The 5 Best VR Headsets for X Plane 11 in 2021

Are you looking for the best VR headset to run X Plane 11? Are you tired of your old, clunky VR system ruining your chance to run X Plane 11 the best way possible?

A little story. I bought my first headset off a random guy on eBay for a few hundred bucks.

It was a clunker.

Uncomfortable design, slow as molasses frames which gave me a bout of motion sickness. 

Not a good experience.

So when I made the switch to quality VR, the difference was like night and day. I felt that I could enjoy the world’s most advanced flight simulator to the fullest.

And by most advanced simulator, I mean it. With proper FAA certification and an ambitious reimagining of flight, X Plane 11 has something for both untrained flight enthusiasts and pilot trainees alike.

Already have the simulator? Awesome. Let’s pair it with the best VR headset to accompany you on this journey.

Best VR Headsets For X Plane 11 At A Glance

  1. Valve Index (Best Framerate – Editor’s Choice)
  2. Pimax 5K Plus (Best Graphics & FOV – Best High-end)
  3. HP Reverb G2 (Alternative Choice)
  4. Oculus Rift S (Best Budget)
  5. HTC Vive Cosmos

1. Valve Index (Editor’s Choice – Best Framerate)

Hear, hear. Say hello to the virtual reality headset with the highest frame rates in the market: the Valve Index. If you want to experience seamless gameplay, the Valve Index is the best VR headset for X Plane 11. It comes with high-end specs capable of turning your cozy gamer cove into a beastly virtual reality haven for X Plane 11. Plus, the system itself is highly customizable too. 

Right off the bat, you get the option to pick your refresh rate from 80 Hz to 144 Hz. We recommend putting it all the way up to the smoothest 144 Hz, just ‘cause you can. You also get a wide 130° field of view, which is outstanding, but not yet the best (we’ll get to that VR soon, just you wait). And you wouldn’t have to worry about the head fit too, since the IPD (aka distance between the pupils) range is a snug and versatile 58 to 70 mm.  

Though keep in mind, it comes costlier than many of its counterparts, at $999 for the full VR kit (compared to $599 for HTC Vive Pro and HP Reverb 2). But if buying the best VR headset for X Flight 11 is numero uno, you’ll never go wrong with the best VR headset for X Plane 11 in terms of performance.

One of the things I especially loved about this VR headset for X Plane 11 is its crisp tracking precision. The Valve Index VR headset has two LCDs each, with 1440 x 1600 pixels for each display. For you and me, this would come out as an ultra-clear display that runs well on a GTX 1080 Ti build, and maybe on slightly outdated GPUs as well.

If you’re familiar, the resolution of this VR headset is just about the same as the HTC Vive Pro. But what sets the Valve Index apart is the presence of the low-persistence mode displays, which makes looking out of the cockpit sharper, crisper, and more detailed. I’ve tried both, and comparatively, the reduced latency and shaking make it the best VR headset for X Plane 11 in terms of smoothness.

As I’ve said earlier, the best VR headset for X Plane 11 is not handed out like candy. It’s expensive, considering its base kit only contains a headset, two controllers, and two base stations. But that’s really the only drawback I could find with this VR headset. 

There’s one more thing. I may have sometimes experienced some glare effects under high-contrast since Valve Index does use dual-element lenses. But it’s a relatively infrequent occurrence, and it doesn’t take away much from my experience when playing X Plane 11 personally. When it comes to performance, headset comfort, and tracking accuracy, this is the winner for the best VR headset for X Plane 11.

Why we liked this product:

  • Highest refresh rate among the VR family
  • Valve’s knuckle controllers for motion tracking
  • Wide and adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD)
  • Crisp and smooth motion display

What we didn’t like:

  • Most expensive VR in the list
  • Requires powerful CPU
  • Glare issues that other headsets don’t have

2. Pimax 5K Plus (Premium Choice – Best Graphics & FOV)

Want the fastest VR headset for X Plane 11? The Pimax 5K Plus brings that to the table – aka the first virtual reality console to tout incredibly smooth 180Hz refresh rates and great 1440p dual displays. This means smooth sailing (er.. flying) and more realistic gameplay. But like all PiMax VR headsets that came before: the best thing about this VR headset is its 200° ultrawide view

What better way to capitalize on that than by taking it to the skies with X Plane 11? While the displays in the headset are sharp and fluid, I did find the colors having a washed-out sort-of feel to them and a mildly noticeable loss of vibrancy. When we tried another product from the same maker, the Pimax 8K Plus, the colors were more vivid in comparison. 

