The best VR headsets you can buy right now—and what you can do with them

When you think about virtual reality, you likely think about video games. Many times, that's what is mostly being talked about when people are discussing VR headsets. But VR goes beyond video games and can bring an added layer of ability to medicine, education, and mental health. And we're here to fill you in on some of the VR applications you might never have considered—and let you know about some of the best VR headsets you can buy right now.

The best VR headsets you can buy right now—and what you can do with them
Varjo VR-2 Pro Human Eye Resolution VR Headset in Black

You can do some pretty awesome things with VR. And you’ve likely never even thought of them. Like how this woman was able to reunite with her deceased daughter in VR. And we know, we’ve heard it before that VR was going to be a big thing, and then it never panned out. But recent buzz surrounding virtual reality, what the VR market size is expected to reach, and how you should get a job in VR or AR has us thinking a lot about it. So we’ve decided to share some of the best VR headsets that you can buy right now, from luxury and business-focused to home and gaming use.

What can I use VR for other than gaming?

We’re glad you asked. There’s a whole host of applications virtual reality can be used for other than gaming, from education to medicine to military. Here are some examples of what we think are some of the coolest applications.

VR in medicine

The health care industry loves VR. There are even institutions using VR tech for diagnosis and treatment. VR simulations can take diagnostic images from CAT scans or ultrasounds and create 3D models with them. Those models can then be used to educate medical students or to help doctors plan out how to perform a difficult surgery ahead of time so they can do it the safest way. Or, they can use the VR 3D model to practice.

VR in health and mental care

Do you know some who have suffered a stroke or an accident that has left them needing rehabilitation? Virtual reality can help with that. There’s an app in Europe called MindMaze that was designed specifically for this purpose. It offers virtual exercises and real-time feedback to assist in rehab exercises.

Mental health is important, and luckily, it’s getting more attention. Meditation can greatly help with mental wellbeing and stress. Now you can use the Guided Meditation VR program to experience your choice of four relaxing environments. And if you or a loved one are suffering from PTSD, a panic disorder, or phobia, VR might be able to help with that too. VR can allow you to confront your fears in a safe space.

VR in the courtroom

Next time you’re on a jury, ask if you can evaluate the crime scene in VR. Of course, they likely won’t have that setup, but it’s definitely an option people are looking at. What if you could see the crime scene in 3D to help you see more clearly just what happened, rather than relying on pictures? Sounds pretty cool, huh.

Show us the VR headsets

Now that you know some of the applications other than gaming (even though you’re probably just going to use your VR headset for gaming), here’s our list.

VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset immerses you

Designed mostly for commercial use, the VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset delivers an impressively real experience. With its 180-degree field of view, this high-res headset completely immerses you. And that’s also due to the fact that it’s an 8K VR headset, which ensures you view everything as crisply as you see in real life. Additionally, this virtual reality device emits audio in all 360 degrees. With potential use in medical, mechanical, and exploration-based fields, the XTAL needs to be detailed. NASA astronauts can train for missions wearing it, and surgeons can practice lifesaving operations.

Varjo VR-2 Pro Human Eye Resolution VR Headset is incredibly realistic

When you step into your alternate world wearing the Varjo VR-2 Pro Human Eye Resolution VR Headset, it will feel incredibly real. Because it has integrated Ultraleap hand-tracking technology, this headset improves your VR interactions. You won’t have to bother with using frustratingly large controllers. Additionally, this VR headset works with most 3D software. That’s not all, though, because the VR-2 Pro headset support StreamVR and OpenVR, so you have access to a large development platform. With an 87-degree field of view and weight of just over a pound, this headset offers a truly immersive VR experience.

