Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that a player can interact in for the ultimate immersive experience. The virtual reality glasses make the environment seem real in a physical way. When you are wearing the glasses, it feels like you are physically set down in the middle of the game and you have the ability to look around the setting and interact in a much more personal way.
Virtual reality is believable, interactive, immersive, and explorable. It shows you an environment from different perspectives, rather than one dimensional and straight on like how you would experience it in a traditional game.
Virtual reality engages the body and mind and promotes physical activity. As the environment changes in the game, your setting and your perspective of the scene changes as well. Think of when you go to a 3D movie. It almost feels as if you are in the middle of the action and experiencing it, rather than just watching.
Virtual reality systems can cost hundreds of dollars. However, there are more budget-friendly ways that you can take advantage of this amazing immersive experience without breaking the bank. Android phone and iPhones offer a virtual reality experience with glasses that you can play with right from your Android smartphone device using different virtual reality apps from the app store or other approved places.
The prices for virtual reality headsets range from the cheaper and more affordable price points to the higher end spectrum. We have come a long way since the creation of the cardboard device. The simpler the headset, the cheaper it is going to be. When looking for the right headset, you are probably going to narrow down your options and find products that fit into the following categories: Price, availability, features, design, up-front price, space needs, and accessories.
The price and availability of the following models for Android smartphones and iPhones are all within an affordable spectrum, and they do not lack features due to the smaller price tag. The higher end devices cannot be powered by a mobile phone. Therefore, the prices will be much higher.
When discussing space needs, you should consider what type of game you will be playing. To get the most out of a virtual reality experience, you will want to be able to stand up and walk around; this feature might end up costing extra and take you to a more mid-range price level.
Before we discover the newer headsets available for 2017, we should first discuss one of the first virtual reality headsets that paved the way for improved technology and additional features on newer models.
The original Virtual Reality Headset
The cardboard can be assembled in three steps and features custom designed and high-quality lenses for improved visuals and it has a partially laminated body for added durability. It supports most Android and iOS phones and has an interactive click button that works with all compatible phones. They are a good place to start when you begin to delve into the experiences of the virtual reality world. There is no padding so it may become uncomfortable when wearing for longer periods of time but it is well-built and it is quick and easy to mount and dismount the phone. It is a cost-effective way to try out virtual reality before spending more money on something that would be more long-term.
The following are the five best budget virtual reality glasses for iPhone and Android in 2017:
The Homido Virtual Reality headset can turn any 4-6 inch iPhone or Android phone into a virtual reality headset. It works with over 300 iOS and Android apps that can be found on Apple store or Google Play store and is designed to provide clarity with minimal distortion.
- Ergonomic design
- Well-ventilated for extended wear
- Affordably priced
- 100-degree field of view
- Optical clarity
- Advanced optical adjustments
- Wireless and battery-free for freedom of movement
- Can be difficult to mount and dismount the phone
- Not as comfortable as some competitors
The Homido Virtual Reality Headset is said to be like Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR Headsets. The custom-designed lenses are 70% larger than what can be found on Google’s cardboard glasses and they offer a 100° field of view. You do not need to be attached to a computer to use this headset and since it is wireless and battery-free, you are afforded the freedom to move around. It is a versatile headset that will work with most smartphones.
The Samsung Gear VR Headset can turn a compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphone into a portable and wireless virtual reality machine. It features an easy-to-use touchpad with back and home buttons and offers a full field of view with precise head-tracking and low latency. Oculus powers it and you can interact and share adventures with other Gear VR users.
- Provides hours of entertainment with 360° adventures
- Can watch your favorite shows on Hulu and Netflix
- Expansive library of premium content so there is always something new
- High visibility
- Easy to use touchpad and directional buttons
- Has a charger on the bottom to plug in power source
- Drains phone battery quickly when not plugged in
- Not all games are 360° immersive
- Games can be expensive and few have trailers to sample the games
The Samsung Gear VR Headset includes an accelerometer, gyro meter, and proximity features with mount and unmount detection. You can use this device to transform your smartphone into a portable and wireless virtual reality device and you will have access to a library of premium content, so there will always be something new available to you.
