The barrier to use virtual reality keeps getting lower. Stereotypes are fading (VR is not just for gamers with money to burn) and VR is proving to be an asset across many different industries and interest groups. Ask your architect, real estate, engineering, and artist friends (just to name a few) and they will tell you how virtual reality is making an impact on their field.
On the financial front, you don’t need to save for months on end to invest in virtual reality. There are now headset options in every price range, and many that work with a smartphone (which you likely already have). We set out to round up our favorite viewers under $25 - with a focus on devices that are: inexpensive, high-quality, easy to use, portable, and compatible with most smartphones.
- DSCVR Headset for Smartphones - $14.99
This headset has the same price and functionality as Google Cardboard, but with many elevated components. Design features include: a retractable chassis to make it more portable, a silicone flap to hold most phones (and prevent the phone from slipping), a conductive button made of upgraded materials, and 34mm biconvex lenses to provide a clear VR viewing experience. Additionally, all headsets come with a travel case so you can take it anywhere!
- Homido Mini VR Glasses - $9.99
This VR viewer is small, but mighty. It is made of durable materials and folds up smaller than your car keys, making it easy to fit in a pocket, purse, backpack or briefcase. The viewer is very versatile and clips onto any iPhone or Android smartphone. It’s a great on-the-go VR accessory to ensure you’re prepared for every meeting and walkthrough opportunity.
- Hasbro Viewmaster V2 - $23.56
This viewer is larger and (slightly) pricier than the other options as it provides several additional features. There is an easy open and close latch to secure your smartphone. The improved ergonomics make it a more comfortable experience. A headphone connector helps those who want to completely immerse themselves in a VR world. And a major bonus for our friends that wear glasses: the focus wheel allows you to have a clear view without prescription eyewear!
There are many inexpensive cardboard viewers to choose from now, but we still stand by the Official Google Cardboard headset. This simple kit takes just a moment to assemble, and is so easy to use with most smartphones. The viewer has an interactive click button that works with all compatible phones. The materials are durable to ensure it will last, and the lense quality is very high to achieve a top, immersive visual experience as you explore in VR.
- Pocket 360 - $9.99
This is a smaller, even more compact option by the I AM CARDBOARD company. The viewer is made of high-quality ABS plastic for long lasting durability and 34mm acrylic biconvex lenses to provide a clear view when using VR. It is compatible with most smartphones and the clamp secures up to a 6” screen. It has a folding front panel and is small enough to fit in your pocket (even with the carry case) as meant to be there when you need it, unobtrusive when you don’t.
What next? Select a VR viewer, grab your smartphone, download the vCAD app, and start exploring! Our goal is to make it easy for you to get started on your VR and vCAD journey. While waiting for your VR viewer to arrive (or if not ready to make the move to virtual reality quite yet) you can still achieve immersive visualization with 3D fly-throughs in non-VR mode of the vCAD app.
How did we do? We're always open to your feedback! We invite you to share your experience, as well as any ideas on VR, viewers, and the vCAD website and app.