Virtual Reality remains a hot topic in technology until now, with VR headsets improving in terms of features. The said accessories only work with gaming consoles and computers before but have been made compatible with mobile phones. As a result, you can now step into the virtual world on the go using the best VR headset that would not hurt your budget.
Indeed, a mobile VR headset is now more affordable compared to when it was first introduced to the market. Before we discuss the candidates for the best VR headset that suits your phone and budget, let’s learn more about what the accessory is and the top features you should be looking for. This will help you decide on what to buy afterward.
How Does a Mobile VR Headset Work?
A mobile VR headset can be easily mistaken for a console- or PC-compatible one. That is because of its appearance that resembles an enclosure or glasses worn on the eyes. The way an iPhone or Android VR headset works is different, though.
Firstly, a mobile VR headset needs only the internet or a phone inside it to function. The former requirement is for the standalone type. For the latter type that uses an iPhone or Android phone, its front plate opens to accommodate the device. The slot where the phone slides in varies in size per headset because different phone models come in various sizes. In fact, older models only match a specific iPhone or Android phone. Nowadays, a VR headset can have universal compatibility.
Secondly, a mobile VR headset uses lenses on its screen to deliver and enhance VR content. It does not require a physical cable connection to a mobile device, console, or computer to work unless it doubles as a tethered type.
Thirdly, a mobile VR headset needs VR-compatible applications to function. For instance, movie streaming apps and games can split the screen to be viewed via the headset’s left and right lenses. There are more for Android compared to iOS based on official app store availability.
Lastly, a mobile VR headset’s power source is the phone battery. Standalone models use replaceable or rechargeable lithium batteries.
How to Choose the Best VR Headset
Understanding product specifications will make it easier for you to pick the best VR headset from the top places to buy mobile accessories. Here is a quick rundown of what to do before you purchase the accessory on Amazon or a physical store near you.
Resolution is the quality of VR content that can be displayed per lens. The best VR headset should be able to deliver 1080×1200 pixels or higher resolution for each eye. There are now models that support 4K, although the feature pushes up the selling price.
Know the IPD
IPD stands for Interpupillary Distance. There is no good or bad IPD in a VR headset because this depends on your eyes. You should still know the average or your specific IPD and adjust the accessory’s IPD to match it. To elaborate, IPD is the distance of the screen to your pupils that generates the perfect focus. Furthermore, a VR headset’s supported IPD can be a fixed value or range in millimeters. The average human IPD is 64mm, but if you can check with an eye specialist to determine yours, the better.
Choose Wide FOV
FOV is an acronym for Field of View. A person’s maximum FOV is 180 degrees, so your product pick should have a FOV angle close to it. In today’s market, good FOV is 110 degrees and the widest many can offer. On the other hand, bad FOV is anything less than 90 degrees.
Check Controller Type
A VR headset should be easy to control. While several models have buttons built into them, others have separate compact controllers with simple layouts. The latter types are seen to be better because they can be replaced once worn out, unlike integrated controllers where you might have to replace the entire VR headset when damaged. Better yet, choose a VR headset that also has a compatible management app for controlling it remotely.
Consider Convenience and Comfort
The best VR headset is convenient to wear or hold and is safe for the eyes. A strap-on version is said to be better than a handheld variant because you do not need to hold it for hours in case what you are watching or playing is long. If you still prefer a handheld type, make sure that it is lightweight.
With regards to eye safety, several releases can filter blue light or are suitable for people with eye conditions such as myopia.
11 Best Budget-Friendly VR Headsets for Mobile Phones
VR technology keeps getting better through the years, so you do not necessarily have to spend too much on a decent one. In this guide, let’s focus on the best models that are budget-friendly yet can be on par with some high-end versions.
The Merge AR/VR Headset is the best VR headset for learning and family use, being an Academic’s Choice Award and Best Virtual Reality Headset for Big Kids and Tweens winner. The iPhone and Android phone-compatible accessory are great for students because it supports Merge Cube and Merge Miniverse. The former is an award-winning virtual STEM tool while the latter is a 360-degree video platform. The VR headset can also be used for watching movies and more.
In terms of controls and viewing, the Merge AR/VR Headset features an adjustable IPD and a FOV of 96 degrees. All you need to do is move the lenses to slide the top buttons for each. For interacting with the VR interface, the same buttons can be used.
The accessory also touts comfort and ease of use. In fact, it integrates rugged foam to protect the device and the wearer’s face. Moreover, it can be handheld or strapped on.
The product goes for $49.99 on Amazon as of this writing.
Being from a renowned manufacturer in the VR industry and capable of working without an iPhone or Android phone in it, the Oculus Go is the best VR headset in the standalone category.
The Oculus Go comes with a mini controller that looks like a car cigarette lighter charger and can be controlled remotely via Bluetooth and the Oculus app on an iPhone or Android phone. It also syncs with Facebook for a social VR experience. As a result, the accessory can work wirelessly and with other Oculus Go headsets from other users.
In terms of resolution, Oculus Go delivers 1280×1440 pixels per eye and 3D content. Audio-wise, it can emit sounds via its built-in drivers or support separate headphones through its 3.5mm jack.
This product, particularly its 32GB version, lists at $364 on Amazon. It can be considered on the pricey side of midrange but is worth it because it offers value for money. Many other high-end VR headsets with the same functionality go above $500.
