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Whether you’re shopping for a complete VR novice or an aficionado of all things Virtual, we’ve got you covered! Join us on a journey through a comprehensive guide covering all products to suit all tastes and varying budgets. From low-end entry-level equipment up to the state-of-the-art virtual reality kits, there is something for everyone on this list! So hang the stockings above the fireplace, pour yourself a glass of egg-nog, and kick back with the best shopping guide for VR this Christmas!
Entry Level VR Goggles
Everyone’s first experience with VR is always memorable and passing your new VR goggles around the room after the Christmas dinner is a recipe for great family entertainment. Although VR is fast becoming a must-have household item, there are still plenty who have yet to experience virtual reality. The perfect entry-level gift that won’t break the budget could be one of many smartphone VR Goggles. Varying in price and quality but using nothing more than your smartphone, the results can be very impressive.
BNext Vr Pro or Samsung Gear VR are the most popular and offer great connectivity plus good quality builds. Comfort is key after all. Add to that the hundreds of VR apps and games available in the Google Play Store or App Store and you can’t go wrong. Guaranteed for an evening or two of solid entertainment that won’t break the bank
Free YouTube VR Videos
YouTube offers plenty of free VR videos to experience varying from rollercoaster rides to spooky ghost house tours and even amazing aerial views from all around the world. The level of immersion is nothing to be sniffed at either. Blocking the rest of the world out and viewing movie clips with true depth and a real sense of motion is as impressive as it is fun.
Playstation VR Goggles
So you’ve already got your VR sea legs and want a little more. With almost 115 million PS4’s out in the wild there is a good chance you already have the processing power to run one of the most popular VR headsets on the market.
The PSVR is one of the most comfortable and easy-to-use VR headsets out there to make for one of the most affordable yet impressive VR experiences out there. The Sony headset has a baseball cap design and sits very comfortably, great for long gaming sessions and unmatched by rival headsets.
- 7″ OLED, 100° field of view, 1080p RGB (960 × 1080 per eye; 90–120 Hz refresh rate)
- 3D audio through a headphone jack
- available microphone input
The only drawback is the use of old equipment. I commend Sony for re-using their old move controllers (if you’re like me you had these controllers gathering dust in your attic from the PS3 days) but with no analog sticks, traversing in VR on the Playstation can be limited. A minor gripe though, as many excellent game developers find creative ways around this like teleporting & locomotion to name a few.
The PSVR is a great choice for VR and I didn’t even mention that it’s compatible with the Ps4 pro and even the PS5 which offers sharper visuals and beefier processing power. If you own a Playstation, you should seriously consider investing in PSVR as PSVR2 is still a few years away.
Sony’s commitment to VR has led to some of the greatest VR titles being created exclusively for PSVR before releasing on other platforms. Of course, the resolution and field of view could be better but when you’re engrossed in a title, these become virtually unnoticeable.
Oculus Rift S
Now on to the PC market. Not as powerful or impressive as the HTC Vive but also coming at a far more reasonable price, the Rift S provides very high-quality VR gaming and is the best value for money kit on this list. Offering inside-out tracking and incredible touch controllers the Rift S helped drag the VR industry forward n leaps and bounds.
As long as you have a fairly up-to-date PC with the following, you would be foolish to ignore the Oculus Rift S.
- minimum OS: 64-bit Windows 10. CPU: Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater.
- RAM: 8GB. GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti / Radeon RX 470 or greater. GPU RAM: 8GB.
No need for podiums and cameras set up all over the room anymore, the headset and the controllers know exactly where you are positioned at all times.
Oculus Rift S Features
The Rift S has a single display with a resolution of 2560×1440. 60 FPS and a refresh rate of 80Hz. The magic comes from 6DOF inside-out tracking through 5 built-in cameras and a field of view of 115 degrees. This is proper VR gaming!
