How to choose VR Headset? Mobile VR or Tethered VR?[2021]

Best VR Headsets for Schools

The best VR headsets for schools, and AR systems, can blow the roof off the physical learning environment to send students anywhere in the world -- or even galaxy -- including inside the human body, under water, to the moon, and so much more.

The point is these systems are able to expand the learning potential of a classroom while immersing students in a way that is not only engaging but memorable too. As such, students can take a class trip to Rome as well as ancient Rome as it once was, for example.

The use of VR and AR can also mean delving into micro biological systems, carrying out dissections or even risky chemical experiments, all done safely and without cost or messy cleanup.

From science and math to history and geography, these headsets make exploration of subject matter more far reaching than ever before. Many of the headsets on the list are part of systems that cater to the class, allowing teachers to control everyone's experience from a central point, for ease of guidance and focus of class attention.

For this guide we're mostly looking at the best VR and AR systems for schools, used in the classroom.

Best VR headsets for schools

1. ClassVR: Best Overall

(Image credit: ClassVR)

ClassVR A purpose built school VR system Specifications Headset: Standalone Location: Classroom-based Gesture controls: Yes Connection: Wireless Today's Best Deals Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Simple-to-use interface + Sturdy headset build + Lots of content + Centrally controlled + Plenty of support Reasons to avoid - Classroom-based only

The ClassVR system, by Avantis, is a purpose-built VR headset and software package designed for schools. As such, these headsets are solidly constructed with a plastic shell and wide headband. Each system comes with a pack of eight plus all the kit necessary to get up and training. Crucially, ClassVR also offers a lot of assistance with setting up the install and managing the system, if that's what the school chooses.

The system offers plenty of educational content that is actually curriculum-aligned. Since it's all run from a centralized management system, it leaves the teacher in total control and also means you don't need more than one main computer to have it up and running.

Since this ensures all the students see the same content at the same time, it can facilitate a group learning experience, just as with a real class trip, for example. The price is reasonable for what you get but when you compare to affordable options that work from home, it's still a commitment.

2. VR Sync: Best for Use with Multiple Headsets

(Image credit: VR Sync)

VR Sync Best for headset compatibility Specifications Headset: Standalone Location: Classroom-based Gesture controls: No Connection: Wireless/wired Today's Best Deals Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Broad headset compatibility + Play to lots of devices at once + Analytics Reasons to avoid - Not education-focused alone - Limited content

VR Sync is a digital platform that can be used to send a VR experience to multiple headsets. Since this is simply the software part of that, it leaves the school free to use varying headsets. This is also a great option for a school that allows students to bring in their own headsets from home.

You can add videos, so you can make your own or use those downloaded from online. You get full 360-degree video with spatial audio for full immersion. It also offers an option to study analytics of how users interact – aimed more at business users, but it has potential for the classroom too.

Sync VR currently works with Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, Pico, Samsung Gear VR, Android, and Vive.

3. Redbox VR: Best for Content

(Image credit: Redbox VR)

Redbox VR Best for content selection Specifications Headset: Standalone Location: Classroom-based Gesture controls: No Connection: Wireless Today's Best Deals Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Works with Google content + Robust headsets + Centralized controls Reasons to avoid - No gesture recognition

The Redbox VR system is similar to the ClassVR setup, only this offering is created to work with Google Expeditions (opens in new tab) specifically. As such, it's an ideal way to take a class on a virtual tour of places all over the world, now and in the past.

The system comes in a box with a selection of headsets and all the kit needed for set up and keeping the system charged for use. An optional 360-degree video recording setup allows users to make their own videos – ideal for a virtual tour of the school, for example.

The system comes with a 10.1-inch tablet that allows the teacher to control the experience with ease while still remaining mobile enough to move around the class.

4. Oculus Meta Quest 2: Best Stand Alone Setup

(Image credit: Oculus)

Meta Quest 2 Best all round stand alone headset Specifications Headset: Standalone Location: Classroom-based Gesture controls: Yes Connection: Wireless Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at (opens in new tab) View at O2 Mobiles (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Totally wireless + Oculus Link tether-enabled + Not PC needed Reasons to avoid - Needs Facebook account

The Meta Quest 2, formerly Oculus, is one of the most powerful standalone headsets out there right now. While it's not specifically built for the classroom, it packs in so much power, so many features, and such a wealth of content that it's a great classroom tool. It's not cheap, and you do need a Facebook account to get up and running, but it's worth all that for the super accurate gesture controls and more.

