- Our choice for the #1 Best Overall Oculus Quest 2 alternative is the HTC Vive XR Elite.
- The Quest 2 is a popular choice because it offers many users their first interaction with high-quality VR and does so at an affordable price.
- VR headsets let users experience different types of entertainment in an immersive way. But VR is also used for educational and training purposes.
- When picking out a VR headset, you should keep in mind whether or not you have a powerful enough PC or if you need a standalone device. Additionally, you should decide on a budget before you start shopping.
The Oculus Quest 2 has been the king of VR for several years, with little competition. But as the headset ages and new models enter the market, competition grows. We’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to the Quest 2, including other standalone headsets and some for PC and consoles.
The most significant improvement you will find is in the display technology, with companies like HP going to 4K displays with AMOLED technology. Different types of games require other systems and hardware. But more importantly, new headsets are right around the corner, so you may want to hold off a bit longer.
Take a look at the best Oculus Quest 2 alternatives below:
- Best Overall: HTC Vive XR Elite
- Best Oculus Brand Headset: Meta Quest Pro
- Best Display: HP Reverb G2
- Best for Steam Users: Valve Index Full VR Kit
- Best for International Buyers: PICO 4 VR Headset
- Best for PS5 Gaming: Sony PlayStation VR
- Best for Console Gamers: Sony PlayStation VR 2
Best Overall: HTC Vive XR Elite
- Adjustable IPD and diopter dials
- High-resolution XR passthrough
- 3840 x 1920 combined resolution
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Up to 110° field of view
The HTC Vive XR Elite headset is the closest competitor to the Quest 2 because it is an all-in-one headset. The headset is somewhat of a successor to the Vive Flow, which had much more limited usability. Right off the bat, the XR Elite looks pretty impressive, with a much sleeker design than the Quest 2. That is achieved by adding a module on the back of the head strap.
Moving the battery to the back of the headset makes it less bulky and takes the weight off the front to help balance it. Surprisingly, the XR Elite is about 100 grams heavier than the Quest 2. However, the rear battery pack is removable, and when disconnected, the headset weighs about 300 grams. There is some debate about the comfort level of the XR Elite, but it is at least better than the Quest 2.
Like the Quest 2, the XR Elite relies on a Qualcomm processor to run content, but it can also be plugged into a computer for PC VR games. The headset also comes with two motion controllers that look pretty standard. The XR Elite’s resolution is 1,920 X 1,920 pixels per eye. While the headset is comparable to the Quest 2, its price is not, with an MSRP of $1,099.
Check out the HTC Vive XR Elite on Amazon.
Best Oculus Brand Headset: Meta Quest Pro
The Meta Quest Pro received lots of attention surrounding its launch and is our selection as the best Oculus brand option. However, buzz about the headset quickly fizzled as it wasn’t designed for general use. Quest Pro suits businesses and professionals using the headset for specific tasks like training. But the Quest Pro shares similarities with other Quest headsets.
One significant improvement is the head, a band that goes around the entire head without the overhead piece. The display is also advertised as better, with 37% more pixels per inch. But its posted 1,800 X 1,920 pixels per eye is slightly lower than the Quest 2. However, the display technology is better.
The Quest Pro adds eye tracking, growing in popularity among other VR developers. But more importantly, the Quest Pro adds new AR features with full-color video pass-through. The Quest Pro uses a similar processor and operating system to the Quest 2. The Quest Pro is a great package and much more compact than the Quest 2, plus it adds excellent features. But the $999 price tag is steep.
|Color pass-through camera||Quite expensive|
|Standalone headset||short battery life|
|Supports face tracking|
Check out the Meta Quest Pro on Amazon.
Best Display: HP Reverb G2
- Clear lenses by Valve with interpupillary distance (IPD) adjustment
- Full immersive VR experience with a mura-free
- Four cameras & internal sensors to track movements
- Compatible with Windows Mixed Reality, StreamVR
- Natural and comfortable controller,
- Valve speakers for a powerful audio experience
HP is an enormous force in the computer industry, so, understandably, they would try their luck with VR. The HP Reverb G2 fixes a significant problem that the Quest 2 suffers from: the head strap. The headset is comfortable and less heavy than the Quest 2 or even many of its PC VR competitors.
