The best VR headsets for watching VR videos
In 2023, there are quite a few incredible VR headsets available for viewing content on DeoVR, no matter your need or budget. There are also some new headsets coming out this year, so stay tuned for updated recommendations as we test new hardware. [Last update: September 2023]
Recommended headsets for watching VR
2022 and 2023 brought forth an impressive array of VR headsets, covering a diverse range of needs and budgets. There are four notable contenders: the Meta Quest Pro, PICO 4, Meta Quest 3 and Apple's Vision Pro. We'll provide an overview of what makes them stand out, and in the case of upcoming releases, we'll keep you updated on our findings as we put them to the test.
1) Meta Quest Pro: The Ultimate Wireless Headset. Released in 2022, though it's still at the cutting edge of VR, this is for those seeking the pinnacle of wireless VR experiences. The Meta Quest Pro is a superb but expensive option, priced at $1500, but this headset brings exceptional visuals and color passthrough, setting it apart from its predecessor, the Quest 2. It's even capable of displaying 10-bit color video. Some users have expressed concerns about comfort, which is worth considering before making the investment. It has the highest clarity and resolution, making it perfect for DeoVR videos. If budget is no obstacle and you crave top-notch visuals, the Meta Quest Pro could be the perfect choice. However, we recommend waiting for the Meta Quest 3, which is due out later this year (see below).
2) PICO 4: Another highly-regarded new standalone HMD. For those who want unmatched visuals and color definition, the Pico 4 is another excellent pic, and it doesn’t cost as much as the Meta Quest Pro. Instead, the Pico 4 is a definite upgrade from the Quest 2, in part because of the new pancake lenses. However, be warned that this headset is not as good for passthrough because it only works in mono, not stereo. DeoVR is available on the Pico 4 via the DeoVR app (available in the Pico store). So far, users have reported fantastic image quality, particularly when compared to the Quest 2 and other headsets. There are some minor issues though, such as purchasing problems and light leakage (although relatively rare).
1) Meta Quest 3: The Front-Runner with Mixed Reality Passthrough. The highly anticipated Meta Quest 3 has emerged as a potential front-runner in the VR headset market. Boasting remarkable mixed reality passthrough capabilities, this headset promises to provide an unparalleled level of immersion. Alongside its impressive visuals and comfort, the Meta Quest 3 comes at an affordable price, making it an enticing option for VR enthusiasts. We are eager to put it through its paces and will keep you informed with a comprehensive review once we have thoroughly tested this promising device.
2) Apple's Vision Pro: A High-End Contender. While information about Apple's Vision Pro headset remains scarce, its price point is noticeably higher than that of the Meta Quest 3. This cost might deter some users seeking a more budget-friendly option. Nonetheless, we are actively researching and gathering details about Apple's Vision Pro and its compatibility with DeoVR. Keep an eye on this blog, as we'll provide a full account of our findings and offer recommendations once we have a complete understanding of this intriguing headset.
3) PICO 5: Rumored Successor to PICO 4. The PICO 5 is not yet confirmed, but leaked images of what looks like new PICO controllers have surfaced hinting that a PICO 5 is in development, meaning the PICO 4 could be getting an upgrade in the coming months. Based on the success of the PICO 4, a new model is likely to be a strong contender that we will be keeping an eye on. Full specs are not yet available.
4) Valve “Deckard”: Steam-based Mystery Project. A reigning champion in the high-end PCVR market, Valve is rumored to be developing a new VR system to succeed the Index. Codenamed “Deckard,” very little is known about the project so far. It could be a linear improvement Index 2, or it could be something different. Naturally, specs are not yet available. As we uncover more we will be sure to keep you up-to-date.
Overall, the Meta Quest Pro is the ultimate option, although it does come with a pretty hefty price point. While that price has come down slightly in recent months, it’ll still set you back over $1,000. If you’re wondering why the Pro is so much better than the Quest 2, the visuals and color passthrough are astounding and really help immerse you in the virtual world.
Older and affordable models:
If you want a plug-and-play headset that offers the highest resolution quality (8K) and don’t want to pay a fortune, the Meta Quest 2 is still a top pick. To watch DeoVR videos, you just have to get the DeoVR app from Oculus Home and start browsing your favorite VR scenes. One-click streaming gives you added convenience so you can be transported anywhere immediately.
Overall, if you’re budget-conscious but still want the best video playback, the Meta Quest 2 is the best option (so far). You can also link it to your computer via the Oculus Link cable, but we don’t recommend that as it could lead to lower video quality.
Desktop VR headsets:
That said, if you want to link your VR headset to your computer, headsets like the HP Reverb G2, Valve Index, and Pimax 8K are all fantastic.
HP Reverb G2 possesses the best overall video quality display, offering 2,160 × 2,160 LCD panels per-eye at 90Hz. Valve Index is known for its 144/122Hz screen. Pimax 8K offers a high resolution screen and 200º FOV.
For a desktop set-up, you will need a system compatible with the Nvidia 10xx/20xx/30xx range of graphics cards (these have the same video decoding specs). Nvidia 30xx has the same video decoding specs as previous generations, providing no advantage for video playback unless AV1 support. If choosing another GPU manufacturer make sure it decodes 8192x4096@60FPS h.265 videos.
Consider getting an Xbox controller to control videos like a pro with extended controller mapping offered by the DeoVR app. Plus, if you’re already a gamer, navigating with a controller will feel like second nature.
Headsets we don’t recommend
The VIVE XR Elite is a new all-in-one headset released in 2023, with 4K resolution overall - each eye has a 2K screen (2,048 x 1,080) which is slightly better than the Meta Quest 2 headset. Reports about the comfort vary - some say it's the most comfortable headset on the market, while we've had first-hand reports of it being almost unbearable to wear. With this in mind, try to try it on first before you make a purchase. However, if you enjoy how it feels then it can work well for longer sessions, especially as the battery can be hot-swapped, but it comes at a high cost price ($1099 / £1299 / €1399). Ultimately, we do not recommend it as it does not have passthrough support at DeoVR.
Users only experience 20% of VR's potential with the previous generation of headsets, such as the Cardboard, iPhone, PSVR (2016), Daydream and GearVR. These are not recommended at all due to poor performance, lack of connectivity or simply not being suitable for VR. Any phone-based headset is not suitable for VR compared to those dedicated to virtual reality.
When it comes to watching DeoVR content, we don’t recommend the Playstation VR headset (or its next-gen model, PSVR 2). Because it’s designed for gaming with the constrained Playstation environment, it doesn’t work well for watching videos or immersive scenes like those you’ll find on DeoVR.
Similarly, the Oculus Go released in 2018 and the Quest 1 released in 2019 are not recommended due to inherent limitations and poor performance compared to newer devices.
Anything else you might need?
As long as you have a decent standalone headset, you should have everything you need to enjoy VR content, although PCVR headsets can have benefits such as more storage if you prefer to download videos. You might prefer watching newer videos as technology has greatly improved since the early days of virtual reality. And make sure to have at least a highspeed internet connection for the best streaming experience. As screen resolution and bitrate are increasing all the time in VR it would be best to go for 200 Mbps or higher.
Stay tuned for more updates and why not join the discussion on the DeoVR forum?