Open-sided virtual reality headsets are small, fold flat, and can be easily carried in a pocket or purse. Since most don’t have head straps, they are typically suited for quick, on-the-go VR experiences or demonstrations.
The open sides allow easy access to the phone screen for interactivity, or switching apps. However, they also allow in light and reduce the feeling of immersion.
I’ve used all the shopping sites mentioned below, including GearBest and AliExpress, and have been very satisfied with the service.
The headsets below are organized by price, with the least expensive first.
Disclosure: All of the headsets below that are linked to reviews, I’ve bought and paid for myself. For the shopping links, I’ve used affiliate links where available.
$4 on GearBest, available for 3.5 to 5.5 inch iPhones and Android phones. Field of view ranges from 90 to 110 degrees, depending on screen size. Weighs less than 2.5 ounces.
$4 on Amazon, available for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6S, in black, gold, gray and pink.
$5 on AliExpress, available for 3.5 to 6 inch iPhones and Android phones. In black, blue, pink and white. Field of view is 80 degrees. Doubles as a phone stand. A simiilar case is available for $4 from GearBest in white, blue and black.
$5 on GearBest, fits any phone from 3.5 to 6 inch screen size, available in black, folds in half. The field of view is 80 degrees, and the weight is less than 1.5 ounces.
$6 on GearBest, fits any phone from 4 to 6 inch screen size, available in white or black, folds in half.
$10 on Amazon, available for the 5.5-inch iPhone 6S Plus, in gold, pink and gray. Folds flat, doubles as phone case.
$10 on AliExpress, fits iPhone 6 and 6s and iPhone 6 Plus and 6S Plus, folds flat, doubles as case.
$20 on Amazon, fits any smartphone, cups stick to screen.
Preorder for $40 from Dodocase. Fits all smartphones, folds flat.
$70 on Amazon, available for iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S7.
Preorder for $70, available for iPhone 6, 6 plus, 6S and 6S plus in white or black. Doubles as phone case.