This means you might lose a little touch of color in the skies. But this won’t have a great deal of influence when navigating the systems information display and navigation controls at the cockpit. While normally we would shy away from grainy image clarity, for XPlane 11, it doesn’t affect the experience too badly. At least compared to more visually demanding titles that litter the VR marketplace.

But like all great things, there’s a few asterisks* when we take a closer look. The Pimax 5K Plus might sport high displays and ultrawide FOV, but its main drawback is that it can’t use them both at the same time. Not going to lie, I was bummed when I had to cut down my FOV by 50° to play over 144hz. But still, that’s like the first-world problem equivalent of the VR world.

Besides, 150° is still much wider than any other FOV in the market right now, so really, you’re not going to miss out on too much. 

Would I consider this the best VR headset for X Plane 11? In all honesty, not really. I’d recommend it to VR connoisseurs since tweaking the settings might be more troublesome than it’s worth for newbies. While the ceiling for your VR experience is high, I wouldn’t give out a high-end DSLR to a non-professional and expect them to produce quality work. Especially when more VRs are fast approaching in the next decade.

If you’re actively on the lookout for the best high-end in the market, the Pimax 5K Plus works phenomenally. But for a more casual, fun, and user-friendly VR headset, there are better options in the market.

Why we liked this product:

  • Highest Frame Rates at 180hz
  • Highest Ultrawide Angle at 200°
  • 1440p Displays
  • Top-of-the-line High-End VR

What we didn’t like:

  • Features can’t all be played at once
  • Constantly have to tweak settings
  • Not the most newbie-friendly choice

3. HP Reverb G2

Next up is a good one, the HP Reverb G2. Similar to its predecessor the 2019 HMD from HP, the HP Reverb G2 sports a comfortable, sporty, and sleek design that is a solid jump from the old one. It also boasts an incomparable 2160 x 2160 LCD display for each eye, allowing you to view even the most minute details from high in the skies. On top of that, the headset is adjustable and provides maximum comfort fit for any user experience. 

Would we recommend this to novices who want the best VR headset for X Plane 11?

It might suit some games, but some clear obstacles prevent us from keeping it too high in your list for flight sims in particular. 

x plane 11

For starters, the field of view of the HP Reverb is only 114°. Considerably low compared to other high-end headsets in our list. If you aren’t planning to play just flight sims then this isn’t a dealbreaker.

It also doesn’t have mouse and keyboard compatibility for those who are looking to use that for X Plane 11. Also, like the Pimax, setting it up may be difficult for new VR enthusiasts.

But hey, it’s got Steam VR support.

Why we liked this product:

  • Clarity, display quality, comfort, and sound are best in class
  • Noticeably cheaper than Index and Pimax
  • 2160 x 2160 resolution display per eye is best among other VRs in the list

What we didn’t like:

  • Low FOV, bad for flight sim
  • Controllers and tracking capabilities are lacking
  • Can be difficult to set up

4. Oculus Rift S (Best Budget)

Let’s face it: following the footsteps of great predecessors like the Oculus Go and Oculus Quest can be daunting. But it’s possible. If you’re new to VR, the Oculus Rift S is both budget-friendly and newbie-friendly. It can absolutely run X-Flight 11 too.

With the Oculus Rift S, the devs added features ranging from improved optics for visual goodness to responsive touch controllers. They also brought back the “next generation” lens technology which eliminated god rays, as well as an inside-out tracking system called Oculus Insights.

Not bad at all.

x plane 11

It has an uncomplicated setup too. Instead of dual displays per eye, this system only has a single screen. 

For cons, Oculus downgraded the audio output from in-bud headphones to directional speakers, which can leak out and cause a disturbance nearby. Besides that, it also lacks hardware IPD adjustment which can lead to a tight (or looser) fit, and it also has a screen resolution and refresh rate that’re clear downgrades from the Oculus Quest. But despite this, its tracking has met laud praises from tech critics. 

Would we recommend the Oculus Rift S? Considering the price point, it’s not a bad choice at all for beginners. Especially if you have a tight budget. But if money’s no problem, and fancy yourself an intermediate in the world of virtual reality, look for the likes of HP Reverb G2 and HTC Vive instead of the Oculus Rift S.

Why we liked this product:

  • Great entry point
  • Budget-Friendly
  • Easy to Set Up
  • Decent Performance
  • Good Tracking
  • Vast Catalog

What we didn’t like:

  • Single Screen Display Only
  • Directional Speakers
  • Lacks IPD adjustment
  • Lower Screen Resolution

5. HTC VIVE Cosmos

The HTC Vive Cosmos is a great headset with powerful features. Would we call it the best VR headset for X Plane 11 though? Maybe 2 years ago.

