With the holidays coming up and people scrambling for gift ideas, if you or someone you know is in the market for a new VR headset to go along with their smartphone, PC, or console, there are quite a few options to choose from and most of if not all of them being great options.
The Google Cardboard is an old headset option which has been around since 2014 and with it has come many headset variations which are built off the same design and technology. There is a large library of Cardboard content on the Play Store now which means you will be able experience tons of stuff. Cardboard is also compatible with just about any Android or iOS phone which means it's versatile. The headset is also extremely inexpensive so it's really easy to pick one up.
Homido 3D VR Glass With VR Lens
These are basically just a nicer version of Google Cardboard, as it's built on the same technology but with better and more durable materials for the headset. For instance, using plastic instead of actual cardboard, and you don't have to assemble it yourself as it comes ready to use. It'll be a bit more than Cardboard, but it's also coming with a better build quality so you will be getting more out of it as well.
AUKEY Cortex 4K VR Headset
HTC and Oculus aren't the only one building headsets which are meant to be driven by a PC. AUKEY's Cortex 4K VR headset is a high-quality VR options which comes to market around $400 and it has things like integrated audio, 4K capabilities, and it works with both Steam and the Oculus Store so you can grab content from both places. That said you are likely to get a better experience for the content from those locations with the actual headsets that were designed for them, though if you're simply looking for an alternative this is one option.
So you're looking for something that doesn't require the use of a smartphone or a PC to power the headset or the experience? Then look no further than the Pico Goblin as this is completely standalone and all the components are self-contained, meaning the CPU and GPU and any other hardware is integrated right into the unit. You can put it on and enjoy your games or apps or media and use the controller to navigate without having to slot your phone in, or hook it up to a PC which means you're a little more portable too. It's a bit pricey, but it should be worth it for the availability to use VR anywhere but not need your phone to power this headset.
Samsung's Odyssey headset is a new type of VR headset, mostly because it's not really a VR headset but an MR headset, which is mixed reality and blends content from both the virtual reality and augmented reality worlds to provide a unique experience in one package. With the Odyssey you can enjoy both types of apps and games, and it comes with integrated audio from AKG, it has front-tracking cameras, and is available for $499 so just about the cost of the HTC Vive, albeit a bit less.
Samsung Gear VR With Controller
Samsung's Gear VR with Controller is one of the best mobile headset options out there thanks to its wealth of content, having been out the longest in terms of mobile VR save for Google's Cardboard headset, as well as Oculus handling the software, and if you're a Galaxy device owner than this is the best option as other third-party headsets won't be able to compare. Plus, with the controller now included navigating and controlling content has never been easier.
It's hard to forget about the Oculus Rift, which in some ways was the first real higher quality headset on the market. While it may not have the sensors like the HTC Vive to help with some of the room tracking, it does have the integrated audio which is a really nice touch so you don't have to connect a separate headset. Beyond that, it also comes in at a lower price point, normally costing $399 as opposed to $599, though there are also bound to be some deals coming up thanks to Black Friday.
Daydream View (2nd Gen)
Google's second generation Daydream View headset is finally here and it's still very much the familiar Daydream offering that you may remember from last year, but with a few adjustments and improvements to make it better. First, Google used a new type of fabric material for the outside, added an optional top strap that goes over the top of your head to help with the secure fit, and it comes in three all new colors for those who like a little personalization.
Next up is the HTC Vive, making it to the top of this list again since it's still available at the cheaper $599 price, which is $200 cheaper than it was originally. This gives the Vive an almost unmatched value as all of the content for it comes from Steam, and there's a ton of it. It also comes with some of the most advanced VR tech of all the options on this list like the camera and sensors on the front that help you know where you are in the room, and see stuff a certain distance in front of you so you don't run into walls or trip over chairs or other things. It doesn't come with integrated audio like the Rift, but it does come with the controllers, and you can get some pretty decent audio attachments if you'd rather have them over a pair of traditional headphones.
Rounding out this list is the PS4's companion VR headset, the PlayStation VR, which is going to be available during Black Friday from a number of places in tempting bundles for just $299, which is $100 lower than what it normally costs and some of the bundles will be coming with games to sweeten the deal. Savings aside, the PSVR is one of the best VR experiences you can get especially for the price, as you can expect some high quality games to play with the hardware. If you're a PS4 owner, then this is the VR headset you want.