I'm still not a fan of halo straps

I'm still not a fan of halo straps

Playstation VR popularized the Halo strap for VR headsets. A design that still has its drawbacks.


Opinion piece

Sony used the same proven design for the PlayStation VR 2, which has been copied by many competitors.

You wear a halo-shaped strap that rests primarily on your forehead and distributes the weight of the headset evenly across your head. The same design has been used for Windows Mixed Reality headsets, the Oculus Rift S and most recently the Meta Quest Pro.

Another advantage of this design is that the headset does not press against your face, at least not as much as other solutions. In the case of the Playstation VR 2, you can even adjust the distance of the headset from your face.


Halo straps have many drawbacks

A few months ago, at the launch of Meta Quest Pro, I wrote that the perfect comfort solution still doesn't exist. My experience with Playstation VR 2 gave me a sense of déjà vu.

My problem with halo straps is that they cover a lot of my head and can feel constricting, even claustrophobic. Not to mention the discomfort and headaches that can result from the forehead-heavy nature of this design. A phenomenon that many users complained about with the similarly constructed Meta Quest Pro.

Meta Quest Pro from the side below.

Meta Quest Pro uses a similar design to PSVR 2. | Image: Meta

The often inflexible design of the head mounts can also lead to compromises in image clarity for the sake of comfort - or vice versa.

And if the strap doesn't fit your forehead perfectly, the comfort can suffer, as MIXED colleague Ben writes in his PSVR 2 review. After about an hour, the forehead padding becomes uncomfortable and leaves deep pressure marks. A problem that also affects me.



The problem may solve itself... one day

Another drawback of halo straps: Because of the adjustment wheel at the back of the head, you can't lean back or rest your head. If you sit in a chair with a high back, you have to tilt your head forward a little bit, which after some time will affect your neck. For the same reason, I criticized the Elite strap of the Meta Quest 2.

Oddly enough, the best experience I've had so far has been with the base strap that comes with Meta Quest 2. This simplest and cheapest of all solutions fits me perfectly and doesn't slip. A fortune and a privilege few have.

A man wears the tiny PC VR headset Bigscreen Beyond.

Bigscreen Beyond weighs 173 grams without the head strap. | Image: Bigscreen

Maybe one day the comfort issue will solve itself. VR headsets are getting smaller, thinner, and lighter. VR enthusiast Brad Lynch is currently testing the ultra-light Bigscreen Beyond. He says on Twitter that the soft strap on the Quest 2 isn't necessarily a bad design, and could be useful when paired with a much lighter headset.

It will be a long time before that happens with Quest headsets. Unlike Meta Quest 2, the Bigscreen Beyond PC VR headset does not have a built-in SoC or battery and requires external tracking accessories.

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