Best VR headsets for sim racing in 2022

Vr headsets for sim racing.jpg
As sim racers we often strive to make our experience the most immersive it can be. Some sim racers have taken real car parts such as dash boards and car seats, other sim racers buy premium kit to imitate real-world racing gear. Some sim racers go as far as driving with racing gloves and racing shoes.

Whilst you could argue that some take it too far, there’s not such an argument for utilizing VR headsets to add to the immersion.

What is VR and what should be considered before buying

VR stands for virtual reality and with VR headsets, you have a screen or screens mounted in front of your eyes. Your head movement is accurately tracked, which translates to what you see through these screens. Tracking is not simply left, right, up, or down - these headsets track rotational movement, pitch, yaw, roll, horizontal, vertical, and lateral movement.

VR has come a long way, the earlier versions of these headsets suffered from SDE (screen door effects). Users could see artefacts caused by the displays, effectively users would see what would look like a thin mesh in front of their eyes. SDE is still a factor in modern VR headset, but far less obvious.

Before buying a VR headset, you should consider the following:

Budget - Putting aside the price of a VR headset for a second, for you to have a good VR experience in a racing sim, your PC must be a capable rig. If you are struggling to get 100 frames per second on a traditional monitor, then your PC rig will not be able to cope with extra strain from a VR headset. As well as the potential extra cost of a PC build, a VR headset can vary in price too. An entry level VR headset is similarly priced to a gaming monitor, but the price does ramp up quickly.

Room - This might sound strange if you are new to VR, as VR headsets fit on your head and take up less room than a monitor. Some VR headsets utilize external tracking devices and you’ll need to have a dedicated space to set these up. If you choose a VR headset with external trackers, if you don’t have a dedicated place to sim race, then you’ll need to set up the VR experience every time you jump into the sim. This however is not an issue with headsets that have built-in tracking.

IPD - IPD stands for interpupillary distance - the distance between your eyes. This is an important factor that many people forget about when purchasing a VR headset. Before you make your VR purchase ensure that the headset will be for you. The average IPD for men is 63mm and women 61mm, but this measurement can vary from person to person from anywhere between 42mm and 75mm. If your eyes don’t match the headset IPD requirements, you will experience eye strain and blurry vision.

Here are some of the best VR headsets to be had for sim racing in 2022.
Next page: Oculus Rift S
About author
Damian Reed
PC geek, gamer, content creator, and passionate sim racer.
I live life a 1/4 mile at a time, it takes me ages to get anywhere!

Comments

im still rocking the first rift. i feel like nothing available now is enough of an upgrade to justify replacing it. even the index is a lcd instead of oled. ive heard some people say its fine and some say they returned it the next day cus it was such a downgrade in terms of dark contrast. i dont wanna risk a grand to find out i dont like it. either way its still vr so its worlds better than any 2d setup, even if its not the latest hmd.
 
I've gone from the O.G. Rift CV1, to a Samsung Odyssey to HP Reverb G2. Each upgrade has been noticeable and worthwhile to me. I never seem to have enough GPU and CPU power though (currently running a 3080 and 12700k).
 
im still rocking the first rift. i feel like nothing available now is enough of an upgrade to justify replacing it. even the index is a lcd instead of oled. ive heard some people say its fine and some say they returned it the next day cus it was such a downgrade in terms of dark contrast. i dont wanna risk a grand to find out i dont like it. either way its still vr so its worlds better than any 2d setup, even if its not the latest hmd.
Having owned both, I say you are completely wrong, the difference between the rift and Reverb G2 is a world APART! A blind man would immediately see the huge difference in image clarity/sharpness/frame rate.
 
Rift S:
Pros: Inside out tracking - Excellent screen resolution
Cons: 80 Hz is low - End of life

Completely different experience here with this headset. Very low screen resolution, very visible screen door effect and pixels if AA is not the best, and usually is not the best. 80hz is pretty enough for simracing even, unless you are addicted to watching curbs when you are driving near them.

I have Quest 2 now, no visible screen door effect, and yes, resolution is way better, no visible pixels unless you are searching for them. Still driving at 80hz in some sims, but since my 1080ti can't push Q2 properly enough with the resolution I want, I also use 120hz mode, but running some sims at 60fps + frame reprojection, and it's still good!
 
D
Using glasses with VR.
Is it possible to have a good experience with this combination?
Sort of. My glasses will contact the Reverb G2's lenses, but decided to purchase lens inserts to avoid any destructive rubbing. I've used VR Optician (https://vroptician.com/) and I highly recommend them, although there certainly are other companies that can do the same thing.