On paper, the Reverb G2 looks incredible, with some impressive specs like 2,160 X 2,160 per eye resolution and an AMOLED display. That is higher than any other VR headset on this list, and the Reverb G2 comes in at a shockingly low price of $599 and sometimes goes on sale below $400. The Reverb G2 requires a gaming PC with a high-end GPU, like other VR headsets.
However, a significant benefit is that it doesn’t utilize base stations and instead uses cameras like the Quest 2. But the biggest drawback is that it just feels cheap. Most notably, the controllers are similar to those with the Quest 2. However, they feel like the ones that would come with a phone VR headset. If HP improved the build quality, they could significantly increase the price of this otherwise excellent device.
|High-resolution LCD screen||Issues with refresh rate,|
|Fantastic, near-field speakers||wonky Windows Mixed Reality platform|
|Excellent inside-out tracking|
|Easy to set up|
Check out the HP Reverb G2 on Amazon.
Best for Steam Users: Valve Index Full VR Kit
The Valve Index Full VR Kit is another major player in the PC VR market. It is targeted primarily toward gamers and comes from the same company that owns the Steam Store. It shares many similarities to the older HTC Vive headsets since it only works with PC via wired connections. The Index also requires base stations, which is pretty annoying.
Base stations were common for motion tracking in the earlier days of VR when the Oculus Rift dominated the market. But most developers like Oculus started integrating cameras into their headsets for tracking. Because the headset works with computers, it does require a pretty powerful gaming PC with a high-end GPU to run VR titles.
The Valve Index has a resolution of 1,600 X 1,440 per eye. That may seem pretty low compared to other VR headsets today because it is. That is a significant downgrade from the Quest 2 but still a rather substantial jump from the original PSVR. The problem is that the headset with controllers and base stations retails for $999, which is insane, considering how dated it feels.
|Incredibly clear image quality||PC-based headset|
|User-friendly, comfortable headset||Inconvenient wired connection|
Check out the Valve Index Full VR Kit on Amazon.
Best for International Buyers: PICO 4 VR Headset
- Ultralight VR headset (weighs 295 grams)
- 256GB internal memory
- Up to 3 hours of battery life
- Standalone VR glasses, no PC needed.
Despite sharing many similarities, the PICO 4 VR Headset isn’t as trendy as Quest 2. In fact, the PICO 4 is essentially a new and improved version of the Quest 2. It is an all-in-one headset that uses a Qualcomm processor and runs on Android. Even the device looks like a more futuristic version of the Quest 2 and has the same storage capacity.
But what is really shocking is that the PICO 4 only costs 429 and 499 Euros for the 128 GB and 256 GB versions, respectively. That price puts the headset roughly the same price as the Quest 2. It even has a better display at 2,160 X 2,160 pixels per eye. However, PICO 4 gets little notice because it is made by a Chinese company that does not sell the device in the US, although you can import one.
|Light, comfy design||Limited VR library|
|budget-friendly VR headset||Zero hand tracking|
|Easy to set up|
Check out the PICO 4 VR Headset on Amazon.
Best for PS5 Gaming: Sony PlayStation VR
While the new PSVR 2 has got gamers talking, you shouldn’t overlook the original Sony PlayStation VR, especially if you are new to VR gaming. The biggest drawback is its low-resolution display which only delivers 960 X 1,080 pixels per eye. To put that in perspective, the Quest 2’s numbers are double that, which means it has four times the number of pixels per eye.
The upside is that the PSVR is cheap compared to other headsets and works with PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 consoles. Original PSVR headsets with all the necessary accessories sell for under $200 used, and PlayStation 4 consoles aren’t much more than that. At those prices, it is cheaper to get a PlayStation 4 and PSVR than it is to get a Quest 2.
While the PSVR won’t provide the social experiences and as good of quality as a Quest 2, the PlayStation 4 still has an enormous library of games that are still worth playing. Unfortunately, the original PSVR controllers are terrible since Sony reused the old Move controllers. However, the PSVR has an extensive library of games, with many of them costing under $20.
|Impressive PC-quality performance||Not as powerful as Vive or Rift|
|Comfortable to wear||Single-camera tracking option|
|Good selection of games|
Check out the Sony PlayStation VR on Amazon.
Best for Console Gamers: Sony PlayStation VR 2
The newest contender for the Quest 2 is the PSVR 2. Coming out in March 2023, this headset is possibly the best gaming VR headset currently available. However, there are quite a few negatives that turn many potential buyers away. Firstly, it is not an all-in-one device like the Quest 2, so it relies on the PlayStation 5 console.
