Buyers Guide: The Best PC VR Headsets in 2023

Buyers Guide: The Best PC VR Headsets in 2023

By jakob
Published: 26-01-2023
Updated: 15-03-2023

Despite all-in-one VR headsets leading the market in sales, tethered PC VR headsets are pushing the technology forward. By moving the processing from a small head-mounted display to a powerful PC or gaming console, and using base stations for flawless outside-in tracking, breathtaking visuals and unforgettable VR experiences can be achieved.

But the question remains, which PC VR headset is the best to buy in 2023? So we thought to highlight the best of them into categories you can jump to.

So let’s get to it.

Valve Index: The overall best PC VR headset

Direct SteamVR accessThe headset was launched in 2019
Quality tracking base stationsNeeds Base Stations
Good-sounding over-the-ear speakersFresnel lenses
Immersive field of view
Good weight distribution and comfort
Great controllers with finger tracking
Possibility for 144Hz refresh rate

Valve Index achieves a premium VR gaming experience from state-of-the-art specs, an immersive 130 degrees field of view, and an ultrasmooth 120-144Hz refresh rate. The latter is ideal for shooters and fast-paced action.

The Valve Index is chock full of impressive hardware, making its price tag lofty. So while it is the best overall PC VR headset, it is a premium one.

However, alleviating the cost is the Index’s direct pairing with the best VR games platform: SteamVR.

Further, while the Valve Index is on the heavier end, the VR headset’s quality materials, exceptional weight balance, and strap design make the headset comfortable even after long VR gaming sessions.

Lastly, in 2023, many SteamVR games have taken advantage of the Index controllers’ unique finger tracking. This means you can signal a thumbs-up in Pavlov or interact more immersively with the world in Half-Life: Alyx. Honestly, the only reason to hold off on the Valve Index is if you are patient enough for the Valve Index 2.

DisplayDual LCD
Resolution1440 x 1600 pixels per eye
LensDouble-canted fresnel
Field of View110 degrees
Refresh rate120-144Hz
Price for kit€1.079

HTC Vive Pro 2: The close runner-up

5K displayMore expensive than Valve Index
High pixels per degree per eyeHeavy
Widest IPD range
Ultrawide FoV

The close runner-up to be the best PC VR headset is the HTC Vive Pro 2. This HMD features similar specs as the Valve Index, such as a crisp display experience and action-appropriate 120Hz refresh rate in a captivating 120 degrees FoV.

The reason why the Valve Index inched ahead of the HTC Vive Pro 2 is because of its 300 euros higher price tag.

When that is said, HTC Vive Pro 2’s visual performance is twice the quality of the Valve Index, making VR games feel more immersive on the HTC Vive Pro 2.

Lastly, the Vive Pro 2 also means you get access to the Viveport ecosystem and the lucrative content subscription: Viveport Infinity. A neat monthly membership that gives you access to VR games, entertainment, and other content.

So if you have the extra cash, we recommend HTC Vive Pro 2.

DisplayDual LCD
Resolution2448 x 2448 pixels per eye
LensDouble-canted fresnel
Field of View120 degrees
Refresh rate120Hz
Price for kit€1.395

Varjo Aero: The most premium PC VR headset

An ultra-high resolutionExpensive
Reliable eye trackingNarrower FoV than Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2
No need for Varjo SubscriptionRequires powerful gaming PC
SteamVR access
Can be used with a gaming laptop

Speaking of money, if it is absolutely no issue and you want the best PC VR headset prosumers can buy, Varjo Aero is for you. Varjo is the virtuoso in virtual reality hardware, and their VR headsets show it. Hands down, Varjo Aero has the best visual immersion with 25 PPD per eye, reliable 200Hz eye tracking for dynamic foveated rendering, and dual MiniLED LCDs.

With such an impressive spec sheet, a steep cost follows with €1.990. However, with the Aero, you don’t require the Varjo monthly subscription. So despite the narrower field of view compared to Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2, its eyesight-level resolution more than makes up for it.

DisplayDual MiniLED LCD
Resolution2880 x 2720  pixels per eye
Field of View115 degrees
Refresh rate90Hz
Price for kit€1.990

PlayStation VR2 (PSVR2): Best console VR headset

Optimized for the PlayStation 5Locked into the PlayStation ecosystem
Dynamic haptics in the headsetNo mods
Excellent Sense controllersFresnel lenses
Eye tracking for dynamic foveated renderingLess FoV than Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 2
PlayStation-exclusive VR games
Inside out tracking
Dual OLED displays with HDR

PlayStation VR2 or PSVR2 was extremely close to being crowned ‘the best tethered VR headset’. While it is still unreleased, PSVR2 is set to deliver a quality VR gaming experience while removing the worry about specs and an expensive gaming PC. All you need is a PlayStation 5. PS VR2 comes out on 22 February 2023.

In most cases, when asked what VR gaming headset to recommend, I ask if they own a PlayStation 5.

The reasons are simple, Sony Entertainment Studios’ dedication to VR gaming means access to exclusive VR games you won’t see on PC VR platforms like Viveport, Oculus Home, or SteamVR.

Secondly, the built-in Tobii eye tracking means dynamic foveated rendering will push the technology to popularity, making more VR games adopt it.

And finally, Sony’s experience and patents in dynamic haptics will be transferred to the Playstation VR2 Sense Controllers and the headset itself. Having tried it, it is mindblowing, as you can feel different textures in your hands or a strong breeze over your head. It is truly something to behold.

