Buy VR glasses 2020: virtual reality for every platform

Purchasing advice Virtual Reality Headsets

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Photo: CHIP / Burger

Virtual Reality glasses arrive on the mass market. Thanks to one of the first VR glasses that comes completely without cables, exciting and entertaining content such as Stormland or Half-Life: Alyx – and finally with affordable prices. We compile all relevant VR systems together with our impressions from the respective tests and an outlook for you.

Virtual Reality glasses: more than just a gambler tool

Virtual Reality and Gaming go well together. VR-optimized games are the drivers of the new technology. With the PlayStation VR, Sony has already been able to prove that high quantities are possible in sales. With titles like Farpoint and Resident Evil 7 Sony and its partners have also managed to bring real VR hits to the market that far exceed go beyond the predicate “tech demo”. But Sony has now got strong competition with the Oculus Rift S and especially with the self-sufficient Oculus Quest. So you don't need a console or a gaming computer to immerse yourself in virtual reality. Simply put on the Oculus Quest headset and there are plenty of good and exclusive gaming titles to choose from. In addition to the mobile quest, the gaming giant Valve, known for its half-life games and the Games platform Steam , a leading role. The in-house VR glasses Valve-Index not only impress with a sharp resolution and a large field of vision. The innovative index controllers are also popular with VR gamers worldwide.

On the PC, the possibilities for VR go far beyond gaming. Especially edutainment like or also Google Earth VR promise entertainment and knowledge alike. But the adult entertainment industry is also taking advantage of VR. Reputable providers such as Reality Lovers open up a new target group with VR erotic videos and also build the bridge to gaming. Parodies like “Aloy's Refuge”, based on the PS4 cracker Horizon Zero Dawn are first crossover attempts. It's also no secret that the erotic industry often has a significant impact on the success of technologies.

CHIP already has almost all relevant consumer VR systems for you tested – in the following we present you the most important key data and our assessment for whom which system is well suited.

The best VR glasses in practice test (selection, status: April 2020)

The best of two worlds: Oculus Quest

Wireless VR
Very good black levels
Very good inside-out tracking
Good resolution
Optional link Cable for PC-VR
Slightly top heavy
Just 72 Hz refresh rate

With the middle 2019 Oculus Quest appeared, Facebook launched its second, fully self-sufficient VR glasses on the market. Powered by a Snapdragon 845 smartphone – Processor, the Quest does not need any cables and no powerful gaming computer to still offer high quality VR. The apps and games optimized for the Oculus Quest are graphically rather simple, but can still look very appealing. Because a good VR illusion relies above all on a fluid detection of head and controller movements . The actual ” Inside-out “tracking is carried out by four black / white cameras.

The OLED panels offer very good black and therefore contrast values. The integrated sound is surprisingly good and does not completely isolate VR beginners from the rest of the environment. For adventure games, however, it is worthwhile to reach for the gaming headset that can be easily connected via a jack port.

Before you get started, the gaming area must first be defined – and Oculus has more than succeeded. The whole thing is called the “Guardian system” and should be at least two by two meters in size – but: the more space, the better. Otherwise you just don't have enough space to move around. To do this, simply use the controller to draw a safe area in the real space visible via the cameras.

In addition, the Oculus Quest also offers two very cool features: On the one hand, the headset supports experimental hand tracking. This allows you to control selected apps or games without a controller. On the other hand, the headset can be connected to a gaming computer via a USB Type-C cable. High-end VR games can also be played on the quest using the so-called Oculus link – provided the corresponding gaming hardware is available.

The biggest disadvantage of the quest is just enough comfort. Because all the technology has to fit into the front panel, the headset is quite top-heavy and uncomfortably presses on during longer VR sessions.

Who is the system aimed at?

Simply VR- Put on the headset and go into the Oasis – this is currently only possible with the Oculus Quest. The VR headset convinces as a very good overall package consisting of intuitive operation, entry-friendly setup and a good price-performance ratio. In particular, the optional use of cables via Oculus Link make the Quest VR glasses that combine the best of self-sufficient VR fun and wired high-end VR gaming a´la Half-Life: Alyx.

Shop recommendation for Oculus Quest All-in -one VR Gaming System – 64 GB

Oculus Quest All-in-one VR Gaming System - 64GB

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Oculus Quest im Review

Facebook's first self-sufficient VR headset – Oculus Go in the test

Premium for the PC: HTC Vive Pro

Very precise SteamVR tracking
Good black levels
Clear image
Overall comfort

With the Vive Pro, HTC was able to assert itself at the top of the high-end VR headsets for a long time. In contrast to the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S, the Vive Pro relies on the very precise SteamVR lighthouse tracking – which works by means of external base stations and laser positioning. The still used here Vive – controllers work in the first Play minutes rather unwieldy – especially in direct comparison with the controllers of the Oculus glasses or the very ergonomic and innovative index controllers. But convince with a very precise feel thanks to SteamVR tracking.

