The Best Headsets for Mobile-Powered Virtual Reality

By Tom Pritchard on at

2016 has already be declared the year of virtual reality, with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR all hitting the consumer market later this year. But as we all know, virtual reality isn't necessarily an expensive far off purchase. You can get  basic virtual reality experience (and even play games) with a smartphone-powered headset.

From the dirt cheap Google Cardboard to more expensive things like Samsung's Gear VR, here are the best mobile-powered VR headsets you can buy right now.

Google Cardboard, Various Prices

Google's budget headset is freely available to everyone, you just need to go out and buy the necessary parts to make one for yourself. It's incredibly basic and doesn't even come with a headband, but if you want a rough virtual reality experience for a low price then it's your best option. You can also buy them pre-built, like this £4 option from Sinbury that comes with an elastic headband. [Buy it here]

Samsung Gear VR, £85

Sure, this headset only works with Samsung's more recent smartphone 0fferings, but it's also one of the most advanced mobile headsets there is. Since the inception of the Oculus-powered Gear VR, Samsung has been developing virtual reality apps, films, and so on. Plus it's a nice headset, so it isn't going to damage your face. [Buy it here]

Zeiss Virtual Reality One, from £117

If you want something more advanced, but don't have a Samsung phone, this is the one for you. It works with iOS and Android, but so far doesn't have many dedicated VR apps other than a demo and a cinema-style movie app. Luckily it does work with other VR apps, like Google Cardboard. [Buy it here]

Homido VR Headset, £49

What really sets this apart is the fact that it has a 100-degree field of view, and that's not something that pops up on many cheap headsets. It also fits most phones, has adjustable lenses, different modes for different types of sight, and the option to swap out the part of the headset that's in contact with your face. [Buy it here]

Freefly VR, £55

If 100-degree field of view was impressive, Freefly ups the game by increasing it to 120 degrees. On top of that it comes bundled with a Bluetooth remote, a leather finish, a proper seal around your face, and headtracking tech. The downsides are that the lenses cannot be adjusted, and it's not really suitable for people wearing glasses. [Buy it here]

Durovis Dive 7, €107/£82

VR headsets aren't keen on bigger devices, and the upper size limit tends to be 6-inch screens.  The Curovis Dive 7 has no such limitation, and fits phones and tablets with displays up to seven inches in size. Using a bigger device means you have a much better field of view (admittedly, at the expense of pixel density). The Dive 7 also has built-in head tracking tech, which sort of justifies the price tag. [Buy it here]

Destek 3D Headset, from £30

The design is what sets the Destek headset away from the competition, and while it's still fairly basic you have bonus comfort-based features thrown into the mix. There's foam padding around the area contact area, an adjustable overhead headband, and the ability to access your phone's ports. You'd be amazing at how many do not offer that last one. [Buy it here]

Andoer Universal 3D Glasses, £10

This one is pretty basic, and believe me it needs some nose padding, but it's a good step up from the dirt-cheap Cardboard stuff. It'll fit phones of most sizes, and lets you adjust the spacing and focus of the lenses to suit your own visual requirements. It's nowhere near the best, but for the price it's a great basic option. [Buy it here]

Immerse Virtual Reality headset, £30

Functionally this one is pretty similar to other budget headsets, but what sets it apart is that all the bits that go anywhere near your face are covered in foam. You don't want a uncomfortable hard plastic headset do you? Didn't think so. It's also got an adjustable headstrap and lenses, so it should suit all your basic needs. [Buy it here]