Are you excited about virtual reality, but not sure where to start when it comes to buying a headset? Here’s the 4 most important things we think you should know about VR before you buy a headset.

1) What is 3DOF and 6DOF?

“DOF” stands for degrees of freedom. Think of moving vertically, horizontally, and rotating – these are all different degrees of movement. 6 degrees of freedom (6DOF) allows you to move around and interact with a virtual environment. Meaning, your head, controllers and body movement in the space are all tracked.

3 degrees of freedom (3DOF) only rotation is tracked. That means that only the rotation of your head and the direction your controller is pointing is tracked. 3DOF is most suited for videos and experiences, where 6DOF is used for more immersive VR games and experiences requiring movement**.

How Virtual Reality Positional Tracking Works (Venturebeat)

2) What’s the difference between tethered and standalone headsets?

A tethered headset is one that uses a cable running from the headset to a powerful computer that’s capable of running VR games. The computer does the processing and provides power to the headset. The headset is simply used ad the computer screen.

Standalone means there are no cables attached, and all the computing happens inside the headset. There’s no need for a powerful computer, so you can take standalone headsets anywhere you want!

3) What are tracking cameras?

VR headsets need a way to locate the player and track their movements in the virtual world. They do this using a sensor similar to a camera.

6DOF headsets use one of two types of tracking. External or outside-in tracking uses sensors mounted on walls or tripods to track the player in the virtual world, and inside-out tracking uses cameras on the headset looking outward track changes in the player’s position.

3DOF headsets like the Oculus Go don’t have external tracking sensors for locating the player, but they can track head and controller movement using other sensors inside the headset.

Image: Ishii, 2010

All the headsets are different in terms of what kind of equipment is required to use them, so check out the table below.

4) How much does VR cost?

To make things easy, we made this infographic to show how much each different headset costs.*

Hopefully this helped you decide which VR headset you’d like to buy! If you have more questions, feel free to get in touch with us or chat to us on Discord. You can also check out or Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.

*Please note prices are current as of November 2019.
**Richie’s Plank Experience is available to play on most 6DOF headsets, including all the headsets mentioned here, except for Oculus Go.