VR is still in the opening stages of what is sure to be a very long and lucrative lifespan. Even with that, we’ve got tons of options to choose from when getting our VR experience. We’ve got wireless headsets, wired ones, heavy headsets, light ones, amazing controllers, some less comfortable ones. The variations are just growing more and more by the day.
When it comes to options in the VR world, you can find everything from $50 headsets to the $3000’s, so picking the one that is right for you is not only meaningful, but it can also be a very confusing thing to get a grip on as well.
I’ve been using VR since 2017, and I’ve experienced a ton of different headsets in that time, whether it’s through work, friends, or purchases of my own. I’ve found that several headsets stand out above all others, but those aren’t always within the user’s budget. When it comes to that, there are two headsets that you want to consider most above all, the Oculus Quest 2 and the PSVR.
These are currently two of the cheapest VR headsets available, and although they lack some of the flash and visual clarity of its more expensive family members, there is still a ton of value here, and you’ll still have a fantastic experience in VR with both of these.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 is the second iteration of the Facebook launched VR system. With it comes some wisdom that it learned from the first version. Immediately, the most noticeable and important thing about the Oculus Quest 2 is that it is completely wireless. While we’ve seen headsets that do this on phones and such, we’ve never had such freedom in legitimate VR as we can get in the Oculus Quest 2.
As soon as your headset is charged up, you will start the tutorial area. It’s relatively quick and painless, and after that, you’ll have to set your floor height and also set your play area. If you don’t have a large amount of space to play with, you can choose the stationary option to play while standing in place. Once finished here, you will be in your main home area, where you can buy games or play the various demos that are available.
If you’re attached to the PC, you can use this space to access games downloaded via Sidequest.
With that free range of motion comes the Quest 2 Touch controllers, which are the most ergonomically comfortable in all of VR. Although they are a bit on the small side, they fit perfectly on your hands, and the strap secures comfortably to your wrist to prevent your controllers from being thrown in the heat of an intense game.
The most noticeable thing about the Quest 2 controllers is the battery life. Most headsets will require battery charging or battery changing every few days to keep things like haptic feedback running smoothly. Not only that, but they often require multiple batteries per controller, and unless you have rechargeable batteries, this can jack up the cost of maintaining a VR headset to some pretty hefty prices after a while.
With the Oculus Quest 2 controllers, you simply need one battery for each controller, and you will be good for weeks. I’m not kidding, I put a new battery into each controller on Christmas, and I’m still at full power.
Along with excellent battery power, you’ve also got the most accurate tracking ability in VR to date. Whether you’re playing Beat Saber, swinging lightsabers around at lightning speeds, or trying to line up the perfect shot in Resident Evil 4 VR, these controllers are incredibly accurate when it comes to tracking in VR.
The screen is important when it comes to purchasing a VR headset, and luckily, the Oculus Quest 2 does not disappoint in the slightest.
It comes equipped with two LCD screens, and with that comes some razor-sharp clarity that challenges even the most expensive VR headsets out there. Within each screen is an 1832×1920 resolution per eye, and with this comes incredible clarity that will make even the most minute details in games burst to life.
With this visual clarity comes the ability to support 90Hz games as well as 120Hz ones, and this means that depending on what games you’re deciding to run and if your PC can handle it, you can get close to the same visuals that you would get on a Valve Index using the Oculus Quest 2 with a link to your PC.
The audio of the Oculus Quest 2 is a big negative. For starters, the headset doesn’t even come with headphones, so right out of the box, the only audio you’re going to get out of the headset will be emitted by the headset itself. This just seems like a lazy oversight, and it makes the headset look amateurish compared to most other VR headsets that come prepared with either headphone attached or a built-in headphone system. Fortunately, just about any headphones you have will work here.
Depending on what headphones you use, you’ll either get a mediocre audio experience or an amazing one, but it will cost you a lot of money to get great headphones here, and figuring out how to fit them over your head and wire them around is just an annoying experience that could’ve been easily avoided if the Oculus Quest 2 just shipped with headphones, to begin with. The microphone here is fortunately very clear, and you can alter your voice volume in most games that involve it.
