The best VR headset doesn’t have to be the most powerful device, because when you’re strapping a piece of tech to your skull it has to be well-designed, comfortable, and probably above all, convenient. That’s been one of the biggest barriers to virtual reality gaming: it demands a whole lot of your time before you even get to play games.
Augmented reality headsets and mixed-reality headsets aren’t ready for everyday home use yet, so in the meantime a solid VR headset is your best bet for escaping to other worlds. Read on to figure out which is best budget vr headset for you. We update this periodically, but note that prices are subject to change.
Top 10 Best budget vr headset to buy in the UK 2021
Whether you’re looking for a standalone headset or one that tethers to your PC or console, we’ve tested the best virtual reality headsets and platforms to help figure out which is right for you.
1. Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 both improves on the specs sheet of the original Quest and delivers it for cheaper.
With a new LCD at 1832 x 1920 per eye, the Quest 2 offers exceptional clarity for an entry-level headset, through which you can enjoy a slew of games either purpose built for the standalone headset, and thus rendered by the onboard Snapdragon XR2 chip, or beamed from your PC using Oculus Link and a compatible USB Type-C cable.
2. Oculus Rift and Touch Controllers Bundle
The Facebook-owned Oculus Rift is largely considered the market creator for virtual reality, almost becoming synonymous with the technology, and its latest headset doesn’t dissappoint.
You’ll be pleased to learn the upgraded ‘S’ comes with improved visuals, comfort and near-perfect built-in tracking with no need for external sensors – especially if you mmm-ed and ahh-ed over the original headset’s limitations.
3. Sony PlayStation VR
If you want to play VR games on a console then the PlayStation VR system is your best, and pretty much only bet. It combines a neat headset that looks semi-futuristic and is surprisingly comfortable, with a superb range of games that’s been slowly expanding.
You can play games like Star Wars Battlefront: Rogue One X-Wing Mission, Eve: Valkyrie, and Batman: Arkham VR, as well as Astro Bot Rescue Mission – one of the more interesting recent VR games.
4. Google Cardboard
Google Cardboard was first unveiled in 2014, as quite literally a folding cardboard container into which a smartphone could be placed.
The beauty of Google Cardboard is two-fold: firstly, the hardware cost is almost minimal, often free, and secondly, it’s universal, supporting a wide range of smartphone models – essentially, anything that will fit into the front and stay secure.
5. Valve Index
There’s little doubt that the Valve Index is the next-generation VR headset people have been clamoring for: it has an ultra-crisp display that runs fairly well even with older GPUs, a wider field of view, a higher refresh rate and Valve’s ‘knuckle’ controllers, which can track the movement of every finger.
There’s little doubt the Valve Index will be our default VR headset going forward. It’s a significant upgrade to the HTC Vive, and runs much smoother than the Vive Pro, a powerful VR headset that really struggled to deliver on the promise of high-end, room-scale VR.
6. Shinecon 3D VR Headset
Compatible with Android and Iphone with 4.0-6.0 inch screen
Has reasonable focal length, so it will not bothers you to make adjustments, also its advantage is harmless to your eyes so you can watch 3D movies more than hours without dizzy.
Three adjustable straps can distract part of pressure from the bridge of nose, super face foam protector, ideal heat dissipating design.
The specially designed lenses require no adjustment what so ever, compartment also big enough for most prescription glasses if needed. Simply place phone in the holding slot, align, and that’s it.
7. HTC VIVE
The HTC VIVE needs to be tethered to a powerful desktop GPU – but the result is the ability to create immersive, active VR.
One huge benefit is the ability to move around space (a minimum of 2×1.5m is recommended by HTC). It works by using two sensors positioned in the corner of the room that track the whereabouts of the headset by sweeping with lasers.
8. Pimax Vision 5K Super VR Virtual Reality Headset
If you’re willing to accept a true monster of a headset in order to get maximum immersion in VR, then you’ve probably seen Pimax in your peripheral vision while shopping headsets.
The Pimax 5K Super is an extreme headset that won’t be for just any casual VR gamer. Its high starting price is enough to make some shy away, and its specs should be enough of a warning that only those with the beastliest computers need apply.
9. Lenovo Mirage Solo
This standalone VR headset is not as affordable as other options on our list, but it has better specs compared to some of the other HMDs available.
The Mirage Solo offers a more immersive VR experience than other VR headsets lacking 6DoF. On the downside is the heavy, large design making is less portable for users.
10. Samsung Gear VR
Combined with the extremely low tag price, this makes the Samsung Gear a good and cheaper alternative to any other mobile headset.
Of course, you’ll have to have a decent Samsung smartphone to utilise the full power of this headset.
The Samsung Gear VR is compatible with most Samsung phones, including the Galaxy S9, S9+, Note8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, Note5, S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge.
How to buy the best budget vr headset in the UK 2021
When looking for the best VR headset, consider the following:
- PC-connected VR has the best experience but requires an expensive system. The best VR gaming comes from headsets that you tether to a PC. But a VR-ready gaming PC starts at around $900 for a laptop, or a couple hundred less if you build your own PC. For more wallet-friendly VR, consider standalone HMDs that don’t connect to any system or alternatives that connect to your smartphone.
- Is your PC / smartphone powerful enough for VR? Before buying a VR headset that relies on a PC or smartphone connection, you should ensure your device meets the headset’s minimum requirements. Steam has a free test for checking if your PC can handle VR, and we also test this in our gaming laptop reviews. If your PC or smartphone doesn’t meet the headset’s requirements, you might want to increase your budget or buy a standalone HMD instead.
- When it comes to specs, bigger is better. In general, the greater the headset’s refresh rate, field of view (FOV), total resolution and pixel density (measured in pixels per inch or PPI), the smoother and sharper games will look.
- Make sure your home has enough square footage. Depending on the headset, you may need a notable amount of physical space to properly game. For example, the Oculus Rift S recommends a 3 x 3-foot space minimum, and the PSVR recommends a 10 x 10-foot area.
- Mind your glasses. You can usually wear glasses in VR, but some HMDs make this more comfortable than others. Check the headset’s IPD (interpupillary distance, the distance between the pupils in millimeters), which may be adjustable. Better yet, opt for an headset with a glasses spacer, like the Oculus Rift S.
With VR, the possibilities are endless. Right now, with so many options to choose from, there’s never been a better time to give it a go. Whether you’re interested in virtual reality for games or other applications, however, finding the right headset is not always an easy feat, as flag-ship headsets’ prices can still be quite prohibitive.
We hope this article has helped you decode the tech jargon in order to find the right VR headset for your adventures.