One of the biggest trends for 2016 is undeniably going to be Virtual Reality. With the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive already on shelves, it can be difficult to swallow the steep price tags that the best VR experiences seem to be commanding. It doesn't need to be this way however, as Android users with any type of smartphone have many an option to get access to some great virtual reality headsets. We've collected ten of the best here for users with all kinds of models looking for a VR headset to dip their toes and see what all the fuss is about.
Homido Virtual Reality Headset
The Homido VR headset is one that's based around Google Cardboard - as many are on this list - but it's easily one of the best. With an included carrying case, different lenses for those that are near or far-sighted and a high build quality, this is a great option to consider. Especially given its price and that it has no problem how big your phone is from 4-inches all the way up to 6-inches, there's just a tray at the front to slot it in to. It works well, has great reviews, and doesn't cost much.
Merge VR is a headset that accommodates most 5.5-inch smartphones and those smaller pretty well, and its design and color scheme certainly stand out from the pack, that's for sure. Merge is not only Cardboard compatible, but it also has its own sort of store that curates certain apps and games, which is nice as it points newcomers to VR in the right direction. With a flexible foam front to it, the Merge VR certainly looks like something out of the future, and while there seems to be a little bias towards the iPhone here, it works wonderfully with most Android devices. A little pricier than most, this might be a good option to go Cardboard with a little extra.
If you're looking for something really cheap to just try out virtual reality to see how you like it, then the VR Fold glasses are a good option. They cost less then $10 in the US and they're super-portable. It is however, a little limited, you can only really use simple VR video apps and you won't want to do too much moving around as your phone might come lose or get damaged from these. They also won't help to block out the outside world, but for a simple test set, these are a great price and should get the job done.
View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack
This is definitely one for the kids as well as parents, but it's mostly a family VR viewer. This brings the view-master back into the 21st Century, and despite its friendly look and feel, it is quite the competent VR viewer. It works with Google Cardboard as well as Mattel offering some of their own view-master content, some of which really goes to show what VR is capable of, and at this sort of price, this is a nice option.
Pasonomi Virtual Reality Headset
While the Pasonomi viewer here does have a lot in common with the Gear VR in terms of look , this is basically just another Google Cardboard option. However, it's well-reviewed and it's one of the more comfortable budget options. It's got all the padding that you could ask for, it's nice and lightweight, and it also has some great adjustable straps included as well. For a middle of the road VR headset, this is one of the best-priced options out there, that's for sure.
Zeiss VR One
The Zeiss VR One is sort of the deluxe version of any of the other Cardboard compatible headsets out there. This is the sort of thing that will appeal to those that know how important a good set of lenses can be, because this certainly has some great lenses. It's pretty pricey however, and despite a few extra niceties here and there, it's mostly the same Cardboard experience as elsewhere. What sets this apart from the crowd however, is the device tray system, which you can purchase for other phones and even design and 3D print your own trays, which makes for a super-secure fit, but doesn't tie you to one particular brand of smartphone.
Royole X Movie Viewer
This isn't your typical VR viewer, and in fact doesn't even do 360-degree content as many VR viewers do. It's extremely expensive as well, which is to be expected really, given the fact that this combines excellent visual quality for watching movies or playing games with some excellent audio quality as well. This is the creme de la creme of private viewing, and is the sort of thing that will appeal to frequent travellers or those low on space in their homes.
Samsung Gear VR
The Gear VR is the best option if you have a modern Samsung smartphone. It's powered by technology from Oculus, the people behind the Oculus Rift, which gives this some great and unique content right away. It's got Minecraft, a great theater to watch your own movies in as well as access to lots of great games and content from Samsung's MilkVR catalog and much more. Sure, it's pricey, but it's custom made for the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge, which means you'll be getting a great first-party experience from Samsung. It looks great, has awesome content on offer and is the best option for Samsung smartphone users.
This is a fun, colorful and simple Google Cardboard option, albeit without the Cardboard. Designed to be nice and portable, this works with all sorts of different smartphones out there, and it looks great as well. It might not be the most comfortable, but it's well-priced and has a lot on offer, especially for those looking for a way to show off the technology to friends and family without too much hassle.
Destek VONE VR Viewer
The Destek viewer has over 500 different reviews on Amazon, and it's one that has great big lenses to show off content at its best, as well as a great strap system that keeps the viewer tight and secure, but not uncomfortable. There's a lot to like about this option, including its price, as well as the fact that it's compatible with all apps found in the Play Store and will accommodate devices up to 6-inches in size, too.