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Virtual reality has gone from Sci-Fi technology to actually possible in the past couple of years, and there’s never been a better time to give it a try.
Video game consoles — especially new ones like the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 — offer incredible graphics, but they can’t touch VR in terms of truly immersive gaming. Instead of seeing a flat image on a big screen, you can actually become a part of the world you’re playing in. Virtual reality headsets have also become a lot more advanced, offering HD graphics and uncompromised fidelity without getting larger or heavier.
Virtual reality still requires a fair amount of space (roughly eight square feet) if you want to get the best experience, but that’s the biggest barrier to VR gaming right now. If you’ve been curious about this technology, this guide will explain everything you’ll need to get started.
1. The Oculus Quest 2
If you’re just starting your VR journey, you’ll need a headset. There are a lot of great choices out there, but the best one for most people is the Oculus Quest 2. Its biggest strength is that it’s a standalone VR headset, which means all of the technology is built inside. You won’t need a powerful PC, cameras, or additional controllers; everything you need to jump into VR gaming comes in the box.
The Quest 2 was designed for comfort: Its adjustable head strap can accommodate most people, and there’s ample padding for long play sessions. I’ve tried the Oculus Quest 2 for myself, and found it comfortable to wear, although it still takes a little time to get used to wearing something strapped to your face.
The Quest 2 comes with a pair of wireless, motion-sensing controllers that have an ergonomic, curved body for added comfort. The headset walks you through how to use all of its features, including setting up a virtual play area in your room, so you can avoid bumping into objects in the real world.
The Oculus Quest 2 is the first VR headset that feels like it’s designed for everyone, not just enthusiasts who want to be on the cutting edge of technology.
2. High Quality Earbuds
Virtual Reality headsets typically have speakers built into their headband, but you’ll want to plug in a pair of earbuds for a more immersive experience. We recommend 1More’s triple-driver earbuds because they’re slim, have a “bass-driven” sound, and were designed for high resolution (better-than-CD-quality) sound.
The buds come with eight pairs of ear tips, so you can find the ones that fit your ears best. Their aluminum frame looks and feels premium, and the microphone built into their cable has volume controls, too. If you want a fully immersive VR experience, upgrading to 1More’s pair of earbuds will get you there.
3. A Carrying Case
The Oculus Quest 2’s most compelling feature is its portability, and you’ll want a case to keep it pristine what you travel. This one was designed by Oculus itself, and can fit the Quest 2, its controllers, power adapter, and charging cable into a single, neat package.
The hard-shell case zips up tightly to fully secure the Quest 2, and its custom inner molding will fit each accessory perfectly. This case’s nicest touch is its hand strap, which makes it easier to carry your headset around. This is an essential accessory if you plan on taking your Quest 2 out of the house.
4. A Spare Power Adapter
Oculus bundles a power adapter with the Quest 2, but it’s important to have a spare just in case. This one from AUKEY is small enough to fit into your pocket, but powerful enough to charge most modern laptops at full speed.
AUKEY’s adapter has two USB-C ports, so you could also use this accessory to charge both of the Quest 2’s controllers at the same time. This is one of the most versatile accessories in this guide, and it can be used with the Quest 2 or any of your other gadgets.
5. A Charging VR Stand
Asterion’s virtual reality headset stand is a two-in-one accessory that can keep your device safe while adding flare to your gaming setup.
The stand holds your headset at an angle that makes it easier to grab, and elevates it to avoid getting scratches. It also has a USB-A port, which you can use to charge your headset.
This stand has a built-in LED light, which you can turn on by pushing a button on its base. You can switch between red, gold, green, cyan, blue, lavender, and white, or have it cycle between these colors. You can use this stand with any current-generation headset.
Just make sure to get a charging cable too, since Asterion doesn’t include one in the box.
6. An Adjustable Head Strap
The Oculus Quest 2 comes with an adjustable head strap, but if it doesn’t fit you quite right, we recommend this third-party solution.
It comes in two sizes: Large and Small, and can be adjusted by twisting a small knob on the back of the strap. This head strap has a “hat” shape, which covers the back of your head, which can reduce the amount the headset jitters when you move your head. This can keep the headset in focus, so you don’t have to move it around to get a clear picture.
If you want a comfort upgrade for a VR headset that’s already pleasant to wear, consider this head strap.
7. A USB-C Cable
You can use Anker’s USB-C cable to charge any VR headset or wireless controller, but it also unlocks the Oculus Quest 2’s most impressive feature.
By connecting the Quest 2 to your computer with this cable, you’ll be able to play VR games designed for higher-end headsets. It basically turns the Oculus Quest 2 into a two-in-one VR headset.
Oculus has its own first-party cable for this use, but called out this one from Anker as the best third-party choice. We’ve had a lot of success with Anker’s charging accessories in the past, which is why we’re recommending it here.
We suggest you get the 10 foot charging cable if you plan on connecting the Oculus Quest 2 to your PC because it’ll give you enough room to comfortably move around the room while you play games.