If you don't have the Vive or Oculus Rift, your phone may be the next best thing.
This post was updated on 2/6 with more great VR friendly phones for you to check out!
If you don't feel like shelling out $800 for an HTC Vive or $600 for an Oculus Rift, then your phone can be the next best VR option. With both Samsung and Google currently leading the pack, mobile VR is looking more promising than ever. These are our picks for the best mobile VR experiences!
Google Pixel XL
The Google Pixel XL is the latest of Google's flagships, being one of the few phones on the market sporting support for the company's Daydream VR platform. Offering what's arguably one of the best VR experiences available on smartphones today, the Pixel XL shapes up to be a speedy and overall outstanding device.
When paired with Google's Daydream View headset, the Pixel XL's Snapdragon 821 and 2560x1440 display serve up a crisp but equally smooth VR experience. The device's smaller sibling, the Google Pixel, also offers Daydream support, but is held back by its smaller 1080p display.
With Daydream still in its early days, the Google Pixel XL's VR experience is relatively unique at this point in time. However, this won't come cheap, with the phone's 32GB and 128GB versions priced at $769 and $869 respectively.
Take a look at Android Central's review for a closer look at the Pixel and Pixel XL!
Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge
It's only fitting that Samsung's 2016 flagships are top dogs when it comes to VR. They feature a powerful 820 Snapdragon processor and Quad HD display with a resolution of 2560x1440, which makes for sharp, pixel-dense, beautiful screen.
The Galaxy S7 has a 3,000mAh battery, while the Galaxy S7 Edge's is 3,600mAh, which will allow you to explore the virtual world (using your Samsung Gear VR) for a good long while without having to worry about your phone dying on you.
With a beautiful display, powerful processor, and top-notch battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge are your best smartphones for VR, especially since they're so perfect for the Samsung Gear VR. In fact, since the Galaxy S7's release, Samsung has been running promotions for a free Gear VR when you purchase a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge. Keep your eyes peeled!
Samsung Galaxy S6/S6 edge
Last year's flagships for Samsung, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, are also top of the class in terms of VR-ready smartphones. They're compatible with the Samsung Gear VR, have impressive 2560x1440 displays, octa-core Samsung Exynos processors, and multiple storage options (since expandable storage didn't make it to the Galaxy S6).
These phones will work with your Samsung Gear VR and/or Google Cardboard and they'll work well. One caveat of the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge is that their battery doesn't hold up all that well to intense use. If you plan on spending a while in VR, you're going to need a charger handy.
If you're after a phone that works very well with the Gear VR, won't cost as much as the Galaxy S7, and will still hold up over the next couple years, then check out the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 edge.
Check out Android Central's review for more!
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
If you're looking for a phone with plenty of screen real estate, then the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is perfect for you. Its 5.7-inch, 2560x1440 display is big and it's gorgeous. It even comes with the S Pen, a stylus that hides away nicely in the body of the phone.
Again, the Note 5 is totally compatible with the Samsung Gear VR, and it may even offer a more immersive experience, since it'll take up your entire field of vision. The other phones on this list do that too, but the screen's distance from your eyes is the same, so, obviously, the bigger the better!
With 4GB of RAM, the Note 5 is more than capable for use with Gear VR, and the battery is a decently sized 3,000mAh, which makes for tons of play time in VR land.
If you're looking for a nice big phone that comes with a stylus, a powerful processor, and an excellent camera, then check out the Note 5. Your inner VR addict will thank you.
Have a look at Android Central's review for more info!
What about you?
Is compatibility with VR a driving force behind your choice of phone? Sound off in the comments below!