This is a light model, making it suitable for younger users too. Everything runs quickly and the display is crisp and high-res enough to help even those less comfortable with VR to be at ease using this headset.

5. Google Cardboard: Best Affordable Option

(Image credit: Google)

Google Cardboard Best affordable option Specifications Headset: Smartphone needed Location: Use anywhere Gesture controls: No Connection: Wireless Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Super affordable + Lots of content + Works anywhere Reasons to avoid - Not strong - No head strap on some - Requires own smartphone

Google Cardboard is a very, very affordable option. At its most basic, this is a cardboard box with two lenses, and although there are many unofficial versions with plastic build and head straps for a little more, we're still talking under $25 here.

A smartphone is required in the headset to make the magic happen, but the system is still relatively cheap and can work anywhere. A negative as not all students have powerful enough smartphones, or want to risk breaking one.

Since this is part of the Google VR system, you get lots and lots of content that's always being updated. Google Expedition offers virtual school trips all over the world and, of course, it's all free to use. Beyond that, there are educational apps and the ability to create content for viewing. Add that to Google Classroom and you have yourself a very capable VR platform.

6. Windows Mixed Reality: Best for AR

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows Mixed Reality Best for AR Specifications Headset: Standalone Location: Class-based Gesture controls: Yes Connection: Wired Today's Best Deals Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Augmented reality + Works with Windows 10 devices Reasons to avoid - Limited headsets - Expensive

Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality is an augmented reality (AR) platform that works with Windows 10 devices and a selection of headsets. A fair amount of content is free, created by VictoryVR, but it's nothing compared to the scale of Google. That said, this is curriculum-specific content, so expect it to be useful: From virtual dissections to holographic tours, it's all very immersive.

The big sell here over a lot of VR is that this brings the virtual into the room, allowing students to have their hands recognized to interact with the virtual object as if they were really there. This is Microsoft, so don't expect it to be cheap, but there are a number of partners offering headsets, such as Dell and HP. Microsoft itself offers the Hololens 2.

Of course you can simply use a Windows 10 tablet with no headset for an AR experience too, as a more affordable alternative.

7. Apple AR: Best for Visually Engaging Apps

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple AR Best for visually stunning AR Specifications Headset: Tablet-based Location: Anywhere Gesture controls: No Connection: N/A Today's Best Deals Visit Site (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Impressive app quality + Use anywhere + Curriculum-based content Reasons to avoid - Expensive hardware - No headset

The Apple AR offering is one that's built for use on its tablets and phones, specifically the LiDAR packing iPad Pro. Consequently, this is an expensive option when it comes to hardware. But for that outlay you get some of the most visually attractive and engaging apps designed specifically for education.

Put a virtual civilization on a school desk or explore the stars during the day, all from a single screen. Of course, if students already own Apple devices that can help to extend the experience without cost to the school. Since this is Apple, expect plenty more apps to come and lots of free options too.

8. Vive Cosmos: Best for immersive games

(Image credit: Vive)

Vive Cosmos For truly immersive gaming this is the setup Specifications Headset: PC-based Location: Class-based Gesture controls: Yes Connection: Wired Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Scan (opens in new tab) View at (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Powerful gesture controls + Wide array of content + Super clear graphics + High res 2880 x 1700 LCD Reasons to avoid - PC also needed - Not cheap

The Vive Cosmos is a super powerful VR and AR headset that comes with very sensitive and accurate gesture controllers. All that is backed by a PC connection so high-powered experiences are possible. Plus, there is a lot of modular capability, so you can invest less up front and upgrade parts as and when you need.

The programs include Vive Arts for educational content, from pairings with the likes of the Louvre and Museum of Natural History. This allows students to build a tyrannosaurus rex, bone by bone, for example. A lot of free content is available including a virtual anatomy class, a light refraction experiment, and more.

The best VR headsets of 2022 for art or gaming

Getting the best VR headset should be a top priority if you're looking to enter the next phase of gaming, entertainment or digital art. And we're here to help. Though it's taken a while, affordable, accessible and impressive virtual reality is here, and it's only going to get more popular, so there's never been a better time to jump in.

The best VR headsets used to be PC-driven, tethered models such as the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift. But recently, standalone headsets have been launching all over the place with capabilities and visuals that rival their tethered counterparts. In this guide you'll find our pick of the best options for each kind of headset at a range of prices.

