Standalone VR Headsets

Choosing the Right Standalone VR Headset

Standalone VR headsets might look like other VR headsets, but there's one important difference. These units don't need to connect to a computer in order to run. There are several factors to consider to ensure you're getting the right standalone headset for your needs whether you're buying a new or open box version.

Do you need to connect a smartphone into the headset?

This depends on the standalone VR headset that you choose. Standalone, in this case, means that you don't need a computer, but it doesn't imply anything about whether you'll need to use your smartphone. Entry-level models typically require you to use a smartphone as the viewing apparatus. You will connect your device to the front of the headset.

Premium models tend to have their own displays and operating systems. These VR headsets do not require the use of your device. You can usually connect these to your TV with an HDMI cable so others can see what you see.

There are also tethered models that use your smartphone for processing but not viewing. You would connect the device to your headset with either a USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 cable and it would become your VR processor.

Can you play games with standalone VR headsets?

Some standalone headsets can play games while others are meant only for viewing media. Those that can play games often come with motion controllers, eye tracking and body tracking features. These features are required to play most VR games. Be sure to check the item description to see if the headset can play games or can only display media.

Does a standalone VR headset have internal storage?

If the VR headset needs a device to work as the viewing apparatus, then the headset itself will not have internal storage. Your device is responsible for all the work in this case, so you would have to rely on your device's storage. If the VR headset is truly standalone and has its own viewing apparatus, then it should have internal storage.

This storage is used to store games, apps, videos and anything else you decide to download. Consider how much storage you will need when buying one of these headsets as expanding the storage can be difficult.

What battery life can you expect with a VR headset?

The average battery life for standalone VR headsets is around two to three hours. You can extend this by using the headset while plugged in, but then you're restricted by the cable. Premium units may offer higher battery life while entry-level units have somewhat lower or they may rely on your device's battery.