When looking to choose a VR headset one can get overwhelmed by all the options. While there are only a select few high end VR headsets, there are an overwhelming amount of cheaper and more affordable VR headsets to choose from. This list will go over the top cheapest VR headsets and rank them from worst to best.
Keep in mind that every single headset listed below requires a compatible phone. These headsets do not come with their own LCD displays unlike the HTC Vive or the Occulus Rift. The below list not only takes into account the headset’s price, but also it’s build quality, cross compatibility with different types of phones, and overall experience.
The Homido Mini is dubbed the world’s smallest VR headset. They are a pair of folding glasses that clip onto a phone with a magnetometer. It serves as a replacement for the google cardboard as it is easier to set up while still having a competitive price of $14.99.
Due to its design, the Homido Mini doesn’t have a strap that secures the device to your head, you have to hold the phone yourself. Overall the Homido is a quick way to immerse yourself in VR, while it is no bargain, it is worth taking a look at if you are looking for a fast and convenient VR experience.
The Merge VR is an Android and iPhone compatible VR headset. It has a colorful frame with a quality design, it is priced a bit steep at $48.16. Like other headsets it also has AR compatibility as it has a slot for the phone’s camera. What distinguishes it from the rest is the quality of the build. Not only does it have a pleasing design, but it doesn’t feel like it is made out of cheap plastic.
It is comparable to the Samsung Gear VR but is compatible with more than just Galaxy phones, it supports both Android and Apple phones. Consumers that do not have the Samsung Galaxy phones should consider the Merge VR if they are looking for an affordable entry-level headset.
Google Tech C1-Glass
The Google Tech Glass is priced slightly higher than the Homido Mini at $24.99. Similarl to the Homido Mini, the C1-Glass is simply a pair of lenses which clip onto the phone. The advantage of the Google version, is the product feels a bit more sturdy and comes with a case to prevent damage to the lenses.
Unfortunately the C1-Glass and the Homido Mini both suffer from light leakage, since there are no enclosing to block light. When outside light hits the lenses it could also create rings which make it hard to enjoy the VR.
On the bright side, the open design allows for easier demonstration of VR demos. It allows the other person to look over the shoulder of the main user, making sure they are seeing what they should be seeing.
The Sytros VR is considered a premium headset since it has some extra features when compared to the Google Cardboard or the standalone VR Glasses.
The headset has premium lenses and has the option to adjust them in order to support users with glasses. Furthermore, it has full Google Cardboard support along with compatibility across all types of smartphones. It is priced at $17.99 and features a sleek design with both horizontal, and over the head support straps.
If you are looking for an affordable but sleek and comfortable headset and already own a compatible smartphone, the Sytros makes a great choice. It is priced only a few dollars higher than the vanilla Google Cardboard so if you are looking for more comfort and better quality, consider the Sytros VR.
Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR comes in at $129 from Amazon and supports most Samsung Galaxy phones. Unfortunately it doesn’t have support for either Android or Apple phones, which makes is somewhat of a niche product.
The good thing about it, is the content library has some great VR apps and the head tracking with the Galaxy phones is also quite crisp. Furthermore, just like the Google Dreamview it comes with a sleek controller which has a trackpad and a few buttons to enhance the experience.
If you already own a Galaxy phone this makes the logical solution for a first VR headset.
Google Daydream View
One of the more expensive headsets in this list, the Google Daydream costs $79. It is meant to be used with the Android phone and comes with a wireless controller to enhance the experience.
The fabric encased headset is more comfortable and looks more appealing compared to its competitors, however it does leave red lines on your face after usage. One of the issues that customers did voice was the light bleeding problem, that is one recurrent issue in these cheaper headsets. Another issue is due to the the way the headset encases the phone it can overheat the device and cause it to run slow.
Overall while the Google Daydream is a sleek looking headset it does have quite a bit of issues and the price is steep for the function it provides.
Google Cardboard VR
The Google Cardboard VR is the pioneer in phone based vr headsets. Priced at $9.98 as the name suggests it is a cardboard box with a compartment to place your phone and a pair of lenses. Check out our in depth review of the Google Cardboard.
It features a hardware button, and its design prevents most of the light leakage. It takes seconds to assemble and the Google Cardboard app offers quite a few different VR videos and games. It makes a great to introduce someone to VR without spending a fortune. It supports both Android and Apple phones.