As well as the obvious utility for gaming, VR is becoming a major tool for a range of industries, from filmmaking to architecture and medicine, even those designing VR games and experiences need a good headset. In this guide you'll find the best options for all needs. But if you're purely games focused, you'll want to make sure you've got the best games consoles out there. If you're just entering the world of VR, you may like our rundown of the best VR apps in 2022. And now, here are some of the very best VR headsets around.

The best VR headsets you can buy

(Image credit: Oculus)

01. Oculus Quest 2 The best all-in-one VR headset. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at (opens in new tab) View at O2 Mobiles (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Untethered immersive experience + Comfy fit + Easy to use + Huge app library to use Reasons to avoid - You need Facebook account

This is our pick for the best all-round VR headset for a couple of reasons. First, there's the experience of using it. An update on the already good first iteration, the Oculus 2 brings a sharper display, and with more RAM a more responsive user experience. It's also lighter, so you're getting a better visual experience for gaming, backed up with more comfort.

Then there's the price. Have a scroll down to the other options and now look at the entry price of the Oculus 2. For what you get, the price point is fantastic! There are two options, you can go for the 64GB storage model for around the $299/£299 mark, or if you want the bigger 256GB version, that'll set you back around $100/£100 more. Seeing as it dropped at the tail end of 2020, the Oculus 2 has a long life ahead of it before being superseded, and at that price, it's a great investment.

(Image credit: Oculus)

02. Oculus Rift S The best VR headset for PC. Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Requires fewer ports than the Rift + Excellent tracking and accuracy + Huge assortment of apps Reasons to avoid - New audio system is intrusive - Slower refresh rate - No updated screens

Facebook's Oculus Rift S VR headset came out in April 2020, and is a refresh of the original Oculus Rift headset. This updated model displays some definite changes for the better, with the excellent Insight tracking system being a particular highlight. It's also much less PC resource-hogging in terms of its port usage. The materials used to build the headset are also well thought-out, feel robust enough to last and are pleasant to touch.

While the general experience is better, the critical element of any head-mounted display, the screens themselves, seems to have taken a back seat. While not actually any worse than their predecessor, they don’t appear to have made the expected leaps and bounds they could have (like the Oculus Rift 2). However, if you're looking for a good deal, it's still a great, affordable VR headset.

Check out our full Oculus Rift S review here.

(Image credit: Valve)

03. Valve Index A powerful high-end VR headset. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Great high-res display + 'Knuckle' controllers + Wide field of view Reasons to avoid - Tethered to a PC

Even more than two years after its release, the Valve Index remains one of the best VR headsets that money can buy. You'll need to be tethered to your PC to use this one, but don't worry about power, the Valve Index has a good track record when it comes to older GPUs. The field of view and refresh rate even rival some of the more expensive hardware on the market.

Games look phenomenal on the high-resolution display and the Index's 'knuckle' controllers provide an excellent level of interactivity. In fact, those that haven't grown accustomed to the usual VR controllers may find these a more natural fit.

The catch? Well, such power doesn't come cheap. However, this is an excellent VR kit for those using it at home and looking for high-end hardware.

(Image credit: Sony)

04. Playstation VR The best VR headset for consoles. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Cheaper than most + Ideal for gamers + Easy setup Reasons to avoid - Big focus on gaming - A little light bleeding

Another affordable option, specifically aimed at console gamers, is the PlayStation VR. This headset is tethered to a PlayStation 4 console rather than an expensive PC gaming rig. That makes it the obvious launchpad into VR gaming if you already own a PS4 or PS5.

The downside of this is less power – and so potentially less immersion. The PlayStation Camera tracks nine light points on the headset so room-scale VR is technically possible, but as Sony has opted for one sensor instead of two, the tracking is not as good as on the HTC Vive.

Although, at present, PlayStation VR content is more gaming-focused, the headset’s huge sales figures make it a serious proposition for the mass market. So if you have a PlayStation already and aren't completely sold on VR, then going for this model makes a nice affordable option by way of a convincer.

(Image credit: Occulus)

05. Oculus Quest HMD The Quest is a VR solution that has a lot to offer all users. Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Comfortable + Easy set up process + Superior experience to previous models Reasons to avoid - Takes some tweaking to get a good fit

Whether or not you have used the previous incarnation of this gamer-centric headset, the Oculus Go, you will be pleasantly surprised by the Oculus Quest HMD. From the well-thought-out packaging design, through to the materials chosen for various parts of the device, everything feels good to the touch and comfortable. The head straps have been changed to a rubber-type strap system, which while soft and grippy does take a bit of tweaking to get a good fit. This is fine for most but if you share with friends and family there will be some inevitable adjustment needed.

