Now that virtual reality is finally on its way to mainstream use, you may be wondering how much a VR headset actually costs. These devices used to be very expensive business, but with the increasingly cheaper technology and the rising demand for affordable kits, we are actually seeing the best VR headsets sit at a reasonable price.
Interestingly, though, it’s the cheaper VR headsets that haven’t quite caught up with today’s renewed interest. The Oculus Go and Google Daydream both brought VR to the masses with price tags under $100, but the experience was unrefined and suffered from the teething troubles that come with any new technology venture. Today we’ve learned that for tasty virtual reality (or at least a virtual reality experience you’ll want to spend a significant amount of time in), headset prices start at around $300 / £300.
Sure, you’ll still find budget VR headsets for under $30 / £30, but the real good stuff starts at $299. We’re going through every price point; cheap, mid-range and premium to find out exactly how much a VR headset should cost you, depending on the features and specs you’re looking for.
|Cheap||$15 – $50||Smaller brands, mostly on smartphones|
|mid range||$300 – $600||Oculus Quest 2, HP Reverb G2|
|Premium||$800 – $1,000||HTC Vive Pro 2, valve index|
How much does a cheap VR headset cost?
The cheapest VR headset was the Google Cardboard – a $9.99 box made of (yep) cardboard. The premise here was simple; fold the card around your phone and stick it on your head. Since the demise of Google’s first iteration, we’ve seen a lot of low-cost devices hit the market. For under $50 / £50 you’ll find a headset designed to hold your smartphone and walk away from you, with a comfortable strap, ventilation in the padding and anti-reflective lenses that should help with motion sickness.
These budget devices can cost as little as $15 but don’t offer the full VR experience advertised today. Instead, you’re limited to smaller gyro-based minigames, 360° video apps, and social spaces, as very few of these cheaper models offer controllers or body tracking.
However, if you want to test the feel of this tech before investing in a more expensive headset, it wouldn’t hurt to play around with one of these more novelty-focused gadgets. You’ll be able to tell if it’s a playstyle you can get behind, although it’s worth bearing in mind that you’re likely to experience more visual disturbances (and the motion sickness that can come with it).
How much does a mid-range VR headset cost?
VR headsets for PC don’t really exist in the $100-$300 price range. While console-specific sets like the Nintendo Switch Labo system and PlayStation VR (PSVR 2 will probably be slightly more expensive) will be a lot cheaper, the experience for PC owners is very different. The fact is that while this technology is definitely getting cheaper, there is no way to downsize these components and still offer good value for money. We wouldn’t recommend investing that much money in a headset that will still run off your smartphone – the experience just wouldn’t justify the investment. The cheapest mid-range headset is therefore the Oculus Quest 2†
Priced at $299.99 / £299.99, it’s the most popular headset on the market – and the model we recommend to the vast majority of beginners. The Quest 2 is a standalone device that runs on its own CPU, but can also be connected to a PC or laptop for more demanding titles. The de facto choice for most people. There’s enough power under the hood to deliver a high-quality virtual reality experience, but you don’t splurge on high-end tracking or a more luxurious screen resolution.
A mid-range VR headset can cost up to about $600. The HTC Vive Cosmos Elite and HP Reverb G2 both fall into this category as well, but the former does have a few caveats that blur the line between mid-range and top of the line. We often see this with headsets that cost upwards of $500 – you can pick up the device yourself for this mid-range price, but you’ll spend about $200 on additional tracking stations to make this a truly premium product.
How much does a high-end VR headset cost?
If you’re looking for the best of the best, you can count on around $800 and up. The HTC Vive Pro 2 comes in at $799 and improves your experience over cheaper devices with a larger resolution of 2448×2448 per eye and improvements for motion tracking. At the very top end of the scale, you’ll spend $999 on the full Valve Index kit. The headset itself costs $499.99, but needs are pricey tracking stations and controllers to operate. This is the very best of the range, with the latest display and tracking technology and the ability to play incredibly demanding games.