The Best Smartphone VR Headsets

Virtual Reality headsets use your smartphone to pull you into a mind-boggling new world. VR app and game catalogs are growing at breakneck speed. Some smartphone headsets should be viewed as an intro to vr. They allow you to test the waters with a minimal investment and experience virtual reality for the first time. Once you are hooked, there are more premium options for smartphone VR available.

Smartphone VR headsets are otherwise known as Mobile VR. Mobile VR is simple. The headsets are basically a container for your smartphone. The goggles have lenses which display a visual feed that your smartphone processes. This is in stark contrast to higher end tethered VR headsets, which require a gaming computer or console to function.

Samsung Gear Mobile VR headset

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The Samsung VR is currently CAD$ 109.00 and USD$ 59.99.

If you are an owner of a new Samsung smartphone, the clear option is the Samsung Gear. The Samsung Gear is incredibly simple to use. You simply place your smartphone into it, and run VR apps, games, or YouTube videos.

The newest iterations of the Gear VR have focused on comfort. Earlier models had complaints of chafing and discomfort after extended use. The newer models use two well-built fabric straps to securely hold the headset in place. It is easily adjustable and no longer irritates, staying comfortable for VR experiences and mobile VR gaming.

Which phones are compatible with Gear VR?

Currently, the newest Samsung VR phones are all compatible with Gear VR. This means it works with the S7 and S7 edge.

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In terms of technical specifications, the Samsung Gear VR has some of the best resolution on the market because of how advanced their smartphones are. The resolution is 2,560 by 1,440, which is greater than PC gaming headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

The Gear VR cannot hold up to rivals like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in terms of pure processing power. This is because they are using your smartphone rather than your computer. If you have compared mobile gaming to PC or console gaming in terms of the graphics and physics of games, you will understand the difference between mobile VR and tethered VR.

The Gear 360 allows you to relive your experiences, over and over again

Gear VR has recently released the Gear 360. It is a camera that has both front and rear lenses, allowing it to capture a complete 360 degree field of view. You can relive the experience again using your smartphone!

The price is the main reason you would choose the Samsung Gear. It offers an affordable way to experience premium VR. Again, however, Canadian consumers get the short end of the stick when you compare the prices North and South of the border. Because the Gear VR recently dropped in price in the US, it is possible it will drop in price in Canada soon.

The Samsung Gear VR comes in at $139.99 CAD. However, you can usually find it on Amazon.ca for about ten dollars to twenty dollars cheaper! It is compatible with most recent Samsung smartphones. You can pair it with a controller in order to get a more realistic virtual reality experience. Depending on what level of quality you want, controllers can be had for between $29.95 and $80 CAD. What’s really frustrating is that as I write this article, the price for the US version is only $59.99 USD! Converted to Canadian, that would cost only be 80 dollars! Our recommendation? Wait a little longer, and the Samsung gear 2015 version will drop in price to match the American version.

Unless you are already have one of the Samsung phones that it works with, you probably won’t be interested in purchasing this VR headset. It simply isn’t worth it to buy a whole new phone just to use it!

Hundreds of games, and growing!

There’s hundreds of games available on the app store in VR for people who are interested in virtual reality mobile gaming. VR videos and experiences other than gaming are on the rise as well, and if you are purchasing the Gear VR today rather than when it was first released, you’re going to get a lighter, more comfortable headset with a much larger selection of mobile VR games.

It is very easy to use. You can set it up and be transported into VR within seconds, and it only weights 318 grams. It features comfortable, easy to adjust straps and soft padding on the goggles. These soft pads might cause some problems for people who are using VR while exercising, as sweat could have some negative long term effects on them!

Google Daydream

The Google Daydream has a release date of November 2016. It is a VR headset made for the mainstream. With a release price of $79 US, it is going to be a driving force in the normalization of mainstream VR. It was designed with style and comfort in mind. The process for using the device is so simple it requires virtually no thought. Simply pop a Daydream ready phone in, and go. What’s so great about the Daydream View is the controllers it comes with. This feature takes mobile phone VR to the next level.

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Daydream is the go-to in mobile VR experiences and gaming

Smartphones get more powerful every year. This is crucial for VR. The Daydream View headset is going to capitalize on mobile gaming experiences including mobile gaming. It will link seamlessly with Google maps streetview, and VR youtube videos are on the rise. Learn more about Google Daydream.

The Daydream can only link up with the Google Pixel

That’s the biggest drawback to Google’s new VR option. Google quickly states that more Daydream-ready phones are on the horizon, but it is unclear if the cheap VR headset will be compatible with other brands of phones or only Google’s line.

Release date for this November!

How can Daydream to our list of VR headsets Canada before it is even released? Based on the success of their Google Cardboard and their reputation as a company, we feel confident in including this option on the list.

The verdict? Google Daydream View is going to be the best VR headset in Canada for casual virtual reality experiences, mobile gaming, and VR on a budget.