters||5 meters||6 meters||6 meters||5 meters||4 meters||5 meters||5 meters||-||10 meters|
|Tracking||Inside-out, 4 cameras||Playstation camera, move||Inside-out, 5 cameras||Inside-out, 4 cameras||Lighthouse||Inside-out, 6 cameras||Outside-in||Lighthouse||Lighthouse||3DoF||Lighthouse, not included|
|Weight||570 grams||610 grams||848 grams||550 grams||809 grams||665 grams||470 grams||1,018 grams||750 grams||467 grams||472 grams|
Discover a new world
The principle of VR glasses is simple: One or two displays show the content, two lenses ensure that the eye feels comfortable and a right in the middle is created. If you put on the glasses, you immediately have the feeling of being in another world: In contrast to the graphics, proportions are correctly reproduced on the monitor, which makes buildings or monsters look extremely impressive.
How well this works is difficult to describe. You have to experience the effect yourself to fully understand the enthusiasm.
Thanks to numerous integrated sensors in the VR headset, movements of the head are transferred to virtual reality in real time, so that you can look around and move around like you would in the real world. Thanks to a position tracking system, the devices are also able to incorporate body movements into virtual reality. So you can actually look behind objects or hide behind cover in the game.
Two displays and two lenses in the glasses create the feeling of being in the game
It is only the tracking of the player's movements that ensures that you experience virtual reality so directly. Immersion is the key word here. The better it works, the more real the virtual reality feels, and the fewer problems you have as a gamer.
Because VR applications can quickly make you feel sick. This VR disease not only feels like getting seasick, it also develops in a very similar way: Here, too, the cause is that the eye and the organ of equilibrium receive different information that does not match. The body reacts to this with nausea. Not everyone is affected, and you usually get used to it quickly.
How strong the effect is mainly depends on how well and how quickly the movements of the body are transferred into virtual reality. Above all, time delays between a movement and its visual representation in the VR glasses quickly trigger nausea, as does jerky movements. Higher repetition rates of the VR displays used can also limit the nausea - the Oculus Quest with 72 Hz would bring up the rear, and the Valve Index with up to 144 Hz would be far ahead.
For VR to work well, the technology of the VR systems is very important - on the one hand the quality of the movement tracking with the help of sensors, and on the other hand on the sheer computing power of the graphics card to conjure up the measured position changes as quickly and smoothly as possible on the display. But also on the ability of the programmers to make their games as user-friendly as possible - with black panels on the sides, for example. And a virtually faded-in nose also greatly reduces the risk of nausea, as bizarre as the concept sounds.
Growing variety of models
Virtual reality is no longer just a subject from science fiction novels. There are now several full VR systems on the market: Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, the higher-resolution Vive Pro as well as Vive Cosmos, Windows Mixed Reality, here in the form of the HP Reverb G2, and Sony Playstation VR. There is also the entry-level solution Oculus Go. Although this is still available in stores, it is only a residual item because production has been discontinued - but the VR experience is no longer up-to-date with it.
VR is still a young technology that is only on the way to becoming a mass market. While manufacturers such as Pimax prefer to address experienced PC users and VR enthusiasts, Oculus relies on beginners with quality consciousness with uncomplicated setup and comparatively low prices. We can therefore no longer recommend mobile phone mounts such as Cardboard or GearVR, the VR experience is too bad, the competition too good and cheap.
With the Oculus Rift S, a successor to the Oculus Rift CV1 has recently been available for the PC - successor is hardly the right word, actually it is more of an improved replacement in important areas, which also replaces the old model in terms of price.
From a collaboration between the game manufacturer Valve and the hardware specialists at HTC, the HTC Vive emerged, a VR solution very similar to the Oculus Rift, which stands out from the competition with a really impressive room tracking - unfortunately also in terms of price: you had to go for almost 900 euros investing an HTC Vive - at the start, last it was 599 euros. In the meantime, HTC has finished manufacturing the Vive and is concentrating on the successor models.
The HTC Vive Pro followed as a higher-resolution model with better wearing comfort for only 599 euros today, but without the absolutely necessary sensors and controllers. A complete package costs 1,199 euros.
While HTC sees the Vive Pro less as a product for private users and more as VR glasses for professional users, the company is concentrating on the successor Vive Cosmos in the end customer segment. But more exciting is the Valve Index, which uses the same tracking system and thus enables a perfect implementation of your own movements in VR.
After all, compared to the technical status quo, the system requirements are no longer as high as they were a few years ago: Even a mid-range PC with a graphics card such as the GTX 1660 Ti, which costs around 250 euros, provides enough performance. But it can be even cheaper: The Playstation VR only needs the Playstation 4, which is already in millions of living rooms, whether classic, slim or pro. And Oculus Quest doesn't need any additional hardware, neither a PC, a console nor a mobile phone (but can still be used as full-fledged PC glasses).
VR is becoming social
One problem with VR glasses, or virtual reality in general, is that it can be quite a lonely pleasure. After all, with the glasses in front of your eyes you isolate yourself from the local reality.
To change that, Sony has built an HDMI connection for the television into the processor unit. Friends or family can see what you are experiencing in strange worlds via the connected TV, instead of just watching a player waving and astonished with a helmet on his head. So you can share your VR experiences with others up close. Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, Valve Index and HTC Vive Cosmos can also display the VR image on a monitor. But others not only have to passively watch what a player experiences, they can also intervene and even play along with the game controller.
The others are also allowed to watch
The integration of the television not only improves the social acceptance of VR immensely, it also prevents the player from getting lonely in strange virtual worlds - everything is simply more fun together.
But social media are also migrating into virtual reality. Facebook, as the owner of Oculus, is pushing the topic strongly and lets users of Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift, for example, watch films or photos together, chat or play board games. The VR content of the Oculus Quest can be transferred to the TV via Chromecast or directly to the smartphone via the app so that friends can watch. In addition, the Oculus and Valve Index as well as the HP Reverb G2 have open headphones, the sound of which can also be heard by bystanders - the isolation decreases with each generation.
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