Best VR headset for iMac Pro iMore 2021
The HTC Vive currently offers the best combination of performance, hardware compatibility, and supported games and apps to really get the most out of the experience. With more developers offering support every day, this is the platform you want to have attached to your iMac Pro.
Who should buy this VR headset
If you're looking for a VR headset with native macOS support, both in hardware and software, this is the best route for you to go. But even without that native support through Steam VR, the HTC Vive is the most accurate whole room VR system you can buy today. Just set up the tracking boxes, fire up Steam, and get ready to lose a few hours in VR.
Is it a good time to buy this headset?
HTC just recently dropped the price on this headset, both to compete with others in the market and make room for the commercial-focused HTC Vive Pro headset, so now is the perfect time to pick up a Vive. It's not likely to see another price drop anytime soon, and this is the default headset for most developers building things for the Steam VR right now.
Reasons to buy
- Great build quality
- TONS of accessories
- Mac-supported games list grows daily
- Tracking system is scary accurate
Reasons not to buy
- Display resolution in the headset could be better
- Front camera doesn't get used for much
- Significant set up required
VR Headsets don't really support the Mac much right now
Feeding into the false narrative that most Mac users aren't gamers, there isn't a lot of great VR support for macOS. Windows Mixed Reality only supports Windows, Oculus Rift started to support the Mac years ago and then abruptly stopped, and it's taken a long time for things to change.
But Apple and Valve and HTC have been working together to fix this. Apple has added eGPU support to macOS so just about every Mac can be turned into a VR-ready machine, and releasing more capable machines like the iMac Pro to handle it natively. Coupled with a ton of work to make sure VR developers can easily publish Mac-friendly games to Steam VR and HTC's Vive supporting the Mac through this platform, everything has come together to ensure this is the best possible solution for anyone who owns a Mac, but especially those who own an iMac Pro.
Alternatives to the HTC Vive
If you're not concerned about how much things cost or what the state of the stable version of the software is, there are other VR headsets you can consider. HTC's other headset, the Vive Pro, asks a lot more from your PC in order to correctly function but the level of realism you get in the headset is ridiculous.
HTC's Vive Pro is not made for the average VR fan. It's the headset you expect to see when you go to a VR arcade, or when you're seeing a professional demo at a mall kiosk. The 2K displays, built-in headphones, and massively updated tracking system built to support multiple headsets in much larger spaces all come together to create an unrivaled experience. But to get that experience you have to pay quite a bit, both in money and in processing power. Only the highest end iMac Pro will even support this headset, and even then the GPU is not capable of pushing this headset to its fullest potential. You'd need an eGPU to really make this VR headset do everything it was designed to do, but the end result is so very pretty.
VR on a Mac is both possible and fantastic these days, as long as you have the right hardware to accompany your shiny new iMac Pro. An HTC Vive transforms your whole room into a portal to new worlds, and does so at a relatively low price. But if you want to go all out and really show off, the HTC Vive Pro is there to really crank things up a notch.
Either way you're in for a good time, but the HTC Vive is going to be the best option for most folks.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Russell Holly is a Contributing Editor at iMore. He lives for the shiniest new thing, and loves explaining its potential to improve your life. Whatever you do, don't tell his spouse about the drawer full of tech under the bed.
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