DisplayDual OLED with HDR
Resolution2000 x 2040  pixels per eye
Field of View110 degrees diagonal
Refresh rate90-120Hz

PlayStation VR (PSVR)

Optimized for the PlayStation 4Dated hardware
Better clarity from Aspherical lensesLimited visual experience
OLED display engineRequires PlayStation Camera base station
120Hz refresh rateMediocre controller
Great comfortDiscontinued

If you are eager or don’t own a PlayStation 5, then PlayStation VR (PSVR) is a commendable alternative in console VR gaming. That’s if you can find one from a reseller.

PlayStation VR set the bar for console VR and became one of the VR headsets to propel the novel technology into the homes of everyday people. Even today, the console VR headset is a commendable entry into VR gaming due to the many VR games optimized for the headset’s hardware.

Speaking of hardware, while most of its specs are dated, PlayStation VR was forward-thinking in using the aspherical lens rather than fresnel optics, producing a clearer visual experience with fewer artifacts like the screen door effect. Further, the 120Hz refresh rate is a big plus in providing a better immersive experience in VR shooters.

DisplaySingle OLED
Resolution960 x 1080  pixels per eye
Field of View96 degrees
Refresh rate120Hz
PriceDiscontinued, find a reseller

HP Reverb G2 V2: The best hybrid VR headset

AffordableFresnel lenses
A great resolution for the priceNot OLED or MicroLED displays
Windows Mixed Reality and SteamVR accessMediocre FoV
Low weight
No base stations needed
6DoF tracking

The best PC VR headset that doesn’t require base stations for tracking is the HP Reverb G2 V2 due to its value and availability. Namely, the 2160 x 2160 pixels per eye is an outstanding deal for only €577, including controllers.

HP took the feedback received from its predecessor to heart and crafted a compelling PC VR headset ideal for newcomers to PC VR gaming. Noticeably, Reverb G2’s double-canted fresnel lenses from Valve produce much better visual clarity for the 4K display to perform in its full glory.

Lastly, the inside-out tracking is upgraded to four optical tracking cameras, which is plenty to deliver a solid 6DoF experience. In short, for its low asking price, the HP Reverb G2 is an excellent entry into PC VR gaming through SteamVR.

DisplayDual LCD
Resolution2160 x 2160  pixels per eye
Field of View114 degrees
Refresh rate90Hz
Price for kit€577

Pimax Vision 8K X: Highest resolution PC VR headset

Fully encompassing 150 to 170 degrees FoV!Requires powerful PC
The highest resolution in consumer VR90Hz refresh rate
No visual artifactsBig, heavy, and clunky
25,6 PPD per eyeExpensive
Unique customized low persistence liquid (CLPL) dual displaysFlimsy build quality
Great IPD range

If you want the best visual experience, bar none, the Pimax Vision 8K X is your PC VR headset. This headset with 3840×2160 pixels per eye is the closest VR experience resembling looking out your window.

But it doesn’t stop there. The 159 degrees FoV means you are fully encompassed by your VR games. Fun fact, the natural FoV for the human eye is 135 degrees, making the Vision 8K X fully encompassing. Yet, with the superior resolution comes the downside of enlivening this many pixels. The refresh rate of 90Hz in VR gaming should be higher, especially related to the high asking price. Interestingly, this could have been alleviated with eye tracking, as dynamic foveated rendering would work wonders for this headset, but that is hindsight and it might not be possible with Pimax’s own customized low-persistence liquid display.

Nevertheless, once you enter the HMD, past the heavy and bulky exterior, the VR gaming experiences are elevated to new heights with the Pimax Vision 8K X.

DisplayDual Customized low persistence liquid(CLPL)
Resolution3840 x2160  pixels per eye
Field of View160 degrees
Refresh rate60-90Hz

Pimax Vision 5K Super

Breakneck 180Hz refresh rate!FoV is low when the high refresh rate is activated
Unique customized low persistence liquid (CLPL) displayExpensive
Fully encompassing 150 to 200 degrees FoV!Fresnel
Great display qualityBig, heavy, and clunky
Customizability with PiTool Software

Pimax is known for its obscene resolution, and Pimax Vision 5K Super certainly fits the bill. But what stands out for this PC VR headset is its breakneck refresh rate of 180Hz, making the response time in action VR games run like butter in up to 200 degrees FoV!

What enables this ultra-high refresh rate is the Pimax-designed display technology: customized low-persistence liquid (CLPL).

Sadly, the Pimax Vision 5K Super PC VR headset falls short when high resolutions are enabled as the field of view plummets. Further, the use of standard fresnel lenses is dated as the industry has moved towards improved pancake optics.

Nevertheless, if your wallet is rich with cash and not willing to invest in the 8K PC VR headset, the Pimax Vision 5K Super is excellent to take your VR gaming up a notch.

DisplayDual Customized low persistence liquid(CLPL)
Resolution2560 x 1440  pixels per eye
Field of View150 degrees
Refresh rate90-180Hz


Less expensive than Valve Index and HTC Vive Pro 290Hz refresh rate
Viveport and SteamVRFoV could be wider
Decent resolution
Dual AMOLED displays with PenTile Diamond subpixel layout
Good weight and comfort

A great and more affordable alternative to the HTC Vive Pro 2 is its predecessor HTC Vive Pro. Yes, it has a lower refresh rate and visual quality, but the dual AMOLED displays make up for it.

DisplayDual AMOLED
Resolution2880 x 1600  pixels per eye
Field of View110 degrees
Refresh rate90Hz
Price for kit€1.125

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Written by jakob

Jakob Pii is the Head Writer for VR Expert and currently lives in the UK. He started his career in VR gaming in 2015 and has stayed in XR since, from exposure therapy in VR to 360-degree video documentaries. He is fascinated by how emerging technologies change how we live, play and work.

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