7 Best VR Headsets in the UK for 2020

Budget
YEMENREN 3D Virtual Reality Glasses, VR Headset with Bluetooth Controller And Headphones, 120°...
Value-for-Money
HTC Vive Pro VR Virtual Reality Headset
The Best
HTC VIVE PRO Premium VR Headset with SteamVR Tracking
Title
YEMENREN 3D Virtual Reality Glasses, VR Headset with Bluetooth Controller And Headphones, 120°...
HTC Vive Pro VR Virtual Reality Headset
HTC VIVE PRO Premium VR Headset with SteamVR Tracking
Rating
Weight
520 Grams
802.86 Grams
1.73 Kilograms
Field Of View
120 degrees
110 degrees
110 degrees
Resolution
n/a
2880 x 1600 pixels
2880 x 1600 pixels
Connections
Bluetooth
USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth
USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth
Audio
Headphones
Hi-Res, high impedance headphones
Hi-Res, high impedance headphones
Price
£35.03
£615.90
£1,119.00
Budget
YEMENREN 3D Virtual Reality Glasses, VR Headset with Bluetooth Controller And Headphones, 120°...
Title
YEMENREN 3D Virtual Reality Glasses, VR Headset with Bluetooth Controller And Headphones, 120°...
Rating
Weight
520 Grams
Field Of View
120 degrees
Resolution
n/a
Connections
Bluetooth
Audio
Headphones
Price
£35.03
Value-for-Money
HTC Vive Pro VR Virtual Reality Headset
Title
HTC Vive Pro VR Virtual Reality Headset
Rating
Weight
802.86 Grams
Field Of View
110 degrees
Resolution
2880 x 1600 pixels
Connections
USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth
Audio
Hi-Res, high impedance headphones
Price
£615.90
The Best
HTC VIVE PRO Premium VR Headset with SteamVR Tracking
Title
HTC VIVE PRO Premium VR Headset with SteamVR Tracking
Rating
Weight
1.73 Kilograms
Field Of View
110 degrees
Resolution
2880 x 1600 pixels
Connections
USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth
Audio
Hi-Res, high impedance headphones
Price
£1,119.00

Table of Contents

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1. YEMENREN 3D VR Glasses VR Headset – The Cheap Choice

Introduction

Our first pick is low-priced yet well-equipped smartphone VR headset. Smartphone VR headsets have a mobile phone as their VR source signal that is placed inside the headset. Cheap, portable, it is a great entry-level option.

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At a Glance

  • HD Virtual Reality Anti-Blu-Ray Lens for 3D Film and Games
  • Suitable for 4.0 – 6.0 Inch Smartphone Mobile Phone
  • 120° continuous viewing: It provides an optimal 360° all-round panoramic VR view of videos (like in cinema)
  • Bluetooth remote control and headphones
  • Not fully compatible with the iOS system – some functions may not be fully used
  • Comfortable wearing experience and easy adjustment: soft leather, breathable and comfortable
    Adjustable headband ensures a suitable fit
    The device can easily adjust the object/pupil distance and provide a better perspective
    Users short-sightedness less than 600 degrees can have the best 3D experience without glasses
  • Eye protection HD lenses: It uses anti-reflective and blue-light coated lenses to avoid excessive eye strain when wearing
    Aspherical surface and undistorted lens surface – sharp HD images without scattering or distortion
  • Compatibility and customer service: suitable for smartphones with sizes between 4 and 6 inches

Features

YEMENREN 3D VR glasses are designed for smartphones of 4 to 6 inches. Offering 120° continuous viewing, YEMENREN 3D VR glasses also offer an optimal 360° all-round panoramic VR view of videos. If you are new in the world of VR technology, then you will surely find the experience overwhelming.

One of the most interesting features of this model is its Bluetooth connectivity, which allows you to use a set of controllers and headphones wirelessly – both necessary for an immersive gaming session or your favourite TV show. Note though that the handle is not fully compatible with the iOS system; some functions of the controller may not be fully used. Still, while most smartphone headsets come with a single input, its Bluetooth connectivity enables you to use multiple inputs from a single device.

Most smartphone headsets are not very comfortable and can be worn no more than 5-7 minutes. YEMENREN 3D is a nice exception. While still not as comfortable as pricier models, their design, adjustable headband, and soft leather and breathable material make it surprisingly comfortable for a phone-powered VR headset. The device can easily adjust the object/pupil distance and thus provide a better perspective. This proves handy for users with short-sightedness less than 600 degrees since it allows them to enjoy a 3D experience without glasses.

