Oculus Meta Quest 2
from R9,000 | 180by2.co.za
Virtual reality headsets have one serious flaw. They frequently involve a massive cash outlay. Yes, you can spend R400 on a ‘VR headset’, but you get what you pay for at that price. Meta’s Meta Quest 2 (formerly the Oculus Quest 2) sits at an important intersection. It’s right where price and power cross. The Quest 2 offers substantial usability for not that much money. Relatively speaking, of course. It’s fully wireless, the headset itself handles most of the work, and there are some seriously entertaining experiences available.
The Quest 2 isn’t perfect, though. For the full experience, and all the add-ons you really should possess, you can expect to double your spend. That sticks a small fork in the ‘affordability’ side of things. But it’s not a toy, even if it’s not a massively serious bit of hardware. It’s the first sign that virtual reality has a serious shot at going mainstream. That’s quite the compliment. And also one heck of a large responsibility.
2 – Valve Index
from R36,000 | 180by2.co.za
We’re standing in the realm of ‘real’ virtual reality with the Valve Index. Yes, it’s expensive, but once you lay your hands on it you’ll know why. You might well ask why it’s not on top, if it’s such excellent hardware. That’s perhaps an obvious answer: R36,000 is a high price to pay to jump into virtual reality, no matter the quality involved. And it’s not the only price you’re paying, either. The Valve Index is designed to work alongside a substantial computer, which you’ve also got to pay for. Yes, as pure hardware the Valve Index wipes the floor with Meta’s wireless version. But the barrier to entry is just too high to make it a mainstream contender.
3 – Oculus Rift S
R14,800 | zeekonline.co.za
It’s considerably harder to recommend this Oculus headset than it used to be. It’s more expensive than it should be, it’s not quite as capable as Valve or HTC’s headsets, but there’s one thing in its favour. The price is decent, if you can find it on sale anywhere. Yeah, the Rift S is becoming harder to locate than ever. Still, if you’re looking to connect a VR headset to a computer but don’t have in excess of R22,000 to spend on the headset alone, this one will plonk you into a virtual world on a budget. Sort of.
4 – HTC Vive Pro
from R21,840 | techinn.com
This is the headset gamers think of when they think of virtual reality. Unless they have tons of money, and a penchant for purchasing their gaming hardware overseas, in which case they’re thinking of its successor, the HTC Vive Pro 2. Another PC-based VR headset, the Vive Pro features high-resolution 90Hz displays and an excellent, though dated, design. It’s a solid alternative to the Valve Index, mostly because of the price difference. You’ll need a monster gaming PC to use this, but if you’ve just saved R15,000, you might be able to buy the GPU you need. Maybe.
5 – HTC Vive Focus 3
R29,000 | takealot.com
HTC’s Vive Focus 3 is a great bit of VR kit. It really is. But it’s got a couple of flaws that keep it from being an immediate buy, in our minds. For starters, it’s not designed with entertainment in mind. It doesn’t use the same storefronts as other VR gear, and it doesn’t play games either. Or, rather, it shouldn’t. It’s supposed to be used with something called Vive Business Streaming, which sounds insufferably boring. It’s intended for the workplace, so designers and developers will get the most use out of the Focus 3. And it still needs a fairly high-end PC to function, meaning that this price point is a bit of a kick in the nards. When the Valve Index is right there, why opt for the Focus 3 unless you’re really keen on VR board meetings?