Despite the increasing popularity of standalone VR, there are several good PC VR headsets on the market. Whether you’re looking to dive into the world of PC VR headsets or already own a Valve Index, HP Reverb G2 or something else, we’ve got you covered. Our Ultimate PC VR Gift Guide takes you through all the headset options and the best accessories for each.
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PC VR Headsets: Which To Buy?
Unlike our Quest 2 and PSVR gift guides, if you’re looking at buying a PC VR headset, there’s a couple of options. For starters, no matter which headset you choose, you’ll need a VR-ready PC to run the content.
From there, there’s basically three big players, each at different price points and with different pros and cons — Valve Index, HP Reverb G2, and Oculus Quest 2. This isn’t all of the PC VR options available, but we feel these three are the best choices.
The Valve Index is the most expensive headset on the list and, for a long time, has remained the premier PC VR option. The headset offers great optics, fantastic controllers, and excellent tracking thanks to the latter of which is all handled by an outside-in tracking system via lighthouses sensors. While this system provides the best accuracy by far, it’s also the most cumbersome to set up. Plus, once it is set up, there’s no moving it easily.
While the Valve Index provides a fantastic experience overall, it comes at a high cost and with a system that locks you into one play area near your computer that’s a pain to reconfigure. You can read our full review here and order the full Valve Index VR Kit from the Steam store for $999.
HP Reverb G2
In the middle in terms of pricing, the HP Reverb G2 is a collaboration with Valve that offers a similar PC VR experience to the Index, but with some notable caveats that might be deal-breakers for certain people. But first, the good — the Reverb G2 offers a screen that is one of, if not the, best on the market right now. It also boasts wonderful over-ear speakers and is one of the most comfortable headsets around.
However, the controllers are not the best. And even though the inside-out tracking is improved from the original Reverb, it still lacks in edge cases where controllers are at the periphery of the camera lens range and start to go out of view. Depending on what kind of VR games you’re looking to play, this might affect you more or less than others. For PC VR-only simulator enthusiasts, the controller woes may be negligible since you may spend more time with a wheel or HOTAS anyway, which makes the Reverb G2 more than worth it otherwise. For the twitchy-Expert+ Beat Saber VR player, you might be more impacted.
Oculus Quest 2
Now, I know what you’re thinking — you’re right, the Quest 2 isn’t technically a PC VR headset. It is Facebook’s standalone headset, a successor to the original Quest from last year. However, it is also can harness the power of Oculus Link to provide an extremely serviceable (if verging on identical) PC VR experience. This does require purchasing a long, reliable USB cable to use with Link, but even so, Quest 2 remains one of the cheapest options for PC VR, with few drawbacks.
If you’re happy with using a Facebook account and are ready to buy a USB cable to set up Oculus Link (or even play PC VR wirelessly using Virtual Desktop) then the Quest 2 is one of the best options. You get a fantastic VR experience, both in and out of PC VR content, for an insanely low price.
PC VR Gift Guide: Best PC VR Accessories
VR Cover has been around for a while now, and is known for making accessories designed to improve hygiene and make headsets more comfortable while they sit on your face. It offers a variety of different face covers for most major headsets, which allow you to pick a material that’s more comfortable for you.
You can view VR Cover’s range of face covers and accessories here.
Depending on which headset you go with, you may or may not need headphones. For some PC VR headsets, such as the Valve Index and HP Reverb G2, they come built-in with fantastic over ear headphone solutions. Headsets like Quest 2, Oculus Rift S, and other older headsets don’t always have great audio quality built-in.
To remedy this, we recommend a pair of detachable over ear VR headphones, such as the Bionik Mantis. Despite being advertised as specifically for PSVR, we’ve tried them out on PC VR straps and found that they still attach just fine.
Storing headsets can be a bit of a hassle. If you’re looking for a way to store your headset on your desk, then check out a headset stand.
These stands are an elegant way to store your headset when not in use, while also keeping it on display and out of a box. In most cases, the stands also include hooks to hold controllers as well, making them a good all-in-one solution.
We’ve tried the AMVR headset stands and found they work really well and can look quite elegant on display.
The AMVR stand for Rift and Quest headsets is available for $21 on Amazon. Alternatively, for other headsets you can browse Amazon to find an AMVR stand that fits.
Ceiling Cable Management
One of the downsides of PC VR headsets is the often thick, restrictive wires that go between your PC and your headset. These can make it difficult to move freely and require you to manage the cable as you play, which can get frustrating.
A solution for this problem is to install a ceiling pulley system in your play area, so that the cable loops up from your headset, through the ceiling mount, and then goes back down to your PC. We haven’t used one of these systems personally, but they look like a great way to manage your messy PC VR cables.
A VR ceiling cable management system is available for $17.99 from Amazon.
Any VR headset’s lenses will get foggy and dirty between uses, so you’ll want some microfiber clothes to quickly clean the lenses between games and sessions.
Buy a pack of five microfiber clothes for $7.79 from Amazon.
PC VR Games
The major benefit of PC VR is that you’re not limited by console or mobile hardware when it comes to VR content — because your PC is doing the hard work, you can run a lot of higher fidelity games. There are some absolutely stunning games and experiences to be found on the PC VR platform. Some of the most popular and intensive VR titles, such as Boneworks or Half-Life: Alyx, are only available for PC VR headsets.
What do you make of our PC VR gift guide? Is there anything you’d add in? Let us know in the comments below!