Oculus Quest 2 is an independent headset, and that means that unless you are connecting to a gaming PC, you will be restricted to the library of games it has on offer exclusively.
These games are thankfully awesome, and there’s a ton of variety to them. You can get your Star Wars to fix with Star Wars: Vader Immortal parts 1-3, you can scale massive mounting in The Climb 2, you can get an awesome workout with Beatsaber or The Thrill of The Fight, channel your inner Game of Thrones characters in Blade and Sorcery or fight zombies in Resident Evil 4 and The Walking Dead: Sinners and Saints.
The options are plentiful, but one thing you’ll have to accept is that these titles are not cheap. The majority of them are going to cost you from $30-$50 depending on what the game is, and that’s partly because it’s run by Facebook, and they know how to make money.
Fortunately for you, if you have an Oculus Link or even just a gaming PC, you can link your Oculus Quest 2 via air link or Virtual Desktop to make the entire library of Steam games playable.
I can’t emphasize enough how much this adds to the Oculus Quest 2 experience, and as long as you have a strong enough gaming PC, your visuals in these games with this headset will completely astound you in the best of ways. You can also use this link up to access Sidequest. Sidequest is a third-party app that features hundreds of indie games that are either in development or have yet to be released to the usual stores, and you can download any of these games onto your Oculus Quest 2 to play wirelessly at any time.
Some of the best Sidequest games include Pavlov Shack and Return to Castle Wolfenstein VR.
Personal favorites to try out with Airlink or an Oculus link are Skyrim VR and Half-Life: Alyx. Both look incredible and feel amazing to play with the freedom of the Oculus Quest 2 and Touch controllers.
The Oculus Quest 2 is one of the most comfortable headsets out there in terms of the weight it puts on your face, head, and neck while playing. The big issue here comes in the form of the head strap that it ships with.
With the initial head strap attached, it is easily one of the least comfortable headsets out there. This is because it doesn’t fit securely to your head in a way that makes it easy to center the lenses over your eyes. With this head strap, you’ll constantly be adjusting and tightening, and the entire experience is compromised because of that.
Luckily for us, Oculus has an alternative head strap called the Elite Strap that only costs an extra $50 and is infinitely more comfortable. This isn’t an option; you must have this strap if you are going to be using the Oculus Quest 2 a lot.
The pricing of the Oculus Quest 2 depends on what amount of data you want your device to come with.
If you are a casual gamer that only plays a couple of games every few months, then the 128GB, $299 model is what you’re looking for. This model will let you download a handful of games, and if it gets too full, you can always uninstall one to make room for another.
If you’re a serious VR gamer and want the most VR games possible, you’re going to be looking for the 256GB, $399 model. This ensures that you will pretty much never run out of space regardless of how many games you download.
Keep in mind that there is no need to worry about games played on Steam on the Oculus Quest 2 in terms of their storage. This is because the games are still stored on your PC; you’re just using the Oculus Quest 2 to play them just as you would with any other PCVR headset.
The Oculus Quest 2 isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s among the most affordable headsets out there, and it offers one of the best experiences to date in VR. It’s got incredibly battery-efficient controllers that are comfortable with amazing tracking awesome visuals, and it’s the lightest headset you can find.
Combine that with the sizeable game library exclusive to Oculus and then the massive amount of games accessible in the Oculus and Steam stores, and you have a larger library to play with than any other headset on the market.
To get the most out of this headset, you need to have a PC capable of playing VR, so if you don’t have that available, that’ll likely be an extra $1300 you’ll have to spend on that or be limited to both the native visuals of the Oculus Quest 2 along with its initial library.
While the Oculus Quest 2 is much newer, PSVR could be called the headset that put VR on the market. While it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles that Oculus Quest 2 comes with, for many gamers, it’s the most accessible because it is attached to the most popular game console in the world, the PS4.
