The best VR glasses 2020: test winners and recommendations

Image source: Getty Images, RyanKing999.


VR glasses are no longer a novelty, but progress continues with newer and technically better models. Which virtual reality headsets are particularly recommended in 2020? GIGA shows you a selection of the best VR glasses currently on the market and also tells you what you should know before buying.

Buying advice

The selection of VR glasses is steadily increasing. Manufacturers are also advertising with more and more features that should take the excursion into virtual reality to a new level: higher frame rates and resolutions, an expanded field of vision or improved tracking through adjustments to the sensors. We present various models that are ideal for gaming and explain to you which functions are important for gamers.

The best VR glasses 2020: an overview of all headsets

placement model price offer
Price-performance tip: Oculus Quest approx. 440 euros To Saturn
Best overall package: Valve index approx. 1,080 euros To Steam
Best immersion: Pimax 5K Plus approx. 950 euros To Amazon
For console players: PlayStation VR about 300 euros To Amazon

Value for money: Oculus Quest

Oculus Quest (64GB)

Oculus Quest (64GB)

As standalone VR glasses they need Oculus Quest no PC, external sensors are also not necessary. The 6DoF tracking including inside-out cameras ensures full freedom of movement and mobile use of the headset. This is supplemented by the enclosed touch controller.

The resolution of the built-in OLED panel is 1,600 × 1,440 pixels per eye and has an image refresh rate of 72 Hz (in exceptional cases 60 Hz is possible) and a field of view of 110 degrees. Due to the lack of computing power of a connected PC, the Oculus Quest does not allow for content that is as technically sophisticated as, for example, the Valve Index.

However, the Oculus Quest can be connected to a PC using the “Oculus Link” cable. So you can enjoy Half Life: Alyx or other large VR titles for less than 500 euros.

Advantages:

  • Good value for money
  • No additional sensors required
  • Mobile use
  • Uncomplicated setup
  • OLED panel
  • Connection to PC via “Oculus Link” possible

Disadvantage:

  • No graphically demanding games possible (stand-alone mode)
  • Sound quality of the integrated speakers only mediocre
Display
  • OLED panel
  • 1,600 × 1,440 (per eye)
  • 60/72 Hz
Tracking
connections
  • 3.5mm audio connector
  • 1x USB 3.0
Audio
  • Integrated speaker with 3D sound
  • built-in microphone
hardware
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 540
Integrated memory 64 GB
Connectivity
  • wireless incl.battery (3,648 mAh / 14 Wh)
  • Connection to the PC via “Oculus Link”

Best overall package: Valve Index

Picture: Valve.

With the Valve index we now come to the current flagship among VR glasses. The built-in LCD panel has a resolution of 1,440 × 1,600 pixels per eye and supports frame rates up to 144 Hz. The field of view is also a bit larger at 130 degrees than most of the competition.

The SteamVR 2.0 sensors, which are used in the two base stations supplied, ensure absolute tracking precision. In this case, it is again inside-out tracking, also known as lighthouse tracking. If you decide to buy the Valve Index VR Kit, you will receive not only the actual headset but also the necessary accessories and Half Life: Alyx as an addition.

Less nice: With just under 1,100 euros, the set is certainly not a bargain and a capable gaming PC is not even included in the price. Nevertheless, VR glasses from Valve are so popular that you have to expect very long delivery times. So if you are impatient and would like to save some money, you could also take a look at the used market on eBay or comparable portals.

Advantages:

  • Smooth gaming experience thanks to 144 Hz
  • High wearing comfort
  • Excellent sound
  • Precise tracking using SteamVR 2.0
  • Each part also available individually

Disadvantage:

  • High price
  • LCD instead of OLED
  • Powerful hardware required
Display
  • LCD panel
  • 1,440 × 1,600 (per eye)
  • 90/120/144 Hz
  • Field of view (FOV) up to 130 °
Tracking
  • Inside-Out (Lighthouse)
  • SteamVR 2.0 sensors
connections
  • 1 × USB 3.0
  • 1 × DisplayPort 1.2
  • 3.5mm audio connector
Audio
  • Integrated off-ear speakers
  • double microphone arrangement
Minimum requirements
  • Windows 10, SteamOS, Linux
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX480
  • 2-core processor with hyperthreading
  • DisplayPort 1.2 and USB 2.0 port
Connectivity
  • wired
  • PC connection required

Best immersion: Pimax 5K Plus

Pimax 5K Plus

Pimax 5K Plus

Originally launched as a Kickstarter project, you can Pimax 5K Plus meanwhile purchase regularly in stores. The special feature of this VR headset is the huge field of view of up to 200 degrees. The whole thing is paired with a resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 per eye and a refresh rate of 144 Hz. In this respect, it clearly outperforms the competition.

However, the controller or base stations are not yet included in the price of just under 950 euros – unfortunately you have to purchase them separately. But the controllers and base stations of the HTC Vive as well as the Valve Index are compatible with the VR glasses. For true VR enthusiasts who want to experience maximum immersion, the Pimax 5K Plus is definitely an option. Provided you have the necessary change.