Since this type of VR headsets uses a smartphone as a screen, their single most important part is their lenses. YEMENREN comes with eye protection HD lenses. considering that VR glasses have a light transmission of 94%, having anti-reflective and blue-light coated lenses means a considerably lower eye strain and longer gaming or viewing sessions. Their aspherical surface and undistorted lens surface ensure decent HD images – more than acceptable for a smartphone headset.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Eye protection HD lenses
  • Comfortable fit (for a smartphone VR headset)
  • Cheap
  • Decent HD images
  • Wireless controller and headphones connectivity
Cons
  • None, considering it is an entry-level, phone-powered VR headset.

Our opinion

To be sure, this is a good pick only for people with zero VR experience. Decent comfort and HD image, excellent price and with wireless connectivity, YEMENREN rises above its similarly priced competition.

2. Samsung SM-R324NZAABTU Galaxy Gear VR 2017 with Motion Controller

Introduction

Samsung’s Gear VR is not your usual smartphone VR headset: this mid-priced phone-powered model combines simple operation, affordability and an upgraded VR experience.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: Samsung
  • Model: Gear VR
  • Colour: Black, Orchid Grey
  • Edition: SM-R324
  • Dimensions & Weight
  • Width: 8.2 X 4.8 X 3.9
  • Weight: 12.17 oz/ 345 gr
  • Sensors: Gyro sensor, Proximity sensor
  • Field of View: 101 degrees
  • Features: Remote control included
  • Ergonomic design
    Foam cushioning for a more natural hold and blocking ambient light
  • The Gear VR controller can be used
    as a remote control to navigate your virtual reality with ease
    or as a gamepad
  • Compatible with Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S7, S7 Edge and S8, S8 Plus (using USB-C connection)

Features

Easy to use, put on and carry around, the Gear VR is indeed a great option both for newbies and people that have started finding entry-level cardboard headsets boring.

Since this is also a smartphone VR headset, we’d better start with its compatibility. The new Gear VR headset is designed to work with the Galaxy S8 Plus, S8, S7, S7 Edge, Note 5, S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+ and comes with Micro USB and USB-C adapters.

Unfortunately, and contrary to our previous pick, the Gear VR still works with wired headphones. While phone-powered VR headsets, in general, are not designed for wide and intensive movements, personally I prefer wireless connectivity and as fewer cables as possible.

One of the strongest merits of this model is its wide app range, as well as a new controller – a great upgrade compared to older versions of this model, and a major advantage against most of its competitors that usually have a trackpad on the side of the set. Equipped with a home button, a back button, volume controls, a click pad, and a trigger. An elastic strap helps you store the controller into the headband when you are done with it – a clever addition since it is small and easy to lose.

The controller tracks motion, ‘senses’ the hand you’re holding it in, and offer all basic controls you will need for a VR smartphone gaming session. Energy-wise, it is powered by two AAA batteries instead of recharging with a USB cable as in most other models. True, this is not exactly energy-efficient, but it makes the controller much more responsive.

On the other hand, bear in mind that, till now, a small number of Gear VR apps are fully compatible with the new remote. Most can use some of its inputs, but few all of them.

Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Affordable
  • Wide app range
  • New remote controller
  • Comfortable
Cons
  • Headphones are wired

Our opinion

Samsung’s Gear VR is an excellent mid-priced smartphone headset. Equipped with a new remote, boasting an impressive app library (but lacking wireless connectivity), it would be unfair to call just an entry-level pick.

3. PlayStation VR Starter Pack (PS4)

Introduction

PlayStation VR has been on the market for more than four years by now and is one of the most popular – if not the most popular – VR headset, especially among PS lovers, for obvious reasons. Fully optimised with the configurations and capabilities of the game console, the only thing you need is to plug it and enjoy it, offering excellent performance at an affordable price.

Of course, it has its limitations.