The Oculus Quest 2 is one of the easiest VR headsets to set up, and conversely, the PSVR is one of the most annoying. First, you need to set up your camera. This camera tracks both the headset and your controllers in VR, so put it in an area that can view you from head to toe.
I’ve found the easiest way to do this is either to place the camera on top of a TV, or you can find a shelf nearby and angle it towards you that way. If neither option works for you, you can also just tape it to any wall, and it is fine.
After your camera setup, you need to plug the PSVR box into the PSVR and then the headset into that box. There are multiple wires involved, but they come labeled and figuring out which one goes where isn’t the biggest deal.
Once this is finished, you will have your initial setup. Here you need to set the IPD distance in VR. This deals with how far the senses appear from each other, and it’s generally suggested that you use your real-life IPD to set this. After that, you calibrate your height and controllers, and then you’ll be good to go.
While all of the other VR headsets are designed specially-made VR controllers for their product, the PSVR uses the decade-old PS Move controllers. This comes with a few weaknesses, but overall I find them pretty great and easy to use.
Their size is readily apparent as the biggest VR controller around, and depending on your hand size and weight preference, this might be a good or a bad thing. I’m a big dude, and I thought the larger controllers helped me realize the feeling of holding a gun, sword, or anything else in VR.
Each of these controllers is powered the same way a PS4 controller is, so you don’t need to worry about batteries here. Instead, you charge them with the USB cable that came with your PS4 and your PSVR. This charge doesn’t last a long time, but it’s enough for multiple play sessions, and most importantly, it doesn’t cost anything extra to maintain.
The buttons on the controller are kind of a mixed bag. First off, there is no joystick, and instead, you have a trackpad to control your movement while the buttons on the side control the direction you’re looking. For some, this is a deal-breaker, but I found it was easy to get used to after a few play sessions.
Tracking-wise, the PS Moves are among the weaker in the VR lexicon. They are tracked via the bright lights that come out of the orbs of the PS Move. Sometimes, the tracking will be perfect, but if these get obscured in any way, whether it’s you moving your hand behind your back or if something is blocking the camera, things go haywire quickly, and you might need to turn them off and on again to have the camera track them properly again.
The screen of the PSVR is not as high-powered as the majority of VR headsets, but it still delivers a pretty clear vision and, most importantly, some amazing color. The Oculus Quest 2 uses an LCD screen which is a bit clearer than the PSVR’s OLED screen, but the big thing it lacks compared to the PSVR is color. OLED screens allow those bright greens and reds and blacks to pop far more than an LCD screen does, and the result is a more visually appealing gameplay experience. You will notice this right away in games like Iron Man VR and Skyrim VR, and the grass and night skies will look incredible because of this.
Each eye has a 960×1080 resolution per eye, and while that’s noticeably lesser than the Oculus Quest 2, the lack of clarity is made up by the increase in visual quality.
Graphics-wise, everything is technically better looking than the Oculus Quest 2, although it’s not as clear. That might seem confusing, so the best way to describe it is that the PSVR has better quality in its graphics when it comes to pixels it can render and all that jazz, while the Oculus Quest 2 offers a clearer vision. Both look great, just in different ways.
The PSVR comes with headphones that are good to use right out of the box, and while they’re not the most spectacular ones out there, they offer good audio quality that can be controlled at any time. If you have another pair of headphones, you can use those as well, but you need to make sure they have the correct headphone jack or that they can fit over your headset comfortably. I’ve found that music recording headphones fit comfortably over the top of the headset and sit securely on your ears, so these are the ones I’ve gone to in PSVR.
PSVR comes in strong with a very impressive library of games. A lot of the triple-A companies saw the PSVR as the big VR system to build on, and because of that, tons of games are available for you to choose from. Exclusives are where it’s at here, and titles like Iron Man VR, Resident Evil 7 VR, and Blood and Truth are all incredible games that offer a different flavor of gameplay for each.
