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Having a VR headset is a great way to spend some time with friends and family, or get some extra enjoyment out of your mobile device. It’s becoming increasingly popular as more and more VR games and TV shows saturate the market.
Unfortunately as of the time writing this article, Apple has yet to bring out a VR headset for their popular iPhone series, so it’s time to improvise. If you’re in the market for a VR headset for your iPhone, you’re in luck. Read on to find out our top picks for the best VR headsets for iPhone and for a handy buyers guide to help you know what you’re looking for.
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Best VR Headsets for iPhone - Comparison Table
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Best VR Headsets for iPhone - Reviews
The Bnext VR Headset is the perfect first venture into the realm of VR for you and your family. The device can be used with the majority of branded smartphones, including the iPhone from the iPhone SE and upwards. It also supports Android devices that have gyro abilities. The headset can be used for anything from watching movies to reading an e-book.
The device looks sleek overall with a fantastic blue, white and black color scheme (though you can also choose red!). It features an elasticated and adjustable strap so it’s fairly comfortable as long as your head circumference is between 55.0cm to 68.0cm. It also has focus and distance adjustment sliders which can be handy for videos that begin out of focus.
The headset gives fantastic value for money with a bunch of great features, including the ability to use it on all smartphones. It’s very easy to set up and it even has video and gaming links available. It’s fairly affordable for what it offers too, so if you’re looking for some fun with VR then this may be just what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for a VR headset on a budget that’s also very comfortable to be used for longer periods of time, then look no further than the Merge VR headset. It’s actually particularly good for children, as it’s made of durable materials designed to withstand damage.
You can use the Merge VR along with iPhone 6’s and models newer than that, but it can also be used on a range of different devices. It’s a fairly comfortable device that’s very user friendly. It has two buttons on the top of the device which you can use to control it.
The headset is very good for if you’re on a budget, providing a lot of value if you’re looking for a device that can be used frequently. It’s easy to set up too, so you won’t get frustrated spending hours setting it up.
The VR Entertainment 49400 was actually designed to work with the Real Feel Virtual Reality Car Racing games, but the device works incredibly well with a lot of other VR games and applications. It even comes with a steering wheel for these racing games. With functionality on both Android and iPhone, you’ll have a whole world of family fun with this intuitive virtual reality experience.
The device is somewhat comfortable with adjustable straps, a foam face and an adjustable phone cradle that can even hold up to an iPhone 7 Plus. You can use the headset with a range of different apps from Google Play or the App Store. The device is very easy to set up too. If you want to use the racing, all you need to do is get the app for free from Google Play or the App Store and put 3 AAA batteries into the steering wheel. Then just put the Android or iPhone phone into the headset and off you go! You don’t actually need to put any batteries into the headset itself, nor does it require power.
The device is fairly inexpensive and you won’t be spending a fortune on an intuitive VR experience. It’s also really fun for the kids to enjoy too!
The ZEISS VR One Plus headset is pretty cool as it actually caters to AR too, so you get both virtual and augmented reality all in one!
The device isn’t the cheapest on this list, but you’ll be paying for a very robust build quality that will last you a long time. It’s got a very sleek design overall and optically it’s pretty good, with high picture quality staying consistent throughout the whole visible area. It’s compatible with smartphones that have an accelerometer, gyro and compass. You should note though that it doesn’t work with the LG G4 and the Sony Xperia Z5, if you are looking to pass it around the family and not everyone has an iPhone.
The device is very easy to set up with no adjustment needed on the headset for the lens. ZEISS even have a couple of apps available if you want to give those a go first, and this is particularly useful if you’re not sure what to look for online and have never tried VR before.
You don’t need to spend hundreds to get the full enjoyment of VR with the VR Empire headset for smartphone. With this device you can play pretty much unlimited games straight from the Google Play or Apple store, depending on your device.
The device provides some stellar visual effects and it will fit most head sizes and age groups, so it’s fun for the whole family. It’s also very comfortable as it features auto-positioning, meaning that the device is going to stay on the head in position for a longer period of time.
The device is easy to set up and it comes with a remote control to help you to change the volume or play and pause a video, which is pretty handy for making easy adjustments. It works on iPhones from the iPhone 5S up to the XS.
Best VR Headsets for iPhone - Buyers Guide
So now that we’ve covered the best VR headsets for the iPhone, what do you need to know before making your decision? As with buying any product, there are a number of factors to consider when you’re buying a VR set of any kind, not just for smartphones.
One thing you should remember is that smartphone headsets are usually much lower-tech than the kinds of devices you will see that can connect to a gaming console or a PC, so you’re not going to get all of the same features you would get with those kinds of devices. The majority of smartphone VR headsets rely on the technology of the smartphone in order to provide you with the power of virtual reality. In essence they are a plastic casing with lenses and cushioning so you remain comfortable, all designed to enhance the VR experience that’s primarily provided by the smartphone itself. Of course, this usually makes them cheaper than console or PC VR headsets.
How do smartphone VR devices work?
