What’s the best standalone VR headset?

There are currently nowhere near as many untethered VR headsets available in the burgeoning virtual reality market, compared to PC VR (tethered VR) and smartphone VR.

Tethered VR/AR HMDs must be connected by cable to a PC, harnessing the powerful processing power of the hardware in the connected PC or console. However, mobile VR headsets use the more widely accessible and available smartphones to deliver less advanced VR.

Standalone VR (untethered, all-in-one)

Standalone virtual reality headsets (a.k.a. untethered, wireless, standalone VR) don’t require a PC or a smartphone to deliver a VR experience. The self-contained headsets (made popular by releases such as the Oculus Go) include built-in processors, GPU, sensors, battery, memory, displays, and more. In addition, as these VR goggles are uncabled, users don’t have to limit themselves to a restricted space. In general, they offer a more powerful VR experience than smartphone VR but less powerful than tethered VR.

Various high-profile tech companies such as Google, Facebook, HTC, and others are focusing more resources on developing additional and sophisticated HMD’s for standalone VR. At Aniwaa, we think the future of VR does exist in increasingly wireless yet powerful virtual reality experiences via standalone VR headsets.

We have provided a comprehensive overview of the virtual reality market to present the best all-in-one virtual reality headsets available.

For a comprehensive overview of the range of headsets available, read our types of VR headsets guide.

Best standalone VR headsets 2021

ProductBrandRelease dateCountryFov horizontalPrice
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
M2 PRODPVR 2016China96$ 590Buy on GearBest
Quad HDGenBasic 2016United States110$ 199Buy on Amazon US
VIVE FocusHTC 2018Taiwan110$ 650Buy on GearBest
Mirage SoloLenovo 2018China110$ 400Buy on Amazon US
GoOculus 2018United States$ 199Buy on Amazon US
QuestOculus 2019United States95$ 399Buy on Amazon US
GoblinPico Interactive 2017China92$ 269Buy on Amazon US
NeoPico Interactive 2018China upon requestAsk for a quote
Mi VRXiaomi 2018China$ 235Buy on GearBest

Overview of the best standalone VR headsets

All-in-one virtual reality HMDs generally offer a more affordable solution compared to tethered VR for users who want to experience virtual reality. However, the compromise in affordability is offset by having less powerful wireless VR, although newer headsets like the HTC VIVE Focus are an exception in terms of performance (see more information below).

Furthermore, most standalone VR headsets only offer 3DoF, hence a less immersive VR experience for the user. (See our glossary of terms for VR, AR, and MR).

The inclusion of controllers has become more standard for this VR category. Handheld controllers allow for users better interaction with the content and depending on the DoF (Degrees of Freedom), the better the immersion in the VR experience.

Degrees of Freedom (DoF) explained
http://DPVR%20M2%20PRO%20(Deepoon%20M2%20PRO)
Selection
By DPVR
CountryChina
FOV Horizontal96
Release date2016
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 590

DPVR (or Deepoon) has a few VR products available, however, this is the only standalone VR headset available from the manufacturer.

One of the features is the ability to relatively quickly recharge the VR HMD. Although it has a high price point, it doesn’t offer the same high specs as other all-in-one headsets available. Furthermore, no controllers are available.

Platform(s): Google Play Store

Pros:

  • Low latency
  • Quick battery recharge

Cons:

  • No controllers
  • Less affordable than most products in this VR category
  • 3DoF
http://GenBasic%20Quad%20HD
Selection
CountryUnited States
FOV Horizontal110
Release date2016
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 199

This untethered VR was one of the first HMDs in the category to be released, and it has good specs considering. With 110° FOV, a decent refresh rate of 75Hz, and the standalone VR is compatible with a variety of OS.

However, due to the age of the device, it is the least future-proofed and user feedback was negative on the comfort and content available.

Platform(s): Google Play Store

Pros:

  • Affordable price-point
  • Runs on multiple OS

Cons:

  • Dated technology
  • Poor comfort and wearability
  • Bad ventilation and can overheat
  • 3DoF
http://HTC%20Vive%20Focus
Selection
By HTC
CountryTaiwan
FOV Horizontal110
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 650

The VIVE FOCUS is one of the few standalone VR headsets to have 6DoF (6 Degrees of Freedom), hence the much higher price-point. However, this HMD does offer a range of features such as adding 2TB storage, basic gesture tracking, and longer battery life compared to other devices in this category.

Platform(s): SteamVR, HTC VIVEPORT

Pros:

  • Built-in microphone and speakers
  • Ongoing software updates for improvements
  • 6DoF

Cons:

  • High price-point
http://Lenovo%20Mirage%20Solo
Selection
By Lenovo
CountryChina
FOV Horizontal110
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 400

This standalone VR headset is not as affordable as other options on our list, but it has better specs compared to some of the other HMDs available. The Mirage Solo offers a more immersive VR experience than other VR headsets lacking 6DoF.

On the downside is the heavy, large design making it less portable for users.