The Google Daydream View VR Headset features a lightweight design for comfort and has an intuitive controller for a hands-on experience for all your virtual reality adventures. It has a soft and washable design with an easy-load system that provides incredible views with just the turn of your phone. The headset is also designed so that it will fit comfortably over most eyeglasses. The controller allows the user to interact with the virtual world like swinging a bat, steering an airship, and even casting spells with a magic wand. The controller has smart sensors that understand your movements and gestures and also has an adjustable volume button.
- Has a lot of content and guides you through the basics
- Very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time
- Cover is easily removable so that it can be washed
- Soft and breathable material
- Intuitive controller for an improved hands on experience
- Is not compatible with a lot of smartphones
The Google Daydream View VR Headset can fit over eyeglasses comfortably and the slight progressive lenses help your view as you adjust the headset over your eyes. The Gear VR is powered by Oculus Technology, so it makes exploring the environment completely natural and smooth. You can make your dreams a reality while not having to spend a lot of money to do so. When looking for the best budget virtual reality experience, you will find it waiting for you inside the Daydream View headset. It will provide you with endless hours of entertainment and does not involve any complicated setup or wires. Simply put your smartphone securely into the device and you can immediately begin exploring everything that virtual reality has to offer.
The Freefly Mobile Virtual Reality Headset can track your 360° head movements and projects them onto the screen so that you can get a realistic virtual reality experience. It has a120° field of view and is lightweight and comfortable to wear. It is a premium-quality headset that works with most smartphones and features an automatic thickness adjuster. It also comes with a lens cloth and carry-on box, as well as a Free Glide controller that is compatible with Android devices.
- Works with virtually any smartphone device
- Wide 42 mm lenses for a maximum field of immersion
- Lightweight and ergonomic design
- Anti-fog lens coating
- Automatic phone thickness adjuster
- 1-click quick-open system
- Includes free wireless Glide VR Bluetooth controller
- Lenses are not adjustable
- Cannot adjust settings in real time
- Can become slightly out of focus
The Freefly Mobile Virtual Reality Headset is one of the more sought out headsets available on the market today. It is equipped with head tracking and can even project the images from the phone to the screen and includes one of the highest fields of views available. The FOV for this headset is an astonishing 120 degrees, which is one of the highest FOV’s available on the market. The headset has been designed with comfort, simplicity, and immersion in mind.
The Bobo VR Headset uses high-quality ABS and 42 mm diameter spherical resin lens material without stimulation plastic sheet. The material lowers down the distortion while magnifying images and providing the user with a wider view. It features T-shaped straps that are adjustable and the design can help decrease the pressure around the eyes, making it is more comfortable to wear. It is suitable for most smartphone devices and has adjustable pupil and sight distance with an Optical Axis Sliding Control Function.
- No visual fatigue or dizziness due to the resin lens
- Adjustable straps to provide better comfort
- Good field of vision
- Adjustable integrated headphones
- Volume adjustment found on the bottom of the headset
- Tight fit in the phone holding mechanism
- Can fog up after extended use
The Bobo VR Headset is suitable to use with all kinds of smartphones and both sides featureholes that are specially designed for the headset, data, and charge cable. You get a viewing distance that offers a large screen at the distance of 3 m. The specially designed headset also helps to decrease any pressure that you may feel around the eyes and it is comfortable to wear for longer periods of time. To use, open the front cover and pull the switch button at the top of the headset and then open the top cover. Next, you can start the app and, once it is installed, you can enter the right and left dual screen interface. From here, you will insert your smartphone and adjust the middle line. You can then adjust the tension of the three headbands to find a comfortable fit. To fix any blurriness or double images, adjust the two pupil adjustment switches that are located on the top of the device. This will provide a clearer picture without any interference.
If you are just beginning to enter the world of virtual reality, then all the headsets reviewed can give you a better idea of what to expect and what features to look for. Anti-fog coating is safe for extended use, and the field of view can vary from device to device. You want to be sure you are experiencing the maximum virtual reality experience, so a comfortable and ergonomic fit of the headset is also important.