Five essential considerations before purchasing a virtual reality headset

The virtual reality market around the world has been experiencing exponential growth and it is continuously gaining a strategic foothold in several industries and sectors globally.

According to reliable data from Statista, the virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) market size around the world is projected to grow up to $209 billion by 2022.

Currently, we have seen how the market is flooded with numerous VR headset brands.

Customers are being bombarded with a wide variety of choices and versions released almost monthly and choosing where to spend your hard-earned money is quite challenging. 

You may even find yourself asking questions such as, “Where do I start?”

Start by knowing the essentials

As you choose, it is crucial to understand that a VR headset is not a one-size-fits-all product.

Each has its unique features and functions that may or may not work well for you and this is why, knowing the VR headset essentials is the first step to buying the right VR headset. 

What do you need to know when indulging in purchasing a VR headset?

VR headset essentials to consider

Here are five important details you should know and consider in purchasing a VR headset.

Purpose of your purchase

Find an honest answer to, “How do you intend to use the VR headset device you’ll purchase?”

Whether you want to use the VR headset to play immersive virtual reality games or to watch VR videos and movies on Netflix, it is essential to first identify the purpose of your purchase.

This is essential in determining the components and features you need in a VR headset.

After all, you do not want to purchase a virtual reality headset model that will not facilitate you to experience and leverage the features or functions that you may require.

Further still if you are also interested in championing sustainability, its advisable to check out these sustainably sourced VR Google cardboard headsets to help reduce plastic. 

Types of VR Headsets

Once you have successfully identified the purpose of your VR headset purchase, its important to know the different types of VR headsets so as to guide you in deciding what to buy.

Let us take a look at the types of VR headsets and how they differ from each other.

Standalone VR headset

This category of virtual reality headsets is designed to work completely by itself and therefore eliminates the requirement for other supplementary equipment and technology.

Being a monolithic device, it has a built-in screen processor, battery and viewfinders.

This category of virtual reality headsets is designed to be more portable as compared to other categories because it only requires Wi-Fi or an internet connection to work.

Tethered VR headset

This category is sometimes also known as the desktop or personal computer virtual reality headset because it typically requires a connection to a computer or a VR console.

Whereas the connection cables may hinder and limit the user’s movements, the experience remains more immersive and hyper-realistic due to the high-resolution graphics.

This category of virtual reality headsets is usually designed for video games.

Smartphone VR headset

This type of VR headsets works by inserting your mobile phone into the headset itself.

A smartphone virtual reality headset is designed so as to offer compatibility with most iPhones and Android smartphones, as long as they can fit well inside the headset.

When compared to other categories of virtual reality headsets, Smartphone VR headsets are the most portable models even though they create more limitations for users. 

Technical features of a VR Headset

You might have chosen the type of VR headset you want to own already but the next step is to understand your target VR headset’s specifications to know what suits your preference.

Let’s go into the details!


Resolution is a critically integral aspect to a virtual reality viewing experience because it determines the quality of the graphics in the videos that you are immersed in.

The concept is pretty simple: the higher the resolution, the better the viewing experience.

High resolution graphics and videos facilitate a user experience that is able to have high quality images, clearly defined graphic margins in addition to clear and readable text.


The VR headset display aspect is available in three different options which include; liquid crystal display(LCD), Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) and retina display.

Display technology influences the overall quality of your VR headset’s image and experience.

Field of view (FOV)

This allows you to know how immersive a VR headset is, whether the view is wide or not.

To attain great experiences, it is critically important and advisable that you should indulge in purchasing a virtual reality headset that will facilitate a 100 to 110 degree field of view. 

Pixels per degree (PPD)

This aspect is also important as it determines the quality of displayed images.

Pixels per degree is a measurement of a virtual reality headset’s pixel density. It is the measure of the number of pixels per degree that the VR headset presents to the eye.

A higher PPD will result in having sharper and more realistic VR images.

Refresh rate

As a general rule, 90Hz is the minimum refresh rate requirement, especially for fast-paced VRs.

For instances where the virtual reality headset’s refresh rate is considered to be slow, the user is highly likely to experience the discomfort associated with motion sickness.

Device compatibility with VR

You must also check if your target virtual reality headset is compatible with the computer or PC, smartphone, or virtual reality console that you are planning to harness.

Your device must meet the minimum requirements of the preferred VR headset model. 

An example in relation to this aspect can be when you want to purchase an HTC Vive VR headset which necessitates a connection to a personal computer with high specifications.

You must therefore, possess a computer with a powerful central processing unit (CPU), a considerable RAM size, strong processor, advanced graphics card and an HDMI output.

Meanwhile, a PlayStation virtual reality headset requires a PlayStation4 Console, PlayStation Camera and a PlayStation Camera adaptor in order to effectively operate.

Your complimentary devices’ specifications must meet the minimum requirements of the virtual reality headset that you are interested in purchasing so as to ensure that it works. 

There’s this thing called VR sickness

Virtual reality sickness occurs when an individual’s exposure to a virtual reality domain prompts symptoms that are similar to the symptoms exhibited in motion sickness.

These include nausea, headache, discomfort, stomach pain, fatigue, disorientation, and more.

Many people struggle with VR or motion sickness whenever they have extreme or beyond normal virtual experiences like riding a rollercoaster, being on steep slopes and speed racing.

Experiencing the same effect from your VR experience?

Don’t worry, you may overcome it in time and there are also ways to prevent VR sickness.

For example, you can adjust your headset fit and lenses, and set the correct eye distance to make yourself feel more comfortable while wearing your VR headset.

You are advised to do things gradually to help yourself adapt.

Heed these pointers and you will be able to decide which VR headset is the best for you. 

Sophia Young quit a non-writing job to finally be able to tell stories and paint the world through her words, talking about fashion, weddings, travel, the latest marketing and business trends, finance-related topics and family life. She can totally go from fashion guru to your friendly neighborhood cat lady with mean budgeting skills and home tips real quick.