Published on October 21st, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
The Best VR Headsets in 2020
Let’s face it. Most of the attention that VR headsets get is because of gaming. But most VR device developers are making significant inroads in the enterprise space. Use cases for training, sales and marketing and more abound. This overview of headsets from Ben Lang at Road to VR shares some insights on several models released in 2020. Business can learn a lot from VR gaming in areas like user experience, design and visualization, and hardware/software performance features. It may seem funny to ask employees to play games to research devices but it can be a helpful initial step into selecting your own platform of choice.
Photo courtesy HP
With big game launches and more VR headsets on that market than ever, 2020 is shaping up to be a huge year for VR, and an excellent time for first-timers to jump in. In this article we’ve pulled together a concise look at the best VR headsets currently available, and a few you might want to keep your eyes on.
The Best PC VR Headsets in 2020
PC VR is where you’ll find the highest quality visuals and the most ambitious VR games like Half-Life: Alyx. Of course, you’ll need a reasonably powerful gaming PC to plug your headset into. See this article for the specs your PC needs to handle VR headsets.
The Best: Valve Index – $1,000
If you’re looking for the very best overall PC VR headset, Valve Index is our pick. It’s pricey compared to the rest, but has an excellent balance of quality, performance, and comfort. That’s why we called it “the enthusiast’s choice” in our full review of the headset.
Things to love about Index are its excellent tracking performance, wide field of view, quality controllers, and range of ergonomic adjustments that make it easy to dial in a comfortable and clear fit.
Index is one of the only headsets that offers an eye-relief adjustment. This let’s you bring the lenses as close to your eyes as comfortable, allowing you to maximize your field of view; it also makes the headset easier to adjust for glasses. Index has a physical IPD adjustment which ranges from 58mm to 70mm, making it easy to align the lenses with the width of your eyes for the sharpest visuals.
But Index isn’t perfect. Compared to other headsets on the market, the external tracking system is more work to set up, typically requiring two tracking beacons mounted on opposite corners of a room, stuck on a tripod, or placed up high on a shelf. They also need to be plugged into their own power outlets. And while Index has cameras on the front for a pass-through view, it isn’t as quick or useful as we’ve seen on other headsets. And did we mention the price tag of $1,000? You can get it cheaper though if you already have SteamVR Tracking base stations from an old Vive headset.
Valve Index Specs
|Resolution||1,440 × 1,600 (2.3MP) per-eye (LCD)|
|Refresh Rate||80Hz, 90Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz|
|Lenses||Double element Fresnel|
|Field of View||~130° diagonal|
|Optical Adjustments||IPD, eye-relief|
|Connectors||USB 3.0, DisplayPort 1.2, 12V power|
|Cable Length||5m + 1m breakaway|
|Tracking||SteamVR Tracking 1.0 or 2.0 (external beacons)|
|Controllers||Valve Index controllers|
|Audio||Off-ear headphones, 3.5mm aux output|
|Pass-through Cameras||Stereo 960 × 960|
Valve Index is officially compatible with the SteamVR library where the vast majority of VR content is available. If you’re looking to play content that’s exclusive to the Oculus PC library (like Asgard’s Wrath) you can use the free but unofficial Revive mod to play Oculus PC content on Valve Index. It may take some tweaking for performance and controller inputs, but for the most part Oculus content will play reasonably well on Index.
Value Pick: Oculus Quest 2 with Oculus Link (and Elite Strap) – $350
Although Quest 2 is a standalone headset (which means games run directly in the headset without plugging into something else) it also has a feature called Oculus Link which gives you the option to plug the headset into a PC and run PC VR games.
Along with the useful passthrough feature, high resolution display, and great controllers, Quest 2 is a pretty great all-around headset. Oculus says that Link on Quest 2 will see some updates to improve performance in the near future, but even at its current level of performance, the hard-to-beat price of Quest 2 makes it a great value, especially considering the fact that the headset also runs standalone VR games from the Oculus Quest store.
Unfortunately the cable that comes with Quest 2 isn’t long enough to work well for Oculus Link, and we can’t recommend the official cable because of its crazy $80 price tag. Thankfully you can get 26 feet worth of Oculus Link cable for $34.
And, as we found in our full review, we weren’t big fans of Quest 2’s soft headstrap, so we’d highly recommend dropping the extra $50 for the Elite Strap accessory [Amazon] if you’re serious about playing PC VR games. It’s also worth noting that you need a Facebook account (and be ok with Facebook’s strengthening grip on the VR industry) to use the headset.
Oculus Quest 2 Specs
|Resolution||1,832 × 1,920 (3.5MP) per-eye [LCD]|
|Refresh Rate||60Hz, 72Hz, 90Hz|
|Lenses||Single element Fresnel|
|Field of View||~90° diagonal|
|Optical Adjustments||IPD, eye-relief (via included spacer)|
|IPD Range||58mm, 63mm, 68mm|
|Storage||64GB / 256GB|
|Battery Life||2-3 hours|
|Tracking||Oculus Insight (no external beacons)|
|Controllers||Oculus Touch v3|
|Audio||In-headstrap speakers, 3.5mm aux output|
Without being plugged into a computer, Quest 2 can only play games from the Oculus Quest library. If you plug into a computer via Oculus Link, you’ll have access to everything in the Oculus PC and SteamVR libraries as well. That means that Quest 2 is compatible with the vast majority of top VR content out there, as long as you’ve got a powerful PC to plug the headset into.