Advantages:

  • Large field of view with up to 200 degrees
  • Smooth gaming experience thanks to 144 Hz
  • High pixel density
  • Precise tracking using SteamVR

Disadvantage:

  • High price
  • Controller and base stations are not included
  • No built-in speaker
  • LCD instead of OLED
  • Powerful hardware required
display
  • LCD panel
  • 2,560 × 1,440 (per eye)
  • 144 Hz
  • Field of view (FOV) up to a maximum of 200 °
Tracking
  • Inside-Out (Lighthouse)
  • SteamVR sensors
connections
  • 1 × USB 2.0 / 3.0
  • 1 × DisplayPort 1.4
  • 3.5mm audio connector
Audio integrated microphone
Minimum requirements
  • Windows 8.1 / 10
  • 8 GB RAM
  • Nvidia GTX 1070
  • Intel Core i5-4590
  • DisplayPort 1.4 and USB 2.0 / 3.0 port
Connectivity
  • wired
  • PC connection required

For console gamers: PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR Megapack V2

PlayStation VR Megapack V2

For owners of a PlayStation 4 and those who want to become one PlayStation VR as an ideal entry into the virtual reality world. The headset only has a resolution of 1,080 × 960 pixels per eye, but it can score with a brisk refresh rate of 120 Hz. Combined with the 100-degree field of view, this leads to solid graphics performance overall. It can’t keep up with high-end glasses like the Valve Index or Pimax 5K Plus, but controlling high-resolution displays would also be overwhelming for the now quite old PS4 hardware.

The PlayStation camera, which is not always part of the standard scope of delivery, is required to track your movements. If you also want to record the movement of your arms while playing, you also need the PlayStation Move motion controller or the PlayStation VR Aim controller.

For a bundle with VR glasses including a mandatory camera and a number of high-quality games such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, you are currently paying around 300 euros.

Advantages:

  • Good value for money
  • Extensive range of games
  • OLED panel
  • High wearing comfort

Disadvantage:

  • Low image resolution
  • Obsolete outside-in tracking via camera
  • Only works in combination with the PlayStation 4
Display
  • OLED panel
  • 1,080 × 960 (per eye)
  • 90/120 Hz
  • Field of view (FOV) 100 °
Tracking
connections
  • 1 × USB 3.0
  • 1 × HDMI
  • 3.5mm audio connector
Audio
  • interchangeable in-ear headphones
  • integrated microphone
  • Headset control
Connectivity
  • wired
  • Connection to the PS4 required

So we chose

It took around a decade and a half for the game industry to overcome the virtual boy trauma. The Oculus Rift with its legendary Kickstarter campaign opened this market again – with success. It would be fair to say that VR has reached the mainstream, but in the niche new competition and new game ideas arise from the now tough competition. Of course there are also professional applications, but the core discipline for VR remains gaming – and there is an ever increasing range of headsets, controllers and sensors on the part of the manufacturers. We therefore chose devices that have proven themselves in previous tests. We also wanted to cover different price ranges. So that we can give you the best possible overview, we have based not only our own experience but also user ratings and external test institutions such as GameStar and VR-Legion.

It’s hard to believe that we still thought of VR at that time:

Start photo gallery(6 images)

Before Oculus Rift & HTC Vive: The virtual reality hype of the 90s was so strange

Buy VR glasses: you should know that beforehand

Different types of VR glasses

Before you decide to buy VR glasses, you should think about how exactly you want to use them. Are you looking for an all-in-one solution for which no additional hardware is required? Perhaps you already have a powerful gaming PC or a corresponding console and want to dive into virtual worlds. Overall, VR glasses can be roughly divided into three categories:

As a rule, they are VR glasses coupled to a computer or console are the most powerful, because the necessary calculations take place on the PC or the console. Accordingly, there is the most graphically demanding content among these models. Depending on which headset you choose, appropriate computing power is then necessary. You can, of course, according to the respective Minimum requirements of the manufacturer, but for a smooth gaming experience, the investment in correspondingly powerful PC hardware is essential. Any additional costs for a PC upgrade should therefore be considered before making a purchase decision.

The advantage of stand-alone VR glasses, on the other hand, is that no additional hardware is required and thus there is no cable clutter. You also save the cost of purchasing a powerful computer. Conversely, this means that the available content is usually less demanding graphically than with PC-bound headsets. In the meantime, there are also mixed forms that work both without additional hardware and in conjunction with a PC.

Thanks to the integrated tracking and battery, the Oculus Quest can be used completely wirelessly. (Image: Oculus)

With smartphone VR glasses, your smartphone provides the necessary hardware power and also functions as a display. The following applies here: the more computing power and the higher the pixel density, the better. However, you should inform yourself in advance about the compatibility of your smartphone, since not all devices are supported. If a suitable smartphone has to be purchased first, the financial expenditure increases considerably. Smartphone VR glasses are the cheapest entry into virtual reality and are therefore ideal for sniffing.

