Best VR Headset for IL2 Sturmovik (2020)

The original IL2 was the flight sim that many of us grew up with. The first time I flew, I had no idea what was going on but the slow hum of the engines, the tumultuous water underneath, the periodic crackling of the radio and the sun setting over the horizon, all created an atmosphere that I knew I would never want to let go. Thence began my love with flight sims!

Which is why I was beyond excited when the new IL2 series of games (now called  the Great Battles Series) launched VR support. VR would take flight sim immersion to the next level.

Don’t get me wrong, I like TrackIR as much as the next guy. But TrackIR has always been just an additional peripheral . VR is what makes the world come alive.

Since 2016, I have tested almost a dozen VR headsets, and these are my top recommendations for IL2 in VR.

1. Best for IL2/ Premium Option

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

Or buy it directly from HP

With two glorious 2160 x 2160 screens, the Reverb has the highest resolution of any viable consumer-grade VR headset out there. While the Reverb is beaten by the Index when it comes to comfort, build quality, tracking and controllers; the Index loses out on the screens. And for a flight sim like IL2, the screen is what matters.

Which is why the Reverb holds the top spot here. If you are only looking for a VR headset for sims, then you have found what you are looking for. But if you also want to play room-scale games like Half Life Alyx which actually make use of the Index’s excellent controllers and tracking, then you might want to go another route.

But for seated flight sims, space sims and racing sims, the Reverb is the best out there.

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

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 the best value for money option in this list. Each of its screen is 1280 x 1440 which is considerably less than the Reverb, but so is the price.

The Rift S is still a noticeable improvement over the 2016 Rift and Vive and it is at a great price point for those new to VR and not looking to splurge on an enthusiast level headset just yet. It has been pried accordingly and fits that mid-range gap quite well.

I am not saying that this is the lowest budget option, there are even cheaper headsets out there. But none of them do justice to IL2 or other sims in VR.

3. Budget Option

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+ is unique because despite its low resolution, its lenses somehow make the screen door effect go bye-bye. This makes the Odyssey+ a popular option for those on a budget.

I would have definitely ranked it much higher but for the fact that it is a bit dated now. Its also a bit harder to get hold off outside the US. But if you are on a budget, this is the best budget option.

4. Runner-up

The Index  screens have a decent resolution of 1440 ×1600 per eye which doesn’t match up to the Reverb but is the next best option. The issue with the Reverb is that it is quite pricey and a lot of its features are wasted for flight sims.

Half the price that you pay is for the controllers and lighthouses. Neither of which are needed for flight sims. I have not even taken out my Reverb controllers out of their box yet! And the second lighthouse from my 2016 Vive is still in its box! Those toys are needed for people who play a lot of room-scale games.

That being said, it you are ok with the price tag, and you also do play such games, then the Index may be your jam.

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.