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At a Glance

  • Worlds with over 200 games and experiences with PlayStation VR
  • External Dimensions
  • VR headset: Approx. 187 x 185 x 277 mm (excludes largest projection, headband at the shortest)
  • Processor unit: Approx. 150 x 39 x 114 mm (excludes largest projection)
  • Mass: VR headset:
    600g (excluding cable)
    Processor unit: Approx. 300g
  • Display Method: OLED
  • Panel Size: 5.7 inches
  • Panel Resolution: 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080 per eye)
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz, 90Hz
  • Field of View: Approximately 100 degrees
  • Sensors Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer)
  • Connection Interface
    VR headset: AUX port, HDMI output port, HDMI TV port, HDMI PS4 port, USB port
    Processor unit: HDMI port, AUX port, Stereo headphone jack
  • Processor Unit Function:
    3D audio processing, Social Screen (mirroring mode, separate mode)
    Cinematic mode, 4K and HDR (pass-through mode only)
  • Box Contains
    VR Headset
    PlayStation Camera
    Processor Unit
    VR headset connection cable
    AC adaptor
    AC power cord
    HDMI cable
    USB cable
    Stereo headphones
    Earpieces (1 set)
    Printed materials
    Cleaning cloth
    PlayStation VR Worlds voucher code
    Demo disc

Features

Whilst this VR headset is part of a kit with several devices, we will concentrate our comments just on the headset.

As mentioned, the most important trait of this headset is its combo of amazing performance at a considerably lower price compared to other headsets delivering similar results. Still, note that this is a given only when used with the PlayStation console and its built-in GPU. Long story short, if you don’t have a PS console, opt for another VR headset.

Note, though, that a VR headset of similar or slightly higher price paired with a mighty PC will perform better than the PS4 and PSVR game console.

This version comes with an HDR pass-through, upgraded audio performance and overall comfort – plus it does not require a costly PC set-up.

Considering the fact that the headset’s tracking depends on a sole PlayStation Camera, the accuracy is surprisingly good. On the other hand, the single-camera makes a bit more difficult for the system to track a wider range of movements (sitting down, walking). Please note that the play area that can be tracked by the PSVR is not very large, and you will often get warnings from the system that you are stepping out of range.

On the other hand, most PlayStation VR games recommend a certain position throughout the game, usually sitting down or standing up. If you get motion sick, sitting down will help a lot.

PlayStation VR features a 960 x RGB x 1080 per eye – which is great for a VR headset of such price. Combined with the fact that it has an array of great games ready for the taking, it has an indisputable advantage against its competitors, who strive to forge partnerships with developers to provide options to their customers.

On the downside, light does penetrate from the sides – not at a degree that would ruin the whole experience, but it is noticeable.

Pros
  • Great price
  • Great performance
  • A wide array of games
  • Good resolution
Cons
  • Motion tracking is problematic
  • Light penetrates from the sides

Our opinion

Affordable, performing great with a PS console and with a great range of games, the PlayStation VR headset has many traits to justify its popularity.

4. Oculus Quest VR Headset

Introduction

As you can see, we upped the price considerably with this model, but Oculus Quest 64GB VR headset is one of the most popular models in the market – for a good many reasons. Advanced yet budget-friendly, considering its features and quality, Oculus’ launch changed everything in the VR market.

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At a Glance

  • All-in-one VR: Oculus Quest has everything you need to explore VR, right out of the box.
  • Dimensions: 120mm x 110mm x 90mm
  • Insight tracking: Oculus Insight tracking system instantly reflects your movements in VR without the need for any external accessories.
  • Touch controllers: Oculus Touch controllers precisely recreate your hands, their gestures and interactions.
  • Beyond room-scale: Oculus Quest works with your environment, so you can play standing or sitting, in spaces big or small.
  • What’s included with Oculus Quest:
    VR headset
    Touch controllers for Oculus Quest
    Power adapter
    Eyeglass Spacer
    Oculus Insight tracking system
  • Box Contains
    1 x Quest Device, 1 x Controllers (L&R), 1 x Printed Accessory Folio, 1 x Manual, 2 x AA Batteries, 1 x Charging cable, 1 x Glass Spacer, 1 x Welcome Card, 1 x Charger (US, UK, EU, AU)

Features

Contrary to other headsets that require additional equipment (it has positional audio built-in delivering sound without headphones), external sensors or a complicated (especially for a newbie) set-up process, the only thing Quest needs is to charge it up, download the app, pair the headset, connect it to WiFi – and you will soon be ready to enjoy it!

Design-wise, there is no doubt that the Oculus Quest is one of the best-looking VR headsets on the market.

On the sides of the headset, there’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack and three buttons (power on and off and volume control). Surprisingly compact and light for a standalone device, it features an elegant matte black finish, with its sides covered in fabric and a foam lining around the goggles, making it hands down one of the softest and comfiest headsets on today’s market. Three straps help you adjust and firmly secure it around your head. Weight distribution proves great too.

Actually, the only fault one could find in its design was some light leakage through the nose area – but it is barely noticeable.

