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Everything you need for your VR setup

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Finally getting a VR set? Here's everything you need

All eyes are turning to virtual reality as Apple launches its debut VR headset this month. With its $3,500 price tag, though, the Apple Vision Pro is probably not going to be most shopper's first choice for a VR headset. Luckily, VR can be enjoyed through an impressive range of headsets, all boasting immersive technology that lets you enjoy games and movies, as well as real-world experiences, like never before. If you're ready to dive into the world of virtual reality, here's everything you need for the ultimate VR setup.

Shop this article: Meta Quest 2, PlayStation VR2 and Kiwi Design VR Cable-Management Pulley System

How to set up VR

Virtual reality is a significant investment, so it's important to pick a headset that works best for you and your space. Some VR headsets must be used with specific gaming consoles or a gaming PC; some are tethered with cables while others are wireless. Some games are even exclusive to certain headsets. Your play style, budget, available space and existing tech will all influence which VR setup is best for you.

VR tracking systems

Most VR headsets operate using a headset and a pair of handheld controllers. VR tracks the movement of your head, hands and sometimes full body using two different systems: inside-out and outside-in.

Outside-in VR systems track you through sensors or cameras placed around the room. These often define a large, room-scale play space in which you can freely move around. Outside-in systems are more accurate and powerful, but they also tend to be more expensive. 

Inside-out VR headsets rely on onboard cameras and sensors to track their position in relation to objects around them. Inside-out headsets are frequently simpler to set up and require minimal, if any, cables. Their all-in-one design is frequently more budget-friendly than room-scale, outside-in VR. Inside-out headsets have broad appeal because they are easy to set up and can be used in any room.

Wired vs. wireless VR

High-quality virtual-reality graphics need powerful computing support, usually from a PC or gaming console. Many of these top-performing headsets rely on cables to transmit images and sound without lag or performance interruptions, but some newer models are capable of delivering a high-end experience wirelessly. If cables sound like a hassle but you don't want to sacrifice performance quality, consider supplementing your setup with ceiling cable tethers that keep you from getting tangled up.

VR experiences

From zombie-fighting games to city tours, VR headsets offer access to ever-growing libraries of incredible VR experiences.

  • VR games run the gamut from casual crafting to intense first-person fighting. Racing games and flight simulators let you experience the driver's seat of F1 cars, science-fiction fighters and more. Rhythm games test your reflexes and make exercise fun. Just make sure that the headset you're considering can support the games you want to try out because some are exclusive to certain systems.
  • Hike, sightsee or fly over famous landmarks and stunning destinations. Explore cities virtually from street level, go mountain climbing or dive in the deepest ocean depths.
  • Educational VR experiences put scientific concepts and famous achievements, such as the Apollo moon landing or the scale of the universe, in perspective. Interact with history, cells, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) technology and more from the comfort of your living room.
  • VR concerts and movies transform your couch into a state-of-the-art entertainment center. Enjoy movies as if you were in an IMAX theater and watch your favorite musicians perform with added digital effects that would be impossible in real life.

Best VR headsets

Meta Quest 3

The Quest 3 features a slim, comfortable headset, ergonomic controls, dual LCD screens and a several optical improvements from the Quest 2. Best of all, this standalone headset doesn't need a PC or console, although you can plug it in to access PC VR games.

HTC Vive XR Elite

For PC VR gaming without all the cables, consider this cutting-edge wireless headset, which comes with four cameras and a depth sensor for full-body motion tracking. It supports both standing and seated play and can adjust the focus to aid players who wear glasses.

PlayStation VR2

If you own a PS5, you already have everything you need to enjoy the high-tech PSVR 2 headset, which installs via a simple USB-C cable. It features 4K OLED panels and 120Hz refresh rate for smooth, immersive graphics that compete with PC-quality headsets for a lower price.

Meta Quest 2

The Quest 2 still holds its own as the best budget VR headset thanks to its standalone, cable-free design and immersive graphics. Access a large library of games and experiences by pairing the Quest 2 with either your PC or your smartphone.

HTC Vive Pro 2

With a 120-degree field-of-view, a 120Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 2,448 by 2,448 per eye, the Vive Pro 2 has some of the highest-quality and most immersive visuals in VR. The ergonomic headset is designed to adjust comfortably to a range of head sizes and over glasses.

Best VR accessories

Kiwi Design VR Cable-Management Pulley System

This set includes six extendable pulleys that attach to the ceiling to hoist your headset's cable out of the way. As you move around, the pulleys lengthen and retract, moving nearly silently for completely immersive play.

Anker Meta Quest 2 Charging Dock

Keep your Meta Quest 2 VR gear organized and ready for play with this charging stand. It can charge both the headset and Touch controllers in 2.5 hours.

Kang Yu Meta Quest 2 Silicone Covers

This set of silicone covers lets you customize the appearance of your Quest 2 and protect it from dust and scratches. It comes in seven colors and patterns. Covers for other Meta headsets, as well as the PSVR 2, are available.

Kiwi Design VR Stand

This near-universal display stand can store almost any VR headset, as well as its controllers. Simply assemble the included components into your preferred configuration.

Meta Quest 2 Carrying Case

Protect your Quest 2 with this sleek, dual-shell, felt-covered carrying case. The headset, controllers and cables all nest neatly inside.

Skywin VR Mat

Avoid getting turned around or running into furniture with this textured floor mat. Embossed lines on its surface help you orient yourself during play while anti-fatigue foam lets you play comfortably for longer.

Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.

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