The updated Destek V5 VR Headset takes eyecare up a notch compared to standard models in the market. This is why it is on this list.
To explain, its two lenses can filter blue light and are flat, so the accessory does not strain the eyes and distort the projected content. Furthermore, FOV is 110 degrees which matches what a mid-range or high-end model can offer. IPD is also adjustable.
Additionally, the updated Destek V5 VR Headset comes with a remote controller with A, B, X, and Y buttons for different functions, and a directional stick. The minimalistic layout resembles that of a Nintendo Switch controller.
The product is priced at $38.99 on Amazon. It works with iPhones up to the 12 series, Samsung Galaxy A71, A51, A50 and up to the S20 series, Google Pixel and Pixel XL, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, and more.
The best VR headset when it comes to resolution and compatibility is from BNext. The BNext VR Headset can deliver 1080-pixel and 4K videos in 2D and 3D from a compatible phone or drone. To elaborate, it works with iPhone models up to the 12 series; Samsung phones up to the S20 series; Google Pixel phones that have at most a 6.3-inch screen; and any VR headset-controlled drone.
The product can make the VR experience more immersive and safe because of its adjustable IPD and eye protection function. Furthermore, it has a soft, adjustable head strap and nose piece. This means you can use it for all-day movie marathons, gaming, learning, exploration, and more activities.
This VR mobile accessory lists at $36.97 on Amazon.
This headset from Atlasonix enhances the VR gaming and movie-watching experience because it supports HD optimization and 3D graphics. It also has an adjustable viewing distance.
With regards to compatibility, the product is not exclusive to a certain mobile phone series. It can fit to any iPhone and Android phone as long as it has a 4 to 6-inch screen. Moreover, it works with hundreds of apps online and exclusive content from Atlasonix.
The product is good for anyone who does not need the extra features high-end versions offer. It goes for $28.99 on Amazon as of this writing.
When it comes to audio, the best VR headset on this list is from VeeR. Its Falcon headset can filter unnecessary ambient sounds through hi-fi noise canceling. Furthermore, it allows the wearer to answer calls via its built-in microphone or 3.5mm headphone jack.
While the sound is its most notable quality, this accessory is not lacking in terms of resolution, FOV, and IPD. It supports 1920×1080 pixels, a 100- or 110-degree viewing angle, and adjustable lens-to-eye distance.
The $40.99 product can hold iPhones up to the X series, Samsung phones until the 8 series, Google Pixel 2 and 3, and other smartphone brands with 4.7 to 6.1-inch screens.
Pecosso is an Amazon Best Seller VR headset compatible with mobile phones. Its major selling point is its adjustability in terms of viewing and comfort.
The accessory integrates an adjustable headband, a nose piece, and two rotary knobs for calibrating IPD on both lenses. To add, the lenses are not curved to avoid distorting the 3D VR projection.
The product is priced at $24.99 on Amazon. Moreover, it works with most mobile phones with a 4.7 to a 6.53-inch screen. For instance, the iPhone 11 and X series, and Samsung S20 and S10 series.
The Oriflame headset is another contender that is eye-friendly and easy to use. The accessory adopts lenses that block blue light and reflection to prevent eye strain. Moreover, its IPD can be adjusted.
The product comes with a free controller that is Bluetooth-enabled and has a simple six-button layout with a direction stick. One of the buttons is the interaction trigger for VR content.
The headset can fit 4.7 to 6.53in smartphones, including the latest iPhone 12 series, the Samsung S20, and Google Pixel 3. It goes for $34.99 on Amazon.
This VR headset from Voxkin is universal. It works as long as the iPhone or Android phone that slides in it has a 3.5 to a 6.5-inch screen. For example, the iPhone 11 series or Samsung S10 series. This best VR headset also supports Google Cardboard-compatible apps and games of various genres.
In terms of comfort, the product has an adjustable head strap that fits kids and adults. Also, soft leather linings are there to protect the wearer’s face. The VR headset is priced at $23.99 on Amazon.
Another top VR headset in terms of compatibility is the Homido1 VR Headset. It recognizes 360 games, 3D movies and images, and more than 300 apps from the Google Play Store and App Store.
The product can function with iPhone and Android phones that have 4 to 6-inch screens. Furthermore, it uses lenses with a 100-degree FOV. The VR headset lists at $19.95 on Amazon.
If you are on a very tight budget or just want to experience the virtual world for the first time, the best choice is a cardboard headset. There are many versions on Amazon that are inspired by the first iteration of a mobile VR headset, the Google Cardboard.
One is this cardboard VR headset from Printor. Aesthetics-wise, it does not resemble a plain recycled cardboard enclosure. The accessory looks neat because it comes in black. Given that it is made of triple A-grade corrugated paper, it is lightweight and simple to use.
The cardboard headset can work with iPhones and Android phones that have 3.5 to 6-inch displays, such as the iPhone X series and Samsung S10 series. It goes for $9.99 on Amazon.
Take Your Pick Now
The best VR headset for an iPhone or Android phone is not always the one with the grandest or high-end specifications. The decision will come down to compatibility, convenience, budget, and your other preferences. With the help of this guide, you are now a smart buyer. It’s time to take your pick from our list and enjoy the virtual world like never before.