Best VR headsets for Half-Life Alyx and other games 2020

Best VR headsets for Half-Life Alyx and other games 2020

Valve returned to its most legendary franchise in style with Half-Life Alyx, but you’ll need a VR headset to play. This page is designed to make choosing the best VR headset for Half-Life Alyx as simple as possible, giving you the information you need to find the headset that fits your needs, at a price you can afford.

Just looking at all of the options available can be daunting, especially if you’re a newcomer to VR, with eight SteamVR headsets that are officially compatible with Half-Life Alyx. Here are those eight options, not including first-gen VR headsets like the original HTC Vive and Oculus Rift CV1 that have disappeared from retail:

Valve Index
HTC Vive Pro
HTC Vive Cosmos
New: Oculus Quest 2 (w/ Link Cable)
Oculus Rift S
Oculus Quest (w/ Link Cable)
Windows Mixed Reality
New: HP Reverb G2
With different physical designs, screens, tracking solutions and price points, there’s plenty to discuss about each option. Thankfully, once you get to know a little about each of them you’ll quickly be able to narrow in on the right one for you. That makes choosing the best VR headset for Half-Life Alyx fairly straightforward – as long as you’re equipped with our recommendations.

Of course, these recommendations will also be more widely applicable to other VR games, like Beat Saber, Tetris Effect, Superhot and so on. In general, fast-paced games will benefit from a higher refresh rate, while slower-paced games and VR experiences will benefit from a higher resolution and field of view.

So: here is our guide to the best VR headsets for Half-Life Alyx and other VR titles, including the specs and features you need to know about, plus the best prices we’ve found on every headset listed.

If you’re in a hurry, here are our rapid recommendations:

We think that the Valve Index is the best option on the market, thanks to its excellent display, great tracking and finger-accurate controllers. This is how at least one member of Digital Foundry played the game, and had an excellent time doing so. Unfortunately, the Index is expensive and high demand means that it can take weeks to arrive.
If you’re not interesting in investing nearly a grand on your VR habit, the Oculus Quest 2 stands out as the best value choice thanks to good controllers and excellent tracking with no base stations required, with both wired, wireless and standalone operation modes.
The Oculus Rift S is another solid good value option that comes configured for PC play out of the box, but it’s set to be discontinued in early 2021 and stock should dry up soon.
Finally, Windows Mixed Reality headsets are often (but not always) the cheapest option; I picked up one for £150 last Black Friday. Tracking is good and visuals are pretty strong too, though the controllers are a bit bulky. Unfortunately, stock levels are low so it can be hard to find one of these headsets at a suitably low price.
For the full details, scroll on or click on the headset you’re interested in to learn more – and see the best deals we’ve found in the new and exciting days following the release of Half-Life Alyx!