Are you planning to get a new headset or replace your current one?
Though Oculus Rift is a high-end immersive headset, its price is a bit high for my comfort.
So, I started my search for Oculus Rift alternatives. Let me share my the cool VR headsets I found in my quest.
Before diving in, it’s prudent to see what features and functionalities to look for in a VR headset.
A Quick List of Alternatives:
What You Should Look For In a VR Headset
Some of you may be wanting an alternative to the Rift due to its high price. Others may not want to pair up their headset with their pc. Once you know why you are looking for an alternative, apply the same criteria to the headset models.
If you are looking for a headset with a simple setup, check it when you review any model. Review the model features such as setup, interface, controllers, content, and price.
Setting Up Your VR Room
When you are considering a headset, look at its setup. If you are pairing up the headset with your virtual reality enabled PC or console, check the size of your room. A big roomy space would be essential for using the headset and its accessories.
If you are planning to get a mobile headset, make sure your smartphone is compatible and fits in into the device.
Design and Comfort
Many users prefer choosing design over comfort or the other way around. I would recommend selecting a model that scores in both categories.
Pick a headset that is lightweight. You would not want to buy it and then feel uncomfortable.
The face guard fitting should feel comfortable and allow you to breathe normally. You don’t want to finish up the virtual reality battle game feeling all sweaty, do you?
The head straps and harness should be adjustable. I prefer the ones that come in a two-way or three-way style like the Rift as it gives me more flexibility to use them. You can also find many affordable headsets with this functionality.
Controllers are one of the most vital aspects of virtual reality devices. You may prefer using elaborate controllers like the ones on the Rift or simple ones like the gamepad. Make sure that they are easy to use and ergonomically designed.
No one would want pain in their fingers after a round of high-intensity gaming. Monitoring the controller’s responsiveness is essential before making a selection.
In the end, it’s the user experience that matters.
The dashboard, menu responsiveness and voice control features influence the end user experience.
Any headset is useful only if you have its software bundle.
The content library is different for every headset maker. The Rift scores highly due to its massive gaming content library.
What’s Your Budget
Did you know that VR headsets start at $10 and can go up to $800?
When entering the field of VR, your budget is one of the first criteria that you will need to determine.
Headsets that pair up with a mobile typically cost up to $100. If you use Windows or the Sony PlayStation console, you can get headsets from $100 to $400. With a gaming pc, you can find models that start from $400.
But remember, you get what you pay for.
What Do You Already have
Starting up in VR is easy if you take a look at what you already have. Once you do that, it is quite easy to zero down on a suitable headset.
If you have a Samsung smartphone, you can get the Samsung Gear VR. If you own a Google Pixel, Huawei Mate 9 or the ZTE Axon 7; you can check out the Google Daydream.
In case you have an iPhone or any other Android phone, you can select Google Cardboard with any mobile VR apps.
Many hardcore gamers may already own a PS4 console. If you have one, you can get the PSVR headset that allows you to plug and play.
If you are a long time gamer with a powerful gaming PC, pick the Oculus Rift. It will give you impressive room scale tracking and touch controllers. If you prefer Windows mixed reality, you can choose models from Lenovo, Dell, and Acer. They come with motion controllers and are lightweight to use.
Top 6 Oculus Rift Alternatives
Pansonite 3D Virtual Reality Headset
- DECOMPRESSION EQUIPMENT: The adjustable T-shaped straps reduce 30% pressure around face through balancing the stress on head. Fit for different head sizes (both adults and children). Deepened nasal bridge portion for no paining noses.
- HEAT DISSIPATION DESIGN: Excellent heat dissipation with detachable attracted-iron cover and two ventilated holes on the two sides. Soft and breathable leather pad keeps your eyes comfortable even after hours watching.
If you want to try your hands on a top-end VR headset at an affordable price, Pansonite can be an option.
The headset has built-in headphones with aux inputs that works with your smartphone. It has a dial on top for adjusting the focus making the visuals better. It also works with an adapter.
The Pansonite comes with a cloth covered device with an adjustable plastic headband.
You will find the headset to be quite like the PlayStation VR. You can see a small flap area for securing the phone while the camera stays uncovered for using mobile apps. The headset is great at blocking out light.
Clean visuals give you a fantastic immersive experience.
It was exhilarating and comfy at the same time to watch Star Wars video in VR on the Pansonite. Pansonite is a complete package that manages to edge out many other devices.
- Personal Viewing: The littlest, big screen. Crystal clear optics and state-of-the-art 3D graphics make your headset feel more like a personal theater
- Viewing with Friends: Watch with friends. Meet up in VR with friends and fans from around the world to catch live sports, concerts, or just your favorite TV show
Go wireless with the Oculus Go at an affordable price. If you were looking for a no-holds-barred standalone VR headset, this is your best chance.
You can get access to a diverse VR content library with more than 1000 exciting games and apps. Its clear detailing and spatial audio place it a notch above many other headsets in the market.
If you are a casual or a hardcore gamer, Oculus Go is right up your alley. It has games making up more than other VR content in its library.
