The cost of a standalone virtual reality headset is prohibitive at this point, with prices for devices like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Pre exceeding the $ 500 mark. However, if you want to experience this new technology, there are more affordable options to choose from, in the form of smartphone-powered headsets.
Such headsets are dirt cheap in comparison. Apple, for instance, sells one for just under $ 30 for iPhones through its online store — it works with Android smartphones too. And now Google is also offering Cardboard, at an even lower price point.
Cardboard was originally unveiled at Google I/O 2014, with a new version being introduced in May of last year. Just like other similar headsets, it is compatible with Android smartphones and iPhones thanks to a dedicated app that is available on Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
Available through Google’s online store, the search giant’s VR headset can be had for just $ 14.99. If you want two of them you will have to shell out $ 24.99. At this price, you could buy a few and offer them as gifts. Just make sure that they will be used with high-end devices.
If you prefer a sturdier option, Google also offers Mattel’s View-Master VR which costs $ 29.99, but is made of plastic instead of paper. Alternatively, you can also look at the $ 14.99 Goggle Tech C1 Glass, which is foldable and Cardboard-ecosystem compatible.
As I frequently like to mention, the user experience provided by VR headsets is strongly linked to the display resolution of the smartphone that powers the device. The higher it is, the better everything will look. Having experienced virtual reality content on a Samsung Galaxy S6 (which has a resolution of 1,440 by 2,560), I know that I would not want to be looking at a lower-resolution panel at such a small viewing distance.