The Quest is equipped with a pair of motion controllers, six degrees of freedom (6DOF) tracking and side sensors, which means that the user can move freely in his/her play area without cables and wires, while each of your movements is integrated into the VR, be it walking, kneeling, bending etc. As mentioned, I love untethered headsets and the freedom they provide – especially when they come with the new Oculus Insight technology, which translates body movements into VR extremely accurately, offering excellent movement tracking. It is also ideal for spaces of all sizes, being untethered and not requiring additional gear.

The Quest also comes with two controllers with thumb-sticks, buttons, a trigger button and a grip button, by two AA batteries. Ergonomically designed and very responsive, they add joy to the whole experience.

Equipped with an OLED display panel with 1440 x 1600 per eye resolution, the Quest will not let you down in terms of image clarity and realism. Its processor is not the most powerful of this price range, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker. The built-in speakers aren’t as good as a top-quality pair of headphones, but they are good enough.

As to battery life, you can expect it to last somewhere between 2 to 3 hours when fully charged – which is great for this price range. Also keep in mind that the Quest comes with a 9ft-long cable, enabling you to continue your session even is the battery dies. A recharge takes around 2 hours.

Pros
  • Untethered
  • Great battery life
  • Reasonably priced (considering its features and quality)
  • Ideal for all sized rooms
  • Amazing movement tracking
Cons
  • Slight light leakage
  • The battery lasts 2 hours

Our opinion

The Oculus Quest 64 GB is and feels special. Offering truly immersive VR experience, untethered and requiring zero extra equipment, it is hands down one of the best options for anyone wishing to move to more realistic and captivating VR sessions.

5. HTC Vive Pro VR Headset – Value-for-Money

Introduction

HTC’s Vive Pro VR headset boasts high-resolution AMOLED displays, integrated earphones, built-in amplifier and spatial 3D audio, launching a new era in the VR market – but all this comes at a premium.

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At a Glance

  • Brand: HTC
  • Model: Vive Pro
  • Colour: Blue
  • Weight: 77 Pounds
  • Screen: Dual AMOLED 3.5 inches diagonal.
  • High impedance headphone support
  • Adjustable IPD
  • Adjustable headphone
  • Adjustable head strap
  • Resolution: 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye (2880 x 1600 pixels combined).
  • Refresh Rate: 90 Hz.
  • Field of View: 110 degrees.
  • Audio: Hi-Res certified and high impedance headphones (removable).
  • Input: Dual integrated microphones.
  • Connexions: USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth.
  • Sensors: SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensor.
  • Ergonomics: Lens distance adjustment, adjustable IPD, adjustable headphones, adjustable head strap.
  • Recommended Computer Specs:
    GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
    RAM 4GB or more
    Output: DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
    USB: 1x USB 3.0 or newer
    OS: Windows 8.1 or Windows 10

Features

HTC Vive Pro VR headset stands out for money reasons, one of them being its exceptional design. Featuring a wonderful royal blue hue, it has its power button at the left, along with a knob adjusting the interpapillary distance (distance between the pupils of the eyes), and one earphone in each side. On the other hand, it doesn’t come with base stations or controllers. You will have to get them at an extra cost.

If there is a downside in the HTC Vive Pro itself is its set up, which is a bit of a hassle, but nothing you cannot handle. Once connected to your PC or laptop, you will have to set up the Lighthouse sensors – as well as prepare a play area per the instructions (at least 6 x 6 feet).

Its wide top head strap, large sideband and amazing back knob make it very easy both to adjust and firmly fix the headset around your head. HTC is unquestionably one of the most comfortable VR headsets on the market.

The earphones and built-in amplifier are both top-notch quality, delivering excellent sound quality – a “must” for a genuinely immersive experience. Combined with a pair of 3.5-inch AMOLED screens (boasting 1440 x 1600 per eye and 2880 x 1600 combined), a 90 Hertz and 110-degree refresh rate, it is designed to sweep you away with its performance, realism and level of detail – provided you connect it to a PC of the suggested specs.

The Vive Pro is also equipped with a pair of cameras with one of the lenses dedicated to depth mapping. There is also the Phone Sync feature, which allows you get texts, calls and other notifications while enjoying your VR sessions.

