Here’s 5 of the Top Android VR Headsets
VR is here and is getting bigger and better by the day. But the charge towards our virtual future is not being led by the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, but by the huge range of mobile-compatible headsets available for a fraction of the price. Here’s some of the top Android VR headsets available now.
The most popular of these is Samsung’s Gear VR, which is supported by a massive marketing drive from the Korean tech giant, as well as its association with Oculus. Samsung’s dominance of mobile is second only to Apple, and the Android operating system it uses is much preferred by many people over Apple’s less open iOS.
And it’s not just Samsung that uses Android. Google’s operating system has grown and grown, powering around 70 per cent of the world’s mobile devices, made by a huge range of different manufacturers and available at a range of price points.
This is huge for VR, and means globally hundreds of millions of people can take advantage of the five top Android VR headsets listed below.
This is a huge market and one that is creating a wide variety of Android-compatible headsets through which to experience VR.
The cheapest of these is Google Cardboard. Initially treated as a bit of a joke when it launched in June 2014, what it offers is a basic introduction to VR and what it can do – something VR as an industry needs if it is to become mainstream in the way smart phones and tablets are.
As well as releasing Google Cardboard, earlier this year Google announced it’s Daydream VR project, which is expected to launch towards the end of 2016.
This is a serious evolution of the Cardboard VR platform, and will require a new generation of phones to power it. It is being seen as a more ‘serious’ entry into the world of VR by Google, and will herald in a new era of mobile-powered VR experiences for people who might not have the money to afford an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset.
As well as needing new mobile technology to run, Daydream also works from the Android Nougat operating system, which is expected to launch just ahead of Daydream.
Here’s a list down of the top 5 Android VR headsets, in no particular order, which are available now.
Head across to the store to browse and buy, and shoot me any questions if you have them.
Top Android VR Headsets
Cheap and cheerful. Google’s Cardboard is the budget mobile headset option and won’t dent your wallet like an Oculus (or indeed a GearVR). You can get hold of Cardboard for around $15-$20.
It arrives in a small package, and you follow the instructions printed on its side and fold it into shape yourself.
You can then slot a VR-capable smartphone into the front of the ‘headset’ which you can view through the two cheap as chips lenses bolted onto Google Cardboard.
There’s a very rudimentary sensor on the side of the device that allows you to select things with your finger.
It’s all very basic, but it does provide you with a simple insight into the potential of VR. There’s Google Map ‘virtual tours’ that you can play with, and a variety of other basic apps to experiment with. Cardboard supports smartphones up to 6-inches long.
The Homido VR headset sits partway between the Cardboard and Gear VR. It aims to steal some of Cardboard’s thunder by being compatible with a wide variety of phones (including iPhones), while it also offers a few unique features of its own.
It offers adjustable lenses, that provide three options. This is great in that it shows the manufacturer is at least trying to cater to peoples’ diverse range of vision. It also provides users with an ecosystem of more than 300 apps that are available through the Google Play Store.
The Homido is available in both full-price and ‘mini’ versions.The Homido does everything you’d expect and is a great choice.
The Freefly VR headset is a little different to the other offerings here. Designed by the whizz kids over at Proteus VR, its unusual winged design makes it stand out and also makes it really easy to insert your phone into.
The Freefly is versatile too, supporting phones from 4.7-inches to 6-inches in length.
The Freefly VR headset uses 42mm lenses and offers a 120-degree field of view, with an adjustable head strap to help you get the fit that best suits your head.
Plus, it comes bundled with a free Bluetooth controller giving you extra control. The Freefly allows you to enjoy games, films and TV shows all in glorious VR.
This is the most well known headset of the bunch. Widely promoted by Samsung, as well as indirectly through its ties to Oculus. In fact this is trumped as THE mobile VR headset by the Rift creators who have loudly and proudly added their ‘powered by Oculus’ tag to the device.
It’s more expensive than Cardboard, but then most of these units are. Developers have listened to feedback from users and the latest iteration is more comfortable and provides plenty of room for people who wear glasses. A second control pad has also been added, making the headset a lot easier to use, and the apps easier to navigate to and through.
The connection to Oculus also means the Gear VR benefits from a great range of content, with plenty of games, films and TV shows to enjoy in VR.
The Gear VR is designed to work seamlessly with Samsung Galaxy smartphones, so if you have one of these, the Gear VR could be the best option for you.
Lenses and optics expert Zeiss enters the VR market with its Zeiss VR One, and soon to be release Zeiss VR One Plus. The manufacturer brings a pedigree in lense design and optics that many of its rivals can only dream of.
The Zeiss VR One is a little more expensive than the others in this list, but that’s largely because of the quality of its lenses and build quality.
This is a hefty piece of kit that oozes class and design, it’s extremely well made with a triple layer of foam to ensure the comfort of its users when donning the headset.
Although the lenses are superior to most of the other offerings in this list, unlike the Homido VR (above) they can’t be adjusted, with Zeiss opting for a one-size fits all solution.
Rather than provide a mounting tray for your smartphone with the VR One, Zeiss asks that you buy a tray separately to attach to the headset.
They fit surprisingly well, but the fact you have to pay for an extra piece of kit on top of what is a fairly expensive mobile headset, could put some people off.
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