Feb 6, 2024
Entering 2024, the virtual reality landscape undergoes significant changes. Despite major players like Apple, Sony, and Meta making strides, consumer sales have witnessed a sharp decline. However, tech giants remain optimistic about the widespread adoption of virtual and augmented reality. Here's a roundup of the best VR and AR headsets available:
1. Best VR Headset Overall: Meta Quest 3
The Meta Quest 3 represents the pinnacle of VR/AR technology in 2024. While lacking a killer app, it excels in computing power, graphics, ergonomics, and user experience. The addition of front-facing cameras transforms virtual reality into augmented reality, providing a more immersive experience. Its standalone capabilities are impressive, and the option to connect to a PC further expands its functionality, making it the industry standard.
2. Best Budget VR Headset: Meta Quest 2
Priced at $249, the Meta Quest 2 offers a cost-effective entry into VR. Though its black-and-white pass-through cameras limit augmented reality experiences, it's a solid choice for exploring VR games, virtual workouts, or socializing in VRChat. Easy setup, ample 128GB storage, and a fantastic VR experience make it the go-to entry-level VR headset.
3. Trendiest AR Headset of 2024: Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses
Driven by TikTok-coolness, Ray-Ban's Meta Smart Glasses shine in 2024. While not strictly AR, these glasses allow high-quality video and audio livestreaming to Instagram or Facebook, hands-free photo capture, phone calls, and music playback. Their trendy design adds to their appeal, making them a fashionable choice.
4. Best High-End VR Headset of 2024: Bigscreen Beyond
Addressing comfort concerns, the Bigscreen Beyond custom-fits headsets for users, eliminating heaviness and light leakage. Despite its lightweight design, it boasts a high resolution and refresh rate, providing a cutting-edge VR experience. Priced at $1,000, it offers a premium VR experience, though additional costs may arise for controllers, charging stations, headphones, and a powerful PC.
5. Most Anticipated VR Headsets of 2024: Apple Vision Pro and Sony's New Headset
Anticipation surrounds Apple's Vision Pro and Sony's upcoming mixed reality headset, both targeting professionals rather than gamers. Set to release in 2024, these standalone units promise impressive hardware and innovative possibilities. While Sony has experience with its VR 2 headset, Apple's reputation for creating top-notch, albeit more expensive, technology adds an element of competition to the market. The battle for dominance in the professional VR/AR space is yet to unfold.
Despite the recent decline in consumer sales for VR and AR headsets, the tech industry remains optimistic about the widespread adoption of virtual and augmented reality. The Meta Quest 3 leads the way as the best overall headset, showcasing advancements in technology and versatility. The budget-friendly Meta Quest 2 offers an accessible entry point for users, while Ray-Ban's Meta Smart Glasses appeal to trendiness and convenience. The high-end Bigscreen Beyond addresses comfort concerns for a premium VR experience. Anticipation surrounds the release of Apple's Vision Pro and Sony's upcoming headset, signaling a competitive shift towards professional applications. As we enter 2024, the landscape of virtual and augmented reality continues to evolve, promising exciting innovations and fierce competition in the professional VR/AR space.