The Best VR Consoles

The Best VR Consoles

Virtual Reality can take you just about anywhere, anytime. Whether you want to immerse yourself fully in your favourite game or explore outer space, there seems to be no limit to what this exciting technology is capable of.

Now, tech giants like PlayStation, Oculus and HTC are bringing VR into our homes. With a range of consoles and advanced headsets available right now, anyone can enjoy virtual reality from their living room. Not sure which VR console to go for? We're here to help - let's compare.

PlayStation VR

One of the most affordable options for high-quality VR, PlayStation first launched PlayStation VR in 2016. Great news for existing PlayStation fans, you simply need a PS4 and a PlayStation Camera to start exploring, rather than a powerful gaming PC that many other advanced VR systems require.

The PlayStation VR headset has a premium look and feel, created for both comfort and style. You'll find a 5.7-inch OLED screen inside and 360-degree vision - whichever way you turn, true-to-life, vibrant imagery will surround you. Capable of displaying 120 frames per second too, smooth visuals ensure you're fully immersed in a whole new world from the second you put the headset on.

As for audio, expect nothing but the best from PlayStation. Estimate direction and distance thanks to 3D audio, and predict whether sounds are coming from above, below or behind you - ideal if you're trying to stay out of sight in an action-packed game. There's a built-in microphone too, so you can discuss in-game tactics or chat with friends.

For full control, you can use your PlayStation Move Motion controller, a DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller or pick up a specialised PS VR aim controller - the latter is great if you love games that demand precision, like Farpoint or Bravo Team.

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive has a slick, all-black design with adjustable straps and interchangeable inserts for the best fit. It's cushioned for comfort, and easy to take on and off.

Visuals are fantastic, with a dual AMOLED screen and 110-degree field of view. What's more, the integrated microphone means there are no restrictions from pesky headphone wires, with directional audio helping you to escape the real world.

The Vive's two controllers use HD haptic feedback to add another dimension to your virtual reality experience, with a handy trigger underneath for those who love action games.

Safety comes first with HTC too. Thanks to SteamVR Tracking and the Chaperone system, you'll never have to worry about crashing into something back in the real world. Playing at your desk or using up a full room, the HTC Vive will adjust accordingly while the built-in Chaperone system will warn you if you're about to go past set boundaries. There's even a front-facing camera located inside the headset, so you can leap out of your virtual world if you need to take a break.

Once you download Vive software, you can explore a huge selection of apps and games with either Viveport or SteamVR. Viveport is HTC's official app store, while SteamVR can be used with a handful of VR consoles. Whichever you use, you'll have hundreds of options to choose from.

Oculus Rift

While Oculus Rift started as a Kickstarter campaign, it's now known as one of the most high-spec VR consoles on the market. Currently owned by Facebook Inc, you'll need an Oculus-ready PC to use this headset. Specifications can be found on the Oculus website, but a handful of compatible PCs and laptops include the Acer Aspire GX, OMEN by HP and Dell's Alienware 15 gaming laptop.

Once you have the right gaming PC however, you're all ready to go. Engineered to be lightweight and adaptable, Oculus Rift is something special.

Discover transcendent sound with 360-degree spatial audio, marvel at the OLED display, completely forget where you are thanks to the 110-degree field of view, and get ready for an effortlessly smooth experience in full HD. Two wireless Touch controllers are also provided, helping your virtual hands to feel like your own.

With Oculus Rift, the possibilities are endless. The Oculus Store has hundreds of games and experiences available. The creative Tilt Brush by Google is a popular choice, allowing you to paint the room in 3D, while the cult game Fruit Ninja has been redesigned for a VR world. Whatever mood you're in, you'll find something that'll keep you entertained for hours. Oculus often offers discounts on a handful of games too - ideal if you're after a bargain.

Oculus Go

Brand-new for May 2018, Oculus has also released the more budget-friendly Oculus Go. A standalone VR headset - no gaming console or PC will be required.

Designed for comfort, injection foam helps Oculus Go mould to your face for a virtually undetectable feel. Play for hours at a time, with the soft, adjustable straps keeping the headset firmly in place.

Just like the Oculus Rift, the very best tech has been added to the Oculus Go*. Spatial audio means you can go headphone-free if you wish (although there is an audio jack if you prefer to plug in), and the innovative lenses offer absolute clarity. The 5.5-inch LCD screen means escaping into new worlds is easy, and visuals are bright, crisp and convincing.

Oculus Go is available in two sizes - 32GB and 64GB - and comes with a wireless controller too. On the controller you'll find a responsive touch surface, a trigger and easy-to-use back and home buttons.

Just like Oculus Rift, you'll also have access to the Oculus Store.

Are you a beginner with VR? Or looking for something slightly less premium? Why not check out our blog on Mobile VR, where you can use your smartphone's screen inside a specialised headset.

Don't forget, if you love getting your hands on the latest tech for less, check for the best smartphone deals.