Google Cardboard is an attempt by Google to make virtual reality headsets popular by making them cheap, and there can be no cheaper material than cardboard. The schematics for all Google Cardboard devices are freely available on the official Google Cardboard website so that anyone willing to try it can easily assemble them by hand at home. The cardboard serves as a mount where the smartphone running Google Cardboard app is inserted and the whole setup is fastened to the head with a Velcro band. Here are ten best Google Cardboard devices cheaper than $30.
This is the most basic Google Cardboard VR headset imaginable, and as such is perfect for easing you into the magical world of virtual reality. Two magnets on the sides hold the smartphone in place and allow position corrections. Comes with velcro tape, rubber band, lenses and all cardboard pieces necessary to create your very own Google Cardboard VR headset in just under two minutes. There is some assembly required, though it is easy and intuitive. Works with any smartphone that can run the Cardboard app, which is necessary to correctly display the image.
Listening to the complaints of consumers that the earliest Google Cardboard headsets were too flimsy and fiddly, Knox Labs endeavored to create a new and optimized model, the Knox V2. This headset is inspired by Google’s “New Cardboard” line of virtual reality headsets and can accommodate smartphones with screens up to 6 inches and is assembled in 2 easy steps. It has a conductive touch button that works with any smartphone model or size. Knox V2 will generally not allow glasses to be worn with it.
Painted in black, Dark Shader is a slick and elegant take on the Google Cardboard headset. The high quality finish and cellophane cover means no sweat marks will remain on the Dark Shader, no matter the period of use. The product comes with an instruction and information manual and magnetic snaps for easy assembly. Lenses are pre-installed and made out of pure glass, instead of resin, which provides the headset with a superb and crystal clear image that will not induce nausea or vertigo.
Dubbed the “Smartphone Virtual Reality Viewer”, DODOcase is actually a toolbox for manual construction of customized VR headsets. The toolkit comes with a ruler that will help you determine whether your smartphone will fit into the cardboard. Be warned that DODOcase requires a high degree of precision during assembly, meaning that the end result may vary depending on the skill of the assembler. Luckily, DODOcase comes with a detailed instruction manual and a video tutorial helping you get into the world of VR without a problem.
Another black cardboard VR headset, I AM CARDBOARD looks good, feels good and is a quality product. The headset comes with a protective sleeve that is intended to maximize its longevity when the headset is not in use. This product will fit all phone sizes, including the infamous iPhone 6 Plus. However, note that bigger and bulkier phones, especially those in protective cases, will probably have issues with image clarity due to their dimensions. I AM CARDBOARD does not come with a headstrap and their combined use is not recommended.
Consisting of Google Cardboard 2.0 and Unofficial Cardboard’s 2.0 Plus, this collection is meant to be flexible and adaptable to everyone’s tastes. Both models have conductive foam pads for interaction with the screen and feature a brand new pop-up design that is easy to use and store in its own protective sleeve. The Plus model also features an extra-wide gap for all phone sizes, including iPhone 6 Plus with an Otterbox case and has an adjustable lens gap for children of all ages.
Inspired by Google Cardboard 2.0, Powis is a professional product that is miles above the plain cardboard varieties. It has dual adjustable lenses, which are perfectly suitable for persons with vision problems. The headset has a singular button for all smartphone screen interactions and will provide a snug fit to all smartphones up to 6.5 inches in size. The headset comes fully assembled.
Bright, shiny and colorful, EVA is the perfect virtual reality headset for kids. Instructions are printed on the cardboard itself and the headset is held together with the use of cardboard tabs, providing for a no-brainer assembly experience. The phone slot is 3″ by 5.25″, so it will fit most smartphones, including iPhone 5. There is also a bigger version of EVA being sold that will accommodate iPhone 6 Plus.
This headset is more akin to glasses rather than a fully immersive VR display, but it still provides a nice addition of VR to the regular browsing and viewing experience. Compatible with displays of up to 6 inches in size, the Go4D works best with 1440p resolution. In fact, the higher resolution, the better and when used with side-by-side 3D images is when Go4D will truly shine. Not recommended for children under 7 years of age.
This VR headset is meant for use with iPod Touch and iPhone Black. A neat feature is that the iPhone/iPod can be charged as it’s being used in the Hasbro MY3D. This headset is great for 3D enthusiasts and photographers.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.