The Go works well for entertainment and social media lovers, thanks to Facebook’s lineage. You will find playing multiplayer games to be a breeze. You can invite your FB friends to an Oculus Room to create your virtual apartment and get the game started. If you prefer watching movies, chill out with your friends in an Oculus room and binge on Netflix or Hulu.
You will find an 821 CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that is quite impressive. You will find it beneficial when you play high-powered games.
It has a fast switch LCD of 5.5-inch and 2560 x 1440 WQHD, that is an improvement on the resolution display of the Rift. It translates to 1280 x 1440 on the Go that’s better than 1080 x 1200 on the Vive and the Rift. Go is also wireless and has in-built microphones with speakers that were missing in the Rift.
You will miss the six degrees of freedom factor that is such an exciting feature in the Lenovo Mirage Solo.
- FLEXIBLE PLAY AREA - Use VIVE seated, standing or in a space up to 11'5" x 11'5". SteamVR Tracking provides the most ideal experience possible, so play the way that works for you.
- FULLY IMMERSIVE - Realistic movement and actions from precise, 360-degree controller and headset tracking with realistic graphics, directional audio and HD haptic feedback in the virtual world
When we are talking of alternatives for the Rift, the HTC Vive has to be on the list. With a powerful room tracking ability, this headset gives very good immersion. I like the fact that I could use my phone even when VR was on. You can also use the pass-through camera to take a look at the outside world as and when you want.
Vive tracker is an innovative feature that enables you to get your possessions in the game. If you want to get your badminton racket in, you can do that in the virtual plane.
Want to go wireless with the Vive? Get your hands on the TPCast and remove any chances of tripping on the 6-foot tethered cable of the Vive. HTC even lets you go deep into VR with the adjustable headphones by adding on the Deluxe Audio Strap. Get this audio strap with integrated headphones to get amazing clarity of sound. Once you get in, you may get lost in the awesome experience. It is quite appealing to all the gamers with its 400+ VR content library of apps and games.
The Viveport subscription is a real add on that you will not find with any other headset. This subscription comes at an affordable monthly price. You can choose your favorite apps and games from HTC’s curated content library.
- Don't just see the world, experience it. With daydream view, you can teleport from virtually anywhere to Pretty much everywhere.;Handy Storage
- Browse from an ever-growing Collection of apps and games in the daydream app - a home for all of your virtual reality experiences.
Google Daydream is one of the few headsets designed from microfibers. This unique feature makes it comfortable to wear even for extended periods.
If you look around, black and white are the predominant colors for the majority of the headsets. I found the three colors option in Daydream refreshing.
It works with a wide range of phones including Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL from the Google stable.
Its has an affordable pricing that is quite appealing to VR newbies and veterans alike.
You will get 100 degrees of view that elevates your immersive experience to the level of Samsung Gear VR. The avid gamers get spoilt for choice in its ever-growing library of more than 200 apps and games.
Samsung Gear VR
- Be transported to amazing new worlds, in games, video and images / Use the intuitive controller that comes in the box to drop, point, select and Drag with a Wave of your wrist
- Supported Devices: Galaxy Note9 (Additional Adapter needed), Note8, Note FE, Note5 / Galaxy S9, S9+, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ / Galaxy A8(2018), A8+(2018), A8 star
Samsung Gear VR is a model that many VR viewers swear by.
Samsung has made the model more user-friendly by introducing a very responsive controller.
No gamepad can match the swiftness and accuracy of the controller. Voice commands are available, and I quite like this feature when I want to launch apps or do a search.
The updated version of Gear VR is much more interactive and smoother to use.
Once you switch it on, you can enter into a lavish virtual lobby with hardwood floors.
Samsung has partnered with Oculus, that allows all Gear users to get more than 600 game titles.
Below are a few of the game titles that you can check out on Gear VR:
I liked a new feature that allowed to to filter controller-specific apps conveniently.
Sony PlayStation VR
- Bundle includes PlayStation VR headset, PlayStation Camera, 2 MOVE controllers, Demo Disc 2.0, Borderlands 2 VR game voucher and Beat Saber voucher
- The iconic shooter-looter gets in your face! Virtually immerse yourself in the untamed world of Borderlands
Sony has made the PSVR impress with one of the best VR content libraries. Its headset is both stylish and comfortable. They already have many popular applications like:
Its controllers are precise and smooth to use, and once you get used to playing on this, it’s hard to let go. PlayStation VR with its headset is still cheaper than the HTC Vive.
Here, you will get one of the best refresh rates of 120-hertz in VR while the lens resolution disappoints.
Such a high refresh rates gives you clear images without any blur. The Vive and the Rift score here with their high display resolution. I liked its cinematic mode for watching movies in theater mode at 120 Hz. You can even watch it without a headset, courtesy of its social screen.
You can find more information about PlayStationVR on this page.
You may find it difficult to replace the Rift, whether you are a new enthusiast or long term gamer.
After the introduction of the Rift, many affordable headsets released.
With so many choices available, my pick of the lot is Samsung Gear VR.
I like its compatibility factor with Samsung phones and how easy it is to operate.
The best part is getting the Gear also lets me access the entire Oculus VR content library.
Get ready for an enhanced user experience with the voice command feature. It makes it quite appealing for both newbies and long term users.