Best VR Headset for Elite Dangerous (2020)

I am a Premium Beta (2014) backer of Elite Dangerous and I can say that without a doubt ED is “THE BEST SPACE SIM IN VR”. I am also invested in Star Citizen but VR support is non-existent there and it works iffy at best even with workarounds like VorpX.

So for the past 4 years or so, I have been having a blast playing ED in VR. The combat is pretty great because of the situational awareness and depth perception. The cockpits of those ships feel as big as a train car in VR!

But my best experience is still mining asteroids. I can’t describe the feeling of flying around those monstrous asteroids. The sense of scale is really astounding. And when you blow one of them up and get cloaked in space dust… oh man!

Anyway, I digress. You want to know which are the Best VR headsets for Elite and here are my top picks based on hundreds of hours of experimentation.

1. Best for Elite/ Premium Option

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

Elite doesn’t require the clarity of flight sims (where you have to read those small dials and radar screens), but there is still plenty of text on screen. This means that you need a headset with the absolute best clarity, and NOTHING comes close to the HP Reverb in that regard.

Each eye is rendered at 2160 x 2160 which makes everything super sharp. There is barely any Screen Door Effect noticeable.

The first batch of the Reverb had some Quality Control issues but they have long since been fixed (back in Sep 2019). I bought mine in Dec 2019 and it has performed flawlessly since.

Headset Resolution (per eye) Pixels (both eyes)
Reverb  2160 x 2160 9,331,200
Index  1440 x 1600 4,608,000
Vive Pro  1440 x 1600 4,608,000
Cosmos Elite  1440 x 1700 4,896,000
Rift S  1280 x 1440 3,686,400
Vive  1080 x 1200 2,592,000

This is what Elite looks like in the Reverb (actual lens shot). It actually looks better than this but the iPhone camera can capture only so much:

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....

The Rift S is my default recommendation. It’s value for money, its plug and play, is doesn’t beat the Reverb in resolution but it’s no slouch either.

The Rift S is the safe bet. Get it if you don’t want to spend too much or if you are not super into sims yet.

What makes the Rift S a good option is that its an all-rounder VR headset. It may not be the best at one thing but it does all things well and that is what you need if you are just starting out with VR. later, you can upgrade into more niche headsets.

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...

The O+ is a great entry level option. It has an unbeatable price but be warned that it is a bit old now and Samsung may come up with another headset soon (but so will every other company).

O+ is not a bad option if its your first VR headset. But if you are upgrading, consider the options listed above.

4. Runner up

The Index  is the most expensive option because of its lighthouses and hand controllers. The thing is you only need those controllers and lighthouses for games other than flight, racing or space sims. So if mostly intend to play those games, this might be good option if you are willing to fork out that much.

But if your true passion is exploring the stars or flying around between in mountains, then you don’t really need to spend this much. Not to mention the Index is very rarely in stock.

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.