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Looking for an Oculus Rift S? You may be disappointed to hear that the $400 PC VR headset is now officially sold out globally. We have a few alternatives you might consider though.
Rift S stocks persevered up until just last week in the only remaining regions where you could order direct from Oculus, which included Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Taiwan.
Now every supported country is out of stock, leaving only a few Oculus Quests in some last holdout regions. You may still be able to find Rift S at independent retailers, but with social distancing coming into effect, you’re probably not the only person out there looking for a distraction from reality; because of disruptions in the supply chain due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), there’s little indication when stock for either headset will be replenished.
Come March 23rd, Valve’s continuation of the Half-Life series is set to launch on all SteamVR-compatible headsets, breaking a 13-year gap between Half-Life 2: Episode 2 (2007) and the upcoming HL2 prequel Half-Life: Alyx. At $400, Rift S represents one of the best price-performance ratios out there, which may explain why the last remaining stock was snapped up. Check out our Rift S review here for more.
If you’re wondering how to play HLA when it launches, you could of course pay the a markup through independent sellers on eBay and Amazon, but you might consider a few other SteamVR-compatible headsets currently available too.
HTC Vive Comos & Cosmos Elite
HTC Vive Cosmos is a pricey alternative at $700, and while HTC’s faceplate modularity scheme aims to appeal to a wider audience, it’s difficult to recommend the base headset due to its finicky inside-out tracking and power-hungry motion controllers. Here’s our review for Vive Cosmos if you’re on the fence.
The premium-priced Cosmos Elite, which was recently released, does the job of eliminating all tracking weirdness with its included SteamVR faceplate and 1.0 base stations, but it does so at a hefty $900 price tag which puts it just under HTC Vive Pro in pricing. That $900 is admittedly offset somewhat by a free code for Half-Life: Alyx in the box though.
HTC Vive Pro & Valve Index
Yes, Vive Pro is still available too, even though HTC is phasing it out soon along with the standalone Vive Focus. Vive Pro is more expensive as an all-in package at $1,200, but it’s undeniably a solid headset. Both Cosmos Elite and Vive Pro use the 2016-era Vive wands though, which could conceivably be swapped out for Valve Index controllers at a later date for $200. Check out our review of Vive Pro here.
There’s also Valve Index—clearly the best-in-class specs wise—although it’s not only $1,000 for the full kit, the lead time for shipping is currently at eight weeks.
Pimax VR & More
Pimax has a load of different headsets; they seem to change their large FOV headset lineup every six months, further adding to the confusion. The Pimax 5K XR is however included in a pretty enticing bundle that included everything you need to get into VR for $1,100, which includes a pair of Index controllers, two SteamVR 2.0 base stations, and a code for Half-Life: Alyx too.
Unfortunately the entry-level Pimax Artisan, which retails for $450 for the headset alone is currently out of stock.
Remember, if you have an Oculus Quest and a VR-ready PC, you could conceivably buy an Oculus Link USB cable and play.
And finally, one of the cheapest ways of playing Half-Life: Alyx is invariably getting a used Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or Windows Mixed Reality headset. Just make sure to sanitize it thoroughly. Please.
Did we miss anything? Let us known in the comments below!
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