In the past few years, hundreds of companies have come out with original products, games, and apps that offer simulated experiences to their users. Until recently, however, many of the headsets and motion sensor trackers on the market cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, making them inaccessible to the general public for months at a time.
Since then, Google, Samsung, and freelance designers have all come out with products that users can afford at a fraction of the cost of an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset. Take a look at the budget-friendly headsets and accessories listed below.
5 affordable virtual reality products that you’ll love
Google Cardboard is the perfect headset for gamers and VR users who are just beginning to dabble in VR or only want to explore basic VR functions. The headset is compact, lightweight, and compatible with both Android phones and iPhones. It allows users to explore 360-degree videos from apps like VRSE and Jaunt, among others. Just clip your phone to the front of the device and use your thumb to navigate through your virtual environment.
Yet another popular Google VR product is the Daydream View, a slightly higher-end headset (but still typically under $100). The headset works with certain Android phones and Google’s Pixel smartphones. It gives users the ability to navigate through virtual worlds such as those in apps from Major League Baseball, The New York Times, Netflix, J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts,” and more. Users can also wander through art galleries and museum exhibits on Google Arts & Culture, or play any of the numerous games available on the app.
This mid-range headset powered by Oculus can be yours for around $100. Plus, it comes with Samsung Galaxy smartphone capability, a remote that doubles as a gamepad, 101-degree field view, motion sensors, and over 1,000 apps and games available to users. This headset is versatile, offering a wide range of advanced design features that make the experience highly interactive without using external motion tracking devices tethered to the headset.
While the headsets above allow users to dive into worlds unknown, the spherical camera lets you create those worlds, with 180-degree horizontal and vertical cameras on both the front and back. Users can also create their own panoramic videos and photos, which offer a great starting point for those interested in creating VR-simulated environments in the future.
5. 3D print designs
If you already own VR hardware or software and want to expand your collection, be sure to check out websites like Thingiverse, where 3D print designs are available for DIY equipment that is compatible with Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Playstation VR, and more. Some of these headsets cost as much as $800. However, the sensory mounts, cable tethers, stands, and goggle fans are both affordable, printable, and make your VR experience more comfortable as you move around various environments.