The 3 best VR headsets you can buy right now

Virtual reality is the next major wave to hit entertainment. It’s the future of television, movies, and video gaming, giving users an immersive experience unlike any other and flooding their senses with stimuli that would have been unthinkable a few short years ago. The headset is one of the most important elements of a virtual reality rig, and if you skimp on the quality, you’re unlikely to get close to a full experience.

Here are a few of the best headsets available today.

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset

Few VR systems have generated as much buzz and excitement as the Oculus Rift. The Rift started as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, and its proposed design generated enough interest that the company was able to raise $2.5 million in donations to further develop the product. All of that led to a purchase by Facebook, Inc., and the official Rift was finally released in March of 2016 after excited futurists eagerly passed around pre-market “development kit” versions. The Rift headset is equipped with a Pentile OLED display that boasts a resolution of 1080×1200 pixels per eye, with a 90 Hz refresh rate and a 110-degree field of view. Every Rift comes with Lucky’s Tale, an exclusive platformer game that’s a great introduction to the system, but there is now a wide range of other games available for the system, and it can also be used for immersive movie experiences. The Rift’s hefty price tag along with the necessity of a powerful computer to use it are the only strikes against it, so it earns a very close A-.

Samsung Gear VR

While Oculus Rift and many other VR systems work by being connected to a PC, a growing trend has seen headsets that pair with smartphones becoming popular as well. These devices are often cheaper than PC-based headsets, and though they can’t provide the same powerful graphics, they can still be quite immersive. Among the most popular is Samsung’s Gear VR headset. It pairs with their Note tablet and most of the latest models of their wildly popular Galaxy smartphone and comes with an innovative controller that lets you use Wii-like motion commands. The Gear VR allows you to view your own 360-degree videos or panoramic images, as well as tons of content including live concerts and sporting events, and a nice selection of games. It’s much cheaper than the Rift but also lacks the graphical fireworks and variety of games, so it earns a solid B-.

Google OEM Daydream View

Google Cardboard was the tech giant’s first foray into VR, but that low-cost introductory system has been supplanted by a truly beautiful headset called the Daydream View, which works with Android phones operating version 7.1 and higher. The comfortable, soft foam and fabric headset is much easier on your face for extended VR sessions than the Rift or the Gear, and the headset also travels better because of this durable construction. The Daydream View is perfect for exploring foreign locales in 360-degree videos and photos, as well as experiencing concerts and sporting events. And its easy to use controller makes navigating the virtual world a breeze. Google’s Pixel phone, with its incredibly sharp display, is the perfect companion for the Daydream View, but it’s compatible with several other “Daydream-Ready” phones as well. This headset’s comfort and ease of use net it a B+ rating.

With so much new virtual reality and augmented reality technology hitting the market, it can be tough to know what’s a quality product, and what’s a quick cash grab. The headsets above stand out from the crowd for their solid, intelligent construction and user-friendly controls. Pick one up today and join the virtual revolution.

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