Virtual reality is a great new way to experience gaming and movies. Currently, the VR industry is dominated by names like Oculus and Google. Most popular VR headsets, like Samsung Gear VR, are quite expensive. However, you don’t need to be rich to experience VR.
VR tech initially started off dirt cheap. The cheapest VR headset you can own is a cardboard box outfitted with lenses. This cardboard VR was initially developed by Google, and you can find instructions online to make a VR headset using essentially trash.
Some of us would like a better VR headset than cardboard, but preferably not sky high priced. There are plenty of VR headsets that you can buy to enjoy your games and movies without losing all your savings. Read ahead for the best VR headsets under $50.
Our VR headsets under $100 list has plenty of products under $50 as well. So, you might want to check it out.
List of Best VR Headsets Priced $50 or Less – 2017
1. Xiaozhai Z4
This is definitely my favorite best cheap VR headsets under 50. I love it cause it’s packed with features. For starters, the lens is spherical resin, so I can use this headset for hours without feeling dizzy or fatigued. The lens doesn’t have a plastic sheet stimulation, so visual distortions are very limited. I could also easily adjust pupil distance with a click of a button. This is also one of the most compatible VR headsets I’ve used.
Ritech Riem III is a Google cardboard headset compatible with for 3.5 to 5.6 inch smartphones. I have to say this VR headset is one of the most comfortable I have used. The optics were great (ok, not as great as an expensive headset, but still). This headset is mainly for watching movies so the FOV is low. This is also another glasses-friendly headset that won’t press against your spectacles. Everything was great except for the suction cup holder, which sometimes let my phone slip.
This is, by far, one of the cheapest VR headsets I have tried. For the asking price, this headset delivers quite well. It’s extremely lightweight, has straps and adjustable lenses. Despite the slight frame, this headset is sturdier than it looks. I got a good field of view using this, and it was also surprisingly easy to handle. This is super cheap so there is no remote controller or even a button that comes with the package. So, I couldn’t use this with app that needed a remote controller. This headset is compatible with iPhone 6 and Samsung 4.7 and up.
4. FIIT VR 2N
This headset is one of the few best VR headsets under 50 options that provide room for glasses-wearing users. I have bigger glasses, so I made slits on the side to allow for extra room. I found it quite comfortable to use even with glasses on. This one weights surprisingly light too, possible because of the use of cardboard. The design is a strap and facepad combination. I found the facepad quite snug. The downside is that some buttons went nonresponsive on me after a while. Also, the middle divider wall is kind of thin. Otherwise, this is a good gadget to own.
5. Powis ViewR
Powis headset looks like really bulky pair of binoculars. It may look all that rad outside, but this super cheap gadget is able to deliver what it promises. It has dual adjustable lenses. I found the lens very easy to adjust to change the angle. If you have vision problems, the adjustable lenses will be a necessity. Powis has a great universal one-touch button to interact with apps. It worked well and didn’t get unresponsive or stuck unlike most other buttons on cheap VR headsets.
6. BOBOVR Z3
This VR headset offers the best quality for the cheap retail price. It has a 95° claimed FOV and a user-friendly design. The facepad has cushions that make wearing this headset for hours on end quite comfortable. I also like the focus and IPD adjustments. The design is very simple, even though it doesn’t look like it, but is very effective. The door mount is magnetic. The only issue I had with this one is that the facepad was too close to the face so my nose touched the headset, which I don’t like.
Mattel is most famous for making Barbies. The company also makes useful little gadgets like this one. View-Master is intended for teens and kids, but it’s also really great for people just getting introduced to VR. I got one of these for a friend who was skeptical about VR. Obviously, not everyone would want to spend like a $100 buying something they even don’t know how to work. Obviously, this headset doesn’t offer anything revolutionary, but it does offer a clean, 360-degree view for cheap. I would recommend this as a first VR headset just to try out what VR is like.
In my opinion, this is the best VR headsets under 50 for watching movies, especially on older smartphones. You may think that bigger is always better for VR. Not if you are watching video. Sometimes you want a narrow field of view. This is definitely the low-cost headset to offer that view. It’s practical and easy to use with those outdated phones. You can use it with newer phones as well, but functionality could be limited.
LeNest really looks cool, like an expensive headset. I like this one particularly because of the comfort it offers. When I’m planning to watch two or three movies at night, this is the headset I prefer. It has comfy padding for the nose and face. The foam padding is easy to remove and clean as well. This head set comes with the necessary features, like adjustable focal distance. The only downside is the strapping. The straps are wide and can feel uncomfortable easily.
InLife Glasses are ideal for people who need plenty of sights or nose space. It can feel uncomfortable, but it you wear glasses or simple have a bigger face than average, this offers the most compatibility. I recommend it for watching
movies and playing games. The lens is optimized to reduce vertigo, and I think it does a good job of that. Don’t expect anything major, but this is a solid headset to own.
Tips for Buying a Low-Cost VR Headset
When you are considering buying a cheap VR headset, the first thing you need to do is to set your expectations low. Do not expect super-duper high-tech features if you are only willing to pay 20 bucks for the gadget. However, it’s also important to keep in mind not to set expectations too low.
Most cheap VR headsets, like the ones mentioned in the above list, offer solid quality. You just need to know what to look for. First, read through the list of features being offered. Then read the customer and professional reviews. Know what you are buying to avoid scams.
It’s understandable that you probably don’t know what you need if you are a first-time VR headset buyer. In that case, I recommend getting a trainee set for cheap, like the Mattel View-Master, and then trying it for a month or two. Once you understand what a VR headset can do, you will get a better understanding of the features you need.