Best VR headsets 2023: Top picks from HTC Vive, Meta, Pico and more

With virtual reality breaking through some long-standing barriers in recent years, there’s never been a better time to pick up a VR headset.

In terms of price and usability, they are now infinitely more accessible than they were a decade ago. It’s not just about the rise of standalone headsets, either, with high-end models now easier to use.

Custom PCs also have the potential to be extremely powerful, helping deliver lifelike virtual environments for those going down the wired VR headset route.

As ever, we’ve been testing some of the very best options on the market, experimenting with games and apps to see how well they perform. We assess plenty of different areas when reviewing the latest and greatest VR headsets, including their graphical prowess, how comfortable they are to wear for extended periods of time and what level of compatibility they can offer.

So, let’s detail the best selections around today to help you decide which is best for your needs.

Our Top Pick: Best VR Headset

  • the best vr headsets to buy 2020 top virtual reality gear photo 15
    The Pimax Vision 8K X

    1. Best Buy

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    Oculus Quest 2

    2. Runner Up

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    HTC Vive Pro 2

    4. Strong Contender

  • Varjo Aero VR headset


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The Pimax Vision 8K X

1. Best Buy

Best overall

Simply put, this is the very best experience that virtual reality has to offer.


  • Some of the best specs you’ll see
  • Ultra-wide field of view
  • Staggering gaming visuals


  • Requires a monster PC to run

The Pimax Vision 8K X is undoubtedly the most bonkers and power-hungry virtual reality headset we’ve seen.

This VR headset boasts two 4K displays – one for each eye – alongside an epic field-of-view, and a high refresh rate.

If you’re tech-savvy, have a powerful PC to run it and want the very best, then this is currently it.

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Oculus Quest 2

2. Runner Up

Best standalone headset

A fantastic upgrade to the original Quest, and the improved visuals, features and price make it a must-consider.


  • Amazing value
  • Standalone
  • Comfortable


  • Not as impressive as wired headsets

The Quest 2 is another contender for the title of best VR headset, and that’s not just because it’s one of the most affordable virtual reality headsets around.

It’s a wire-free headset that doesn’t need a PC to run, while still packing enough hardware inside to play some of the best VR games around.

Wireless VR is glorious and gives you plenty of freedom. Other highlights, like hand-tracking, inside-out tracking (meaning no external sensors), passthrough cameras and a clever guardian system, make Quest 2 incredibly fun to play with.

Great visuals, superb audio and the ability to plug in and play more with Oculus Link make Quest 2 even more special, as well.

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Pico 4

3. A Top Pick

A brilliant Quest alternative

It’s better than the Quest 2 in almost every way, but there are fewer games available for it right now.


  • Extremely comfortable
  • Improved visuals
  • Great standalone and tethered performance


  • The standalone library is much smaller than Meta’s

The Pico 4 is very similar to the Quest 2 in that it’s an affordable standalone headset that can also be used to play PCVR titles.

However, the Pico improves on the Quest 2 in numerous ways: it’s more comfortable, has higher resolution displays with better lenses and it’s available at a lower price.

Unfortunately, the standalone game library is much smaller than that of Quest 2, at least for now. If you have access to a gaming PC, we definitely recommend it over the competition, otherwise, you may want to wait and see which titles get added to the Pico platform.

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HTC Vive Pro 2

4. Strong Contender

Excellent alternative

The Vive Pro 2 is a great headset, offering an elite display, superb comfort and excellent tracking.


  • Amazing display
  • Nice and comfortable
  • Plays nice with most games


  • You’ll need a fancy PC

The HTC Vive Pro 2 is the upgraded version of the HTC Vive Pro, and the very best that HTC has to offer.

It has the current best-in-class display, which offers an incredibly high pixel count, great field of view and up to a 120Hz refresh rate, too.

Like the previous Vive Pro, it needs a high-end gaming machine to run properly but delivers a superb experience that stands out from the crowd.

If you already own a Vive or Vive Pro, this makes for a nice upgrade, while the full package (including base stations) is a must for those new to the Vive experience.

Varjo Aero

5. Also Great

Superb display capabilities

The Varjo Aero is a high-end PCVR headset with superb features and specs that make it incredibly appealing. This does come at a cost though.


  • Incredibly clear display
  • Comfortable and immersive fit
  • Excellent features
  • Useful software


  • Very costly
  • Requires additional purchase to work
  • No built-in speakers

The Varjo Aero is an expensive headset but one that offers some serious specs and impressive features for those looking for the very best VR experiences around. The highlights of this device include eye-tracking that not only assists IPD adjustments but also used for foveated rendering. This helps render the image you’re looking at in higher quality while reducing the image quality of your surroundings in your peripheral vision. Which in turn improves performance and the overall experience.

We found this headset offers great visual fidelity, superb comfort and a fantastic VR experience. It’s brilliantly designed and wonderfully immersive. The downside is though that you’ll need to buy Steam VR controllers and base stations as they aren’t included as standard.

How to choose a VR headset

There are plenty of questions that you’ll want to ask yourself before you take the plunge on what could most likely be a quite pricey purchase to enter the world of VR. Here are some of the things you should be asking:

How much should you spend on a VR headset?

This is a question that can apply to basically any purchase in the world of technology, but that doesn’t make it any less apt when we’re talking about VR headsets – you need to set your budget!

Work out how much you’d be happy to spend, and that will go a long way toward deciding what headset is best for you. This is more true for VR than other areas, too, since the hardware we’re dealing with can get seriously pricey.

And keep in mind that it doesn’t always have to be the most expensive option, since there are now plenty of VR headsets that are available for a relatively cheap price.

Do you want to go wireless?

A huge question about VR headsets comes down to whether they require a tether or not – in most cases, they do need to be plugged into a PC or console to work. Some, like the Oculus Quest 2, have the ability to work standalone, with reduced graphical prowess, but can still be plugged in for tethered fun when you need a boost, which is arguably the best of both worlds.

Others, like most HTC Vive headsets, can be converted to work wirelessly using accessories that will add a bit of cost and could take a little while to set up, but once you do so you’ll have amazing graphics without worrying about wires. If you’ve ever tried VR before, this will be an area to decide on before buying.

Is resolution the key for you?

Another key variable between different VR headsets, and, in fact, one of the main ways to tell the difference between them, comes down to what level of resolution they can offer you. This is about the number of pixels in their displays, as close to your eyes as they are, and the higher the number the crisper the visuals will be able to look.

However, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, so it might be that you care more about what games you’ll be able to play than exactly how sharp they’ll look while you do so.

What are you going to use VR for?

That leads to our final point – what do you want a VR headset for? There are plenty of amazing videos out there to explore in VR, as well as brilliant productivity tools and coworking spaces to help you combat isolation. Of course, there’s also a whole world of gaming, too.

So, it’s worth figuring out what your priority is in order to pick the headset that best fits your aims. This is the surest-fire way to ensure you don’t accidentally pick one that isn’t so ideal.