If you want to test virtual reality without spending a lot of money, a VR headset designed for smartphones is the best option. They are affordable, have a slot for your phone, and support many VR apps and games. Our current choice for the best VR headset for the iPhone is the family-friendly Merge VR. We also list five additional options that may be a better place to start your VR mobile journey.
Before you start, make sure you have device compatibility. Some models only support certain iPhone sizes, while others may require a sensor that is not included in your phone. To determine if a particular headset supports your device, try VR Test Ninja.
Finally, many of the headsets listed below are based on Google Cardboard-based apps and do without proprietary VR-specific app shops. The good news here is that you don't spend a lot of money to satisfy your VR appetite.
Top selection: Merge VR
Merge VR is our first choice for iPhone-based VR experiences. It's easy to use and offers clever features that support many different VR experiences, especially for families and children.
The materials consist of a flexible but durable foam substance that is both light and resistant to bumps and falls. This user-friendly design approach affects the compatibility of the Merge with a generous phone slot for most iOS and Android smartphones.
You can adjust the distance between the lens and eye by sliding two spring-based buttons mounted on top. The same two buttons replace the hand control, so you can interact with the experience by pressing these buttons. This way, you can hold the headset like binoculars and enjoy dual controller experiences that require so many phone apps.
Curious about compatible apps? There is no app-based store. Instead, Merge offers a special website, Merge Miniverse, that lists all compatible apps that are available in the Apple App Store. Most are free or just a few dollars, so your risks are relatively low. Miniverse is a powerful system that is reinforced when you sign up for the newsletter.
VR Wear virtual reality glasses
This headset is essentially a further development of the original Google Cardboard design. It has a white plastic shell and a semi-transparent lid so you can continue to use the phone's camera. You will find small holes for connecting headphones or a power cord while the headset picks up your phone. Additional holes ensure sufficient ventilation so that your phone does not overheat.
This model does not come with a separate controller. Instead, the box design is taken over by Google to implement a magnetic button. That means your overall experience is based on box-compatible apps – including 360-degree videos on YouTube – that are available in the App Store. Your phone needs a magnetometer to support this function, as well as a gyroscope and an accelerometer to fully support mobile VR.
This headset has a 105 degree field of view and the ability to adjust each lens in four directions. It supports phones between 4.5 and 6.5 inches, from the iPhone 6 models to the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It contains two stickers that you can stick on the outside of the lid: cat eyes and a winged skull.
DSCVR VR Headset
Here is a cheap but durable VR headset based on Google's second box design. What makes it interesting is the overall retractable design. When you are not using the headset, the eye protection is pulled back into the housing. Press two buttons and the shield jumps back into position. This is handy when traveling, as its halved thickness means you can easily put it in a handbag or bag.
Dscvr was developed by I Am Cardboard and is certified as a WWGC (Works with Google Cardboard) device. It has two biconvex 34mm lenses and a 'handy' silicone phone strap to keep your device in place. That said, there's no lid, cradle, or head strap to hold it firmly on your noggin. You hold the device to your face during your VR journey.
For VR experiences that support input, this headset offers a magnetic button, as seen on Cardboard v2 kits. Again, your phone needs a magnetometer to support this function. It was developed for up to an iPhone 6 Plus and comes in six colors, including blue, green and orange.
Destek V5 VR headset
Switching to a premium offer, the fifth version The VR headset from Destek for mobile phones contains a Joy-Con-like one-handed Bluetooth controller. The field of vision is expanded from 103 degrees of the previous model to 110 degrees. It also increases the size of the supported phone along with a larger pupil distance. You can now also remove the spongy face mask for cleaning.
Desktek boasts that the lenses have blue light and anti-reflective coatings. They are also aspherical, which means that they have a non-spherical surface to minimize distortion. This lens is supplemented by a pupil removal button, with which you can adjust the headset to your eyes. In addition, this headset supports most glasses.
The device includes an adjustable head strap to hold it in place, a plastic case and a holder for your phone. There are slots for headphones and for heat dissipation on each side. It weighs only 11.3 ounces and supports 5.5 to 6.5-inch phones. It does not offer a proprietary apps store, but is based on experiences available in the app store. Simply scan the QR on the lip to customize the experience.
Zeiss VR One Plus
The Zeiss is more of a niche product that is particularly characterized by its “Eye Box”. The space essentially allows people to close the smartphone screen see without adjusting the pupil distance. In addition, anyone with glasses can easily use the headset, making it one of the most accessible models on our list. Air vents on the side aim to reduce fog on the lenses, the screen and your glasses.
Google Cardboard apps work here. Therefore, finding compatible experiences shouldn't be a problem. Just make sure they work for iOS. On the negative side, the Zeiss can only accommodate smartphones with display sizes between 4.7 and 5.5 inches, so that anything larger than the iPhone X will not work.
Homido V2 VR
The Homido is an all-purpose VR headset that does everything pretty well, even if it doesn't flare up a lot. It includes adjustable pupil and object distance to improve focus. The removable spongy eye rests provide extra comfort that you can wash if necessary. There's also a T-shaped strap for your head, which makes it a little more durable than other headsets on our list.
If you can't decide what to buy and like Homido's headset, you should think about it, as well as the company's mini-glass model. On the other hand, you have to download apps from the Homido Center Store, which could limit your selection.