Virtual reality (VR) isn't such a distant, futuristic concept anymore – it's in our living rooms alongside games consoles and smart TVs. And choosing the right kit for your needs can be very confusing. You may not have encountered it, but you will, because headsets are popping up in stores and online all over the world. The list of options is growing at a rapid rate, while consumers are still trying to get their heads around this newfangled technology. We bought and compared 10 VR headsets, from the humble $30 cardboard models to the top-of the line headset worth $1400. Our buying guide can introduce you to the technology behind VR.
Our test covers smartphone, console and PC-based VR headsets.
Our expert testers give every headset a thorough workout to help find the models that:
Our interactive comparison tool helps you find the best content for each headset, the hardware you need to need to run them, and any extras you need to purchase for the best VR experience. Our Recommended list will help you see quickly which models come out on top.
List of brands we tested in this review.
Reflects RRP as of November 2016. Cost of product covers all items included in the base package. Prices listed in Australian dollars unless otherwise specified. Oculus Rift and DODOCASE P2 converted from US to Australian dollars in November 2016. Price does not include shipping, if applicable.
enter value/s in increments of 1 between 0 and 1400
We recommend headsets that score at least 70% overall.
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Standing or sitting means that the VR platform can not be used while you move around; room-scale means that you walk around a pre-defined area.
Whether or not external sensors are used to track other movements, such as hand gestures.
Our recommendation for the type of content that is best suited to each type of VR headset.
Phone-dependent refers to the headset using a smartphone's screen as the display.
The number of times per second the image on the screen is refreshed; the faster the rate, the more stable the image will look. Faster rates can also help reduce nausea. PS VR supports two refresh rates; 90Hz and 120Hz. Refresh rate used varies between programs.
The type of interface required to connect the headset to the device powering it (e.g. HDMI). Your device, such as your PC, will require the listed interface in order to use the headset.
The width of the image as viewed through the headset; the wider the field of view, the more immersed you can feel in the content; not all vendors state this figure.
Whether or not external sensors are used to track the user's head movements.
Where to buy software for each headset.
A Similar model is identical in most aspects except for a few. This means that a majority of its test results are identical so you can reasonably expect to get the same results from the model we tested, but for those aspects which aren't identical, we'll note these as "Not Tested" in the Compare tables.
A Tested model refers to a model that is still current and available in the Australian market. You should be able to order this model through your local retailer, or find it online.
These models can't be found in retailers or online or are no longer manufactured. You may still find these models on second hand websites, or in second hand dealers. Test methods may change over time, so criteria which can't be directly compared will contain an N/A.
An Identical model is exactly that. Performance characteristics will be identical and the only difference will be something trivial such as colour, which won't have an impact on performance.
These are models we haven't yet tested but that are available.