The main reason why is that it’s a bit dated than the rest, released over 3 years ago back in January 2018. Many systems have come out since then, positioned with either better display resolutions or improving the user experience in one way or another. The HTC Vive Cosmos comes with an adjustable IPD (60 to 73), a 110° Field of View, a great (for its time) 90hz refresh rate, and an impressive graphics quality with an OCLED display

In terms of performance though, if you were to pit the two most identical VR headsets in a fight head-to-head: it would be the HTC Vive Cosmos vs the HP Reverb G2. 

Why? They’re near-identical in price, but the key difference is that the Reverb G2 came out a full two and a half years later than the HTC Vive. The G2 sports better dual display technologies and a more lightweight system, while the HTC Vive has better IPD versatility and refined inside-out tracking with six camera sensors. 

For X Flight 11, I’d say this is a great middle-of-the-pack purchase that guarantees an easier setup, a high-quality display, and awesome specs. I didn’t feel much of the system’s age at all when I was cruising in high altitudes, so it’s still a good contender for the best VR Headset for X Plane 11.

Why we liked this product:

  • 2880 x 1700 combined pixel resolution
  • Easy fit setup with no base station requirements
  • Untethered wireless adapter

What we didn’t like:

  • It’s a dated system
  • Sporadic tracking blips

Is X Plane 11 VR compatible?

Yes. The latest version of X Plane 11 supports native VR. As long as you meet all the requirements below, your X Plane 11 software can run on virtual reality.

  • Windows 7 or higher
  • The systems listed above, or any native VR console
  • Steam VR installed for WMR/Vive and “Windows Mixed Reality” 

For more information, visit X Flight’s website.

Can my PC handle a VR headset for X-Plane 11?

These are the minimum requirements to run X-Plane 11.

  • 64-bit processor and operating system
  • OS: Windows 7, 8.1, or 10, 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 CPU with 2 or more cores, or AMD equivalent
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DirectX 11-capable video card from NVIDIA or AMD w/512 MB VRAM
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 20 GB available space*

*Disk requirements based on how many scenes are downloaded, so it can still go higher if you want to download more free world areas.

Should I care about comfort when playing X-Plane 11 in VR?

Yes, because if you don’t abide by acceptable comfort levels, you’d run the risk of health and safety problems for yourself and those around you. The way VR systems like Oculus measure this is with branding titles with respective comfort ratings. These ratings affect your safety and user experience. Titles high in comfort generally include those that avoid excessive camera movement, player motion, or disorienting content and effects. 

Set aside a large space for you to move around with as you play your VR game.

I’m new to X-Plane 11. Should I get a VR headset for this game?

Yes. You’ll need a VR Headset to play X-Plane 11. As long as your PC meets minimum requirements, you can run X-Plane 11 with a VR headset. Any of the headsets we reviewed will be a great choice.

Conclusion

VR is constantly evolving, and tech brands are always neck-in-neck when it comes to innovating new and awesome products.

And c’mon now, is there anyone really complaining?

For X-Flight 11, we find one VR system tops the rest in terms of value. 

But before naming the best VR headset, here are some of the runner-ups.

If we close our eyes on the price… The Valve Index or the Pimax 5K Plus is hands down our number one choice.

A 180hz refresh rate and a 200° ultrawide angle make it an absolute blast to play and take to the skies.

If you’re just starting out… you can’t go wrong with the Oculus Rift S.

It’s insanely cheap compared to other systems. And if you prioritize affordability over top-notch performance, this system works great and can most definitely run X Flight 11.

But the best VR headset, in our eyes, is the…

…wait for it…

(you won’t see this coming)

The HTC Vive Cosmos!

Yes, the dated console topples the big guns. But hear me out.

At a mid-range price, you’ll get a fully functional VR with a detailed 1440p resolution, a great 90 Hz refresh rate, and an uncomplicated setup. 

When I played X-Flight, I did not feel the age of this system at all. It fared just as well as the rest of the consoles I’ve tried. Even the more expensive ones.

And having the same experience for a fraction of the price sold it for me.

So there you have it!

We just want to say, whatever VR console you’re gunning to buy, you’re sure to have a blast.

We’re all here to game and immerse ourselves in the immersive experiences VR can give us.

This is your captain speaking, we hope you have enjoyed your time with us.

Signing off.