HTC's headset is the highest of the high-end when it comes to VR, and that's true not only with the price but also the complexity of the setup: this isn't exactly plug-and-play. But the benefits are immense, thanks to the room-scale design that immerses you within PC games.
More refined and consumer-friendly than the Vive, the Oculus Rift is synonymous with modern VR. It has plenty of big, polished games, plus the incoming (but optional) Touch controllers put it close to on par with Vive's unit.
Sony's PS4-powered headset could be the VR device of the holidays: it's cheaper than some, yet still delivers impressive and immersive games, plus it has exclusive Star Wars and Call of Duty experiences. We called it "exceptional" in our review, and between price and power it seems like the sweet spot for many looking at VR right now.
Mobile VR doesn't have to be disposable junk: Samsung's Gear VR squeezes a lot of fun out of the company's top-end smartphones, powering untethered virtual reality games and 360-degree media. It's a clear step down from the headsets above, but at a much lower buy-in price.
It only works with Google's new Pixel phones for now, but the Daydream View may jumpstart the VR platform for everyone. We'll soon see more Daydream phones and viewers, plus surely many games and apps. But this is a compelling starting point, especially if you're hot for Google's latest Android.
Head back to Polygon’s 2016 Gift Guide hub.
Header illustration: Alice Carroll