It can be a tough decision when looking to get one of the best VR headsets to buy on a budget in 2018. We’ve gathered the most popular virtual reality headsets without breaking the bank and compiled them into a list so that you can see the pros and cons side by side.
If you’re unfamiliar with virtual reality then VR headsets are most commonly used to provide an immersive entertainment experience, users can watch films in a 360 degree view, play games in a whole new way or visit the other side of the world in virtual reality whilst been guided through mindfulness meditation. Since the technology has grown at a rapid rate there has been more and more potential uses uncovered. This ranges from medical companies seeing value in VR for treatment to PTSD and anxiety, to car companies allowing potential customers to test drive their car of their dreams from the comfort of their own living room. It’s a great time to get started with VR with prices of VR headsets getting cheaper as the market becomes more competitive.
We’ve picked out the top VR headsets to buy on a budget. VR headsets range in price massively and choosing a virtual reality headset becomes even more difficult when you’re comparing prices along with their features and compatibility. Obviously if you’re looking to buy one of the top 5 headsets then you can expect to pay more than getting a simple mobile VR headset. So make sure before buying one, that the specification suits your needs.
There are many Virtual Reality headsets in the market right now (Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, etc.). These typically fit into two categories: PC-powered vs. mobile.
PC-Powered: Devices built from the ground up for VR. As such, they have a higher quality image than mobile VR headsets but require a high spec PC to connect to. These are also typically more expensive, especially if you need to buy a new gaming PC alongside the headset.
Mobile: The quality of mobile headsets depends on the specification of the phone or device you place inside a mobile headset. They are much cheaper than PC-Powered VR. Mobile VR headsets are also incredibly convenient and portable (normally all you need is your phone and your headset).
In this guide we will be reviewing the best mobile VR headsets in 2018
10Google Cardboard VR Headset
We couldn’t put together a list of the best VR headsets without mentioning the original Google Cardboard, the cheapest, DIY alternative to the other, more premium headsets mentioned in this list of the best budget VR headsets in 2018. It’s simple, cheap and good fun.
The overall display and performance of the Google Cardboard depends on the mobile phone you own. We found smaller handsets surprisingly work best. Whilst Google Cardboard can’t offer the comfort or functionality of some of the more expensive headsets we’ve mentioned. It’s by far the cheapest way to get started with VR and perfect for those of you that aren’t sure whether VR is going to worth spending your buck on.
Despite being a Google-funded and specifically made for android devices, the Cardboard is also compatible with iPhones. It simply depends on the availability of apps on the platform as to what you can and can’t do so check your phones app store beforehand and see what’s available.
9DESTEK V4 VR Headset
The DESKTEK VR Headset is one of the best-selling headset on Amazon and it’s not by chance. In my opinion this is the one of the most reliable choices, if you’re looking to get started with VR/AR on a budget. The DESKTEK works really well and has a neat design making it comfortable to wear for longer periods of use. It’s easy to use, lightweight and most importantly the VR content is great. Whether you’re playing a virtual reality game or watching a movie, it guarantees a whole new entertainment experience for the price of a cinema ticket for two. It will be a perfect gift for any teenager.
The DESKTEK V4 VR is compatible with a wide range of phones including – iPhone X, 8, 7, 6/6s plus, Samsung s6, s7, s8/Plus/Edge Note 8 and other VR compatible smartphones with a 4.5″ – 6.0″ Screen. I did find on certain phones that the casing didn’t quite fit the device and interfered with using the headset, accidentally triggering the volume buttons etc.
The headset also makes use of Augmented Reality (AR) which is looking like a great feature to have with the release of Apples new devices. A magnetised panel that pulls away from the lense to expose the phone’s camera allows you to take full advantage of AR apps. It’s hard to get your head around the benefits of this, but think of it like you are shopping online and you are not sure if a t-shirt will look good on you. This technology will allow you to point your phone camera at yourself and the and the t-shirt will appear superimposed on you on your screen.