Pros
  • Integrated earphones
  • Amazing audio and visual realism
  • Very comfortable even for a long period of time
  • 3D spatial audio
  • Phone synchronisation
  • Reasonably priced for its array of features
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with controllers or base stations
  • Setting up takes some time

Our opinion

While not fully untethered, HTC Vive Pro is undeniably one of the best VR headsets on the market. If you find it expensive, better check its specifications and try it out first in a store. You will not fail to realise that such a level of realism could not come any cheaper.

6. Pimax 5K Plus VR Headset

Introduction

When first launched, it is true that Pimax 5K Plus VR headset has disappointed many with is the poor frame rate and software. Things have changed though since then, and Pimax 5K stands now as one of the top picks on the market – especially if you value VR peripheral vision.

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At a Glance

  • 5120 X 1440 5K Plus UHD Resolution
  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 11.5 x 3.75 x 4.5 inches (visor)/ 292.1 × 95.3 x 114.3 mm
  • Brain-Warp Patented
  • Ergonomic Design
  • High Compatibility: Support over 95% VR Contents on Steam & Oculus Home
  • Kickstarter Record Holder
  • 120Hz Refresh Rate
  • Display Type: Custom low persistence liquid display (CLPL)
  • Per-Eye Resolution: 2560 x 1440
  • Refresh Rate: 90Hz (DisplayPort 1.4)
  • FOV (field of view, H x V): 170-degrees x unspecified (200-degrees diagonal)
  • Lens Type: Custom Fresnel
  • Lens Adjustment: 60mm to 73mm mechanical
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyro Sensor, Magnetometer
  • Tracking Technology: 6 DOF SteamVR 2.0 Room-Scale Tracking
  • Audio: Headset Jack, integrated microphone
  • HMD Ports: 1x proprietary (DisplayPort 1.4/USB 3.0)2x USB Type-C
  • HMD Cable Length: 11 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds / 514g
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Recommended Computer Specs
    GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1070 or AMD equivalent or better
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
    RAM: 8GB or more
    Output: Display Port 1.4 or newer
    USB: 1x USB 2.0/3.0
    OS: Windows 8 and Windows 10

Features

There is no doubt that the 5K Plus is… big.  A mere glance at its dimensions and a little comparing with the other picks of our list and you will instantly see the difference. Its bulky design does make the user seem a bit… grotesque, but that’s hardly an issue for us; efficiency is far more important than looks to us when it comes to VR headsets.

Besides, it’s not like the manufacturer made it so big just for fun. It requires much space to slot inside two displays side by side and create Pimax 5K Plus’ greatest and most impressive trait – its 200-degree Field of View (FOV), which is almost double than any other of our picks in the list. Each of these displays features 2560 x 1440 pixels, affording an aggregate resolution of 5120 x 1440 – hence the 5K appellation.

Pimax has invested a lot on these displays. Their LCD panels are custom-made and feature a technology known as “Custom Low Persistence Liquid” (CLPL), which almost eliminate ghosting or tearing, but suffer a bit when it comes to colour production.

If the quintessence of virtual reality is immersion, then Pimax’s obsession with the widest possible FOV is understandable. Its vast field of view allows you to see more of the virtual world and less of the headset’s interior, making the whole experience far more immersive than any of its competitors.

As to comfort, its sheer size should not scare you away. 5K Plus is surprisingly light, slightly more than 500g. Adjusting it around your head is easy; its 3-point Velcro harness is not so complicated. Yet, such simplicity often compromises a comfortable and secure fit – and this model is no exception.

Another downside is the lack of built-in headphones, which should be considered a given at this price range. Apparently, Pimax considers its undeniably amazing peripheral vision reason enough for such a sum; many do not agree with this point of view, but I certainly do, especially after considering certain other impressive features, like the Leap Motion sensor – an amazing addition that takes hand tracking to another level.

Pimax has improved the overall performance of the headset too, with minimum distortion (which was a grave issue in the previous version of the headset). The Pimax 5K Plus produces amazingly sharp images – far superior to those of our previous picks. The key lies in properly combining FOV and render scale; should you succeed, the graphics will be incredible – otherwise, they are awful!

Hence, Pimax 5k Plus is certainly not for the inexperienced. Only seasoned VR buffs would know how to make the best of its capabilities.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Peripheral vision
  • Exceptional visual clarity
  • Improved software
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Requires headphones
  • Head-strap could be better

Our opinion

True, Pimax 5K Plus is not exactly budget-friendly and requires considerable experience to configure its settings, but a seasoned VR buff may find its captivating peripheral vision truly mesmerising and make the best of the first ultra-wide FOV VR headset available for the consumer market.

