Best VR headsets for iPhones

Do want to give a VR headset as a gift to someone with an iPhone — or buy one for yourself?

You can.

You won’t get the best possible mobile experience, however, since the two best headsets — the Samsung Gear VR and the Daydream View — don’t work with iPhones. Plus, there are no remote controllers that work with iPhones, so you are limited to choosing from headsets that have built-in buttons, or open-sided headsets where you can easily touch the screen, instead.

Here are your best options (affiliate codes included where available):

Mattel View-Master VR

The Mattel View-Master may be a toy, but it is a fully-functional Google Cardboard headset. You can pick up the latest version, which has adjustable focus, in person for around $40 at Target, Walmart or Toys R Us. Or you can get last year’s version, where the focus does not adjust, for around $17. There are no straps, but it is very easy to use and is great for kids. I bring mine with me when I do VR headset demos and people love it. Read my review here.

Mattel View-Master Deluxe VR. (Image courtesy VR.)

Mattel View-Master Deluxe VR. (Image courtesy VR.)

Phone size: 4 to 6 inches. Field of view: 98 degrees. Weight: 13 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $17 at Amazon for the older one, or $33 on Amazon for the new one.

BoboVR Z4

Built-in control button on the underside of the headset, built-in headphones, adjustable lenses, a super-wide 120-degree field of view, and an easy drop-in phone holder makes this one of my favorite headsets. And if the headphones get in the way, it’s also sold in a mini version without them.

BoboVR Z4 offers a 120-degree field of view, integrated head phones.

BoboVR Z4 offers a 120-degree field of view, integrated head phones.

Phone size: 4 to 6 inches. Field of view: 120 degrees. Weight: 15 ounces with headphones, 11 ounces without.
Purchase details: Buy it for $36 at Amazon with headphones and $30 without.

Xiaomi VR

The Xiaomi VR is a recent entry to the mobile VR space, low-priced, with a a decent field of view, a built-in button, straps, openings on the front cover for virtual reality applications, and it fits over glasses. The lenses are not adjustable, however, and the zipper can be a little annoying to use. Read my review here.

(Image courtesy Xiaomi.)

(Image courtesy Xiaomi.)

Phone size: 4.7 to 5.7 inches. Field of view: 95 degrees. Weight: 7 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $14 at GeekBuying, for $21 from Amazon$21 from AliExpress and $12 from GearBest.

Goggle Tech C1-Glass

You don’t need a control or button for this headset since you can just touch the screen to interact with apps — without having to remove the phone from the headset. This is particularly convenient when switching apps or videos. However, the open design means that the headset doesn’t block out outside light, so it’s less immersive, and the lack of straps means you’ll have to hold the viewer up to your face. It folds flat, and comes with a nice carrying case. Read my review here.

Goggle Tech C1-Glass. (Image courtesy Goggle Tech.)

Goggle Tech C1-Glass. (Image courtesy Goggle Tech.)

Phone size: any size. Field of view: 90 degrees. Weight: 1 ounce.
Purchase details: Buy it for $25 from Amazon.

VR Fold

Another open-sided headset, the VR Fold has adjustable lenses, and folds flat and then in half, so it makes a great stocking stuffer. It also comes in several different colors, and costs just $6. Read my review here. Check out more options for open-sided headsets here.

VR Fold

VR Fold.

Phone size: any size. Field of view: 95 degrees. Weight: 2.7 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $8 from Amazon.

Dscvr

This is a brightly-colored, easy-to use headset. But the lenses are not adjustable, and there’s no straps to hold it in place — and, despite the lack of functionality, it is one of the pricier headsets on this list. Read my review here.

Dscvr -- set

Dscvr headsets. (Image courtesy I Am Cardboard.)

Phone size: 4 to 6 inches. Field of view: 96 degrees. Weight: 9 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $25 from Amazon or for $25 directly from the manufacturer, I Am Cardboard.

Powis VR

People love this headset when I bring it to conferences, and it’s extremely easy to use. But the basic material it’s made of is cardboard, so it might not be the most durable headset, the lenses are not adjustable, and it is one of the most expensive headsets on this list.  Read my review here.

Powis virtual reality headsets.

Powis virtual reality headsets.

Phone size: 4.7 to 6 inches. Field of view: 90 degrees. Weight: 5 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $30 directly from Powis or for $25 from Amazon.

SmartTheater VR

These come in four colors, are extremely light-weight, and are very easy to use and comes recommended by one of my readers as a light, comfortable inexpensive headset.

(Image courtesy Smart Theater LLC.)

Phone size: 3.5 to 6 inches.  Weight: 11 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $16 from Walmart or for $30 from Amazon.

Merge VR

This is the most expensive headset on this list, but it is not my favorite. It’s on the heavy side, doesn’t have the best field of view, and it’s hard to get the phone into the viewer — especially if you have a case on your phone. The company does do a nice job helping people find new VR apps with its VR Start website.

(Image courtesy Merge VR.)

(Image courtesy Merge VR.)

Phone size: 4 to 6 inches. Field of view: 90 degrees. Weight: 15 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $60 directly from Merge VR or for $60 from Amazon.

Ritech Riem 3

A light-weight, low-cost headset made in China, with adjustable focus and comfortable straps. There’s also an updated version, the Ritech Riem 3 plus, which has an even smaller field of view. Read our review of the Ritech Riem 3 plus here.

Ritech Riem 3 VR Glasses. (Image courtesy GearBest.)

Ritech Riem 3 VR Glasses. (Image courtesy GearBest.)

Phone size: 3.5 to 6 inches. Field of view: 90 degrees. Weight: 5 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $13 from GearBest or for $25 from Amazon.

Google Cardboard V2

This is the official Google Cardboard viewer, made of actual cardboard. It’s as minimal as you can get. Make sure you get the one with a button on top, not the magnet on the side. The ones with the magnets are cheaper, but the only work half the time, and fall off almost immediately. There are no straps, and the lenses are not adjustable, and it falls apart when you sit on it or get it wet.

Google Cardboard V2. (Image courtesy Google.)

Google Cardboard V2. (Image courtesy Google.)

Phone size: 3.5 to 6 inches. Field of view: 90 degrees. Weight: 5 ounces.
Purchase details: Buy it for $15 from Google, or choose from hundreds of options on Amazon.

Shopping tips

Given the choice, pick the headset with adjustable lenses, the widest field of view, and the lowest weight.

 

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.