Additionally, you cannot connect the PSVR 2 to a PC to open the door to more games. Making this problem worse is the fact that the PSVR 2 has relatively few games available. The PSVR 2 just came out, so, understandably, it doesn’t have a massive library of games. Horizon: Call of the Mountain was a day-one purchase for many PSVR 2 buyers, but that is the only big-name title available.
Compounding problems for the PSVR 2 is that it is not backward compatible with original PSVR games. The headset does have a better display than the Quest 2 at 2,000 X 2,040 pixels per eye. The PSVR 2 costs $550, a decent amount more than the Quest 2. But it would be best if you also had a PlayStation 5 console which costs between $400-$500.
|PC-grade quality performance||Wired-only headset|
|Perfectly supplements PS5||Underwhelming first-party titles lineup|
|Easy to set up and use|
How to Pick the Best Quest 2 Alternative: Step by Step
When shopping for the best Quest 2 alternatives, remember these four things.
- Tracking method
- Standalone or tethered
Let’s look at these in detail below.
Start by deciding how much you want to spend on a VR headset. If you have less than $500 to spend, it is pretty easy to narrow down the list. But if your budget is upwards of $1,000, then it gets a little more complicated. Once you have a budget, it is time to start thinking about the most essential features.
A VR headset’s resolution matters and determines how sharp your images will appear in front of you. The best resolution for a headset would be 8K per eye, but that’s not available yet. Anyway, a higher resolution is better. Remember, displays in VR headsets are closer to your eyes than you would hold a smartphone. At lower resolutions, you’re likely to see individual pixels. So, aim for a VR headset with at least 1832×1920 resolution. If you can get a higher resolution, the better.
VR headsets typically have limited tracking, which lets you turn your head and your view simultaneously in the virtual world. To thrust your head forward or back or even get up and walk, your VR headset needs to track real-world movement. VR headsets usually have two types of activity tracking: inside-out and outside-in. Inside-out systems use built-in sensors to track an object’s position in your environment and the direction and speed of your movement. On the other hand, outside-in systems use base stations placed around the room or on a desk. Often, two or three trackers can work in tandem to track and determine your movement in real time.
Standalone or Tethered
Additionally, some buyers need an all-in-one headset like the Quest 2 or Quest Pro instead of one that connects to a computer. If you don’t have a powerful computer, consider buying an all-in-one headset or a PSVR if you have a PlayStation console. PC owners get the best options because they can choose an all-in-one headset or one that requires a computer. But even within PC VR headsets, several headsets have similar features.
What to Know Before Buying an Alternative to VR Headset
If you don’t need a VR headset today, your best bet is to wait until new headsets like the Quest 3 come out. The Quest 2 hardware is undeniably old and starting to show its age. However, purchasing a new headset like the Valve Index probably isn’t the best decision right now. Meta has already announced that they are working on a new Quest headset.
Presumably, this new device will include some of the features from the Quest Pro and maybe even some new ones. No matter what they have, it will be an improvement over the Quest 2. Apple’s VR headset is also in the works, and an announcement is expected soon. While the Apple VR headset will undoubtedly be expensive, it is another example of how quickly VR technology is improving.
With all that said, if you need a VR headset today, the best experience will likely be the PSVR 2, especially if you have a PlayStation 5. Otherwise, the Oculus Quest 2 is probably the best choice. There are other PC VR headsets like the Reverb G2, but they don’t provide the seamless user experience of the Quest 2.
Using a VR Headset: What it’s Like
VR headsets offer a unique experience by simulating a virtual world around the wearer. For this to work correctly, headsets need to have a number of sensors and controls that must all work flawlessly with the display to create a sense of realism. When everything works properly, there is nothing quite like the feeling of a VR headset.
However, the experience rarely pans out this well because of problematic hardware. For example, it is hard to be immersed when tethered to a computer. Similarly, VR headsets quickly become uncomfortable because of their weight and poor head straps. But a real distraction from an otherwise seamless experience is the controllers.
VR controllers are oddly shaped to help with sensing and easy tracking by the headset. Additionally, many people buy a VR headset because they think VR is incredible but rarely use it. Modern VR headsets like the Quest 2, HTC Vive, and PSVR all offer great experiences; make sure you intend to use them regularly before purchasing.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Boumen Japet/Shutterstock.com.