Which VR headset is right for me?



VR headsets are the must-have gift for tech types this year. But which is right for you?

which vr headset is right for me

Virtual Reality is one of the most compelling tech stories of recent times, with high-profile headsets finally bringing VR to your living room.

The best VR experience comes from a tethered headset – one that runs off external computers rather than your smartphone. Data is streamed from a console or PC at high speed to screens inside the headset, so as to create a 360° experience. When you move your head, the images move with you.

Tethered headsets use built-in sensors like an accelerometer and gyroscope to track your movement, have better screens and are generally more comfortable to wear. 

Here we run through the 4 best tethered headsets – the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Dell Visor and Lenovo Explorer – to help you decide which best fits your needs.

 

HTC Vive

In a nutshell: Super-powerful VR headset packed with clever tech and partnered with Steam gaming platformhtc vive

The HTC Vive runs by connecting to a high-powered Windows 10 PC. It gets the full benefits of an Intel Core processor, to deliver VR games and apps with the best graphics.

Gaming is incredibly immersive thanks to a wider field of view (110°). Apps and other VR content look sharper too with better-than-Full-HD screens (2160 x 1200 resolution) in the headset.

Your movements are tracked accurately in your virtual world with 32 separate sensors. Vive can see you wherever you roam thanks to infra-red base stations. You control your game with motion-tracking hand controllers (included) described by one reviewer as ‘spot on for virtual reality’.  

Vive also has a front-facing camera. With this you can switch between the virtual and the real world. This means you can see obstacles like sofas and chairs as you wander through your virtual surroundings. 

 

What about the games?

Online gaming platform Steam is integrated with the Vive to offer a collection of amazing VR gaming experiences – prepare to battle in slow-motion shoot ‘em up SUPERHOT or take to the green and practise your swing in The Golf Club.

The nuts and bolts:

  • Your PC needs a minimum of: Intel Core i5-4590, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970/AMD R9 390, 8GB RAM, HDMI 1.3 video output, 3 x USB 3.0 ports plus 1 USB 2.0 port 
  • How much does it cost? £599.99

 

Get HTC Vive

 

Oculus Rift

In a nutshell: The headset that made VR a thing again – combining high power with simple controloculus rift

Just a few years ago virtual reality was an obscure, cumbersome thing a million miles from the mainstream. Oculus Rift is the device that kick-started the current virtual reality trend.

Oculus first announced its VR headset in 2012, and since then it’s been tweaked and improved into the Rift available today.

Like the HTC Vive, the Rift runs from your gaming PC or laptop using its Intel Core i5 processor and dedicated graphics. Games look amazing through the Full HD resolution (1200x1080) screens, while peripheral vision is excellent with a wide field of view.

Your movements are tracked accurately, from the slightest head-tilt to a full spin around, thanks to the headset’s built-in sensors and a separate tracking sensor.

Games are controlled using an Xbox One controller, which comes bundled with the headset. Or you can get handheld motion controllers called Oculus Touch with built-in motion tracking to make you feel ‘your virtual hands are your own’.

 

What about the games?

Oculus has worked with studios and games developers to ensure there are plenty of games already available – from zombie thriller Bloody Zombies to fantasy The Last Sorcerer and Ocean Rift, the world’s first VR aquarium. Partner developers include Insomniac Games, Crytek and CCP Games.

The nuts and bolts:

  • Your PC needs a minimum of: Intel Core i3-6100/AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470, 8GB RAM, HDMI 1.3 video output, 3 x USB 3.0 ports plus 1 USB 2.0 port 
  • How much does it cost? £499.99

 

Get the Oculus Rift

 

Dell Visor Mixed Reality

In a nutshell: Combines VR with the real world – compatible with both Steam and Windows store gamesdell visor mixed reality

Whereas VR provides you with an escape from the outside world, the Dell Visor Mixed Reality (MR) brings your everyday environment into the game. Physical and digital objects interact to create new environments and visualisations for you to play in.

Every detail can be enjoyed in high definition through the headset’s Dual HD lenses. A 110° field of view and wireless controllers (included) provide a totally immersive experience – gameplay comes naturally with the Visor.  

No external sensors and only one cable mean setup is quick and easy – all you need is a compatible PC. Most of which are, so long as they have the Window 10 Fall Creators Update.

 

What about the games?

With the Visor you can still enjoy some VR games from Steam – like Space Pirate Trainer or Universe Sandbox – as well as Windows Store classics such as Halo. You can even plug in your GoPro to watch videos with 360° views.

The nuts and bolts:

  • Your PC needs a minimum of: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Intel Core i5 (4th generation) quad-core, NVIDIA GTX 965M/AMD RX 460 graphics, 8GB DDR3 RAM, HMDI 1.4 video output, 1 USB 3.0 port
  • How much does it cost? £429.99

 

Get the Dell Visor

 

Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality headset and controllers

 

In a nutshell: This super comfy headset with intuitive controllers lets you fully immerse yourself in a virtual worldlenovo explorer

Put on the Lenovo Explorer MR headset and jump into a world that combines reality with virtual elements.

Its wireless controllers (included) let you pick up items, use weapons and control other characters smoothly. Your interaction with the game feels 100% natural.  

Like the Visor, the Explorer combines with most PCs, so long as they have the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. It also benefits from similar Dual HD Lenses, providing incredible 360°. No external sensors and a single cable means you can be plugged in and playing in no time.

Lightweight design and an adjustable dial make the Explorer incredibly comfortable to wear – it almost feels like you’ve nothing on your head. And when you want to jump out of the game just flip up the visor and you’re back in the room.

 

What about the games?

The Lenovo Explorer MR headset is compatible with both Steam and Xbox games, available from the Windows Store – enjoy classics like Fantastic Contraption and Minecraft all in MR.

The nuts and bolts:

  • Your PC needs a minimum of: Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Intel Core i5 (4th generation) quad-core, NVIDIA GTX 965M/AMD RX 460 graphics, 8GB DDR3 RAM, HMDI 1.4 video output, 1 USB 3.0 port
  • How much does it cost?

 

Get the Lenovo Explorer Mixed Reality Headset

 

Ready to step into the world of virtual reality? Find your perfect VR headset