VR headsets are cool gadgets to play games and even experience places in 3D, without having to spend all that money on travel. Are you interested in a VR headset but don’t want to spend the hundreds of dollars on the flagships like the Oculus Quest, HTC Vive Cosmos and Samsung’s gear VR? Don’t fret, you have a couple of decent options out there. I have scoured the internet to bring you the best VR headsets under $50 in 2019. This could be a good way to experience VR without breaking the bank and also to see if virtual reality is for you.
What to look for when buying a VR headset?
Because of the variety of headsets on the market and the techy language involved in their features, here are a few things you should be looking at to find a good budget VR headset.
1. What phone are you using?
Because these are budget VR headsets, don’t expect they will be stand alone headsets. On the bright side you don’t have to bother about CPU speed and game compatibility. However, to get the best experience, your phone needs to have a gyroscope, 5 inches or higher, a good resolution (preferably 1080p or higher) and good speakers if you won’t be using Bluetooth speakers or headphones.
Discomfort can kill the whole VR experience. No matter how good the content is, you won’t like to keep your face inside a heavy and hot pair of goggles. So, it’s important the device is lightweight, adjustable to conform to the shape of your head, reasonably thick and soft eye cuffs and breathable space.
3. Adjustable lenses
Some people are shortsighted or longsighted, so having the lens adjustable is necessary for a good VR headset. Also, some people eye’s a further apart than others. Without this adjust-ability, images won’t be as clear and could strain the eyes.
4. Phone adaptability
The last thing you want is to buy a VR headset, upgrade your phone and not be able to use it anymore. You want to buy a VR headset which will adjust to fit any phone size.
5. Additional controller
You can’t play popular game titles on VR without a remote or game pad. So either of them is a must if you want the full experience.
6. Good build quality
For $50 and below, you shouldn’t expect the best quality. However, a sturdy and durable design is achievable and should be a priority. Weak plastic won’t last long as they can snap.
7. Peripheral blocking
If a VR headset doesn’t block outside light from entering, it can ruin the whole experience. You need to make sure to get a headset that has that in check.
8. Good audio
Some headsets have built-in headphones and some don’t. Good sound quality is a must, if you’re going to be stuck with additional speakers to the headset. If not, ensure there is a compartment for wired earphones to pass through.
Best VR headsets under $50
1. Bobo VR Z5 – $48
The Bobo VR Z5 is the newer and improved version of the Z4. It is designed for Daydream and has a lot of positive reviews from its users.
It comes with a Daydream controller that can be used for games with any Daydream compatible smartphone. If you don’t have one, you can always use it as a normal VR headset. The headset is quite the minimalist and comes in black or white.
It weighs about 12.3 Ounces and is compatible with screen sizes from 4.7 to 6 inches. It also has a Field of View (FOV) of 120 degrees which gives a more immersive experience. The lenses are High-definition aspheric lenses – 42mm aspheric / 0.39mm color difference.
The Z5 comes with cushioned headphones and a 3.5mm audio cable, but you can also opt for the variant without earphones (which is cheaper). It also has a customizable pupil distance and is quick to set up.
It does have some drawbacks though. The headset lacks a third strap over the head which might cause it to slip from time to time. Also, a little light might leak into your viewing area depending on the environment. Overall it is one of the best VR headsets are this price range.
2. Shinecon 3D VR Headset – $29
This is meant for smartphones with screen sizes from 4” – 6”. It has magnetically secured front faceplate to keep the phone in place. It also has adjustable cloth straps that keep the headset comfortably on your face. The headset is lightweight, so you can use it for long without taking a break. There is a soft and breathable foam padding around the eye cuffs.
The VR headset comes along with a remote controller which can also serve as a game pad. There are built-in headphones for immersive audio and optical lenses which specifically guard against dizziness (optical grade PMMA HD aspheric lenses).
The Shinecon VR headset comes with a stunning video quality which provides great virtual space experience and as well as great 3D visuals. You will be able to watch 3D movies at a good resolution. It also has blue light reflection which is rare at this price range. At $29, this is definitely among the best VR headsets under $50.
3. Google Daydream VR headset – $49
This is a very good and feature packed headset but the sad new is, it doesn’t work with every smartphone and definitely not iOS devices. So check the list to see if your device is compatible. Other than that, the Google Daydream provides a great VR experience.
It spots a nicer fabric but a bit more weight than its predecessors. However, it is still comfortable as the headset spots a thick layer of foam. Google gets an “A” for the design of this thing. There are no headphones built-in, so you may want to get yourself a pair of wireless earbuds to go with.
The headset has a 100 degrees field of view, which is pretty much mediocre but good enough.
Google’s Daydream View headset comes with accurate and intuitive controllers which makes playing games a joy. It has a growing content library with original content.
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4. Pansonite 3D VR Glasses – $28
This ticks the box where most of the others fall short. It has built-in earphones of good quality. Also, it comes with a remote for playing games and navigating menus. It fits phones sizes from 4.7” – 6”.
It has high quality adjustable lenses along with 120 degrees Field of View (FOV) that provide a rich VR experience. The front of the device comes off, so you can use the phone’s camera to take pictures. It also has multifunctional buttons to access the phones touch features making navigation easier.
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5.Google cardboard (Topmaxions 3D VR headset)- $10
We can’t close out this list without the Google cardboard. Now this looks really cheap, and like the name says it is made of cardboard material. However, this is arguably the most iconic virtual reality headset. It is not the most comfortable VR headset but it is the best choice if you just want to try out virtual reality without spending too much.
This particular one has a strap unlike the first variant of the google cardboard, so it gets a plus there. It is also incredibly light at just 3.4 ounces. There are thousands of additional VR apps to be found in Google Play or iOS App Store. This is definitely one of the best VR headsets under $50. It is definitely a steal as it only costs a meager $10.
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I recommend the Shinecon VR headset. It has very good lenses along with a sturdy and comfortable design that doesn’t feel cheap. The included remote control makes it more user friendly and can be used for games too. The blue light filter is an added bonus and a great feature to have. In addition, the front cover allows you the use of AR- based apps and picture taking which adds more value.
On the other hand, if you’re using a high end device such as the google pixels, Motorola and other devices, you might want to go for the Google Daydream. It is also the best choice if you’re interested in games. Its premium design along with its loads of original content and large library makes it almost unbeatable at this price point.