Setup is a breeze. A nice touch is that you get to see your room through the headset each time you turn it on, to confirm the safe space but also to help you feel centred in VR. Overall the Oculus Quest HMD is an excellent update on the Oculus Go and the incremental hardware changes are more than the sum of their parts.

(Image credit: Oculus)

06. Oculus Go An affordable standalone VR headset. Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Quality screen + Comfortable + Won't overheat Reasons to avoid - Requires smartphone app to set up

The Oculus Go headset is much more affordable than most other standalone options. The screen is also good quality, it’s roomy and comfortable to wear, and it doesn’t overheat in the same way a phone-powered headset does, which is a definite advantage. Battery life is good too. The hand controller makes it easy to point and click to operate once the headset is set up – and all of these things mean it’s great for consumer use at home.

However, for something sold as standalone, it’s disappointing that you have to download the Oculus app to your own smartphone to set up the headset. This doesn’t help the user experience – and neither does the fact that the headset is so completely tied to the hand controller.

It’s easy to develop for, but there are a few clumsy aspects; for example, any apps that are side-loaded directly onto the device are hidden away in the very un-user-friendly ‘Unknown Sources’ section of the device library. It’s also surprising, given the similar design to the Rift, that the Go doesn’t have 6DOF capabilities. Still, it's undeniably good quality for such an affordable headset.

(Image credit: HTC)

07. HTC VIVE One of the very best VR headsets around. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Awesome VR experience + Easy to operate + Enticing software partnerships Reasons to avoid - Requires high powered PC set-up

The HTC VIVE (opens in new tab) needs to be tethered to a powerful desktop GPU – but the result is the ability to create immersive, active VR. One huge benefit is the ability to move around space (a minimum of 2x1.5m is recommended by HTC). It works by using two sensors positioned in the corner of the room that track the whereabouts of the headset by sweeping with lasers.

The VIVE comes with two handheld controllers, meaning greater capability for menus, navigation and gesture recognition. The headset also sports a front-facing camera, giving designers the ability to build the real world into games or experiences. And if you feel like you'll need something even more powerful, try the duel OLED running HTC Vive Pro (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: HTC)

08. HTC VIVE Focus A great wealth of content, but this headset won't suit everyone. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Great content + Good speakers Reasons to avoid - Some focus problems - Uncomfortable for some

The HTC VIVE Focus (opens in new tab) is the standalone version of the HTC VIVE. It's striking, but tends to divide opinion in terms of looks – some like it, some think it looks like some kind of alien. It’s also not universally comfortable and we had some difficulties getting the screen to focus. But like all VR headsets, this will come down to personal comfort/preference.

Once it’s on, the headset is well balanced and it’s quick and easy to access great content – the undeniable advantage of its VR brand heritage. The in-built speakers are very good, and the controllers are simple to use. That said, we struggled to find a way to use the headset without the controller, which is irritating. Like all things VIVE, the visual quality is excellent and the tracking accurate. It’s got a load of exciting content that’s immediately available and will please its fanbase. It’s pricier than the Go, but we can see it having a strong future as a gaming console.

(Image credit: Oculus)

09. Oculus Rift The original 'best' VR headset for price and experience. Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Comfortable to wear + Strong selection of content + Widely available Reasons to avoid - Seems to cause nausea in some

Much like the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift requires a wired connection to a high-spec (and often very expensive) gaming PC, running Windows 7 or higher, but the payoff is the ability to create processing-heavy interactive experiences and games.

When it first launched, the Rift couldn’t do room-scale VR (so users had to sit, or stand still). But updates have since brought in an additional low-latency constellation tracking system, meaning users can now walk around with the headset on.

The same applies to the newly launched Touch controllers, which need to be purchased separately to add greater interactivity. The Rift’s integrated VR audio system is excellent and is widely considered to be better than its main competitor, the HTC Vive.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

10. Microsoft HoloLens 2 An excellent headset for businesses and developers. Today's Best Deals Check Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + Empty List Reasons to avoid - Empty List

The successor to Microsoft's powerful HoloLens headset, the Microsoft HoloLens 2 opens up a world of mixed-reality possibilities for creators. It improves upon its predecessor in just about every way. For starters, a new carbon fibre build means it's lighter, easy to adjust and more comfortable, whilst remaining a robust piece of kit. The field of view is a vast improvement on the original and there's a host of functionality improvements, including a smart new interface that makes the HoloLens 2 easy to use.