The Vive Pro is a headset for VR enthusiasts who are willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of euros in PC – and invest in VR hardware. The reward for this is a still unique VR experience, but it also depends on cables that are always immersive. Vive also offers a separately available wireless adapter, but our tests repeatedly have problems with the individual hardware configuration of gaming PCs.

Who is the system aimed at?

If you want to use the Vive Pro sensibly, you should have enough space for it, since the approach with the deployable tracking units requires a relatively large amount of space. In addition, the most powerful PC possible should be available. The Vive Pro will no longer be offered by HTC in the future. But it is still sold while stocks last – and could drop significantly in price due to the recently launched Vive Cosmos series.

Shop recommendation for HTC VIVE Pro Full Kit, VR glasses, blue

HTC VIVE Pro Full Kit, VR Brille, Blau

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Die HTC Vive Pro im Review

Powerful exclusive games: Oculus Rift S

Many and good exclusive VR games
Good inside-out tracking
Fair price
Fixed pupil distance
No adjustment of the lens distance possible
Bad black levels

The Oculus Rift S appeared simultaneously with its Self-sufficient sister quest in mid-May 2019 and can be upgraded as 2016 appeared Oculus Rift can be understood. In terms of price, the Quest is designed for a pure PC VR experience. The resolution is 2. 560 x 1 . 440 pixels under the Quest and clearly under the competition such as the Vive Pro, Vive Cosmos or Valve Index. Oculus also uses an LC display for the Rift S, which disappointed us with a somewhat lean black level in some applications. The refresh rate is 80 Hz – a little more than in the quest though still significantly below the value of VR glasses from Sony and Valve.

The inside-out tracking is carried out with five integrated cameras (for the Quest there are only four) and is very precise and only pauses if we keep the controller clearly out of sight of the cameras. But this happens very rarely and only with very hectic and brisk VR rhythm games such as BeatSaber .

As with the Quest, the sound comes from the integrated headphones on the Rift S and goes from the sound forth okay. For story-heavy adventure games and rich sound, we also recommend using the gaming headset .

The big plus is the extensive collection of high-quality exclusive productions on the part of the Oculus Store. Of course, all Steam VR games can also be played with the Rift S. However, thanks to Oculus-Link, this is now also possible with the Oculus Quest already presented.

Who is the system aimed at?

Basically, the target group of the HTC Vive Pro, the Valve Index and the Oculus Rift S are not that different. The Rift S is a classic VR glasses designed for use with a potent gaming computer. However, with its very fair price, it is aimed at VR beginners who accept small shortcomings in terms of resolution and frame rate, a complex setup of external sensors such as the Vive Pro or Valve Index.

Shop recommendation for Oculus Rift S Virtual Reality Headset

Oculus Rift S Virtual Reality Headset

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The Oculus Rift S sits comfortably, has good inside-out tracking – but fails in comparison in terms of resolution and frame rate. Picture: Oculus

Something for everyone: HTC Vive Cosmos series

Sharp, colorful picture
Low screen effect
Good black levels
Good overall comfort
Inaccurate inside-out tracking

HTC launched the Vive Cosmos in autumn 2019 its new VR glasses platform. As the competition from Facebook does – Vive now uses inside-out tracking in the gaming sector with the Cosmos. However, the glasses have strong orientation problems – so there are always complete misfires in tracking.

HTC therefore recommends playing in bright rooms. But here, too, we always have problems when one controller is behind the other or out of sight. If a controller is close to the face, the headset always loses the exact hand position in the room, which for example makes aiming and shooting impossible in action-packed games. Once you have found the perfect lighting situation, you should remember the exact lighting conditions well. Because even with only minor changes, you have to start the room setup of the inside-out tracking again.

The new controllers are also anything but convincing. They are similar to the Oculus controllers, but require two instead of one battery per side. This is due to the lighting that is needed for inside-out tracking. This also sucks the batteries empty faster than with the competitor models. In addition, they are too heavy and too large – which you can clearly feel especially in longer VR sessions.

But there are also praiseworthy properties: This makes the Cosmos very individual adjust to your own eye relief and then offers, with a very good resolution of 2880 x 1700 pixels and an image rate of 90 Hz, a pleasantly sharp picture with strong colors.