In essence, those using VR with a smartphone are able to slide the phone into the headset or it can be attached with a holding clip, which we’ll discuss a bit more about below. It’s important to note, however, that you’ll need to make sure that the set you use is compatible with your phone size so that the screen will be properly positioned in front of your eyes. The combination of the two elements will make it feel like there’s a depth and it helps to enable you to see the VR content.
Mobile VR is actually a lot easier to use than a lot of other VR systems. For example with systems that need to be used with a console it takes longer for it to set up. The other types of VR are also usually a lot more expensive, though as we’ve already mentioned there are fewer features with mobile VR.
Two Main Types of VR
There are actually two primary types of VR headset that you can have when using VR with a smartphone. The first is VR handheld viewers. This type of headset doesn’t provide head straps, so you’re going to need to attach the smartphone to the VR viewer and you’re going to need to hold it up to your eyes manually.
The other type of VR headset is the wearable mobile VR HMD headset. These tend to be more comfortable as they will provide strapping in a few different ways so you don’t need to manually hold up the headset. The smartphone is inserted directly into the device. These types of headsets will also provide a number of extra features that help to improve your VR experience so you really feel immersed in the whole experience.
Optimizing Your iPhone VR Experience
In order to ensure that you get the best possible VR experience on your iPhone, you should make sure you have a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, so a full HD resolution. Of course, if you don’t have this much resolution you can still use it but it’s not going to give you as much enjoyment as it would if you had better screen resolution.
Some other factors to consider include an accelerometer. Most newer smartphones have this feature and it allows you to be able to change your screen orientation from horizontal to vertical. I gyroscope is also important as this will determine the device’s orientation in 3D when you’re tilting the phone in all directions, which is important when you’re moving your head inside the VR. The other thing to consider is a magnetic sensor, which isn’t really essential but it can help to ensure that the VR headset cover is closed or open and it will keep the screen activated in accordance with that.
Choosing a VR Headset
Wearable vs Handheld VR Viewers
So as we’ve previously mentioned, there are two types of mobile VR headsets, but which is better? Well, if you’re happy with a very basic VR experience that’s affordable, then a handheld version should be sufficient. Usually, these kinds of VR devices are limited to watch 360 videos or viewing VR images. Wearable smartphone devices have a little bit of leverage on the basic handheld devices, as they provide more immersion and options. They usually have extra functionality, such as dials and buttons to help you to set the lens focus and IPD to your liking, they have belts or straps to fix the device to your head and they also usually have built-in speakers for a truly immersive VR experience.
Headset Button or Optional Controller
Some VR headsets come with a button built in on the outside of the HMD. This essentially behaves similar to a mouseclick. You could also use a controller for a more improved experience.
Field of View
This is highly dependent on the type of VR HMD used and the smartphone size, but ideally, you want a good field of view so you’re able to see more.
VR headsets can be pretty uncomfortable when they’re being held up for long periods of time so it’s a good idea to opt for a set that will be comfortable for you. There are a series of different variations of head support and strappings available to fix the device to your head, giving you more comfort. This isn’t strictly the case for handheld devices.
Certain VR headsets come with built in headphones on offer, though a lot of them actually ely on audio that’s generated by the smartphone using an audio jack. The main issue here is that some new iPhones aren’t compatible with this audio jack so you’ll need to make sure that there’s a suitable adapter so you can use it properly.
Lens Focus and IPD Adjustment
This can be a particularly helpful thing to have in a VR headset as it means you can cater the VR experience to your liking, and it’s a pretty common feature in the majority of VR mobile devices.
How much will it cost to get a mobile VR headset? It largely depends on what you buy. Handheld VR devices can be fairly cheap as they don’t come with that many additional features and they just provide the basics. Other devices can be a bit more expensive, but generally not as much as console and PC VR devices are. Ultimately you will get what you pay for so with more money spent you will get more features and more comfort, so you will need to decide what’s most important to you.
Functionality and Reliability
A lot of iPhones are able to work well in VR headsets, but they’re not always fully supported so you need to ensure that you select a VR headset that is able to give you functions and features that can support your iPhone properly.
It goes without saying that you need to check what iPhones your headset is going to be compatible. Some won’t work with older iPhone models while others won’t work with later models, so you need to make sure that the device you’re thinking about buying is going to work with your iPhone.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some of the pros and cons of iPhone VR headsets?
There are a number of benefits to VR headsets for mobile devices, but there are also some downsides too. One such positive is that mobile VR headsets are easy to use and very accessible as most people already have iPhones, so you don’t need to buy any extra consoles or anything to use it. It’s most definitely an easy and affordable way to get yourself acquainted with VR, and it’s not going to cost you hundreds of dollars. There is also a whole bunch of content you can get on mobile applications too so there’s plenty there to play with.
On the flip side, no mobile VR device is going to compare with PC or standalone VR sets as far as immersion is concerned. Standalone VR sets and PC sets are a lot more immersive than mobile VR headsets so you’re going to be a bit limited in how much you can get into a given experience. VR can also drain a smartphone’s battery life fairly quickly too. Finally, there are also some concerns about the HMD or the mobile overheating too so you should proceed with caution in this regard.