Post originally published on LA|NY411.
Ready to join the early days of the Metaverse? You're going to need to find the right VR headset or 'Rig' to get plugged into whatever offering is available now and in the future. The best part is that there are now more manufacturers than ever, which is helping with available options and keeping the price down to the lowest it's ever been.
Keep in mind that there are two major flavors of VR headsets that are currently available and they are either connected to your high-end PC (i.e. tethered) or they are completely wireless.
Both have their pros and cons and it really relates to exactly what you will be using your VR headset for. To be fair a lot of the options we’ll be taking a look at can go both tethered or wireless, but the capabilities and battery life may change.
Best overall on a budget: Meta Quest 2 (Formerly known as Oculus Quest 2)
Yes, even in 2022, the Meta Quest will be one of the best available options out there since Meta / Facebook is doing an extensive push into the Metaverse. This is one of the most reasonably priced options that can be found ranging between $299 and $399 based on the memory capacity you are considering.
What makes it so good is that it is one of the options that can be both used wirelessly or connected to your state-of-the-art gaming right with its 16 foot USB – C cable. It also has a huge amount of accessories that can help with getting the right fit, as well as immersive audio options to be able to enhance the overall VR experience.
It packs a large library and processing power, so it's great for a gaming working out, or even enjoying a nice movie (virtually with friends if you choose).
This is a solid option for those that are curious about what the current state of VR is and is the most universal current option available out there. It is recommended to get the adjustable strap with an expanded battery, which can literally double the usage time.
Highest Resolution / Image Quality – HTC Vive Pro
This comes in at a retail price point of around $799, which is significantly higher than the Meta Quest 2. Yet it comes with the most stunning visuals available on the market, boasting 5K resolution and the most realistic video graphics available. What makes HTC so great is its current push with its game-changing accessories. There are a lot of talks and speculations of what may be on the horizon in the coming years, but HTC is working now to provide new accessories that completely change how we see VR today
The first one to consider is the VIVE TRACKER that are lightweight and you can add multiple ones on your body or extended items to bring more immersion into your VR world. They have also developed facial tracking hardware to track facial movements in a VR setting. And their last and still important accessory is one to untether your HTC VIVE with a portable wireless adapter.
Best for Work and Business – HTC VIVE Focus 3
This is what we see on TV and in movies when it comes to utilizing VR headsets at the workplace. The VIVE FOCUS 3 is built to bring collaboration online through VR. Everything from training simulators, to marketing presentations, has been considered when it comes to the design and manufacture of this model. It's also becoming a great option for VR education and even holding meetings in virtual boardrooms.
It's currently available in the States at a whopping $1300 though and that's due to the fact that it's a real VR workhorse. It includes the same 5K resolution, but also a 120-degree viewing angle for maximum immersion.
It also has a 90hz refresh rate, which helps keep things stabilized when moving and eliminates that blurring that can occur with some headsets. It also has 3d spatial headsets meaning that it has directional audio built-in.
It also has built-in active cooling with its ergonomic design so you can wear this headset the longest comfortably to keep you working in your new virtual environment. It's also built for commercial, multiple-person usage, as it has about a two-hour battery life with a quick charge function.
It also has an adjustable magnetic and hygienic head adjustment system to easily fit with any side, while easy to remove and sanitize as needed. This makes it a great selection for location-based commercial settings (such as showrooms or museums) to bring a completely digital level to the environment.
Best for Gaming – Valve Index
Ok – to be fair, this model is actually from 2019, but the Valve Index is still the true gamer’s dream. This is also the only one that is tether only, and there is a discussion and rumors about a Valve Index 2 but no official announcement yet.
Valve itself is the company behind Steam which is the number one global video game distribution platform. It would make sense for them to create something specifically for their audience and requires a pretty hefty gaming PC to properly enjoy it. On top of that, it requires base stations from Valve at an additional cost.
The VR headset comes in at $499 but you’ll probably need the kit (headset with controllers and base stations) at $999 if you’re just starting out. It all boasts some of the best surround sound speakers available to enhance the gameplay even further. If you’re looking just for the gaming experience – look no further than this option.
Best Rumored VR headset for 2022 – Project Cambria
This one comes at the end of our list due to the fact that there already has been an announcement from Mark Zuckerberg himself and it is planned for a 2022 release. This is the first major step of what the metaverse can provide with VR.
It is intended to be a mixed reality VR headset, meaning that you can simultaneously be in a virtual meeting, while at the same time taking physical notes that are displayed digitally.
You can integrate real-world objects, such as lifting actual weights with your virtual physical trainer and the system and headset will be able to register that physical item. It will also have built-in facial recognition and gestures to bring a more realistic feeling with the planned virtual world setups that are coming from Meta.
Actual components and release information will start to trickle in 2022.
This is just a sampling of what is currently available out there when it comes to the realm of VR headsets, and there are many more companies out there that are considering this, or at least have delved into the AR spectrum.
Microsoft is a great example of that with some of their hardware, as they wanted to focus on the business and collaboration aspect more. Regardless, these sets are all being built with the mindset of using them long-term and eventually being a replacement for other common hardware such as your computer, phone, and even home entertainment system.
That’s right these existing options are some of the best choices to watch and enjoy the latest streaming show, with adjustable screen sizes in VR and the ability to watch it virtually with friends.