Movies like The Matrix popularized the concept of virtual reality in recent years, but as far back as 1950, Ray Bradbury wrote about a nursery where children could reproduce any place they could think of.
Many of these pop-culture imaginings involved complex technology, brain surgeries, and expensive contraptions to create the virtual world that players inhabited. But just as with many other futuristic ideas made real, the actual introduction of virtual reality to the masses is nothing like we pictured it would be.
Real VR is much less invasive, expensive, and heavy-duty than we thought it would be – and, like seemingly everything in 2017, it’s accessible via your phone. Here are the best-selling VR headsets you can use in conjunction with your smartphone today.
Google Daydream View:
Google is one of the world’s leading innovators in consumer technology, so it’s not surprising that they’re on the cutting edge of virtual reality.
The Daydream View works with Google’s Pixel smartphone to provide an immersive experience, allowing you to watch sporting events, concerts, and much, much more in 360-degree panoramic view.
The headset itself is cozy, comfortable, and aesthetically appealing, with a simple cloth exterior, a snug fit, and very little in the way of extraneous bells and whistles. The headset’s companion controller helps you navigate the huge selection of experiences available via the Daydream View app, and the Pixel’s beautiful screen makes virtual settings look as sharp as the real thing.
Merge VR Headset:
The Merge Headset’s big selling point is its compatibility with the iPhone, and until Apple inevitably comes out with their own headset, this is a great way to experience VR on their signature device.
The headset is sturdily constructed but lighter than it looks, and it’s adjustable to fit any face perfectly. The Merge is particularly great for kids and teens, opening a world of new immersive experiences via the hundreds of VR apps available on the App Store.
Android users need not feel left out – it’s compatible with many Android phones as well.
Samsung Gear VR:
Samsung has partnered with Oculus, perhaps the biggest name in virtual reality today, to create their headset, the Gear, which now comes with a handheld controller for additional input.
This is the fifth iteration of the Gear for Samsung, which has maintained its spot as the go-to company for Android VR fans. The Gear pairs perfectly with the new Galaxy S8, which has an expanded screen, but also with many of their earlier models. And the Gear is feature-rich, allowing users to interact with each other in a virtual world.
They can also create and upload their own content by capturing video with the Gear 360 software. The new controller allows users to adjust volume and navigate menus without fiddling with their headset, and expands the gaming options available as well.
BlitzWolf VR Headset:
For more frugal virtual adventurers, or those unwilling to invest in a phone just for VR, the BlitzWolf VR Headset is a great option.
It’s compatible with the iPhone 6 and 7 and scores of other popular phones, and is designed so you can still access the volume control while wearing.
You can adjust pupil and focus distance individually, an important feature for nearsighted users, and the BlitzWolf works with 500+ VR apps available on the App Store and Google Play.
NSINew Virtual Reality Headset:
This headset bills itself as an all-in-one package, and indeed, it comes with access to 30 top-rated VR apps, as well as a Bluetooth remote.
It’s compatible with 4-6” iOS and Android Phones, and the headset has convenient holes for headphone and USB cable attachments. The HD lenses are intended to eliminate eye fatigue and dizziness.