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The 6 Best VR Headsets for Flight Sim: Ultimate Guide

Sometimes a simple television screen or computer monitor is simply not enough to immerse you in the world of flight simulators. For that reason, we’ve compiled a list of the best VR headsets available to pair with flight simulator games in order to give you an unparalleled experience.

Before we move on to the list, there are a couple of caveats you should be aware of before you make any sort of purchase:

  • These peripherals can be quite expensive, so be sure to check that your flight simulator is VR-compatible before making any purchase.
  • The more advanced the VR system, the more it will take a toll on your computer. For the more powerful entries on this list, make sure your computer has a powerful graphics card. If you’re a laptop gamer, be sure to check out our list of the best laptops for flight sim)

The Top-Rated VR Headsets for Flight Sim

Editor's PickHeadsetScore
Best OverallSamsung Odyssey+86%
Runner-UpHP Reverb90%
Luxury PickValve Index92%
For ProfessionalsXTAL VR95%
Also GreatPimax 8K+88%
Honorable MentionOculus Rift S85%

Best Overall: Samsung Odyssey+

Samsung Odyssey+
  • 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 Between Pure Whites and Ultra-Deep Blacks, Revealing Hidden Details in Even the Darkest Scenes
  • Access to Windows mr store and steamer libraries for thousands of games & experiences
  • Premium, built-in AKG headphones w/360O spatial Sound and Mic
  • Adjustable headband, now 10% lighter with improved comfortable materials

The Samsung Odyssey+ is comfortable, ergonomic, easy to set-up, and will grant you near-total immersion when playing. The 110° FOV is quite good, allowing you to see relatively far around you. Not only that, but what you see will also be graphically quite nice, as Samsung makes use of two 3.5 inch dual AMOLED screens with 3K displays to draw you in. The anti-screening effect makes the resolution look even better than what it is, delivering crisp and clear images to you. 

All in all, this is an excellent VR headset that comes at a very reasonable price. If you’re looking for a very high-quality product, but don’t feel like spending a fortune, then Samsung’s entry is hard to ignore. Do consider also purchasing an add-on replacement foam if you’re looking for extra comfort.

Runner-Up: HP Reverb

HP Reverb
  • Top VR gaming library: Blast, slash and soar your way through the top library in VR gaming. Oculus Rift S lets you play hundreds of games and exclusives already available in the Oculus store, with so much more to come.
  • Improved optics: Stare down the competition with next-generation lenses and a sharper display. Improved optics deliver bright, vivid colors and reduced “screen-door” effect.
  • Ergonomic design: Keep your head in the game thanks to a Halo headband redesigned with speed in mind. Rift S stays securely and comfortably in place with a quick twist of the fit wheel, so it can take-or double take-your fastest reactions.
  • Oculus touch controllers: Arm yourself with our updated Oculus touch controllers. Your slashes, throws and grab appear in VR with intuitive, realistic precision, transporting your hands and gestures right into the game.
  • Oculus insight tracking: take a step forward with Oculus insight. It translates your movements into VR No matter which way you're facing and provides room-scale tracking without external sensors.

Admittedly the HP Reverb isn’t a cheap VR set, but quality comes at a price. The above average FOV (around 114°). is coupled with high-resolution LCD displays. Few VR headsets in the same weight class as the Reverb can keep up with the insanely good 2,160 × 2,160 pixel count. Images are sharp, textures and edges. The headset is pretty ergonomic too, which is always a plus for longer gaming sessions.

Other than the price, the other main negative aspect is the controllers. The reverb makes use of the same Windows controllers as all other VR headsets. As much as we like the headset, we don’t love the controllers. They are quite bulky yet still manage to feel flimsy. Tracking is thankfully quite good as long as it stays within your field of vision, but outside that forget it. 

Luxury Pick: Valve Index 

The Valve Index is a newcomer to the market, but has sent shockwaves throughout it. It doesn’t pack the same incredible stats as the Reverb, but it offers a more consistently positive experience. The FOV is the main exception, outclassing the Reverb outright, coming somewhere in-between 120-130°. 

The graphics are quite good, fed to you by two 1440×1600 LCD Displays, and images still do look quite crisp. 

The biggest, and genuinely noteworthy, improvement are the controllers. Even just ignoring the fact that the Index has backwards compatibility with HTC Vive and Vive pro controllers, the Index controllers are amazing. An array of 87 different sensors allow the controllers not only to track your hand position, finger position, motion, and pressure but faithfully recreate them in virtual reality. Not only will you feel like you’re looking at the game in first person, but the hand tracking is so realistic it’ll feel strange to reach for an object and not have it physically be there in the real world. 

Of course, this all comes at a steep price, but if you intend to use your VR headset for more than simply playing flight sims, the Index is a great choice. 

For Professionals: XTAL VR

The amount of money required to purchase this titan is insane. That being said, it’s clear that the XTAL has no match in the VR world.

Unless you have money to quite literally throw around, then skip over this pick. If you do and don’t plan on putting it aside, then maybe the XTAL VR is for you. 

