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Best VR headsets for PC gaming 2024

Would you prefer Valve, Meta or Pimax's options?

The last couple of years have been a big one for VR, with the announcement and release of big options from Meta with the Quest Pro and long-awaited Quest 3, as well as Sony and the PSVR 2. We've also seen some great games release from a variety of different developers big and small. With this in mind, the market is awash with some great options for you to get stuck into VR in 2024, and we want to help you make the right decision.

This article we've curated is designed to make choosing the best VR headset for PC titles as simple as possible, giving you all the relevant information you need to find the headset that fits your needs, at a price you can afford. A lot of headsets have come and gone in this particular sector, but there are still some excellent choices you can grab right now - let's get into it!

Headset Summary Best Price
Valve Index The best VR headset for PC gaming £459/$499 (HMD only)
£689/$749 (w/ cons)
£919/$999 (full kit)
Meta Quest 3 The best wireless VR headset £459/$499 (128GB)
£596/$649 (512GB)
Meta Quest 2 The best budget VR headset £249/$249 (128GB)
£349/$375 (256GB)
Pimax Crystal The ultimate VR headset for sims $1461/€1486 (full kit)
Watch the latest DF Weekly, where Digital Foundry staff discuss the hottest gaming technology news.Watch on YouTube

With different physical designs, screens, tracking solutions and price points, there's plenty to discuss about each option. Thankfully, once you get to know a little about each of them you'll quickly be able to narrow in on the right one for you. That makes choosing the best VR headset for games like Half-Life Alyx and Beat Saber fairly straightforward - as long as you're equipped with our recommendations.

Of course, these recommendations will also be more widely applicable to other VR games, like Star Wars Squadrons, Tetris Effect, Superhot and so on. In general, fast-paced games will benefit from a higher refresh rate, while slower-paced games and VR experiences will benefit from a higher resolution and field of view.

If you're in a hurry, here are our rapid recommendations:

  • We think that the Valve Index is the best option on the market, thanks to its excellent display, great tracking and finger-accurate controllers. However, it does require setting up tracking stations and is more expensive than other options.
  • If you want an untethered experience that works well with PC VR, the Meta Quest 3 is the best wireless option: a better-looking, better-performing and more comfortable update to the older Quest 2 that benefits from good controllers and excellent inside-out tracking. However, it does require a Meta login.
  • If you're not interesting in investing nearly a grand on your VR habit, the Meta Quest 2 stands out as the best budget choice thanks to good controllers and excellent tracking with no base stations required, with both wired, wireless and standalone operation modes. Again, a Meta login is required.
  • If you're into racing, flight sims and other sim genres, the Pimax Crystal is an incredible headset that justifies its high asking price with an unparalleled screen, a wide field of view and good controllers.

For the full details, click on the links below or scroll on!

Valve Index: Specs, Info and Best Deals

2880x1600 LCD screen ● 130° field of view ● 80/90/120/144Hz ● Base Station tracking

The Valve Index is the best way to play standout PC VR titles like Half-Life Alyx, with a sharp display, excellent controllers and reliable tracking. The 130-degree display has a combined resolution of 2880x1600, and uses a true RGB subpixel arrangement that makes for a sharper image than you'd find on the AMOLED Pentile screens commonly used for VR. The Index's screen is also capable of higher refresh rates than other headsets, topping out at 144Hz, making for a much smoother experience but requiring a more powerful PC to realise its potential. If you already have a powerful rig, then the Index is a natural choice.

The Index relies on base stations to operate, allowing for excellent tracking but requiring some setup, while the Knuckle controllers are the best available at the moment thanks to their per-digit tracking. Audio is a strong suit too, with the built-in speakers providing a convenient and immersive experience. All of that means the Valve Index is the VR headset to get for Half-Life Alyx.

Meta Quest 3: Specs, Info and Best Deals

Meta Quest 3

4128x2208 LCD screen ● 110° field of view ● 120Hz ● Inside-out tracking

The Meta Quest 3 is the current go-to VR headset, offering its own built-in games and apps in addition to wired or wireless PC VR. Using the headset untethered is great for room-scale VR, where you'd want to be able to move around freely, while using a (lightweight) cable allows for a higher bitrate connection and less reliance on having an ideally-located wireless router. In any mode, you get reliable inside-out wireless tracking, with no base stations to set up. As with other Meta headsets, a Meta login is required.

Versus the Quest 2, the Quest 3 is noticeably slimmer and lighter, making it significantly more comfortable to wear. Its interior space can be extended too, making it comfortable for the bespectacled. The controllers have also seen an upgrade, with a more compact design that is less likely to scratch up your walls while tracking and haptics have also been levelled up. You can read more about the headset in Ian Higton's full Quest 3 review for Eurogamer.

  • From $499 from Amazon US
  • From £459 from Amazon UK

Meta Quest 2: Specs, Info and Best Deals

3664x1920 LCD screen ● 90° field of view ● 120Hz ● Inside-out tracking

Like the Quest 3, the Quest 2 is a standalone VR headset with a (fast) mobile phone processor inside, allowing it to connect to the internet and download apps or games. The Quest 2 isn't quite as comfortable, powerful or good-looking as its successor, but it still provides a great untethered VR experience. You also have the same options to connect to your computer for wired or wireless PC VR gaming, with a lightweight optical USB-C cable or a nearby wireless router recommended for an optimal experience. If you can stomach signing in with a Meta account, this is still a great VR headset that opens the door to some truly exceptional experiences - and now for significantly less than the Quest 3.

Pimax Crystal: Specs, Info and Best Deals

pimax crystal viewed from different perspectives, showing an angular design
Image credit: Pimax

5670x2880 LCD screen ● 125° field of view ● 120Hz ● Inside-out tracking

The Pimax Crystal is the polar opposite of the Quest lineup, a PC VR headset with an unmatched resolution and field of view, at the expense of weight, complexity and cost. That makes the Crystal less good at room-scale VR, but exceptionally good for typically seated genres like racing sims, flight sims and so on where the headset's excellent detail, courtesy of QLED screen and aspheric lenses, set it apart. Setup can be fiddly, and as a standalone headset the Snapdragon XR processor here isn't quite enough to power the high-res display, but once set up for seated PC VR this headset is incredibly immersive with good lightweight controllers and reliable tracking too.

For more details on this extremely specialised but nonetheless commendable headset, check out John Linneman's exhaustive Pimax Crystal review.

With that, we reach the end of the PC VR headset deals and all-around best prices for the VR headsets for PC gaming. We'll keep this page up to date - more or less - to ensure we recommend the best deals for these headsets as they appear.

If you find a VR headset at a better price than we've listed here - or if you'd like to know how these headsets compare in another way - then please let us know in the comments below! Should we be covering other options too? Get in touch. We'll also be checking tweets to @wsjudd or @digitalfoundry.

Digital Foundry discusses Half-Life Alyx in 2020. Watch on YouTube

For more on VR headsets, we loved 2kliksphillip's take on VR headsets on YouTube here. There's also a handy comparison spreadsheet for specs and feature comparisons.

Finally, why not read more about premiere VR title Half-Life Alyx in articles by Eurogamer? So far, we've covered our first look at Half-Life Alyx and also why Half-Life Alyx is a VR exclusive. You can also hear Digital Foundry's John and Alex discuss the reveal in video form above.

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