VRChat. Would I call it a game? A virtual meeting place? Gathering destination of the odd and the funny? I guess it is all of the above. You might have stumbled on VRChat by watching a viral video on Youtube or maybe you have played it in desktop mode. Anyway, it has caught your attention and you want in!
In this article, I am going to give you an overview of three different VR headsets that I think are the best options for playing VRChat. At the end of the article, you will also find a checklist, helping to determine which headset is most suitable for you. Let does dive in!
1) Oculus Quest – Best option if you have no PC
Headset Type: Standalone | Display Type: OLED (PenTile) | Resolution: 1440 × 1600 (per eye) | Refresh Rate: 72Hz | IPD Adjustment: + | Tracking: Inside-out (6 DoF) | Battery Life: 2 – 3 hours | Weight: 20.1 oz (571 g)
+ No PC or console required
+ Move around freely without stumbling into wires
+ Manual IPD adjustment
+ Oculus Link enables the Quest to be also used as a PC-tethered device
+ Hand Tracking will find more use and might be integrated into VRChat in the future
– Less texture and almost no shadows in VRChat
– Can not see custom PC avatars in the game
– You can only enter specific cross-platform VRChat worlds
– Headset wear comfort is not so good
If you do not have a PC, but want to engage in VRChat and other VR games and experiences, then the standalone Oculus Quest is your best (and pretty much only) option.
Although VRChat comes in a slightly “tuned down” version (due to hardware capabilities), it most probably won`t stop you from enjoying all the social interaction, games & fun that the game has to offer.
In the end, it depends on what you are looking from VRChat. If you just want to meet and chat with random people or maybe jump in on a virtual dance party then the Oculus Quest will do its job nicely.
However, part of the magic of VRChat comes from the creativity that people put into the game. With the Quest, you won`t be able to see many of the custom PC avatars that users have created for themselves. Oftentimes they do something crazy and/or funny but the only thing you are able to see is a “default” robot avatar.
The same drawback applies to the worlds you are able to enter in VRChat. Due to hardware limitations of the Quest, many of the PC-enabled worlds are a no-go for you. Oftentimes these worlds offer visual effects and graphics that the Quest just can´t handle. And the worlds you can enter are also tuned down and have less texture and shadows.
However, like I said earlier – if your primary goal with VRChat is to meet new people and have some good old fun, the Quest will be your portal into the slightly weird, yet wonderful world of VRChat.
2) Oculus Rift S – Excellent Choice For Your 1st PC Headset On a Budget
Headset Type: PC-Tethered | Display Type: LCD (RGB) | Resolution: 1280 x 1440 (per eye) | Refresh Rate: 80Hz | IPD Adjustment: – | Tracking: Inside-out (6 DoF) | Weight: 19.8 oz (561 g)
+ Great visuals
+ No external tracking stations
+ Comfortable to wear
+ Affordable price
– Requires a decent PC to run
– No Manual IPD adjustment
If you do own a decent gaming PC (check requirements) and want an excellent but relatively cheap headset to play VRChat and other games, Oculus Rift S is my recommendation for you. The Rift S offers a lot of value for your money and is a great choice to buy as your first headset.
Compared to the Quest, you will be able to access all the different worlds in VRChat and unlock the full range of graphical details and quirks of the avatars that people have put so much effort into creating.
The “Halo” strap also makes the headset significantly more comfortable to wear compared to the Quest. This is actually quite a big advantage because oftentimes the VR(Chat) sessions tend to become lengthy.
An important thing to keep in mind before buying the headset is your IPD (interpupillary distance). Rift S has no manual IPD adjustment and is aimed at people with an IPD between 61.5 and 65.5mm. If you happen to be a person with an above or below average IPD, you are likely better of with the Oculus Quest or Valve Index which have manual IPD adjustment.
All in all, the Rift S in an excellent headset that is unlikely to disappoint you. If you have the PC to run it and want to get your feet wet in the VR world, I say you go for it!
3) Valve Index – VR Enthusiasts` High-End Choice
Headset Type: PC-Tethered | Display Type: LCD (RGB) | Resolution: 1440 × 1600 (per eye) | Refresh Rate: 120Hz (144Hz experimental) | IPD Adjustment: + | Tracking: external base stations (6 DoF) | Weight: 28.6 oz (810 g)
+ Superb visuals
+ Finger tracking in VRChat
+ Comfortable to wear for hours
+ Full body tracking support in VRChat
+ Easy to find & adjust the visual sweet spot
– Only worth buying if you have a high-end PC to take advantage of the headset`s capabilities
Valve Index is the right choice for you if you are a regular enthusiast gamer who just wants the best VR(Chat) experience that money can buy. In addition to excellent visuals & great wear comfort of the headset, the Index has some VRChat-specific advantages too.
The finger-tracking controllers mimic your hand movement and let you interact in a realistic way. No more remembering button combinations for different hand gestures within the game. You just do it like you would in real life.
Additionally, the headset supports the full-body tracking sensors of HTC Vive. So if you want (and have the money to spare), you can put together the most realistic VR package for VRChat that is possible at this moment.
All in all, Valve Index is just an excellent VR headset that feels extremely polished and well thought out. Even though VR tech gets redundant very quickly as new and better products come out, this headset is sure to satisfy your needs for at least a couple of years to come.
Which Headset is Right For You?
Buy the Oculus Quest if …
- You have no PC (and are not planning to get one)
- VRChat for you is primarily a place to meet new people and just to chat and have some fun
- You value general playability over top-notch visuals
- You are on a limited budget
- You are buying your first VR headset and want a good all-around VR experience
Buy the Oculus Rift S if …
- You own a PC that meets at least the minimum system requirements
- Good visuals are important to you in gaming
- You are buying your first VR headset on a limited budget
- The value you get for your money spent is very important to you.
- Your IPD falls in the 61.5 to 65.5mm range.