VR technology is rapidly becoming mainstream around the world with hundreds of applications, including entertainment, healthcare, education, and gaming. In terms of adoption, it’s safe to say that the gaming industry is leading the pack by introducing next-gen games that allow players to immerse themselves in a virtual environment fully.
While there’s a huge selection of VR games in the market, simulation racing is perhaps the most popular one as it offers drivers the closest thing to real-world racing. Whether you enjoy Gran Turismo or like offroading on Dirty Rally 3, playing sim racing games with a VR headset can amplify your simulation experience and take it to the next level.
However, to ensure a thrilling experience, you need to do your homework and determine which VR headset for sim racing is the best for your platform, budget, and other requirements. To speed up the decision, we’ve listed our top picks of the VR sim racing headsets in the market today.
The Best VR Headsets for Simulation Racing in 2022
Before we share our top picks, you need to understand that any headset you buy will come with its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, your purchase decision won’t be as simple as picking the priciest one or the one with the biggest display. However, you can get your money’s worth in terms of quality and features by opting for the options below.
1. Samsung HMD Odyessy+
Display Size: 4.03 inches (diagonal)
Compatibility: Windows 10
Resolution: 2,800 x 1,600 pixels
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
The Samsung HMD Odyessey+ is leading the pack as the best VR headset for simulation racing. Thanks to its lightweight design and cooling fabric, it has become the go-to choice for racers looking to maximize comfort, especially during long races. It features a dual 3.5-inch screen combined with 2,800 x 1,600 pixels of resolution to make gameplay more realistic compared to other options. With a 90Hz refresh rate, you can prevent motion sickness and play longer.
The Odyessy+ offers a 110° FOV, allowing fewer head movements within the virtual race track. If you’re in a professional team or enjoy playing with friends, the Odyessy+ includes an internal microphone along with a stellar sound system that can optimize your racing experience further. However, the biggest con is that it doesn’t have a wireless option which is great if you’re into sim racing due to its compact setup but not for games with more mobility. Secondly, it’s only compatible with PCs or laptops with Windows 10, so console users can take advantage of it.
2. Oculus Rift S
Display Size: Unspecified
Compatibility: Windows 10, Xbox One, and Series X/S
Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 pixels
Refresh Rate: 80Hz
Next on our list is the Oculus Rift S which packs a host of features that make it stand out from most other products in its price range and the market in general. First of all, it offers a 115° FOV, which means users can see more of their surroundings without turning. This makes up for its relatively lower resolution (2,560 x 1,440 pixels), which still manages to provide crisp and sharp images. Another outstanding feature is its comfortable and secure design suitable for any user.
Like the Odyessy+, it has a built-in sound system, so you don’t need external headphones. However, the most notable drawback is the relatively low refresh rate of 80Hz, which can make racers dizzy or motion sick, especially in long, intense races. However, if you have a modest budget, the Oculus Rift S makes an excellent addition to any PC-based racing simulator, especially for users with single monitors.
3. Lenovo Explorer
Display Size: 3.51 inches (diagonal)
Compatibility: Windows 10
Resolution: 2,880 x 1,440 pixels
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
Next on our list is the Lenovo Explorer, another excellent VR headset for sim racing offering 2,880 x 1,440 pixels of resolution. However, the display size is slightly smaller than the Odyessy+ and Oculus Rift S – 3.51 inches. The good news is that the smaller screen reduces the headset’s overall weight, making it ideal for long races. Plus, the Explore comes with a handy visor functionality, a feature that allows users to easily flip up the screen when they need a timeout without taking the entire headset off.
Like the Odyessy+, this headset uses internal tracking, so it doesn’t require any extra sensor towers. However, this can affect the tracking quality. Moreover, you get a 110° field of view with a 90Hz refresh rate. The biggest con is that it doesn’t have a built-in sound system. Instead, it includes a 3mm jack you can connect to any headset.
4. HTC Vive Pro
Display Size: 3.5 inches (diagonal)
Compatibility: Windows 7, 10, 11, Xbox Series X and S
Resolution: 2,880 x 1,600 pixels
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
The Vive Pro by HTC currently ranks among the best VR headsets for gaming in terms of build quality. Although it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, it beats most products in the market with its motion tracking capabilities. It uses external tracking to offer more accurate head-game movements, which can come in handy for old-fashioned drivers that like to turn around when driving.
Combined with a 110° FOV and a 90Hz refresh rate, it offers wide, smooth visuals with sharp graphics. Like most higher-end options, it includes a dedicated sound system with a microphone, so racers who like to communicate with other racers or rely on engine sounds don’t need to buy an external pair.
Display Size: 5.7 inches (diagonal)
Compatibility: PS4, PS5
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
Refresh Rate: 90-120Hz
This list won’t be complete without a VR headset compatible with PlayStation, the most popular console for sim racing. So, if you own a PS4 or PS5, look no further than the PSVR, a plug-and-play headset that allows you to play your favorite simulation racing games, such as the exclusive Gran Turismo Sport and F1 2021. The PSVR packs a massive 5.7 OLED screen with a 1080p display. However, it comes with the lowest resolution of all the products on our list (1,920 x 1,080 pixels).
The good news is that it offers a 120Hz refresh rate, making the gameplay smoother than most options in the market. Secondly, it includes a built-in 3D sound system that allows sim racers to judge sound sources better during a race. However, if you’re going to buy the PSVR, we recommend waiting until the PSVR 2 launches in mid-2022. This way, you can opt for the new one with better features or take advantage of a price drop in the older one.
And there you have it – our top 5 picks of the best VR headset in 2022. With this information, you can further explore each option in detail by watching YouTube videos or visiting forums before choosing one that meets all your requirements regarding quality, budget, and compatibility. VR sim racing is rapidly becoming popular across the eSport community, so if you’re looking to improve your game, now is the time to invest in this newer viewing technology.
- Make sure to try out VR Headsets in general, no matter which one you end up buying. If you feel dizzy after using it, you may go for a monitor setup instead of a VR solution.
- In case you feel nauseous, try anti-nausea wrist bands! They are typically used for traveling on a plane or a boat but may help you with VR dizzyness!