The Best VR Headsets for Smartphones

The Best VR Headsets for Smartphones

Place yourself in the heart of a jungle, head into outer space or find yourself in the driving seat as you race at record speeds. Virtual Reality, aka VR, is a truly incredible form of tech that can transport you just about anywhere.

With endless possibilities, it's no surprise the technology quickly made the jump from dedicated VR consoles to smartphones. Today, there are a selection of headsets you can pick up to transform your mobile's display, with the most popular coming from Samsung and Google.

Let's take a look at the biggest contenders.

Samsung Gear VR

The first Gear VR headset was released back in 2015, but the latest version - the Gear VR4 - now comes with a handheld controller for an improved VR experience.

The headset itself offers a 101-degree field of view, with comfortable cushioning around both the eyes and the nose. Powered by Oculus technology (the minds behind the standalone VR console Oculus Rift), a built-in gyro sensor and accelerometer mean finding your focus is easy.

Just download the Gear VR software onto a compatible Samsung phone to get started, pair it with the headset and then follow the instructions until you're ready to go.

A huge improvement from the first Gear VR comes in the form of the wireless controller. A game changer for Samsung, the motion-tracking controller fits perfectly in one hand and helps the entire VR experience feel even more immersive. The controller features a trackpad, a back button, a home button and a trigger button that gamers will love.

There are over 800 apps currently available to download, so you'll never run out of places to explore and things do. You can even hang out in a virtual space with your friends if you all enter the Oculus Room at the same time, and chat or play games together whenever you please.

Learn more: How is journalism embracing VR?

Google Cardboard

Looking for a mobile VR experience for an unbelievably affordable price? Google Cardboard is the answer.

A simple yet immersive innovation, the name of this headset tells all. Made from cardboard, you can either buy Google's pre-built model or put it together yourself from a kit of components. It's a no-frills design, but it certainly does the job. Pop your smartphone inside, hold it up to your eyes and look through the viewer to begin. You won't need to worry about light intruding either, two additional flaps have been added to keep things nice and dark inside.

Unlike Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR, you can't adjust the focal distance of Cardboard. Audio is absent too, but there is room to plug your earphones directly into your phone.

There are tons of VR apps compatible with Google Cardboard, and you'll find many experiences and games suited to VR beginners on the Google Cardboard app itself. The quirky headset and its matching app are certainly fantastic if you're just starting out with virtual reality.

Google Daydream View

After the success of Google Cardboard, Google launched Google Daydream. A complete headset that's comparable to Samsung's Gear VR, the first-generation headset was released in November 2016. Google has now released a second version of Google Daydream, called Google Daydream View, and the headset is compatible with plenty of Android devices (The whole list can be found on the official Google Daydream website)

Like Gear VR, Google Daydream View comes with a controller that's simple to use and connects via Bluetooth. The headset itself is made from a soft lightweight fabric that guarantees endless comfort, with three secure straps to keep everything in place. There's even a slot for you to attach the controller once you've finished. You can choose from three different colours too: a stylish charcoal, fog grey and vibrant coral.

To connect the Google Daydream View with your phone, you need the Daydream app. Once this has been downloaded, tap into YouTube VR, Netflix VR and SkyVR to watch movies and shows from a whole new perspective, explore Google Street View like never before, view panoramic photos with ease or spend hours on end diving into Google's great selection of games. From LEGO BrickHeadsz Builder to Need for Speed, there really is something for everyone, no matter what your age.

Google Cardboard Plastic

Don't worry if you feel slightly underwhelmed by our final headset. This tongue-in-cheek offering was an April Fool's gag courtesy of Google, and the video below is certainly worth a chuckle...

Looking for a VR ready smartphone to help you explore brave new worlds? Browse the latest handsets at the lowest prices today, at