DCS – Best VR Headsets (2020)

DCS is the premier simulation for modern air combat. It’s modern fighter jets  and helos have detailed MFDs, gauges, HUDs etc. which need to be rendered at high resolutions to be seen properly.

In addition to this, you need to be able to clearly see ground targets, missiles and enemy aircraft and distinguish them based on their silhouette.

Fore the longest time, I was using Gen 1 headsets like the original Vive and Rift. And while it was fun, I felt that there was always something lacking. The new 2019 and 2020 headsets have solved many of those problems, but not all.

If you are looking to buy a new VR headset for DCS and other sims like IL2, Elite etc., here are my top recommendations after 500+ hours in DCS in VR!

1. Best for DCS/ Premium Option

Sale
HP Reverb Virtual Reality Headset - Professional Edition
  • Field of view: 114°
  • Connectivity Technology: Wired

Or buy it directly from HP

The Reverb simply blows everything out of the water when it comes to clarity and resolution.  You can read every gauge and see the details on your MFDs without having to zoom in.

I also found it to be pretty comfortable and much lighter than all the previous gen 1 headsets. The sweet spot and FoV is no worse than other competitors. 

But it’s not without faults. The biggest issue was that some of the original headsets had loose cables which caused the screen to go black. These issues were fixed way back in Sep 2019 so whatever you buy now shouldn’t have that issue. But just to be sure, make sure you check that your comes with an additional plastic clip to secure the cable.

HeadsetResolution (per eye)Pixels (both eyes)
Reverb 2160 x 21609,331,200
Index 1440 x 16004,608,000
Vive Pro 1440 x 16004,608,000
Cosmos Elite 1440 x 1700 4,896,000
Rift S 1280 x 14403,686,400
Vive 1080 x 12002,592,000

2. Best Mid-range Option

Oculus Rift S PC-Powered VR Gaming Headset
  • Top VR gaming library: Blast, slash and soar your way through the top library in VR gaming. Oculus...
  • Improved optics: Stare down the competition with next-generation lenses and a sharper display....

This is the best all-round option if you are looking for value for money option that just works right out of the box. This is the safe option and perfect for first time VR enthusiasts. 

If you are not willing to pay all those extra dollars for a ~20% boost in clarity, then it may be best to skip the Reverb and Index in favor of the Rift S.

3. Best Budget/ Entry Level

Samsung HMD Odyssey+ Windows Mixed Reality Headset with 2 Wireless...
  • 3K anti-sde AMOLED display (2880x1600) with wide 110O field of view
  • Direct Full Array Backlight 4X: Concentrated Zones of Precision-Controlled LEDs Auto-Adjust Contrast...

Odyssey+ was a game changer because of the way it got rid of the screen door effect. It’s a bit old now and a new version might be around the corner, but you really can’t ignore this at its current price. 

Its better than the first gen headsets but it doesn’t have the resolution of the other three headsets listed on this page. 

If you are new to VR or still rocking a 2016 Vive/ Rift, then this is a worthy upgrade for the cheapest price. 

4. Runner up

The Index  is quite expensive for what it offers, especially for flight sims. Its not a bad headset, its just that the Reverb is better which is what makes it a runner up. If you intend to play games that require good hand controllers like Alyx or beat Saber, that is where the Index shines. 

I got it pretty cheap since I already had the lighthouses from my Vive. Yet, I still passed on it after trying it out because you only need one headset for your simming needs and I felt the Reverb was the better option.

The Index has a slightly lower irresolution, which would not be a problem for most games but games like DCS require as much pixel density as you can squeeze out in order to read those MFDs.

In the end, I decided the Reverb was still the better option.

About the Author

Gary (Flanker)

Gary has been "hard landing" into runways and driving his Mitsubishi Evo off of cliffs since the early 2000s. These days, he spends most of his precious hobby time with his favorite flight, racing and space simulations in VR. He also has an Engineering Degree in Computer Science which helps a lot with his obsession with optimizing PC hardware like CPUs, Graphics Cards, VR Headsets, HOTAS, Racing Wheels etc. for high end sims.