This is a particularly expensive headset and those in the UK may find it difficult to get hold of, but businesses and developers in the US are sure to find the HoloLens 2 a powerful new tool.

(Image credit: Samsung)

11. Samsung Gear VR A great cheap VR headset to team up with your Samsung mobile devices. Today's Best Deals View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) View at Amazon (opens in new tab) Reasons to buy + VR on a budget + Ideal companion to Samsung Galaxy + Light, comfortable fit Reasons to avoid - Lacks capabilities of competitors - Still a bit chunky

Powered by Samsung Galaxy smartphones, Samsung Gear VR (opens in new tab) effectively splits the phone screen in two to create 3D visuals, to offer affordable, wire-free virtual reality. Lacking the power of a high-spec PC, Gear VR is a natural home for 360-video (passive content) or semi-active experiences that require moving the head to hotspots, rather than hugely interactive projects.

Originally launched in 2013, the Gear VR is the go-to VR platform for many. It’s widely understood by the public and a large number of experiences already exist for it. This has been boosted by a partnership with Facebook, bringing the Oculus VR store to the platform.

And an upgraded headset has improved the size of the lenses to widen the field of view, making the Gear VR’s experiences feel more immersive than the original launch model. Not bad at all for the price.

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How to choose VR Headset? Mobile VR or Tethered VR?[2021]

How to choose VR Headset? Mobile VR or Tethered VR?

Benjamin Arango Aug 30, 2022• Proven solutions

Mobile VR Headset and Tethered VR headsets are the two main kinds of this technology, they both are useful and innovative in some ways. The former runs on the mobile devices while the later runs with the computers and other gaming devices. There are so many different kinds of products for both these kinds to choose from.

Difference Between Mobile and Tethered VR Headsets

If we talk about Tethered headsets, we see that they have combined displays, and they usually connect to personal computers or also to game systems using a cable. Whereas on the other hand, mobile headsets typically use smartphones for the display as well as processing; and in the absence of a smartphone, they're nothing but just shells having lenses.

Tethered headsets designed to be large, they are expensive, and as well as they are also resource-intensive. They also claim more innovative motion-sensing and head-tracking abilities in opposite to mobile headsets. Other than that, not just the larger headsets consist of extensively devoted motion sensors, they also often work in combination with outside cameras to more exactly track the user's head. Adding to that, they're also designed to work with bodily controls, starting from keyboards and gamepads to more exclusive possibilities.

Now if we talk about the mobile headsets, they are small in size and cheap in price as compared to PC VR Headset. The reason is the most of the work is actually done by the smartphone, so the maximum price of mobile headset could be $100. Most of the mobile headsets are grounded on the Google Cardboard prototype, and with the exclusion of a magnetic switch, they do not have any motorized or electric components in the design; they are only screens with the lenses that divide user's smartphone's screen absolutely into two when he holds it to his face.

When to Choose Mobile Headset or a VR Headset? Purchasing Suggestions

It is a very common question nowadays that what VR kind should be preferred to buy, tethered or mobile. Well, according to their use and qualities both of them are best in some senses and both of them has flaws in some other senses. It all depends on what needs do the user has. Now there are 2 options if you want a headset to try out this new technology and you want this gadget to be always with you wherever you go, you need to buy a mobile VR headset. But in the other case, if you want to completely enjoy this technology with powerful displays and want to have the best experience then there is no doubt you need to buy a tethered VR headset. It also depends on how much money do you have, because the tethered VR headset is very expensive because of its extra functionalities and ruthless display, whereas mobile VR headset are not so much good at display but they are cheap and an average person can easily afford them.

Some of the best of both the worlds

LG's new 360 VR, though, is present someplace in the mid of the best of the mobile headsets. It has its particular lenses and also the display but it is also tethered to the LG G5 mobile with the help of a USB cable. You can regulate things also with buttons present on the HMD or as well as by pushing and long-pressing the display of the smartphone. Audio voice can also come from the headphone jack present on the HMD or through the phone's earphone port. It is still restricted by the smartphone's dispensation power but by the presence of its personal lenses, it's considerably well adapted to virtual reality as compared to Google Cardboard.

One of the other huge results of a tethered smartphone connection is of the 360 VR is very lighter in weight and debatably more contented than rather like the Gear VR, and it permits for adjustment of the optics. Though it may look awkward, it's actually not considerably different than the 1st Sony Walkman, which also listed a trivial head gadget which is driven by a tethered device.

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