Designing the best headset for sim racing in VR

Designing the best headset for sim racing in VR

We started designing Bigscreen Beyond in 2020 with the ambitious goal of building the world's best headset for VRChat and games, watching movies in Bigscreen, and sim racing. Today, we're sharing some insights into why Bigscreen Beyond is the best headset for sim racing in VR.

Can sim racing in VR beat racing with monitors?

Before getting into technical specifications, let's first talk about why virtual reality is great for sim racing. Sim racing lets you enjoy the feeling of racing down a track at insane speeds from the comfort of your home, while making it feel as real as possible. Sim racing does not feel realistic with just a keyboard or game controller. To feel immersed, you'll need a high-end racing sim rig with a motion platform, direct drive force feedback steering wheels, load cell pedals, professional-grade racing seats. Most commonly, this is connected to a huge triple-monitor display. This is where the limitations of PC monitors become obvious, and the benefits of virtual reality emerge.

Virtual reality naturally lets you look around the cockpit of the car, glance at the rear-view mirror, or crane your neck as you're entering a corner. Virtual reality being three dimensional gives you depth cues that enable you to better estimate distances and drive more realistically. Each of these subtle nuances greatly enhances immersion, tricking your brain into thinking you're actually racing on a track. Real-life isn't flat; when playing racing sims on a flat screen, your brain knows it's just a game.

 "My brain is doing this thing where it actually thinks I'm moving!" | ClipAli Sayed / Optimum

To best understand the nuances of why VR is incredible for sim racing, watch this clip of Optimum's first time sim racing with VRSpoiler alert: after several "oh my god"s and "this is insane" reactions, Ali from Optimum got rid of his multi-thousand dollar multi-monitor setup in favor of racing in VR with the Bigscreen Beyond.

Three reasons why Bigscreen Beyond is the best VR headset for sim racing

Ergonomics – physics and inertia with motion platforms

Sim racing in virtual reality presents unique challenges that we had to consider when designing the Beyond. Advanced motion platforms for sim racing add significant physical forces to your body. The vibrations and forces aid in realism, but other virtual reality headsets like Meta Quest or Pimax are very heavy (typically 500-800 grams). This can cause severe neck pain, body/eye fatigue, and pull you out of the immersive experience. To make matters worse, most VR headsets are physically large, with most of the weight several inches away from your head. 

From a physics standpoint, this means you not only have a weight problem but also an inertia problem: the headset continues moving after you stop, and you feel it in your neck and see it in the headset.

Photo: Ali Sayed / Optimum

Bigscreen Beyond has revolutionary ergonomics for sim racing in VR. It's the world's lightest headset, weighing just 127 grams. This is 4-6 times lighter than other headsets like Meta Quest 3 (500 grams) or Valve Index (810 grams). With this extreme weight reduction, you no longer feel like you're wearing something on your face. This allows you stay immersed longer, without neck pain and fatigue. 

Photo: Ali Sayed / Optimum

Secondly, Bigscreen Beyond is extremely thin. It features next-generation pancake optics technology that can achieve a large field of view in a very small form factor that brings the weight of the headset closer to the center of your head. This reduces the moment of inertia, which means your motion platform won't shake the VR headset. This creates a significant improvement in physical comfort, as well as optical comfort because your eyes will always remain in the perfect sweet spot for VR.

Text Clarity – the need for ultra-high resolution

Whether racing or flying, simulation games all have highly detailed gauge clusters on vehicles with tiny text. This is usually impossible to read on other VR headsets as they lack sufficient display resolution. Most recent headsets like the Meta Quest 2 or Meta Quest 3 only have approximately 20-24 pixels per degree (PPD), which is just too low to show sharp text and fine lines. 

Bigscreen Beyond features ultra-high resolution displays and optics with 32 pixels per degree (PPD) in the center of the field of view. This incredible resolution makes it easy to read text and enhances immersion compared to other headsets as you no longer see a grid of pixels (also known as the "screendoor effect" other VR headsets struggle with).

OLED displays with contrast and colors

When night racing, the OLED displays really shine. Bigscreen Beyond has several orders of magnitude more contrast (500,000:1) than other VR headsets, enabling you to see subtle detail while driving at night. Beyond lets you see details in trees, shadows, curbs, and silhouettes of vehicles in the distance.

Other VR headsets use LCD displays which severely lack contrast and detail in the darks/shadows. On such headsets, these details are impossible to see and are simply grey. With Beyond, the level of detail you can see creates a profound sense of realism that enables you to feel more immersed while driving at night. If you add photorealistic rain mods in Assetto Corsa, this takes immersion to the next level.

Bigscreen Beyond sim racing reviews 

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what leading technology reviewers have to say about Bigscreen Beyond and sim racing.

In the spirit of transparency, these aren't sponsored posts or advertisements. Reviewers were given a headset to review, and were not paid in any form (cash or otherwise). Bigscreen had no involvement in the content, nor did we see any content before it was publicly released. We stand behind our product and believe that transparent reviews like this will earn our customers' trust and support.

Will from BoostedMedia published their review on YouTube, stating that Bigscreen Beyond is "easily the best headset I've used for Sim Racing." With over 300K+ subscribers, Will has an extensive background in sim racing and has reviewed every major VR headset out there. 

With each unit custom-built to your face, the incredibly small and lightweight design of the Bigscreen Beyond unlocks a potential for VR that I haven’t seen before.  Add to that its ease of use and simple workflow, and you’ve got what I think is one of the most exciting bits of hardware of 2023. – Will Ford, BoostedMedia


Ali from Optimum is a technology reviewer who specializes in high-end PC and PC component reviews such as small-form factor PCs, watercooling, keyboards, and mice. Optimum recently got into sim racing gear and built a high-end triple-monitor OLED setup. Here's Ali on his experience with the Bigscreen Beyond's microOLED displays:

But it does truly feel like I'm playing a different game between these two headsets. The Bigscreen uses 1-inch panels at 2560 by 2560 per eye, and yeah, they're just insane. So much detail, so much contrast... When you're sitting in the cabin of a high-res car model, you have to stop yourself from reaching out and pressing buttons, because that's how convincing it feels.

After dropping thousands of dollars on a triple-monitor racing sim setup, Optimum tried VR sim racing with the Bigscreen Beyond and the Meta Quest 3. Ali said:

The Bigscreen Beyond is super impressive. This form factor is 5 years ahead of everything else. This is one of the best PC gaming experiences that you can get today. VR on the racing sim: I don’t think I can go back to a screen setup. This tiny VR headset completely just blew them out of the park.

If you haven't ordered yours yet, you can purchase a Bigscreen Beyond for $999 USD. Most orders ship to supported countries around the world within 2 weeks.

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