Two years ago a decent virtual reality headset would cost about $1000+ and so it was limited only to niche gamers. But today, you can experience excellent VR simulation using your Smartphone and a VR headset.
The choice of headsets starts from $10 and goes all the way to $1000. But do all headsets work with any smartphone? In this article, we will break down the compatibility of the most popular VR headsets to help you make the right choice.
There are currently four types of VR headsets in the market.
- PC based headsets: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift.
- Smartphone-based headsets: Google Cardboard, Day Dream, Gear VR, etc.
- Console based headsets: PlayStation VR
- Standalone headsets: Oculus Go, Lenovo Mirage, etc.
If you plan to use your Android smartphone or iPhone as the input device, buy a Smartphone based headset.
Google’s Cardboard and Day Dream Viewer works best with Android power phones. But it can also be used with an iPhone. You can get the best results by pairing it with Google Pixel phones.
Apart from Pixel, Cardboard work with almost all Android-powered phone that has VR capability.
How to find out if your phone has VR capability?
For the VR functionality to work, a smartphone needs to have the following sensors.
- Internal compass
- Magnetic Field Sensor
- NFC (optional)
Check your phone to see if it has these sensors. If you are not so technically inclined, there is an easier way to find out.
Fire up the YouTube app and search for 360 videos, choose one and click on it. When the video starts, search and click on the cassette tape like icon found in the controls. YouTube will ask you to connect your VR headset and click on continue. Hit continue and you should see an odd looking spilt image/ video. Move your phone around and it will keep changing the image/ video. If this happens, your phone is VR capable and you can use Cardboard with it.
If the video/image does not move, your phone cannot work with VR.
Google DayDream viewer is the Company’s bigger shot at VR. It works best with
- Pixel and Pixel XL
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
- Moto Z/Z Force
- Huawei Mate 9 pro
- ZTE Axon 7 and other flagship phones.
Samsung Gear VR headset was designed exclusively to work with high-end Samsung phones.
The following is the list of phones you can use with Samsung Gear VR headset.
- Samsung Galaxy S6/Edge and Edge +
- Samsung Galaxy S7/Edge
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5/Fan edition
- Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+
- Samsung Galaxy A8/A8+
There are hundreds of phones capable of VR. But the experience will not be the same in all of them. Screen quality and processing power will differ between phones and so will the VR experience. But it is still possible to get a decent VR experience at an affordable price. For example, Mi’s Redmi 3S Prime costs about $130 and a decent Google Cardboard about $15 and that’s all you need to get a nice VR experience.