You don’t need a top-of-the-line PC to experience virtual reality. In fact, all you need is a phone and a headset. The iPhone excels at displaying virtual reality content thanks to its high-resolution screen and processing power, and there are quite a few headsets on the market that cater to providing top-tier VR experiences with nothing more than the iPhone’s power.
Most of these headsets are less than $50. You can watch movies in a virtual theater, explore faraway places, and even play games straight from your phone. The only downside is that there are a lot of headsets, and they aren’t uniform in quality. These are the best VR headsets for iPhone that are actually worth your money.
What Should You Look for in an iPhone VR Headset?
The iOS platform is a bit lacking in terms of virtual reality experiences. You won’t find a lot of games, but you can view content like movies designed for VR. You can also use tools like Google Expeditions to explore faraway lands from the comfort of your own living room.
Look for a headset that has adjustable focal distances for better clarity, and a headset with a strap that goes not only behind your head but also over it. This will keep the headset balanced and prevent headaches from poor weight distribution.
If a headset works with Bluetooth, then you can play games on it; if not, it’s designed only for viewing content.
1. VR Pansonite
The VR Pansonite is a $40 headset that works with both Android and iPhones. Its design resembles that of higher-end headsets like the Valve Index. Headphones extend from the headset itself to cup your ears and provide much better audio quality. At only FIVE ounces, the headset is lightweight and comfortable for extended play sessions (although you do have to think about the weight of your phone.)
The VR Pansonite works with smartphones between four and six inches in size. It also includes a controller with an analog stick and four face buttons, plus four additional menu buttons to navigate through VR experiences. Your phone connects to the headset through Bluetooth to eliminate the need for wires, although this does introduce a small, usually imperceptible amount of lag to most VR endeavors.
2. VR Wear
BEST PREMIUM FEATURES
The VR Wear headset for iPhone is one of the most affordable options you can buy. At just $26, this headset is compatible with all smartphones between 4.5 and 6.5 inches in size, provided they’re equipped with a gyroscope. (Don’t worry; iPhones are.) What sets the VR Wear apart are premium features not often found in a headset of this price range, like adjustable lenses to fit varying IPDs. The face cushion is made of soft pleather, with an elastic head strap. At only 0.71 pounds, you’ll barely feel the weight on your head.
You can plug in a set of headphones to the VR headset for better audio quality. Unfortunately, this isn’t suited for gaming. The VR Wear is excellent for watching videos and exploring in virtual reality but is built solely with viewing in mind. If you want a way to dive into VR gaming, you’ll need to look into a different headset.
3. BNEXT VR Headset
The BNEXT VR Headset is another widely compatible and affordable option. It’s only $23 and works with phones between 4 and 6.3 inches in size. It offers focal distance and pupillary distance adjustments, as well as anti-blue light lenses. The soft facial foam is breathable, so you won’t get overheated even during long gaming sessions. The head strap can be adjusted to give you the most comfortable fit.
This VR headset is designed with gaming in mind. Although you can’t control the games through the headset itself, you can sync a Bluetooth controller with your phone and play them that way. The headset doesn’t require any power on its own; instead, it acts as a way to hold the phone. The VR experience itself comes straight from your iPhone, not from the headset.
4. VeeR VR Headset
FOR THOSE WITH VISION PROBLEMS
The VeeR headset is slightly more expensive, but is still just $35 — but it delivers performance that far outstrips its price. It includes a 3.5mm headphone connector and has active noise canceling around-ear headphones. You can even take calls while using the headset, while also adjusting the volume. One thing to note: while it does include a controller, this only works with Android devices. The headset works fine as an iPhone VR experience, but only for viewing content — not interacting with it.
Unfortunately, that means almost no VR gaming on iPhone. You can adjust the focal and pupillary distance, as well as the viewing angle and depth of each eye. This means you can adjust the view until it’s as clear as possible for you, no matter how good or bad your vision is. It’s a solid choice with a sturdy build, but the VeeR headset would be better if iPhone users could control it with the controller.
5. Digib Virtual Reality Headset
The Digib Virtual Reality Headset is pretty barebones, but at just $25 it’s hard to complain. Like many other headsets on this list, it’s designed for viewing, not gaming. The Digib VR Headset is compatible with phones up to 6.3 inches in size and offers built-in focal distance and pupillary distance adjustments. It gives users a 105-degree field of view. (For reference, the field of view of the human eye is about 135 degrees.)
The Digib doesn’t have anything spectacular in terms of features, but its easy compatibility with a wide range of devices makes it an excellent option for users that might want to transition from iPhone to another platform in the future. The number of iPhone-focused VR experiences is minimal, and the Digib offers a budget-friendly way to future-proof your virtual experience.
6. Merge VR
BEST FOR KIDS
Merge VR is possibly the single best VR and AR headset available for iPhone with educational experiences in mind. It’s designed for children. While it doesn’t have an over-the-head strap, the single back strap is adjustable to fit any size noggin. Through the Merge VR headset, you can explore distance galaxies, walk alongside dinosaurs, and more. You can even trigger mixed reality experiences with Merge Cube.
The Merge VR is slightly pricier at $50, but comes in color options you won’t find in other headsets. You can choose between colors like Pulsar Purple and Rocket Red. Is this headset meant for the hardcore user? Not at all — but if you’re a parent looking for a suitable VR headset for a child, the Merge VR is one of the better options on the market today.