I’ve found that more so than other headsets, the PSVR features complete games and not just extended tech demos. That means full stories and completed games that feature multiplayer and everything else you can want. There are tons of sports games, puzzle experiences, meditative ones, and of course, tons of combat-based games of every imaginable kind.
Some of my favorites are Sparc, a futuristic, multiplayer sports game, Skyrim VR, and the amazing Superhot VR. The variety here is outstanding. It’s probably the main appeal of the PSVR. The only issue here is that you’ll be unable to get refunds here at any time, so just know that when you make a purchase, all sales are final. Luckily, you don’t need to worry about storage here as most of these games are fairly small, and the PS4 hard drive should have more than enough space to handle it all. If not, you’ll have to purchase an additional hard drive, though these rarely cost a lot to get.
The PSVR’s comfort is a bit of a mixed bag. For one, the headset is pretty bulky, so I wouldn’t advise very long play sessions in here as it can cause some neck soreness after a while. The strap it comes with is great, though, and it fits quite securely on your head. The problem with the comfort of the PSVR comes with the weight that is placed on your forehead. The majority of the weight hangs from your forehead down, and that slight pull downward will make play sessions tough to last all that long. There are no real alterations to buy for the PSVR, so you’re pretty much stuck with what comes out of the box.
There is only one type of PSVR headset available currently, and it will cost $300. Of course, to use the PSVR, you will need a PS4 or PS5 console. That alone will cost you anywhere from $200-$500, and when you add the $300 on top of that, you’re looking at a pretty considerable price. That’s before you even factor in the games, which can range anywhere from $10-$50. If you already have a PS4 or PS5, this is much more manageable, so it all depends on the circumstance you’re in.
The PSVR was my first VR headset and, to this day, remains the highest-selling VR headset in the world. It doesn’t have the best technical features or the best controllers, but it works pretty well and has an awesome library of games that you’re able to access. The negatives here concern the bulky headset and controllers, but for those who have a PS4 or PS5 and want to experience VR without purchasing an expensive gaming PC, going with a PSVR is not a bad idea.
Which is Better
If I had to choose, I would go with the Oculus Quest 2 VR. It requires no extra consoles or PCs to use, has a great library of games, wireless VR, the best controllers, and an amazing tacking system. It’s also very affordable and comes with some beautiful clarity that brings these VR games to life. The Oculus Quest 2 also gives you the ability to link up with your PC and use it as a PCVR headset, with full access to the massive library of Steam and Oculus games. It’s also the only headset that’s portable, so you’ll never have an issue picking up the Oculus Quest 2 to bring to a friend’s house.
The Oculus Quest 2 is also newer and feels much better to use, so while it’s annoying to have no headphones ship with it and some less than rich colors at times, it all is worth sacrificing for one of the best VR headsets you can find.
Question: Can you Play Multiplayer Games Against Friends With Different Headsets?
Answer: A lot of games offer you the ability to play with friends via crossplay, but this is not a feature of every game, so you need to check the game specs for this kind of information.
Question: Which Headset is More Aesthetically Pleasing?
Answer: Both look great, with the PSVR offering a sleeker design compared to the Oculus Quest 2’s pure white and more futuristic appearance. Both are well made as well.
Question: Which Headset has the Better Games?
Answer: On their own, the PSVR has way better games than the Oculus Quest 2, but when you factor in the Oculus Quest 2’s connectivity to the PC and the massive amount of titles that the Steam and Oculus stores have, the Oculus Quest 2 easily takes the cake. If you’re an Oculus Quest 2 owner that has a gaming PC, you win this round easily.
Both headsets have their pros and cons, and depending on the experience you’re looking for, either one could suit you better. While the Oculus Quest 2 is superior in most aspects, it doesn’t have access to the excellent PSVR exclusives and if you don’t have a gaming PC, maybe getting a PSVR makes more sense if you’re already a PS4 or PS5 owner. As a happy owner of both of these headsets, I can guarantee you that both will be a ton of fun that will last you a long while considering VR is only just getting started.