7.  HTC VIVE PRO Premium VR Headset with SteamVR Tracking – The Best Choice

Introduction

Closing our list, we have the HTC Vive Pro Premium, VR headset so advanced that it has trouble finding PCs meeting its requirements. If its price is not an issue for you, get ready to be amazed.

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At a Glance

  • Screen: Dual AMOLED 3.5″ diagonal.
  • Resolution: 1440 x 1600 pixels per eye (2880 x 1600 pixels combined).
  • Refresh Rate: 90 Hz.
  • Field of View: 110 degrees.
  • Audio: Hi-Res, high impedance headphones (removable).
  • Input: Dual integrated microphones.
  • Connections: USB-C 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, Bluetooth.
  • Sensors: SteamVR Tracking, G-sensor, gyroscope, proximity, IPD sensor.
  • Ergonomics: Lens distance adjustment, adjustable IPD, adjustable headphones, adjustable head strap
  • Box Contains
    1x HMD, 1x 3in1 Cable, 1x Spare Face Cushion, 1x Linkbox, 2x Base (+power adaptors), 2x Controllers (plus micro USB power adaptors), 1x 5m AUX Cable, 1x HDMI-HDMI, 1x USB-USB, 1x 5m Cable, 1x Headphones
  • Recommended Computer Specs
    GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480, equivalent or better
    CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350, equivalent or better
    RAM 4GB or more
    Output: DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
    USB: 1x USB 3.0 or newer
    OS: Windows 8.1 or Windows 10

Features

HTC Vive Pro Premium is scarcely the case of a basic model given a “hurray” word in its name and a few advanced trifles to maximise profit. If HTC Vive Pro is great, the Premium edition is grand.

Everything is “more” in this model: more efficient, more realistic, more amazing – and, as expected, more demanding in its requirements, and far more expensive.

Featuring a wonderful dark matte blue and the same basic combination of straps, the Premium takes a bit more time to fit it securely around your head, but as soon as you do, you won’t have a problem, no matter how intensely you move.

Boasting a resolution that is double that of its predecessor (2,880 x 1,600 pixels combined with one AMOLED screen for each eye), it is also equipped with built-in microphones and on-ear headphones, which are capable of 3D spatial audio.

Several minor changes in the design –like the improved (and replaceable) padding- make it even more comfortable to wear than the HTC Vive Pro, making it ideal for ardent gamers that wear themselves out playing for hours.

Surprisingly enough, Vive Pro Premium is a tethered VR headset, but there is already a wireless adapter available, which is great since with such a piece of equipment, you want as much freedom of movement as possible. Along with the new 2.0 Base Stations, you can create a play area of 20 x 20 feet – considerably bigger than the that of the HTC Vive Pro.

The performance and realism of this headset seem out of this world – it’s almost eerie. Even the tiniest insects seem so genuine, so real, it gets frightening at first. This makes HTC Vive Pro Premium ideal for business simulation training – for example learning an employee how to safely manage high voltage machinery.

However, I doubt that you are here having your employees in mind. Well, whether that is indeed the case or not, HTC Vive Pro Premium is the closest to reality you can get – provided, of course, you have a PC with the proposed specs, which is not a given.

If you have a standard PC, then bear in mind that you will probably have to upgrade it if you want to run the Premium – jus to run it, not make the best of it! For that, you will need far more if you want to avoid incessant lags, poor tracking, and ineffective anti-aliasing. Even the port requirements are more demanding (you will need a full-sized DisplayPort). And don’t think you get around it with fancy adapters.

Pros
  • Unparalleled realism and overall performance
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
  • Built-in headphones compatible with 3D spatial audio
  • Outstanding resolution
  • Ideal for business training
Cons
  • Pricey
  • High PC requirements

Our opinion

If you want a state-of-the-art VR headset and you are willing to pay for it, then HTC Vive Pro Premium is a perfect – provided you have a PC with specs that can support such excellence.

VR Headset Buying Guide

The first step to a smart pick is to get to know a few basic things about the product itself. And when you have to do with such a complicated and intricate device as a VR headset, this step is even more important.

It is still a confusing time for VR. Most have only tried experiences with phone-powered VR, others may own a PSVR, a PC-run headset or have tried one at an event or location-based experience. So, the range of expectations is vast when it comes to the quality of the hardware, performance and level of immersion.

Let us start with the basics then.

What is a VR Headset?

A virtual reality headset is a head-mounted device providing virtual reality as part of a simulation, a training session, a video game, or other similar applications.

