Mobile VR is big business. Google has gone all-in on it and there are some great VR headsets that work with the iPhone as well.
Premium VR, such as the HTC Vive or PlayStation VR, comes at a cost – but that doesn't mean you can't get in on the virtual reality action for a fraction of the price. All you need is a cheap-as-chips headset and that smartphone in your pocket.
Heavy hitters: The best VR headsets
Mobile VR apps and games are exploding in the App Store and Google Play - you simply use your smartphone's hardware and display tech to provide the engine and visuals. They are essentially glorified lens cases, often with a few extra features thrown in.
Here's our pick of an ever expanding bunch to look out for...
Google Daydream View
The reveal of the Google's Pixel handset finally set the company's real VR plans in motion. More compatible smartphones have now landed and more Daydream headsets are expected soon.
But don't ignore the original. Daydream View is a dream come true for mobile VR. It's comfortable, lightweight and attractively designed, which is half the battle won in the world of virtual reality. It's available in three different colours and the controller means you don't have to hold your hand up to your head for controls, or buy an additional third-party device.
The original and most cost efficient, Cardboard features a simple three-step assembly procedure, a better control button and support for bigger smartphones of up to 6 inches. Interestingly, Google has opened up the platform to iOS developers as well.
Read this: How does VR actually work?
Cardboard is a low-cost, DIY virtual reality headset that anyone can build, but there are plenty of third party alternatives out there from the likes of DodoCase. In fact, a quick search online reveals you can get one for as little as $5. Just look for the Works with Cardboard badge. The official one costs a little bit more.
Samsung Gear VR
If you own a Samsung phone and you want in on VR, it could be well worth spending the extra money to pick up the newest Gear VR. Addressing many of the issues with the previous Gear VR headsets, the latest device is now more comfortable, making more room for glasses wearers, and includes vents to get rid of that annoying screen fog.
Read this: Samsung Gear (2016) VR review
Most importantly, there's more to enjoy here. Samsung and Oculus are continually adding more content and it's not just games – there are short films and TV shows to watch as well. It's the best you can get at home if Vive and Rift are too expensive.
Xiaomi Mi VR Play
As we said in our review of the Xiaomi Mi VR Play, "You get what you pay for here." This isn't the company's Daydream headset - that's still in the works, but this is still another alternative to the other more expensive mobile headsets.
It's not the best device but gets the job done and works with iOS and Android phones. Mi VR Play is also ridiculously cheap practically rivalling Cardboard's own prices (minus the free DIY of course).
Zeiss One Plus
The Zeiss VR One Pllus will play ball with any iOS or Android phone between 4.7 and 5.2 inches. It packs a media player for the likes of pictures and YouTube videos and an AR app for augmented experiences. The open source Unity3D SDK means there's plenty of scope for development. If you wear glasses, it's designed to be worn comfortably with your specs on too.
Notable new features include a removable head strap and foam that comes in contact with your eyes, plus you can clean the optics and the new universal tray will support smartphones between 4.7 and 5.5 inches.
FreeFly VR headset offers 120-degree field of view, and even has its own Bluetooth games controller for better control of your virtual reality games - however, iPhone VR games don't actually make use of the controller.
The latest version of FreeFly, called the Beyond, packs dual Crossfire capacitive touch triggers instead. It's compatible with smartphones between 4.7-inch and 6.1-inch, which puts all the latest devices in its sights.
View-Master DLX VR
Mattel's 2nd-gen View-Master VR headset was the first to actually be sold in Apple stores but is has since disappeared (could an Apple VR headset be on its way maybe?). You can still pick it up from other stores.
The DLX VR has a redesigned smartphone mount to work with more smartphone size and now offers headphone support and upgraded lenses from the first attempt. It's all modelled on the iconic View-Master design with a more of a modern twist for this second edition. Coming soon.
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