Always on the doorstep of adoption, never quite there.
That’s pretty much described the consumer virtual reality and augmented reality landscape over the last half-decade. But consumer mixed reality is now officially worth a look thanks to increasing competition and new headsets from a variety of legacy and first-time players. As the business case for AR/VR technologies outpaces consumer adoption, pressure from the enterprise, which widely employs consumer mixed reality hardware, has helped move the technology in the right direction across the board.
What follows are our picks for the best VR and AR headsets available.
From the company that pioneered wireless VR, Oculus Quest 2 is an evolution of the popular Quest headset. With Quest 2, Oculus makes a multi-generational leap in processing power with the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Platform offering higher AI capability and 6GB of RAM. The new display features 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye — the company’s highest resolution display yet. With 50% more pixels than the original Quest, everything from multiplayer games and productivity apps to 360-degree videos look better than ever.
If you have a high-powered gaming PC, the Rift S is the best value to level up to VR. It features in-room tracking and high-quality controllers for an impressive overall experience. There’s an impressive catalog of games available, as well. It’s a bit bulky, but other than that, this headset is hard to beat.
If you want to level up your experience to 2880 x 1700 combined Pixel resolution, and if you want full-room playability with best-in-class room tracking, the Vive Cosmos is worth a look. It’s an upgrade to the original Cosmos, and because the system is designed with interoperability in mind, you can create your own VR gaming experience with other HTC components.
For those who don’t need external tracking and don’t mind the lower resolution, the HTC Vive Cosmos will save you a couple hundred bucks and represents a pretty solid piece of kit. It’s part of the same modular HTC universe, too, which means you can customize your VR experience and upgrade as you see fit.
If you want an inexpensive standalone headset that’s wireless, the Oculus Go is a great deal. The Go defined what was possible in wireless headsets, and it’s still a great piece of hardware, doubly so thanks to the large library of games and apps available in Oculus’s ever-growing library.
Highly transparent glasses with a groundbreaking Si-OLED display. Superior transparency, plus a high-resolution camera, ensures seamless integration of digital content with the outside world. The BT-300 features a binocular display, making it ideal for side-by-side 3D content for work or play.
Raptor is a combination of a cycling computer and an AR system. The display projects an unobtrusive AR layer of information out in front of the cyclist’s eyes, displaying information on performance, body posture, and accomplishments in a way that enables eyes to stay on the road.
Although most commonly used for enterprise applications, the Vuzix headset is top of line and can be deployed for home use. One very good use case is education, where the headset can help children (particularly those currently adjusting to distance learning) connect and engage with the material.