VR headset apparatus integrates several advanced technologies, including stereoscopic display, stereo sound, advanced head and eye motion tracking sensors and gaming controllers.

How Does a VR Headset Work?

VR headsets comprise a stereoscopic 3D display, which provides different images for each eye, either by sending two feeds to one display or using LCD displays, one per eye, mimicking the way each of them views an environment.

Are There any Differences Between VR Headsets?

During the last decade, VR headset technology has evolved greatly, producing headsets with several and important differences. Some of them are fundamental, but most of them are an effort to meet the individual needs of each user.

Below, we present the different kinds of VR headsets, their corresponding cost and features.

What are the Different Types of VR Headsets?

Based on their design, VR headsets come in three basic types:

  • Smartphone VR Headsets

Smartphone VR headsets use a phone as the source of a VR signal, which is placed inside the headset. Smartphone VR headsets come in various designs and features, with corresponding compatibility and performance. They are cheap, portable, but have limited options when it comes to content and controllers.

  • Tethered VR Headsets

Tethered VR headsets are much more powerful and provide a much more realistic VR experience. Their most distinguishing characteristic is the cable connecting them with a PC or game console, which serve as the source of the VR signal.

Tethered VR headsets may limit the mobility of the user because of the cable connection, but their signal is much more powerful and the images more realistic.

  • Untethered VR Headsets

Untethered VR headsets are stand-alone devices that do not require a connection cable, using a WiFi technology instead. Allowing the user maximum mobility, untethered VR headsets are considered the top-notch option, but most models are not so powerful as high-end tethered ones – at least for the time being.

Deciding on you Budget

The first thing you need to do is to decide how much money you are willing to pay for a VR headset. Setting a budget will help you limit your options. Bear in mind that VR headsets you usually get what you pay. Simply put, do not expect to find a cheap yet highly advanced VR headset.

Hence, we could roughly divide VR headsets into two-three categories based on their price – and features: low-priced, mid-priced, and high-priced VR headsets.

Low-Priced VR Headsets – Up to £40

Low-priced VR headsets are actually a pair of magnifying lenses made of plastic, plastic or aluminium body and a cardboard sheet. Instead of a screen, they use a standard smartphone. This type of VR headset is also known as “Google Cardboards” – even though Google was not the one that first launched such devices. Google, however, has pioneered in setting certain standards for manufacturers that wish to get a “Works with Google Cardboard” stamp of approval.

Obviously, the most important advantage of this type of headset is its low price, since the user already owns the most expensive part – the smartphone. In some events, you can also get some basic, entry-level models for free. Headsets made of sturdy plastic or aluminium range from £12 – 35. Portability is another trait of this type of VR headsets. Most of them are slightly larger than standard-sized eyeglasses and can be folded into a stackable box.

Everything else is of low-quality or problematic. Their lifespan is small (but they are easy to replace), interactivity and comfort are limited and can be used no more than 5-7 minutes at a time. Of course, much depends on the smartphone used. Certain smartphones are optimised for VR, while others, especially dated ones cannot handle cardboard apps.

Controllers are another issue. All Cardboard-compatible headsets have one input, be it a button, a lever, or a hole allowing the user to use a finger to tap the screen. Obviously, a single controller allows basic interaction with the game – like menu navigation and easy, simply moves in a video game. Certain cardboard apps allow you to navigate the menu or select the option just by staring for a couple of seconds or by moving your head. Any app requiring more than one controller is not compatible with this VR headset type.

On the other hand, Cardboard apps are easy to find, but the offered range of experience – and VR quality – are limited. Things will get better, though, mainly because of the great effort of Google to make its entire YouTube library viewable through Cardboard on Android. Such fervour will soon find imitators, especially in iOS, where options are even fewer.

Mid-Priced VR Headsets – £110

Mid-priced VR headsets are also phone-powered but equipped with extra tracking sensors, advanced controls, and most of them have their own screens. This type probably has the widest variety of features, with the prices spanning from £65 to £110 pounds.

Indeed, the differences are great: some of them are nothing more than Cardboard headsets with high-end lenses, while others feature sophisticated software, intricate control systems and dedicated apps.

What are the pros of a mid-priced VR headset? Aside for their affordability, most of them are highly portable (like the Cardboard headsets) yet much more comfortable and interactive, and they provide better VR detail, making the whole experience for the user considerably more immersive. On the other hand, cheaper models of this category may cause motion sickness precisely because they are more interactive. Pricier models come with positional tracking, a technology that senses not the change of the direction of the head but also its spatial movement. Note that this requires the use of an external tracking camera, hence it is possible only in tethered headsets.

