Google Cardboard

Author: Andreas Johannsen
Date: February 3, 2016
HMD_Google_Cardboard - Google Cardboard VR

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The first time I laid eyes on the Goggle Cardboard headset, I was fairly skeptical, and more than anything I thought it looked like something I could have created myself as an art project back in elementary school. I was not expecting the little cardboard kit I was holding in my hands would provide me with any sort of great VR entertainment. I have to admit, though, I was wrong. Google Cardboard actually delivered a whole lot more than you would expect for a mere $9.99…

 

Buy VR Guide Score

VR Score_3outof5

Plus
  • Low price
  • Good intro to VR
  • Works for both iPhone and Android
  • User friendly
Minus
  • Limited functionality
  • Low immersion level
  • Low quality

 

Summary

The Google VR headset was first introduced at an internal mass meeting at Google, where each employee received one. Here, it turned out that the employees were very enthusiastic about the headsets. After this, Google decided to start selling the glasses, which since then has exceeded all expectations. With the Google headset, a manufacturer really succeeded in reaching wide. The reason for this is the price and the fact that people are very curious about virtual reality. Google’s virtual reality platform is very simple and requires only that you download apps to your iPhone or Android phone, for instance. There are already tons of apps, and the number of possible games and experiences is constantly increasing. With their Cardboard model, Google has taken a serious bite of the big VR pie.

Buy Google Cardboard

 

Google Cardboard Review

As the name suggests, Google cardboard was designed by Google. The idea for Google’s VR goggles started when a few VR enthusiasts inside Google decided in 2014 to spend some of their time on creating a VR headset that was simple and cheap.

When I received the headset in the mail, it came in a flat little package. Inside the package I received, there was no instruction manual enclosed, which was no big deal, since I went on the internet immediately and found help to assemble the headset. Aside from the cardboard, there are two 40 mm lenses, Velcro, a bit of double-stick tape, and a magnetic button (used to make choices in the virtual world).

Google_Carboard_Package_Content - content Google Cardboard
Content of the Google Cardboard package

The fit of the glasses can not measure up to for instance Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift. Google’s VR glasses are in my opinion clumsy in expression, and wins when not on comfort, as there is no soft foam on the inside of the glasses – but for the price you can not expect more.

When I used the glasses, I used no strap around my head, because it is not included with the package – it’s something you have to acquire (or use a noral headband) – but held them infront of my eyes and looked into in the virtual universe. This worked fine for me. The first experience I got with Google Cardboard, was with a Roller Coaster app, which was very engaging.

 

Telephone Requirements

Google Cardboard is fully compatible with both iPhones and Android phones. Available in a version for phones with a size up to and equal to iPhone 6 or just about, as well as another (see review here) that fits larger phones, such as iPhone 6 plus.

 

Contents/Software

As mentioned, Google Cardboard is very simple. All you need to do is the place your phone in the headset, download games and experiences from either Google Play or Apples App Store, and off you go into the adventure world of virtual reality. Below, I have described just a few of the experiences you can try with Google Cardboard.

The contents can be divided into the following three categories.

  • VR – 180- and 360-degree video
    • Video filmed with a special camera type
    • Can give you the experience of sitting at the stadium watching your favorite team winning the championship or of seeing the musical “Phantom of the Opera”.
  • VR experiences
    • Animated experiences
    • Can do things like taking you on an educational journey through the universe or take you on a ride on the craziest rollercoaster
  • VR games
    • Computer games, where you are typically placed inside the game world
    • May be something like steering a spaceship or maneuvering yourself around inside the game world

 

VR experiences

In collaboration with Google, the New York Times has created the NYT VR app. It provides an amazing live picture of the journalistic stories and documents from the New York Times. Essential if you love news and documentaries. The app is free and is accessible for both Android and for iPhones. There are many other available VR experiences, among them Volvo Reality, Streetview, and Google Cardboard Camera.

nyt_vr
New York Times VR app (nytvr)

Do you get carsick and dizzy easily? – If so, you may not want to try Roller Coaster VR. In this game, you take a fantastic rollercoaster ride through the jungle, on sheer cliffs, and even under water. A fun game that may make you slightly dizzy. The app is free for Android and iOS. There are tons of other games out there, and the selection is only growing larger. So what are you waiting for?

roller_coaster_vr
Roller Coaster VR app for iPhone and Android

Price

When Google Cardboard was launched in 2014, it was somewhat more expensive than it is today – although still very inexpensive compared to the general VR market. Today, you will find it at a range of prices. We recommend this version from Amazon. Qualitywise it is a very high level compared to the very cheap cardboards you can find. At the time of this writing, the price is only $9.99.

Buy Google Cardboard

Conclusion

Considering the price and the fact that these VR glasses is made from a piece of cardboard, I actually think that Google Cardboard is more than adequate. Obviously, you don’t get and immersive virtual reality experience (where you feel that you are really in another world), but you get an okay “basic” virtual reality experience, which is just fine for starters. Obviously, this headset is a far cry from the experience you might get with, for instance, a high-end VR headset. For DKK 150, you get a glimpse of what virtual reality is, but if you want to see what virtual reality can really do, you need to buy either a Samsung Gear VR headset or one of the high-end VR headset.

The Google Cardboard headset is both for those who are a little curious about virtual reality, but also for the ones who are skeptical about it. Regardless, with this headset and considering the price, there is no excuse for not getting started and see what virtual reality is all about. Here from BuyVRguide.com, we want to give Google Cardboard our warmest recommendations.

And if you have bought a Google Cardboard and need help assembling it, then see the video below: