Buying a full-fledged VR system, comprising of a VR ready laptop or PC and some high-end VR headsets can turn into a daunting spending spree. However, if you are not into hardcore games, but you do entertain the occasional indulgence, then you should buy a Best smartphone VR headset.
Though, there are brands like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive which excel at offering users a mesmerizing experience with state-of-the-art gyroscopes and motion tracking.
But these systems cost a pretty penny and you still need to spend more on the games you intend to play.
If you want to step out of the powerful PC world, then here are some best smartphone VR headsets, which are a great option. The concept is that these headsets have a rack where you can fix your phone, and then the thick lens of the headset use your phone’s display to create the best VR experience.
Although the technology is less detailed and perfect when compared to a PC VR headset, but with smartphone VR headsets, you can also watch movies, play minor indie games and do much more without emptying your pockets.
The Best Smartphone VR Headsets
The $99 Google Daydream is a clue as to the direction that Google is trying to take in preparation of the future. The headset has a cloth cover and a pretty earthy look and feel.
It is obvious at first glance that this headset is Google’s effort to introduce VR to the billions of smartphone users around the world. Since Google makes android, they have incorporated VR compatibility into as much of the software as they could.
The control coves with a touch pad, and you can also use it to do actions by moving it in the air. Google has also started making more and more apps compatible with VR. Already, apps like YouTube, Plex and Netflix have release VR compatible versions of their apps and these versions run very smoothly.
The controller has a touchpad along with three buttons, and that is enough controls to allow you to play games with it. And good news! There is no shortage of games on the Google Daydream whatsoever! You will have plenty to experiment with this headset.
The case and the construction of the headphone has been the subject of both radical critique and radical appreciation. The case is constructed with hard plastic. To make it earthier and aesthetically pleasing, the hard plastic is covered with a comfortable fabric.
There is extra cushioning where the headset sits on the eyes and the nose which certainly helps a lot, especially for long duration use. Instead of an adjustable clip mechanism, Google has employed a stretch and elastic cord, which stretches to fit large phones easily. The idea is pretty intuitive, and it saves a lot of weight.
The purpose of the Google Daydream is to support as many Android devices as possible so that it can be regarded as an accessory to every phone belonging to the Android ecosystem.
However, many older phones do not support VR well and also the system requirements are huge. This VR is designed with future phones in mind, but it does some of the flagship phones from various brands now.
You can use it with the entire lineup from Samsung as well as the LG v30 and the Moto Z. Though that isn’t exactly a big list of compatible phones, you can be certain that the Daydream will be compatible with almost all upcoming phones. You can use the same headset for a variety of phones from different makers.
- Cheaper than many other VR headsets.
- Accurate motion control makes you VR experience immersive and amazing.
- Can be used with multiple apps.
- Gives you a quality VR experience.
- App compatibility is still a work in progress.
- Only compatible with a few flagship phones, however, more phones are coming soon.
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Like many other Samsung products, this VR headset is on the more premium side of the spectrum. This headset has a lot in common with our previous entry. The headset is also padded for added comfort.
The custom controller that comes with the Samsung Gear VR brings with it some additional functionality. It can be used to aim in whatever VR app or game you are playing. The headset and the controllers are very interactive. The controller is better than the Google Daydream for longer use because it is easy to locate and press the buttons. Also, a touchpad on the side of the headset makes life easier for users. You can control a lot of things in the device with these many interactivity options.
Samsung Gear VR also beats Google Daydream in another department. Oculus and Samsung have become partners. This has allowed Samsung Gear VR access to the library of apps and games from Oculus.
That is something the Daydream cannot access, and it certainly is an advantage is Samsung’s favor. With this access, you can do quite a few things which would ordinarily need an Oculus Rift.
But there is one department where Samsung VR falls short, and that is compatibility. Where the Google Daydream is compatible with phones from various manufacturers, Samsung Gear VR is exclusive to Samsung devices, namely the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note lineup.
Though this puts many potential buyers in a bit of a bind, we would not recommend taking the big step and switching to the whole Samsung ecosystem. Though the Gear VR is an immersive experience, the technology is still in its early stages and it is not that refined.
- Well built controller. Accurate and comfortable to use.
- Accurate and immediate head tracking.
- Clean, minimalistic and simple interface.
- Voice Commands make use easier.
- Sharp and mesmerizing visual quality with flagship Samsung phones.
- Limited to Oculus Gear VR library.
- Compatibility is limited to Samsung phones only.
- Other than Oculus library, compatibility is limited to a few apps only.
- Few apps have support for the controller.
- The controllers are not rechargeable.
- There is no place to fix and store the controller with the headset, especially on-the-go.
- Strapped-in phone gives an unfinished appearance and disrupts the character lines and the aesthetic.
- Pricier than Google Daydream, and also heavier.
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Daydreams is in fact Google’s second VR product. The Cardboard predates the Daydream, and it was the first VR headset produced by Google. The idea of building a minimalistic and basic VR headset with cardboard was unique, and it inspired more than the consumers. Many companies and startups started making simplistic and very basic VR designs by taking their structural and aesthetic inspiration from Google.
The Cardboard was a simple design. It was essentially a cardboard piece, which you could cut and fold into a VR headset by following the give instructions and putting in the two lenses.
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Though the Merge VR has a lot in common with the Cardboard it is a solid build and foam padding to maintain comfort for longer periods of use. Furthermore, the Merge VR costs only $35, so it is a great way to get to know VR without spending too much. Despite the price, it has all the essentials, from a comfortable strap to a slot for phones of various sizes.
Though the Merge VR is a steal at $35, you still have to make some major sacrifices looking away from both the Samsung and Google products. There is no controller with the Merge.
You can, however, interact with apps by moving your head or employing the clicking magnet which is attached to the headset. The capacity and range of interactive control is limited and that is a serious downside. So, though this headset would not serve your gaming needs, it is a cash savvy way to enjoy VR videos. However, that windows of customers is not narrow, and it is still attractive to a massive market share.
- Solid build quality and sturdy design.
- It is easier to use than many other low-end VR headsets.
- Wide field of view with minimal distortion at the edges.
- Compatible with both apple and android.
- It has support for a wide range of game titles and applications.
- Heavy boxy design can be uncomfortable at times.
- Not comfortable for longer periods of time.
- Does not work smoothly with older titles.
- Limited interactivity because of lack of a controller.
- Pixilation can sometimes be problematic.
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