The custom-built optics, patented lenses deliver a 5K OLED resolution to your eyes. A resolution that’s only matched by an insane FOV: a majestic 180°. That’s one and a half times what high-tier VR sets like the Index deliver. The auto-eye feature also makes is so that the XTAL follows your eyes so as to deliver personalized and high-quality images tailor-made for you. 

What about the controllers? Well, you don’t need them. The XTAL’s embedded leap motion sensor allows you to interact with Virtual Reality using your bare hands with close to no latency. It’s natural, accurate, and smooth. And if you’re not feeling to use your hands, you can always make use of XTAL’s voice controls to navigate through menus. 

It’s a fantastic piece of machinery, and it shows the potential that VR can achieve. It’s also incredibly inaccessible because of price. We don’t recommend investing in this peripheral unless you truly have a lot of money to spare. 

Also Great: Pimax 8K+

Pimax 8K+
  • VR RESOLUTION REDEFINED - Dual Custom OLED Crystal Panels each with a stunning total resolution of 5120*1440 that sets a new standards in quality and immerses you like no other device before. Say goodbye to the dreaded screen door effect or “SDE”, ghosting and smear as those effects are virtually invisible.
  • SUPERWIDE FOV - 200° Diagonal FOV is the closest to human vision of any commercially available product. No more looking through binocular effect with this new VR headset as you will notice immediately that enemies who could run away from the corner of your vision in a VR game cannot run away from you anymore. The Pimax 5K XR delivers an unparalleled true-to-life virtual reality experience like no other.
  • STRONG COMPATIBILITY - Thanks to Pimax Compatibility Technology the Pimax 5K XR Headset supports most of the thousands of games and more available on BOTH Steam and Oculus Home. Enjoy movies and internet video content like never before. In addition, the Pimax 5K XR is compatible with other brand Steam Controllers and both the Steam VR Lighthouse 1.0 and 2.0 tracking technology.
  • MORE COMFORTABLE - Ergonomically Designed face pad and strap so that you can comfortably stay immersed in that virtual world for long periods of time and it reserves enough room for wearing most prescription glasses. For maximum comfort the new Pimax 5K XR includes BOTH physical hardware and software IPD adjustments allowing the widest variety of people to enjoy the stunning immersion you can achieve in virtual reality.
  • RECOMMENDED PC SPECIFICATIONS – OS: Windows 8 or Windows 10; GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1070 equivalent or better; CPU: Intel i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 equivalent or better; RAM: 8GB or more; Video Output: DP (Displayport) 1.4; USB Ports: 1xUSB 2.0/3.0; Desktop PC highly recommended. Room scale movement tracking requires at least 1 SteamVR Lighthouse tracking device.

Let’s start this review with a disclaimer. The Pimax 8K+ is not an easy machine. If you’re new to the world of virtual reality you will likely struggle to get the settings just right. Having said that, the Pimax is an absolute joy to pair with flight simulators. You’ll immediately notice that this system is quite large, and that’s due to the fact that it’s built to give the user the widest possible field of view. While this is perhaps less central to racing games, any pilot will tell you that seeing the entirety of the cabin and outside the cockpit will go miles in making your experience not only engrossing but also incredibly realistic. 

It’s ergonomic, has incredible image quality (the “8K+” in its name is there for a reason), and will allow you to get the best possible view of the skies when you fly. We can wholeheartedly recommend this peripheral as long as you don’t mind a relatively steep price-tag and having to fiddle with settings a little bit. Is it expensive? Yes. Does it live up to the hype? Absolutely! 

Honorable Mention: Oculus Rift S 

Oculus Rift S
  • Top VR gaming library: Blast, slash and soar your way through the top library in VR gaming. Oculus Rift S lets you play hundreds of games and exclusives already available in the Oculus store, with so much more to come.
  • Improved optics: Stare down the competition with next-generation lenses and a sharper display. Improved optics deliver bright, vivid colors and reduced “screen-door” effect.
  • Ergonomic design: Keep your head in the game thanks to a Halo headband redesigned with speed in mind. Rift S stays securely and comfortably in place with a quick twist of the fit wheel, so it can take-or double take-your fastest reactions.
  • Oculus touch controllers: Arm yourself with our updated Oculus touch controllers. Your slashes, throws and grab appear in VR with intuitive, realistic precision, transporting your hands and gestures right into the game.
  • Oculus insight tracking: take a step forward with Oculus insight. It translates your movements into VR No matter which way you're facing and provides room-scale tracking without external sensors.

A lower price doesn’t mean low quality. The Oculus Rift S remains a leader in the VR world due to its high fidelity, the high 2560×1440 resolution, an ergonomic design, and great controllers. If you were paying attention you probably noticed an important stat was missing: FOV. This is where the Rift S falls a bit short. It states that it’s officially 115°, but some users have found it to be closer to 100°, sometimes even a bit less than that. 

Nevertheless, the Rift S remains an excellent pick for anyone looking to enter the magical world of VR flight simulators. You’ll be wholly engrossed, it will feel like a completely new and alien experience (in the best of ways) and you’re going to be very happy with your purchase. Especially since it comes at slightly less than half the price of headsets such as the Index or Pimax 8k+. 

Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by Thomas Bush