The only limitation for me is the smaller field of view on offer compared to the Vive and the wires. Sure the cables provided are quite long but after smashing your way through a few banging tunes in Beat Saber, you might find your legs are tangled up in cables which aren’t ideal and do kill the immersion a little. Sure you can invest in a battery-powered wireless adapter for a little more money to avoid this but right out of the box, it’s a little disappointing. Officially, Oculus doesn’t offer a wireless adapter and you’ll have to shop around with third-party suppliers to get a good deal. Not a deal-breaker by any means though and having VR on your PC means you get the vast VR libraries on offer from Oculus.
You also have access to SteamVR which means you have many free and cheap VR games right at your fingertips along with all the top-selling VR games on the market. If you own a PC and think the Vive is just too much money, then the Oculus Rift S is a perfect choice for you.
HTC Vive Pro 2
This is without a doubt the pinnacle of VR gaming. It offers the greatest experience but comes at the highest price. Not for casual gamers but more for VR investors. This is reserved for those with a passion for VR and very deep pockets. But once you’ve parted with the cash, the VR kit you receive is unmatched by any of the competition. It beats all the others on every level.
- Resolution of 4896 x 2448 which is 5K!
- A field of view of 120 degrees
- A refresh rate of 120Hz. 3D spatial audio
- Room-scale tracking offers 360-degree coverage and the list goes on!
Add to this Vive’s supported wireless adaptor and you have reached the peak of VR experiences. One restriction other than the large price tag however is also your PC’s minimum requirements.
The Vive needs a bit more juice to run it than the Rift S and your PC will need to hit these marks to be in with a chance of playing :
- Processor Intel® Core™ i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 1500 equivalent or greater
- NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 equivalent or greater
- GeForce® RTX 20 Series (Turing) or AMD Radeon™ 5000 (Navi) generations or newer required for Full Resolution mode
- 8 GB RAM or more.
That is a very powerful and expensive PC but again, the experience on offer simply can’t be matched. For the greatest VR experience with an impressive field of view and zero screen door effect then you can’t go wrong with the Vive pro 2.
Oculus Quest 2 – Our Choice for Best VR Headset
So we’ve covered everything from the lowest entry-level up to the highest technically impressive units out there……except for one! Our recommendation for anyone with an interest in VR and looking for the perfect Christmas gift should look towards the Oculus Quest 2. All of the above VR headsets have some barrier to entry and prerequisites. Whether it needs a powerful Pc or a popular games console or even a smartphone, they all seem to have that minimum requirement. Not with the Quest.
Oculus Quest 2 Features
You can purchase the Oculus Quest 2 and you have everything you need right out of the box. Not only that but you’ll be treated to what feels like a high-end quality virtual reality experience and the best thing yet…….no wires! A controller for each hand, a headset for your face, and a memory card get you access to some of the greatest VR titles you could ever hope for. From Moss to Resident Evil 4, from The Walking Dead to Superhot VR, every taste is catered for here and every title worth owning is available for the Oculus Quest 2.
The tech specs too are also none too shabby.
- Resolution: 1832 x 1920
- Refresh rate: 90 Hz
- Storage: 64GB / 256GB depending on which model you purchase
- Integrated speakers and microphone & an adjustable IPD with three settings for 58, 63, and 68mm.
Yes, the Oculus Quest 2 is no slouch and the biggest draw here is twofold. You can play it right out of the box and it is wireless! Having the freedom to move wherever you want without cables tangling up and breaking your immersion is incredibly freeing. Having access to a huge library of all the most popular games is also amazing and there are few compromises to be made here. Sure you can get better resolution and beefier processing power from Vive but the cost is far too high. Oculus has managed to hit the sweet spot here between value and ease of access making this our number one recommendation this Christmas!
So what are you waiting for? Go pick up the VR unit that suits your needs and your budget. Whether you’re spoiling a loved one or just want to see Granny dancing around the living room on Christmas Day there is a VR headset out there for you.