[edit]: I'll go even further to insist that lens inserts are a great investment, since I don't have to worry about scratching the lenses when I clean them with a microfiber cloth.
 
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Heh, funny this article popping up just after I've returned an Oculus Quest 2 on a loan for last couple of weeks.

I'm running mid/low PC-specs as per today's modern standards of PC simracing;

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 580 / 8Gb GDDR5
SSD: MVNe M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0x4

No plans whatsoever replacing any of these in near future. Running e.g. just 50 FPS at 2560x1440 or e.g. 120 FPS in 720p with high graphic specs in modern sims is fine with me, since I'm now a primarily offline simmer with tons of other focus than the competitive one, just enjoying authentic immersion.

Two months ago I was about an impulse buy of an Oculus Rift - just for fun with aim to use in 1-2 of the +10 new and old sims I run during month on average, but then asked this forum on advice in relation to my PC hardware, and was strongly advised on the Quest 2 due to the facilitation of scalability.

Just had 4-5 hours in all for testing, using Quest 2's scalability and I must say I'm all in all pretty satisfied, limited testing in AMS2, AC and PC2, but not tested in R3E and directly warned using my PC specs with VR in ACC and rF2.
On the contrary if I still had active subscription for iRacing, I think I would've dared to deactivate the Quest 2 downscaling, bearing in mind iRacing's old graphics engine.

However, though my good VR experiences in pre-war, vintage and classic race AC mods, I'm still very keen of my even larger amount of mods for rF1 and GTR2 not to mention Copa Petropras de Marcas as stock, the quality mods for Stockcar Extreme as well as the SimBin family (GTL, WTCC, Race07, GTR Evo, STCC, Race Injection, RaceOn, etc.) and not to forget GPL and setting up even ancient sims as GP2 with FFB.

I haven't investigated whether VR is even a possibility for my older sims. Nevertheless, I know I would not skip my standard rig of
- large solid hight-adjustable table
- 1 prime 32" curved 1440p@165Hz monitor with 1-3 additional monitors, besides tablet and 1-2 phones using SimHub (just for more modern racing)
- flexible seat, easy to switch to office work position.

The VR was just a vague idea of mine planning to use for the performance suitable UE4 engine used in AMS2 and PC2. And the Quest 2 delivering quite good here with my low spec GPU.

And a price of €400-450 in my country for the Quest 2 with the hardware scaleability it suits my budget very well.
 
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Premium
Using glasses with VR.
Is it possible to have a good experience with this combination?

Yes, I have an Oculus Quest 2 and I use glasses. My only problem is playing Beat Saber because it gets misty after 20 minutes :roflmao: but I don't have that issue when I use the VR set on the Simrig so, no worries. :thumbsup:
 
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I'm a huge VR fan, started 8 years ago with the oculus dk2 prototype. Over the years I've had so many different kits that I don't even remember. Currently I have Pimax 5k plus(Which I have to sell), HP reverb 2 (actually don't know why I have it) and Pimax 8kx.
Pimax 8kx In my opinion is the best set on the market, especially for simulators. Of course, not perfect (because there is still no perfect one), maybe a little more complicated to adapt to different games but the best. Best fov excellent clarity and resolution. Now I'm calmly waiting for the pimax 12k!!!
 
You forgot to talk about the Pimax 5K, which IMO is the KING for FOV and FPS (real 160° and up to 180Hz)
I purchase it a year ago and this is the best HMD for sim-racing. Still have the HTC Vive so I reused the stations and wands but it can run standalone.
Despite the amount of pixels, it's pretty potato-friendly: I'm running AC with 20 cars @ 120Hz w max fov SS=0.70, despite having a old 1080ti and I7 4790k 16Gb.
PIMAX definitely need to be considered as a true VR headset makers alongside the other brands
 
Own a rifts and HP g2. Briefly owned a quest 2 and sold it. Gave up as I was forever searching for better enjoyment and tweaking settings. Now using a Samsung g9 ultra wide. I want to back to my g2 but I was tweaking more than racing and the enjoyment stopped, now it’s back so the rift and g2 are boxed for now.
 
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I have a CV1 and a Quest 2, the Q2 is a massive upgrade! basically zero screen door and a very hi-res panel with a great picture.

Its a transformative upgrade and very cheap too!
 
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