While we might all still be waiting for an official Apple VR headset, that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of VR headset options for your Apple iPhone.
Whether you’re looking for an iPhone VR headset for an iPhone 5s or something more recent like an Phone X and gargantuan iPhones like an iPhone 11 Pro Max, there’s a multitude of VR headsets that can accommodate iPhones of different sizes.
Read this: Best VR apps and games for iPhone
Of course, these cheap and cheerful VR headsets aren’t a patch on some of the best VR headsets like the Oculus Quest or HTC Vive, but they are a great introduction to the world of VR without breaking the bank or requiring a lot of space.
Price when reviewed: $15
If you’re looking for a low cost of entry to VR, they don’t come much cheaper than an iPhone-compatible Cardboard kit. You can get an unofficial Cardboard headset for under $10 on Amazon, and with some of them you can get a strap and NFC so it powers up the app on command.
There’s also the official Cardboard from Google, which is compact and foldable. It’s not as fiddly to make as the unofficial ones, but it’s still going to fall apart if you don’t look after it because, well, it is made from cardboard. Still, there’s no easier or more affordable way to jump into VR.
Merge VR Goggles
Price when reviewed: $29.99
While most of these headsets are made out of hard plastic, the Merge VR Goggles opt for a soft, squishy foam. It helps make the headset light and comfortable. Plus, it’s got a customizable strap that fits anyone from the age of 10 and above, adjustable lenses and two buttons to interact with your VR content.
We found the lenses on the Merge to be surprisingly clear, and the device itself supports all iPhone models. However, the larger Plus and XS Max models can be a little snug getting in and out.
The VR Goggles aren’t just for virtual reality, either, they can be partnered with Merge Cube to have some neat augmented reality fun. All you have to do is pop out the little window in the front and do everything as normal, but with Merge’s AR app and Cube in your hand.
Wareable verdict: Merge Cube review
Carl Zeiss VR One Plus
Price when reviewed: $19.99
Most mobile VR headsets are simply a plastic case and a couple of lenses – hence the logic behind the super cheap Cardboard style devices. So Zeiss’ experience in making lenses and optics for everyone from Sony cameras to the medical fields puts it high on our list. This model has also dropped in price significantly.
The VR One Plus, which will fit all iPhones, lets you experience apps and video with a 100-degree field of view, and those picking up the Magnet Controller accessory can also control the action when strapped in. A little more expensive, sure, but a great option for those looking for something on the more premium end of the iPhone-compatible scale.
Price when reviewed: $20.99
The Hamswan VR manages a 100-degree field of view, adjustable pupil distance and a lightweight design, all for a budget-friendly price. If you suffer from myopia the Hamswan is also still suitable, too.
As the Hamsan VR only supports phones up to 6.11 inches, it won’t fit the larger iPhone XS Max but will otherwise work with a vast majority of iPhone models. The front cover is designed to be removed, which should help with heat dissipation so your iPhone doesn’t overheat during longer sessions.
View-Master DLX VR
Price when reviewed: $18.23
Mattel’s second View-Master mobile VR headset was the first to actually be sold in Apple stores but has since disappeared. You can still pick it up from other places, although it’s getting more difficult to do so in the UK. The DLX VR has a redesigned smartphone mount to work with more sizes of iPhone, as well as Android, headphone support and upgraded lenses from the first attempt.
The best bit? There are now a couple designs, like the iconic View-Master design with a modern twist and Ninja Turtle and Batman skins with bundled-in experiences.
More VR action
Homido Virtual Reality Headset V2
Price when reviewed:$34.99
Upping the tech stakes, the second generation Homido VR headset still offers a 100-degree field of view, compatibility with the newest iPhones all the way back to the 5S, all wrapped up in a slimmer design. It’s also suitable for glasses-wearers, with space for specs inside the faux leather, interchangeable seal.
If headsets aren’t really your thing, Homido also makes a pair of VR glasses, although the effect will be far less pronounced than a HMD. Then there’s the portable Homido Grab, which works with Cardboard and has a 100-degree field of view. It’s also got a series of new accessories (not included), including a 360-degree camera and Bluetooth controllers to cater for your immersive shooting and gaming needs.
Xiaozhai BoboVR Z5
Price when reviewed: $48.65
If you need a headset for your iPhone but don’t want the hassle of finding a pair of headphones each time you use it, BoboVR has your back with built-in speakers pumping out 720-degree 3D audio.
If you want to take advantage of one of the cheaper options on this list and its impressive 120-degree field of view, though, you’ll need to make sure your iPhone is between four and six inches.
And since the speakers will only sync up with traditional headphone ports and not Lightning, those with phones living that #nojack life will have to bring their dongle along.
If your device does fit the bill, you’ll also be able to make use of the focus controls and adjustable strap to help tailor the headset for your trip to the virtual realm. Just be careful when picking out the right one, as there is a Daydream version of the Z5 that is not compatible with iPhone.
Freefly VR Beyond
Price when reviewed: $10.97
Previously Android-only, this Freefly headset, the Beyond, adds iPhone capability up until the iPhone XS. You’ll get a 120-degree field of view and Crossfire capacitive touch triggers for your games. This headset has been out for a while now, but it’s dropped in price considerably and will tide you over while we wait to see if Freefly’s FF3 headset will ever launch.
The FF3 is a hybrid headset that’ll let you take part in virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences. You’ll just need to take off the headset’s sides, which will also increase the field of view to 180 degrees. Since it was announced in 2017 though, its Crowdcube page has since disappeared and there hasn’t been any updates on whether the product will come to market anytime soon. Plus, Chrome had flagged Freefly’s site as unsafe. The site has since been switched to an Australian domain, so things are definitely changing.
In the meantime, you can still get the Beyond headset from Amazon US for an affordable amount.