The 9 Best VR Glasses

Updated January 28, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

9 Best VR Glasses
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 39 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Immerse yourself more fully in movies, video games, and apps with a pair of these VR glasses. Way better than the clunky and laggy headsets of just a few years ago, they deliver stunning visual experiences, and more and more apps and games are becoming available every day. We've included models intended for casual users, as well as those geared towards serious gamers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best vr glass on Amazon.

9. Samsung Gear

The Samsung Gear have both a top and back headband to keep them securely in place no matter how wildly you swing your head around while gaming. Unlike most other models, there is also a social aspect where you can interact with friends in a virtual room.
  • accept almost all galaxy phones
  • motion-sensing controller
  • screen edges are a bit blurry
Brand Samsung
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Pansonite 007

The Pansonite 007 allow you to adjust the pupil and focal distance for the best viewing experience possible. They are compatible with most popular phone brands and have a pair of attached memory protein earmuff headphones, so you don't have to worry about buying your own.
  • soft elastic headband
  • wide 120-degree field of view
  • two heat dissipation slots
Brand Pansonite
Model Pansonite007
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

7. Google Cardboard

The Google Cardboard are an extremely simple option designed for anybody to use. If you just want to give VR a test without a large investment, they are worth considering. However, for deeper immersion, other headsets would be better.
  • for phones from 4 - 6 inches
  • assemble in just a couple of steps
  • partially laminated for durability
Brand Google
Model 87002822-01
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Google Daydream View

The Google Daydream View are made from a soft and breathable fabric that makes them extremely lightweight, so you won't experience any neck pain if you have a marathon gaming or movie watching session. They can even be worn over a pair of glasses.
  • easy-to-follow setup guide
  • fit snugly but comfortably
  • tend to make phones get too hot
Brand Google
Model OEM
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Merge VRG-01P

Designed in a range of striking colors, the Merge VRG-01P are sculpted from marshmallow-soft foam that fits naturally to the contours of almost any face size. Their dual input buttons prevent the need for in-game controllers.
  • housing is very durable
  • suitable for kids 10 and older
  • adjustable lens distance
Model VRG-01P
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Sony PlayStation VR

If you own the company's namesake console, you will absolutely want to try the Sony PlayStation VR. This headset has been designed around gamers and offers true immersion. Hundreds of titles are planned specifically for this one, so you'll never run out of games to play.
  • beautiful 1080p oled screen
  • 3d positional audio
  • smooth 120 fps video
Brand Sony
Model 3001560
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Oculus Rift

In many ways, the Oculus Rift started the current VR craze with their hype and acquisition by Facebook. To call their flagship model "mind blowing" might be an understatement. This version comes with six fun games to get you started.
  • includes two touch controllers
  • precision tracking system
  • require the use of a pc
Brand Oculus
Model 301-00095-01
Weight 11.8 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. ETVR 5.0

The ETVR 5.0 accommodate many of the newest Samsung and Apple phone models, and come in at a bargain price that is hard to pass up. They have a plushly padded and deep nasal bridge that allows for long periods of comfortable use.
  • adjustable focal distance
  • steel heat dissipation plate
  • breathable facial cushion
Brand StarryBay
Model ZA5
Weight 14.4 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is VR that requires the use of a whole room. Motion sensors and wireless controllers pair with the headset to create the most immersive experience yet. This model is the standard by which the future of VR gaming should build on.
  • eye relief adjustment
  • whole body positional tracking
  • steam and viveport app access
Brand HTC
Model 99HALN002-00
Weight 11.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Is Virtual Reality

The term virtual reality refers to the creation of an artificial environment which is presented to the user in a fully immersive manner. The key to believable virtual reality is to block out the sensory input from the real world and recreate as many of these sensory inputs through the virtual world. The more senses which can be introduced artificially, the easier it is for the user to become immersed in the virtual world. For example, a VR system that utilizes eye goggles and earphones, is more effective than one which only makes use of eye goggles. Adding another sensory element such as a wind gust from a fan or a slight misting when the user is experiencing a boat ride in the virtual world makes it even more immersive and believable.

Some newer VR systems make use of special gloves and body suits which can apply pressure or vibrations at precise moments. If your virtual incarnation experiences an impact, you will feel a sudden startling vibration. In addition to helping provide a multi-sensory experience, these gloves and body suits aid in tracking the user's movements and actions so they can be appropriately applied to the virtual world.

The concept of virtual reality is simple, but the execution has proved considerably more difficult. VR systems have been in the works since the early 1980s, but have failed to capture the user in a truly immersive experience, or proved too costly for the home user. The advent of newer technologies has allowed the creation of immersive, cost-effective systems, which are finally emerging into the consumer marketplace.

History Of Virtual Reality

While the use of home virtual reality systems is a relatively recent development, the concept of virtual reality dates all the way back to a 1935 short story named "Pygmalion's Spectacles" by Stanley G. Weinbaum. In it, the author describes a VR system that makes use of goggles and a holographic recording system.

The first immersive, multi-sensory VR system was created in the 1960s by Morton Hellig. It was called the Sensorama and made use of a wraparound screen viewed through a binocular-like device to display a stereoscopic 3-D image. It also had a moving seat and vents to direct short bursts of air at the viewer as they watched films.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, there were a few other notable VR systems that are worth mentioning. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland and Bob Sproull invented the first head-mounted VR system. It was so heavy that it actually had to be suspended from the ceiling and the primitive graphics were simple wire-frame models. In 1978, MIT students developed the Aspen Movie Map. It was a virtual simulation of Aspen, Colorado that allowed the user to walk the streets. The user could choose from a summer or winter scene, which were both based on actual photographs or a polygon mode, which was a basic 3-D model of the city.

In the 1980s, Atari toyed with virtual reality and opened a dedicated lab focused on experimenting with the concept. Unfortunately, it closed just two years later during the video game crash of 1983.

Virtual reality experienced renewed public interest in the 1990s from movies like Johnny Mnemonic, Virtuosity, and the Lawnmower man. This led to a surge in companies working on the development of the technology. Sega, Apple, and Nintendo all jumped on the bandwagon alongside many lesser known names like Electronic Visualization Laboratory and Forte Technologies. All of the devices released were relatively expensive and none had staying power as they all disappeared from the marketplace quickly. In the last few years, new technology has made home VR systems affordable and increasingly realistic with devices like the Oculus Rift and Sony's Project Morpheus.

How Virtual Reality Glasses Work

The two most basic components needed for a VR system to function are a display and some kind of input. In budget virtual reality glasses, the display is often your smartphone, while the higher end models have integrated display screens inside of the head-mounted unit. The inputs can range from head and eye tracking devices to hand controllers.

If using a model with integrated display screens, the video is sent to the device via an HDMI cable. The better systems use two display screens and two feeds. They will also have a lens placed between your eyes and the screen that is designed to slightly angle and reshape the 2D images, recreating the natural variations in how your two eyes see the world.

For virtual reality glasses to be truly effective, they must track your movements in some way. They can utilize eye tracking, head tracking, or motion tracking. The most basic systems will utilize one tracking method, while the more expensive models will track all three.

Head tracking allows VR glasses to display an image that moves as you tilt your head. This plots the pitch, yaw, and roll of your head on the X, Y and Z axes using the six degrees of freedom system.

Motion tracking allows the movements of your body and hands or a controller to be recorded so your virtual incarnation can perform similar actions. Eye tracking makes depth of field more realistic. This brings items that you are looking directly at into pinpoint focus, while peripheral objects will be slightly out of focus, just like real life.

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Last updated on January 28, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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