Rent VR glasses instead of buying?

The biggest hurdle for entry into virtual reality is probably the high acquisition costs for the corresponding hardware. High-end VR glasses like the Valve Index, including the necessary accessories, can cost over 1,000 euros. Then there are the costs for a powerful PC and you are rid of several thousand euros. Fortunately, you can also enjoy VR games much cheaper – Grover, Ottonow and Co. make it possible. You can get one from these providers Simply rent the VR headset of your choice and just pays a monthly rental fee. You can find out exactly how this works and whether renting technology is really worthwhile in our video:

technical requirements

Several factors are crucial for an optimal VR experience. It starts with the Dissolution of the glasses because this can vary greatly depending on the model. While some devices such as the PlayStation VR only deliver 1,080 × 960 pixels per eye, the Pimax 5K Plus has a whopping 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. The resolution alone is not all, however, as one high refresh rate is equally important. High quality VR glasses can display up to 144 frames per second, with 60 being the bare minimum. Finally, that would be it Field of View (FOV), which increases the “feeling right in the middle” again with high values. Most headsets range between 100 and 130 degrees, with individual devices even having a field of view up to 200 degrees wide.

Some people are susceptible to so-called “motion sickness”. This is a common side effect of using a VR headset that can lead to headaches or nausea. It is advisable to find out if you are susceptible to it using cheaper devices before buying expensive VR glasses.

Another aspect is the comfort of wearing glasses: Not all devices fit the glasses into the housing of the VR glasses without problems. Problems arise in this regard, particularly with smartphone VR glasses. In both cases, it is worth trying out the respective VR glasses before buying.

Learn from us what problems VR is still struggling with:

Start photo gallery(13 images)

11 problems that VR still struggles with today

Tracking

In addition to a smooth display, the reliable tracking of your movements is at least as important. Depending on the headset, there are also different technologies that are used here. We explain the most common of these in the following overview:

  • 3DoF / 6DoF: This means the degrees of freedom of movement. With 3DoF, only the movements of the headset itself are measured – that is, the tilting, rotating or swiveling of the head. With 6DoF, on the other hand, all movements are tracked and you can walk around the room without restriction.
  • Markerless / Marker-Based Inside-Out: Initially, this only means that the glasses themselves measure their position within the room. In most cases, this happens either via integrated cameras (markerless) or by external sensors (marker-based). The latter is often lighthouse tracking because the sensors emit a special light similar to a lighthouse, which is then used by the headset to determine the position.
  • Outside-in: This tracking method is now considered outdated, but is still used occasionally. This also applies to the PlayStation VR, in which an external camera connected to the PS4 takes over the tracking. It is based on LEDs that are installed in the headset and the respective controller and thus determines your exact position.

Movement in space

Depending on whether you have a stand-alone version or VR glasses for coupling to a PC or a console, your freedom of movement may be restricted. With headsets like the Oculus Quest you can completely free yourself move around the room without annoying cable clutter. However, the usage time is linked to the battery life of the headset – so having a power bank with a long cable up your sleeve would be advisable if you use it for a long time. With devices like the Valve Index, however, you are connected to your PC by cable; this can disturb the freedom of movement due to the necessary cables. For some headsets, however, now exist separate WLAN adapterwhich then transmit all signals wirelessly to your VR glasses.

Which VR glasses suit me best?

You finally want to experience virtual reality first-hand and are still undecided which VR headset you should buy? The first thing that matters is how big your budget is and what you want to do with it. For more demanding games, you usually need VR glasses that are connected to a powerful gaming PC. Games that are less graphically demanding often work with smartphone VR glasses or a corresponding stand-alone variant. The latter are also sufficient for users who simply want to try out VR and “dive” for a few minutes.

Which VR headset should I buy?

  • VR beginners: If you are still completely new to the area, it may be worth buying VR glasses in which you can insert your existing smartphone. In this way you get a first feeling for VR applications and also save yourself a lot of money. You can still upgrade later.
  • The best from both worlds: Have you already had your first VR experience and now want more? In this case, stand-alone glasses would be worth considering, usually priced between 400 and 500 euros. In return, both the number and quality of the available games increase and they are still significantly cheaper than pure PC-bound models. Setting up such models is also done quickly. PS4 owners can also access the PlayStation VR for around 300 euros.
  • Complete immersion: Are you interested in the best possible immersion and are not afraid of costs and effort? In this case, you cannot avoid a full VR headset like the Valve Index. Before doing so, you should make sure that you have enough computing power and space for the necessary sensors. Also consider the increased effort involved in setting up all the hardware. If your budget should be tight, renting appropriate VR glasses would also be an option.

did you like this article? Write it to us in the
Comments
or share the article. We look forward to your opinion
– and of course you are welcome to follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *