What are the best budget VR headsets?

The high price of the big VR headsets, including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PlayStation VR, put them out of reach for many people. There is a huge market for affordable VR, and many companies are pumping out mobile headsets that work with modern phones. Wading through these budget headsets can be a bore, so we put together a list of the best you can buy that won't cost more than $50.

Samsung Gear VR (2016)

Samsung Gear VR

Samsung's Gear VR is a formidable VR headset if you also happen to have a Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S8, or Galaxy S8 Plus, or Galaxy Note 5. This is the 2016 version of the headset (there is a newer version available), so you won't be getting a remote with it, but you will only be spending about $50.

With a huge library of games and experiences available, the Gear VR is one of your best bets for a $50 VR headset.

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Homido Mini VR

Homido Mini VR

Thanks to its foldable, mobile design, the Homido Mini VR (about $10) is compatible with iOS and Android phones between four and six inches in size. All you have to do is download a few VR apps, clip the glasses to your phone, and put it up to your face.

When you're on the go, you can fold the glasses down and slip them into your pocket alongside your phone. If you're looking for VR that's super mobile and cheap, this is a great option.

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Google Cardboard

Google Cardboard

The one that helped push the budget VR market to where it is today, this little VR headset from Google is made completely out of cardboard. It's sturdier than you might think, and thanks to thousands of VR apps and experiences ready to go, you'll have a hard time running out of content.

Google Cardboard (about $15) works with iOS and Android phones between four and six inches in size. If you're looking for a simple introduction to VR, this is the way to go.

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Splaks 3D VR

Splaks 3D VR

Similar to the original Google Cardboard headset, this option from Splaks (about $27) is also made from cardboard but has a few extra features for extended use. Nose and forehead pads provide more comfort, and an elastic strap will securely attach the viewer to your head.

The Splaks 3D is compatible with iOS and Android phones between 3.5 and six inches in size, and there are a number of small suction cups on the inside flap of the headset to keep your phone in place. If you like the idea of Google Cardboard but want something a bit more deluxe, check out the Splaks 3D VR.

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VR Cups

VR Cups

VR Cups (about $20) are unlike any other VR headset in this roundup. Instead of a pair of lenses contained in some sort of frame, you have here instead two "cups" that attach to the screen of your phone with a suction gel.

The top of the cups have lenses in them for excellent viewing, and they are compatible with Google Cardboard apps. If you don't mind a minimalist product, these are a clever way to turn your phone into a great VR experience.

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View-Master VR

View-Master VR

Thinking about getting your little ones involved with VR? This headset from View-Master (about $26) not only brings up some nostalgic feelings, it also does a great job of delivering a mobile VR experience. Just pop your iOS or Android phone into the viewer, don the headset, and you're ready to go.

Take a trip with an official View-Master experience reel, or download and use one of the thousands of VR apps on the App Store and Google Play. Compatible Android phones include Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S7 Galaxy Note 4, Note 5, Motorola Moto X, Motorola Droid Turbo, LG Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, LG G3, LG G4, LG G5, Huawei Nexus 6P, and HTC One. Compatible iPhones include the 5, 5s, 5c, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.

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