Starting at $299, Meta Quest 2 is the most affordable VR...

Starting at $299, Meta Quest 2 is the most affordable VR headset option. Credit: CBS Interactive

Virtual reality has been the Next Big Thing for several years. And finally, it seems as if it might be getting there. At this moment, the very best VR headset is the Meta Quest 3, but it's not the only game in town. Here are three VR headsets to fit various budgets and needs.

WHAT Meta Quest 3

THE COST $499 and up

AVAILABLE FROM meta.com

Meta's upgraded VR sequel to the Quest 2 feels like a notable revamp, with improvements across the board: a slightly smaller design, better, clearer lenses, a higher-resolution display, smaller controllers with better haptics and higher-res color cameras that can mix the real world and the virtual together. This "mixed reality" is similar in spirit to what Apple's Vision Pro will do, but in a lower-res form for a lot less money.

The Quest 3 is likely to be the best VR headset in its price class for the next few years, but the software still hasn't caught up. For that reason, the Quest 2 is still probably good enough for most.

WHAT Meta Quest 2

THE COST $299 and up

AVAILABLE FROM meta.com

The Quest 2 is still the most affordable and versatile VR headset of the moment. It doesn't require a gaming console or PC (although you need to pair it with a phone to set it up).

Meta will support the Quest 2 with future software right now, but the Quest 3's more advanced processor will make it more future-proof. For that reason alone, the Quest 3 looks to be worth the extra money. But for those who want an affordable option for families, the Quest 2 remains an excellent pick.

The Quest 2 is reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch for its versatility and fun, and it has a growing library of surprisingly effective fitness apps.

WHAT PlayStation VR 2

THE COST $549.99

AVAILABLE FROM direct.playstation.com

The PlayStation VR 2 is expensive, needs a PlayStation 5 to work and it's not wireless. However, its HDR OLED display, graphics quality, built-in eye tracking and fantastic advanced controllers — which have the same vibrations and adaptive force-feedback triggers as the PS5 DualSense controllers — give this headset a premium feel that makes its best games perform at a different level.

The PSVR 2 lacks any social metaverse-type software so far and feels more like a headset designed to just launch and play VR games. Many of the games for this headset are ports of titles you could get on devices like the Quest 2 instead. As more games roll out that are optimized for this hardware, however, the PSVR 2 could quickly stand out from the standalone VR pack.

The following CNET staff contributed to this story: editor at large Scott Stein and copy editor Jim Hoffman. For more reviews of personal technology products, visit cnet.com.

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