Cardboard: Virtual Reality on the Cheap, but Is It Any Good?

Have you ever wanted to try virtual reality out for yourself but can’t afford any of that cool Oculus Rift gear? That’s okay, neither can we, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to approximate a (cheap) VR experience with Google Cardboard.

Cardboard is an initiative launched by Google to encourage development of virtual reality (VR) and VR apps. It’s called cardboard vr box because anyone can purchase or construct their own headset using simple materials such as velcro, tape adhesive, and most importantly, cardboard. Upon acquiring a headset, you can then use your Android smartphone to try out various VR apps available on Google Play.

We decided to give it a try and picked up the EightOnes VR Kit(though at this time it is priced at $19.99). There are literally dozen of Cardboard kits out there, so check out Google’s Cardboard kits page or download and build your own using their step-by-step instructions.

Cardboard kits don’t usually come preassembled. Ours came in a flat, padded envelope. Included in the kit was the VR headset, a velcro head strap, and an instruction sheet.

We chose a model with a head strap figuring it might make it a more natural experience but they are generally an optional feature, as is the NFC sticker that lets you instantly pair your phone to the headset when you use the Cardboard app, which we’ll talk about in a bit.


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