A Guide to Mobile VR: Google Cardboard

Here's everything you need to know about the mobile headset to make a decision.

The Google Cardboard is one of the most used and heard-about mobile-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMD), and it is particularly known as the more novelty but practical of all the HMDs. If you have been thinking about looking into getting a Google Cardboard headset, then you have come to the right place as this is a comprehensive yet simplistic guide to what you want and need to know about it, and you can compare it to the others that are available right now.

Phone compatibility

First off, you want to know whether or not you have the right hardware for it, and luckily for everyone Google Cardboard is one of the most accessible as it is compatible with both Android and iOS mobile phones.

Here are the specifics:

• Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) or above, and can ideally support near field communication (NFC) too. This includes Samsung Galaxy S5.
• iOS with iPhone 6 and above.
• Screens should be 4.7 – 5 inches, with the new updated carboard 2.0 supporting iPhone 6S Plus and Samsung Note 5 which are both larger than the original size spec.

If you can pass all of these, then you’re in the Google Cardboard club – and in this day and age it would be rare to come across someone who is interested in buying a Cardboard but doesn’t own a somewhat updates smartphone (not impossible, though).

Design

I mean, it really is what it says on the tin (or cardboard). Google Cardboard is the most basic of all of the mobile HMDs – so much so that it has been frequently incorporated into retail packaging as a promotional freebie.

It is, as you could imagine, made out of cardboard, and the most techy it gets is with the two lenses that make what your phone screen is showing into VR, and it also has an NFC chip (as mentioned before) that automatically launches the Google Cardboard app when you put your smartphone into the headset. There is also a magnet that acts as a little button that controls your screen.

It is very much a lightweight little piece of VR history at this point, but it is an incredible tool when introducing VR and implementing it in schools and such.

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Accessories

There isn’t much need for accessories for the Google Cardboard other than a pair of decent earphones or headphones that you would usually use with your smartphone.

Type of Content

You can get all of your Google Cardboard apps and videogames from either the Google Play Store, or iTunes, where you would normally get your apps for your phone. There is an incredible number of applications for it, which includes video content, simpler videogames which incorporate gaze-controls, applications for companies to demo their products, and just simple experiences.

There isn’t much of substantial note, but regardless it is still a portal into the virtual world.

How much does it cost?

This is no doubt the tipping factor for most people looking to get into VR, but you should know that this is by far the cheapest option as it on average will cost you around £20 (GBP) – this all depends on whether or not you get a more novelty version for either free or a much cheaper price, or if you buy one online.

 

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