8SNEBA 3D VR Glasses
This SNEBA VR headset works great and it’s priced well. It is a solid step up from the cheapest cardboard headsets and can easily compete with slightly more expensive headsets. If you’re simply looking to watch VR movies, TV shows and play basic games then it’s a fantastic choice. It’s comfortable and lightweight (570g package weight) great for long periods at a time, easy to adjust and great when using it with friends and family. An awesome gadget and easily portable to fit in your backpack when travelling.
This headset is compatible with any recent mobile device including iOS and Android VR compatible phone. If you have a phone that is anywhere between the size of 4.5″-5.7″ and allows for VR then this is a fantastic choice, if you’re just looking to see what the virtual reality hype is all about. This headset is the best value for your money and if you buy it from Amazon, if the product is not suitable for your phone or doesn’t meet your expectations, you can return it absolutely free.
Featuring HD optimization and 3D VR gaming support you’ll put yourself right into the virtual world with games movies and more cool VR apps. You can download over 1000 virtual reality apps from Apple Store and Google Play. You can also enjoy fully interactive 3D videos from YouTube or dedicated VR websites.
The Freefly VR is a great headset and it’s not the first time we’ve given it a firm place in our top VR glasses lists. It features a nice wide field of view, very well made, it is also compatible with a wide range of phones for a full list read our full Freefly review. As soon as you get this headset on, you are fully immersed with incredible VR graphics. Proteus VR Labs are pioneers of virtual reality and the product is very well made.
The bundled GLIDE Bluetooth controller is slicker than most others in this review of best headsets in 2018, it includes a mini-joystick along with the control pads. But sadly, since Apple’s iOS 9.2+ updates on iPhones it has caused the control to stop working on iPhones. Hopefully they’ll find a fix for this soon.
Wearing the Freefly VR headset for long periods of time does tend to make your phone get a little hot, this is a common problem with mobile headsets. I also found it quite uncomfortable since the leather padding is tight against your face. The last thing that could be improved is by adding adjustment for the distance between the between the lense and the phone from your eyes. Most other mid-priced headsets have these features. If you have dodgy eye sight then this headset is probably not for you.
6IncrediSonic VR Headset
The IncrediSonic VR Headset recently released an improved version of their VR Headset. The new headset comes with a handy remote in the box that pairs with your mobile device. It can be used as a mouse, volume controller, and game joystick. This for me helps complete the VR experience and allows you to be more immersed in game-play action and making it far easier when navigating through the user interface.
Compatible smartphones include, Samsung devices from the S3 upwords to their latest handset and also iPhones from the 5S to their most recent releases to date such as the iPhoneX. Other VR compatible 4.0-6.0 inch screen, Android phones will also work with this headset.
There’s an ever growing portfolio of free VR apps and games available to try out on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store and this headset allows you to experience this in a top quality way. It depends greatly on the mobile phone you are using as to what graphics you will experience. However, it’s an affordable VR headset that provides a reliable introduction into the virtual reality world and for most people that is all they want.
5Homido V2 VR Headset
The VR Headset drops you right into the action. Made of high quality materials, it is lighter than similar headsets so you can play mobile VR games and watch 360 videos more comfortably. Its original VR headset was one of the best you could buy in 2016 and the new, improved V2 headset certainly has to be up there with top VR headsets of 2018.
The Homido V2 is bigger than the original Homido Headset, and can comfortably fit the phones with larger screens including the iPhone 7 Plus and Pixel XL. The increased size is also matched by improved build quality, the new lenses offer a wide field of view with the minimal of blurring assisted by the fact you can adjust the focal length with a scroll wheel which alters the distance between your eyes and the screen. The new VR goggles come with better ventilation to prevent the lenses getting steamed up and has a quality feel to it along with an all-important capacitive button (no more pressing play, then quickly shoving the phone in the viewer).
The price can be a bit of a sticking point for a pimped out Cardboard kit, but for some people it will be worth it for others it will seem expensive.
4Samsung Gear VR (2015)
The Gear VR drops you right into the virtual reality action – made by the VR pioneers Samsung & Oculus, if you are looking for reliability then this one is certainly worth considering. The Gear VR (2015) was the one of the first on the market and still to this day one of the best VR gadgets you can buy in 2018. Considering how much it’s come down in price since Samsung’s latest release of the Gear VR, it makes it even more appealing. If you are looking for gaming and entertainment then this headset doesn’t fail to provide.
