Best Cheapest VR Headsets
One of the biggest hindrance that prevents VR technology to currently go mainstream is the price. High-end VR is not only costly but usually difficult to set-up as well, at least for the average person. However, people can still experience VR at a far less costly rate though not at the level of the current high-end VR options available. With the use of Mobile VR, virtual worlds can be made accessible as cheaply as possible to almost anyone with a smart phone capable of displaying VR. Of course one cannot expect to see what one can when using an HTC Vive but nevertheless, the experience would still be a VR one.
When it comes to mobile VR, there are a wide variety of options as far as headsets are concerned. Let's not include the higher-end ones like the Quest, the Daydream or even the Gear VR. Mobile as they are, these HMD's usually costs a way lot more than a hundred bucks. So again, mobile as they are, they are hardly cheap and the Quest is bordering on the High-End VR class. We can then assume that cheap or budget VR would mean Smart Phone VR quality with the most less costly available headset that can deliver the quality VR at that particular level.
With that, let's then list down at least five of the current cheapest available mobile HMD's that can deliver fun and immersive VR experiences (nonetheless) to the gaming public worldwide. Despite though how it sounds, cheap doesn't always mean low quality and can end up really as a bargain for those who come across it.
The Google Cardboard. Of course, who can discount the cheapest, lightest, easiest and the most accessible mobile VR headset that started it all. It comes to you in Kit form, you assemble it then slide your compatible smart phone inside and you experience VR with as little hassle or requirements needed to do so. The headset is so simple yet so innovative despite being on the market for quite some time. You can either hold it to your eyes or attach a garter or rubber band to hold it in place over your face. You can max your phone's volume or use a pair of headphones or earphones to hear what you see in VR. There is also that magnet that you can use to control your app. The cardboard is probably without a doubt the top selling VR headset that ever saw the light of day with over 15 million units shipped as of November 2019. A cardboard will cost around 15 USD per unit and though may not be that comfortable and very basic to use, would still deliver the kind of VR experience almost everyone will enjoy.
The Pansonite 3D VR Headset is probably one of the most comfortable and ergonomically designed HMD in the budget VR class. The price ranges from around 40-50 USD depending if you will get an optional controller and other accessories you can use with it. The head bands are tight and adjustable and it uses a soft leathery material which is light and comfortable for the face. The visor can be easily opened to insert your smart phone and fits phones with the typical size of the Samsung Galaxy 8. Also included is a small cable with a 3.5mm audio jack which connects your phone to the built in headphones of the HMD. There is also a dial on top that adjusts the focus.
The ReTrak Utopia 360 VR Headset has a general appearance similar to the Pansonite headset though the headphones and controller come as additional accessories. The HMD is light, compact, uses adjustable Velcro head-straps, a vented soft face pad and a wide nose indent for better balance on your face. The magnetic front panel opens easily for you to slide in your phone. Focus controls are on the side and an action button is located at the top for use with extra features available in the app being run. The Utopia cost around 20USD or more depending on what extra accessories come with it.
Fourth is the TaoTronics 3D VR Headset. The design of the headset is ergonomic and comfortable for the user to wear. The lenses are adjustable for distance as well as focus. Unfortunately, the face area is quite small so if you wear glasses you will have to take them off. This may be a disadvantage since though you can adjust the focus if your eye grade is a little bit on the high side the lenses may not be sufficient enough. The front panel is easy to open so you can slide your phone but then again, real large phones may not be able to fit inside as well. As far as adjustments are concerned, the HMD has all that you need to suit your comfortability of use from Velcro at the straps to even a cardboard like magnetic slider for your app. You can fit your phone in a way as to attach your audio cable to either side of the faceplate so comfort is once again a priority. Unfortunately the small size of the headset is really the disadvantage since it can also easily heat up your phone if it doesn't have an adequate cooling system. Currently, you can get the TaoTronics for around 20 bucks or more depending on extra accessories and so.
Finally we have the VR Real Feel Virtual Reality Car Racing Gaming System with Bluetooth Steering Wheel and Headset Goggles Viewer Glasses. This will as much as possible give you a full VR mobile experience especially if you love racing or driving games in VR. With this mobile VR system though the headset is not that impressive though comfortable to use. The beauty however is in the bluetooth steering wheel controller. The device has buttons you can use to adjust the view of the racing app in use. If the app has the option to switch from first to third person POV, the wheel can access that. Also it has accessible buttons for accelerate and break and you don't have to keep tilting your head as the wheel does that for you. The headset though lacks lens adjustments but you can couple the wheel with other HMD's like the TaoTronics if you really need a lens adjustment option. Real Feel can run a wide variety of Google VR apps as well so you're not limited to just driving. As of this writing, the set costs around 34 USD but as with the other headsets, prices seem to vary depending on demand and availability.
These are just five of the recommended VR mobile headsets available in the market today. There are a way lot more to choose from but they mostly mirror each other in terms of comfort, quality, performance and features. It would still be best to do some inquiry and research of your own before plunking the cash for one of these. Make sure the phone you intend to use will fit snugly into the front of the headset and it's got all the adjustments that you may need. Either way, with just your phone and less than 100 bucks, you can enjoy VR just like most of us do.