HTC Vive Focus Plus Standalone Enterprise VR System works for businesses

Use VR for business applications with the HTC Vive Focus Plus Standalone Enterprise VR System. Designed for simple deployment and management, this device combines six-degrees-of-freedom controllers, impressive graphics, and ergonomic comfort. Thanks to 6DoF tracking in the controllers, the Vive Focus Plus allows for immersive and intuitive hand motions and VR navigation. Additionally, the pressure-sensitive trigger offers improved manipulation and interaction of items in virtual environments. Combined with the headset, you can interact with your virtual surroundings and enjoy untethered VR. 

Valve Index Ergonomically Designed VR Headset in comfortable

With comfort in mind, the Valve Index Ergonomically Designed VR Headset is perfect for long gaming sessions. This headset has a frame rate of 120Hz, is backward compatible to 90Hz, and has an experimental 144Hz mode. This 144Hz mode makes it one of the crispest VR headsets on the market. The two LCDs are 1440 x 1600 pixels and heavily reduce the screen-door effect. On top of this, the headset is designed for minimal skin contact. This means you won’t get hot or sweaty while playing.

StarVR One VR Headset has a crystal-clear display

If you’re looking to get into VR gaming, the StarVR One VR Headset is exactly what the doctor ordered. With a state-of-the-art eye-tracking system and a crystal-clear display, this headset is perfect for serious gamers. When you’re playing, the screen takes into account where you’re focusing and reacts accordingly. The set also has a proprietary color display that mimics real life so well that the lines between virtual reality and real-life can blur.  At 450 grams, the headset is also relatively lightweight and has cushioning to keep you comfortable while you play.

LUCI Immers VR Display Headset is the weight of a smartphone

Get lost in another world with the LUCI Immers VR Display Headset. Looking like a comfortable pair of sunglasses, this headset is ultra-lightweight. In fact, at 185 grams, it’s about the weight of a smartphone. Like sunglasses, the Immers Headset is easy to put on and remove. Likewise, the headset can become part of your every day. Incredibly, the ultra HD display offers more than 3,000 pixels per inch. What that means for you is crystal-clear 3D 4K resolution, always ready to go for brand new content. The sleek and stylish wearable blocks out the environmental light so you can enjoy every last pixel to the fullest. Connecting to your smartphone, the Immers Headset is easy to take anywhere and everywhere.

HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset has dual high-res displays

Experience a reality different to your own with the HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset and Controllers. The included hand controllers also let you personalize and interact with a variety of content. This includes travel, sports, culture, and even live concerts and games such as Minecraft. In fact, there are over 20,000 different titles to choose from to pique your interest. With the 2.89-inch display, you get ultra crisp and clear images, no matter the genre. The two-hand motion controllers really give you the extra edge.

PlayStation VR Gaming Headset immerses you in a new world

Experience all of your games like you’re truly there with the PlayStation VR Gaming Headset. Working together with your PlayStation 4, PSVR also connects to your PlayStation Camera to unlock a whole new game world. PlayStation VR offers insanely clear and seamless visuals, letting you move freely and see every detail. Additionally, the 3D audio system also lets you experience sound as if you’re there, emitting each sound from its exact position. This incredible system uses a 5.7-inch OLED 1080p display that runs at a whopping 120 frames per second.

Dell Visor Wearable VR Headset is reasonably priced

Take one step closer to the future with the Dell Visor Wearable VR Headset. Fully functional on its own, this device also works with separately purchased hand controllers. The Dell Visor is priced for the average consumer to give anyone and everyone a path to VR experiences. Also, the stunning 1440 x 1400 liquid crystal display will wow you with every use. The system works as a Windows Mixed Reality device, which gives you access to already proven technology. The Dell Visor uses inside-out tracking cameras to bring the virtual world to your eyes.

Now that we have you thinking about all of the cool things you can do with virtual reality, are there any of these VR headsets you have your eye on? We all know it wouldn’t hurt to pretend to be in another place for a little while when we’re super stressed out.

Tera has worked in the publishing industry since 2004 and considers the written word her first love. When she's not writing or editing, she's usually traveling, knitting, or binge-watching Netflix.
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