As already mentioned, mid-priced VR headsets usually offer more inputs and thus better control to the user, like swiping, pressing, or tapping. You can also pair a Bluetooth gamepad and use it for control, but it makes the headset more uncomfortable and does not add quality to the overall experience.

Availability of apps and games is not as great as in low-priced VR headsets, but the range of experience is much wider.

High-Priced VR Headsets – Over £110

Needless to say, any VR headset powered by a smartphone can never be described as top-notch. High-end models always come with their own sophisticated screens and run off external computers and game consoles, thus making the best of much more advanced virtual reality features and motion tracking, and graphics.

High-end VR headsets are also much more comfortable, they provide an amazing amount of detail, great resolution, and much more, complex, interactive and immersive VR experience. Long story short, if you want genuine VR thrills, you must be willing to pay for it. Indeed, high-priced VR headsets cost several hundred pounds – most more than £300 – but they are truly worth it.

On the other hand, precisely because of their high price, they are not easy to carry around and you will have to spend some extra pounds for a good quality carrying case to protect if you decide to take them with you. Of course, this is not the only extra cost you need to take into account.

To make the best of a high-priced VR headset you need to have peripheral equipment of equal quality. True, most VR enthusiasts use a desktop, a laptop or a gaming console for their VR sessions, but truly immersive experiences are guaranteed only from VR-ready PCs. That is why it is very important to check the recommended computer specs of each VR headset BEFORE purchasing; otherwise, you may find out that need to buy a new PC to enjoy your favourite game. Of course, sophisticated game consoles, like Play Station 4, can also do the trick.

High-priced VR headsets are so expensive, among other reasons, because they allow the user to move, lean, crouch, shift around, or even walk through space. Usually, this is one by placing LEDs or similar markers on the headset and track them with an external camera (positional tracking). Other models use a laser tracking system that allows the user to move around spaces measuring 15 x 15 feet or more, while a sophisticated system alerts every time you come too close to a wall! Needless to say, such freedom requires a big room dedicated to your recreation – not to mention a high-powered computer. Still, if you have the money to buy a VR headset of the sort, such requirement will probably not be an issue! If they are, opt for a cheaper model. It would be a shame to buy something so advanced and not be able to make the best of it.

Inputs are both greater in number and more responsive, with advanced motion sensors that afford most of the realism to the whole experience.

As to app availability, it is relatively low (at least considered to that of the low- and mid-priced VR headsets), but things are changing rapidly. On top of that, the diversity of the experiences offered in high-end headsets is unparalleled.

Other Things to Consider

If you’ve limited your budget, you will limit down your options significantly. By considering the following factors, you will soon figure out which headset is best for you.

Type of Content

Nowadays, VR content includes games, videos, tours, live events, tutorials, seminars – even interactive narrations; and this list will soon be dated. Still, identifying the type of content that interests you most you will be able to understand which type of headset (and of what price range) suits you best.

For example, newbies should definitely start with an entry-level smartphone headset, while ardent VR gamers best opt for a tethered headset.

Performance Features

Power, responsiveness, realism, high resolution, refresh rate? Which performance features do you value best?

Tethered systems are certainly the most powerful ones, offering optimal responsiveness and immersive VR experiences. Still, do not instantly assume that a tethered VR headset is more powerful than an untethered one. The best way to judge is by checking carefully the specs and compare them with the games or VR content you are interested in.

Your Available Personal Space

As mentioned, high-end untethered VR headsets afford optimum mobility to the user-provided he or she has plenty of physical space to use it. Before investing in such an expensive device, make sure you have the personal space required to fully enjoy it. Tethered systems need plenty of space too, not just for playing, but also for its storing and peripherals (external speakers for example), contrary to untethered headsets that usually do need extra space for peripherals. Smartphone headsets, on the other hand, hardly require any space.

Weight & Comfort

The weight affects the overall comfort of the headset, so you need to check it before buying. Often, sophisticated headsets turn out to be quite heavy, and wearing them for several hours can cause headaches or neck pains.

Smartphone VR headsets are light, but that does not mean they are comfortable, as mentioned above. Usually, the strap design and the build of the headset are the most important factors. If the weight is considerable, check whether the interior is padded and the fit adjustable.

If you wear glasses, you also need to make sure that whether the headset is compatible with your prescription. Last but not least, check for buyers’ feedback.