Platform(s): SteamVR, HTC VIVEPORT

Pros:

  • Great storage and memory options
  • High accuracy of positional tracking
  • Long battery life
  • 6DoF

Cons:

  • Bulky design, heavy and uncomfortable to wear & not ideal for portability
  • Lacks built-in speakers
  • A shortfall in great content
http://Oculus%20Go
Selection

Go

By Oculus
CountryUnited States
FOV Horizontal
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 199

The Oculus Go is arguably the most well-known example of standalone VR, therefore it is credited with increasing the visibility of VR in the mass market. The HMD is very easy to use and the plug and play setup caters for beginners and experienced users.

The Oculus Go provides accessible VR of very good quality at this price-point.

Platform(s): Oculus

Pros:

  • Affordable all-in-one VR
  • Comfortable design and fit
  • Large range of content available

Cons:

  • Only 3DoF
  • Basic controller
  • Long recharge time
http://Oculus%20Quest
Selection
By Oculus
CountryUnited States
FOV Horizontal95
Release date2019
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 399

The Oculus Quest, previously known as the Project Santa Cruz, is a game-changer. Launched in Spring 2019, the Quest all-in-one VR headset provides immersive experiences with 6 degrees of freedom and controllers similar to those of the premium Oculus Rift PC VR headset.

Platform(s): Oculus

Pros:

  • 6DoF with Oculus Touch controllers
  • Guardian system that maps the environment
  • Large range of content available

Cons:

  • No built-in earphones
http://Pico%20Goblin
Selection Tested
CountryChina
FOV Horizontal92
Release date2017
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 269

The Pico Goblin (reviewed by Aniwaa here) also sits in the affordable bracket of standalone VR headsets and is a reasonably comfortable HMD to wear. However, it suffers from a lack of quality content.

The device offers 3DoF and good memory options, however, the device is likely to be overtaken by new tech quickly.

Platform(s): Pico Digital Store

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Easy to use
  • Memory options

Cons:

  • Lack of content
  • 3DoF
http://Pico%20Neo
Selection

Neo

CountryChina
FOV Horizontal
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
upon request

The 2nd all-in-one headset from Pico Interactive, this follow-up to the Pico Goblin, has a much higher price point compared to most products on our list.

However, the VR headset features 6DoF for the HMD and controllers, therefore offering a more immersive VR experience.

Platform(s): Pico Digital Store

Pros:

  • 6DoF for headset and controller
  • Hand-tracking enabled

Cons:

  • A high price point for the VR standalone category
  • Limited content for now
http://Xiaomi%20Mi%20VR
Selection
By Xiaomi
CountryChina
FOV Horizontal
Release date2018
Price
Approximate starting prices based on supplier-provided information and public data. Prices may vary over time and do not include additional products or services (taxes, shipping, accessories, training, installation, …).
$ 235

This popular standalone VR HMD is a partnered rebrand of the Oculus Go, but available only in China. The main changes are cosmetic on the exterior and different access to content, therefore due to localization, the Mi VR has access to popular Chinese content and apps.

Furthermore, it is slightly more expensive than the Oculus Go.

Platform(s): Oculus

Pros:

  • Same technical features as Oculus Go
  • Comfort design and fit

Cons:

  • Limited content
  • Only 3DoF
  • Long recharge time

Wireless adapters for PC VR

Thanks to developments in wireless technology, a number of manufacturers have released wireless adapters for tethered virtual reality HMD to offer an uncabled or untethered VR experience.

The aim is to offer more freedom in movement as well as a high-performance VR experience. Examples include WiGig (Intel’s Wireless gigabit), TPCAST Wireless Adapter (for the Oculus Rift or HTC VIVE), the HTC VIVE Wireless Adapter for their own devices, and the DisplayLink Wireless VR adapter.

All-in-one VR headset: pros and cons

Pros of all-in-one VR headsets

Portability

Standalone VR headsets are easy to carry around (wireless) and less space is required to use them.

Affordability

These VR HMDs are generally quite affordable in comparison with PC VR.

Ease of use

Standalone headsets are plug-and-play and, therefore, easy to use for all users.

Cons of all-in-one VR headsets

Less powerful VR

Doesn’t compete with most tethered PC VR headsets.

3DoF

Most standalone headsets only have 3DoF, offering a less

Battery life

This needs to be improved if users want to use the device extensively.

Standalone VR price

Most of the untethered VR headsets available are considerably more affordable ($200 to $300) than PC VR, however, some of the recently released VR HMD and future releases which deliver 6DoF, are far less affordable ($600+).

There is still the added benefit of not requiring an expensive PC to operate the HMD, regardless of which untethered VR headset a user buys.

How to choose the best all-in-one virtual reality headset?

In addition to a range of considerations such as comfort, processing power, memory, display and refresh rates, these are some of the key elements to consider when buying an all-in-one VR HMD.

Battery life

A key factor as it will impact how long users can operate the device (and if portable battery packs are available).

DoF

Currently, a limited number of untethered VR headsets have 6DoF, and the ones that do are much less affordable.

Controllers

Not all devices currently available have controllers, and again there are limitations with 3DoF.

FOV

Although standalone VR may not have as much processing power compared to tethered VR, the field of view is generally within a great range; the higher the FOV, the more immersive the experience.

Our VR headset buying guide dives deeper into technical considerations for choosing an HMD (also covers PC VR headsets and smartphone VR headsets).