The 2020 Microsoft Flight Simulator is perhaps the most ambitious and revolutionary flight sim of our generation. The technology it uses to simulate the entire planet in such detail, along with weather and other effects is truly remarkable.
When combined with a good, VR headset the sim truly comes to life. This combo of a VR + MS Flight Sim is without a doubt, the closest you can come to real life flight outside of an actual plane!
However, not all VR headsets are created equal. For example, the Index is a great VR headset but almost 40% of its price is the lighthouses and controllers which you don’t really need for MS Flight Sim or any flight sim for that matter.
What you need for MS Flight Sim is a headset that:
- Has the maximum possible resolution
- Exceptional lens quality
- Comfortable enough to be worn for long flight sessions
Things like hand controllers are completely irrelevant for flight sims since you would be using a HOTAS/ Joystick anyway. Tracking quality is also not that important since you won’t be jumping around in your cockpit.
With all of this in mind, here are my top VR headset recommendations for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The Reverb G2 has a beautiful 2160×2160 screen for EACH eye. This is significantly higher than what any of the competing headsets have as you see in the following table. The FoV, sweet spot etc. are all good. Nothing groundbreaking but pretty much all VR headsets are in the same ballpark on these metrics . One unique advantage of this headset is that it is a Windows Mixed Reality headset and WMR is Microsoft’s technology. Which means Microsoft Flight Sim has been built to work best with WMR headsets and technology. The sim is optimized around WMR so the Reverb G2 does have another small but welcome advantage there compared to non-WMR headsets. You can use OpenXR which gives you a small performance boost.
Its high resolution is what makes the Reverb stand apart from the crowd. I have been using it for a while now and it offers the best clarity to read your gauges and instruments in flight sims. It doesn’t not have the best controllers, but you don’t really need them for a flight sim. My controllers are still inside the box!
|Headset||Resolution (per eye)||Total Pixels (both eyes)||Refresh Rate||Horizontal FoV|
|Reverb G2||2160 x 2160||9,331,200||90 Hz||114°|
|Quest 2||1832 x 1920||7,034,880||72 Hz|
|Vive Pro 2||2448 x 2448||11985408||120 Hz||120°|
|Pimax 8K X||3840 x 2160||16,588,800||90 Hz||200°|
|Index||1440 x 1600||4,608,000||144 Hz||130°|
|Cosmos Elite||1440 x 1700||4,896,000||90 Hz||110°|
|Vive Pro||1440 x 1600||4,608,000||90 Hz||110°|
|Rift S||1280 x 1440||3,686,400||80 Hz||110°|
|Vive||1080 x 1200||2,592,000||90 Hz||110°|
The Pimax 8K X dominates the competition when it comes to clarity, visuals and field of view. It offers almost double the resolution and FoV of most other consumer grade headsets and it does that at a price that is high but not beyond the reach of what us flight simmers have to pay for graphics cards, premium joysticks and other hardware.
My main concern with the Pimax 8K was that it would need so much GPU power to run. However, practically, the difference is not much because oyu can scale down the super sampling and it still looks so much better than other VR headsets. Of course, its still only possible with top end GPUs like the 3090 and the 3080Ti, but us flight simmers have got sort of used to that by now. Quality comes at a price.
The Quest 2 is the best mid-range option for not just MS Flight Sim, but for almost every VR game. It is the quintessential jack of all trades headset that won’t break the bank. It has good resolution, good tracking, good value, good comfort, good build quality and good everything really. Not necessarily the highest resolution, but close enough to be viable in flight sims. Which is what makes it an absolute work horse for VR gaming.
Get this headset if you are new to VR and want something that is good with all games, not just flight sims. It is the safe option. I was actually surprised with the amount of goodness packed into this headset while still maintaining such an attractive price.
The Index is an excellent VR headset. I am still a massive fan of lighthouse tracking and the excellent controllers of the Index. However, you don’t really need that for sims. For sims, you need clarity and the other options in this list have an advantage there. But if you do want to play other types of games and sims are less of a priority for you, then the Index is a decent option to consider.