In addition to the Vive Cosmos, HTC has in the past week n also the Cosmos Play and the Cosmos Elite presented. The Cosmos Play is aimed at casual gamers and VR beginners. The Cosmos Elite again uses the very precise SteamVR tracking and is aimed at hardcore gamers with the necessary change. Of course we will test the two new versions of the Vive Cosmos as soon as possible. In addition, the front panels should be interchangeable – that meant you could theoretically turn a Vive Cosmos into a Cosmos Elite in order to then be able to use the much more precise SteamVR tracking.

Who is the system aimed at?

Since HTC introduced the different versions of the Vive Cosmos, it cannot be said with certainty which target group the Cosmos should address. Because VR beginners who rely on inside-out tracking, we recommend waiting for the much cheaper Vive Cosmos Play. Also with the hope that HTC still manages to get the tracking problems that come up again and again under control. VR enthusiasts and hardcore gamers, in turn, we recommend waiting for the Vive elite – because with perfect SteamVR tracking, there is a better VR experience.

Shop recommendation for HTC Vive Cosmos

HTC Vive Cosmos

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The Vive Cosmos series consists of the Vive Cosmos Play, the Cosmos and the Vive Cosmos Elite. Image: HTC

Exclusive to the PS4 (Pro): Sony PlayStation VR

Good OLED display
PSVR-exclusive games
AIM controller (separate accessories)
Should be compatible with PS5
Low resolution
Bad tracking

Our conclusion from the Test report from 19. 10. 2016 : “PlayStation VR is an overall very successful product for the PS4. It is by far the simplest way to dive into virtual reality. The PlayStation 4 acts as a sufficiently performant basis. While the technical basis is weaker than that of the competition, the comfort of wearing the glasses, the foolproof setup and the initial software equipment are at a high level. “

In the In the meantime, the PSVR is on the market as a V2, in which something has changed, particularly with the processor unit, which is now able to loop through an HDR signal and the PS4 Pro is fully supported.

Who is the system aimed at? Of course owners of a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 4 Pro are set – and also everyone who does not want to buy a high-end computer for VR gaming. In the meantime there are some exciting VR titles, some of which are exclusive to PSVR but also blockbusters like Resident Evil 7 VR or Skyrim VR.

Shop recommendation for Sony PlayStation VR

Sony PlayStation VR

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PlayStation VR: Simple and inexpensive entry into the VR world. Picture: Sony

The best of its kind: Valve Index

Sharp display
Up to 144 Hz refresh rate
Field of view of up to 130 Degree
Ergonomic cont scooter with finger tracking
Comfortable VR glasses
Weaker Black levels compared to OLED glasses
Only available in the Steam Shop

Valve not only supplies the hardware with the currently best PC VR glasses Valve Index – but also brings at the same time with the long-awaited Half-Life: Alyx a great VR game and thus also a system seller on the market. Unfortunately you can only buy the index in Valve's own steam shop and due to very high demand and some delivery difficulties, you currently need a little patience to call an index your own. So far, we have only been able to try out the index at a few events and have not yet taken a long-term test. Of course we will deliver our test results as soon as possible.

But the Valve glasses have already convinced us in a few hands-on sessions. It scores with a sharp LC display with a resolution of 2. 880 x 3. 200 pixels and a field of view that is up to 130 degrees can cover. The refresh rate can also be set variably. So you can completely without restarting an app in the SteamVR menu between 80 to 144 Hz.

Like the HTC Vive Pro uses Valve with the index on SteamVR tracking. With this very precise laser tracking method, however, base stations must first be installed – so the first installation effort for a round of VR gaming is significantly more complex than with an inside-out tracking such as the Oculus Rift S.

We are particularly impressed by the index controllers. These are much more ergonomic than other VR controllers and since they are attached to the back of the hand with a strap, you can naturally open and close your hand to grab virtual things.

To whom is the system correct?

Like the Vive Pro and the Rift S, the Valve Index is PC VR glasses – the displays remain dark without a powerful gaming computer. Virtual Reality enthusiasts who already own powerful hardware and have the necessary space for the SteamVR tracking system can courageously access it. Because currently the Valve Index is probably the best PC VR glasses overall, but at a price that has washed itself. Anyone who can afford it does everything right when buying.

If you already have VR glasses with SteamVR tracking, you can only purchase the index controller or the glasses. Picture: Valve

Shop recommendation for VR glasses

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gaming laptops in the test

Thorsten Nowag

Thorsten Nowag

The hardware expert and passionate gamer is responsible for all notebook topics and enthusiastic followers of virtual reality . Thorsten also maintains the CHIP YouTube and Instagram channel.