The straps which holds the VR set securely and comfortably to your head are easily adjusted to fit to any size head. However, while a thick padding around the eyes helps keep the headset in place and block out light, it can become very sweaty after playing with it for longer periods of time.
A mechanical wheel on the top of the Gear VR adjusts focus and allows you to move your phone further or closer to the lenses. This makes it great for people with bad eyesight like me. Although I can’t wear glasses this feature does help.
There are a few minor downsides with this headset. Firstly the headset is concealed but I found that my Samsung S7 quickly overheated, I don’t know if this is a fault of the phone or the headset but frustrating. Also because this device is a little outdated some of the games can’t be played because it doesn’t come with a controller. If you want to avoid this then read to the end of this article.
With access to 1000’s of VR apps, games and movies if you own a relatively new Samsung device then it’s a no brainer (If you can’t afford the latest release), just make sure you own a VR compatible Samsung phone before committing.
3ELEGIANT 3D VR Glasses
This VR headset is a great price for what you get with the ELEGIANT glasses. It comes with a sponge inner making it good for watching long movies and gaming. It has built in headphones and they are adjustable with good clear sound quality. It also has volume adjustment buttons and a camera view adjustable button. Even with the weight of my iPhone 6 Plus, it didn’t feel like a weight was attached to your head unlike some other mobile headsets we’ve tested.
It’s lightweight, comfortable, and a great way to test out how smartphones can take you to a world you never knew existed. It’s affordable and durable, which makes it an easy choice when shopping around for a cheap VR headset. The only downsides are the small amount of light that comes in while wearing it, and the potential to accidentally press buttons while placing your phone in the headset.
To really get the most use of out of this headset we’d recommend getting your hands on a VR bluetooth controller. Yes you can use them without a controller but it does makes things much harder and you’ll be limited as to what you can do with the VR goggles.
2Google Daydream View – VR Headset
The Daydream does an awesome job of helping you immerse yourself in the world of VR on a budget. Bearing in mind the headset is much cheaper than other higher tech headsets out there like the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, it makes this seem like a steal. The headset fits comfortably on your head and doesn’t weigh too much, so it doesn’t cause your neck to ache.The headset is easy to use, fitted with a single strap running around the rear of the headset to help keep the headset fixed to your head, and it’s adjustable with a wide variation in sizes. The joystick that it comes with has good responsiveness and works well with the various apps that you can access.
Google’s partnership with a wide range of brands has given an impressive starting catalogue of apps, games, and services, including HBO, Netflix, Hulu, WSJ, EA, and others big names.
The Daydream is perfect for the average joe who just wants to experience the world of VR without having to invest heavily in the equipment.
1Samsung Gear VR w/Controller
Samsung were very early adopters in VR and been releasing virtual reality products since late 2015, so the fact that there’s a lot to do straight from the box is a huge selling point. In addition, the Samsung Gear VR has always been one of the best all round mobile headsets on the market. But now, this latest version of the Gear VR comes with a controller, which is an easy-to-use and cool way to navigate, play and enjoy the platform. Makes this easily the best VR headset to buy on a budget. Bearing in mind that you will need to have a recent mobile device from Samsung (specific devices listed below).
It’s a relatively small remote that easily fits in the palm of your hand, it works well,makes navigating much easier and gameplay more immersive. In my opinion it’s one step closer to finessing the mobile VR experience.
Generally, your experience using a Gear VR will depend on which smartphone you own. Samsung, of course, will be pushing you toward the latest Galaxy S8 and its wide-screen, but those with an S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5 are all covered, too.
I hope you enjoyed reading my reviews on the Best VR Headsets to Buy on a Budget in 2018. Let us know in the comments if you’ve used any of the VR gadgets listed. If you want to hear about new upcoming VR headset in 2018. Follow our Blog, Twitter & Facebook to keep posted on all the latest news, releases and reviews.