Google Cardboard vs Oculus Rift

Virtual reality is a cool new way to experience games and other apps. Even though the tech has only been around for a few years, there are already a lot of different options that you can choose from. That includes top of the line systems that give you the best possible virtual reality experience and lower end systems that are much more budget friendly.

In this article, we’ll compare two of the most popular products available right now: the Oculus Rift and the Google Cardboard.

Oculus Rift

Google Cardboard

Oculus Rift

The Rift is one of the pioneering VR systems. And it is a truly impressive machine. It has a lot of great features that make it stand out. Including its advanced tech, game quality, and comfortable design.

Man Playing Game Using Oculus Rift VR Headset

High End Technology

The Rift offers the most advanced tech available today. It’s got separate high resolution screens for each eye, infrared sensors for motion tracking, and a powerful refresh rate that makes for more realistic movement in the virtual world.

Cool Games

The selection is still somewhat limited but they have put out some amazing games that feature fully developed storylines and gameplay that really takes advantage of what VR has to offer. You’ll get hours and hours of gameplay and you’ll love it enough to play them over again.

Comfortable design

The headset has a great, ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to wear. It also has an adjustable head strap so you don’t have to continuously hold it up to your face as you do with the Cardboard.


The two key drawbacks when compared to the Google Cardboard are the fact that it is costs a lot more money and can be demanding on your computer.

Man Using Oculus Rift

There’s really no competition with Cardboard on price. The Rift is expensive. It’s one of the most expensive systems available. That’s not surprising considering how advanced the tech and design are. But it’s definitely an investment so you want to do your research before you spend your hard earned money.

Where the Cardboard can work with pretty much any phone that fits inside it, the Rift needs a PC that is powerful enough to give the output that it needs to run at peak performance. So you’ll want to check if your computer is even up to the task before investing in this headset.

There’s no question about it. If you want a high end, totally immersive virtual reality experience, you will have to go with the Oculus Rift—or another comparatively high end system. The Cardboard simply doesn’t have the tech to do what the Rift can do.

But, as you might expect, high end products come with a high end prices. If you’re ready to make that investment, you will definitely get your money’s worth in the form of an awe-inspiring VR experience.

Google Cardboard

The Cardboard represents Google’s continued commitment to making cool new tech available to as many people as possible. It’s nowhere near as advanced as the Rift but it is a great choice for some people. What makes it appealing is its low price, simplicity, and the selection of games and apps.

EightOnes VR Google Cardboard Kit Held in Hand


This is by far the most affordable option. It’s cheap enough that you won’t even have to dip into your savings to get it. And because it’s so cheap, it’s not much risk. If you get it and decide VR just isn’t really your thing, you haven’t spent that much money to begin with.

Simple Set up

It is super easy to assemble the Cardboard and then start using your smartphone as a virtual reality device.

Affordable Introduction to VR

This is not the device that will wow you with mind-blowing graphics and super cool immersive VR experiences. But it is the low cost option that will get you excited about what’s in store for the future.

Wide Variety of Games And Apps

Android already has quite a few fun VR games available that are either free or super cheap. Of course, they’re pretty simplistic as mobile games/apps tend to be. But they are still fun ways to pass the time.


For all it has to offer, the Google Cardboard also has some drawbacks. Namely, it has limited functionality and it’s not as immersive as the Oculus Rift. It’s pretty much just a case that lets you mount your smartphone on your face.

Man Using Eightones Google Carboard

The design of the case is suited to mimicking virtual reality perspective but it’s more or less only going to be as high tech as your smartphone because it really is pretty much just cardboard.

As mentioned, it isn’t meant to be a state of the art, optimized VR experience like the Rift. If advanced tech is important to you, you need to be ready to spend the extra money on a full-fledged VR system.

It’s not exactly fair to compare the Cardboard against the Rift on quality. The Cardboard wasn’t designed to be a high end system. It’s a device that you use with your smartphone and its main goal is to make virtual reality accessible to as many people as possible. And it definitely succeeds there.

So if you’re interested in seeing what the craze is all about but don’t want to pay the steep price of the Rift, you can get the Cardboard and then download some of the fun new virtual reality apps that are coming out. It works with both android phones and iPhones. So it’s one of the best ways to get an affordable introduction to VR.

Final Word

When it comes to quality, there is really no contest. The Oculus Rift is the much better virtual reality system. However, the price reflects that high quality. So if you want to have the best possible VR experience, you will have to be prepared to pay for it. But if you’re just looking to get a sense of what virtual reality can do, the Google Cardboard is the most affordable way.

People Playing on Oculus Rift at a Show

It’s very budget friendly and it’s also ideal for trying out virtual reality on the go. And if after the Cardboard, you decide you like the experience that VR makes possible, you can look into the higher end options to get a more immersive experience.

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