The consumer virtual reality software and hardware market size worldwide is expected to reach a value of $19 billion by 2021, and you don’t have to spend big money on yet another electronic device to experience first-hand what so many people fascinate about virtual reality.You simply need to choose the right smartphone for mobile VR and use it to transport yourself to different worlds.
Mobile VR Platforms
Right now, there are three dominant mobile VR platforms: Google Cardboard, Google Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR. Each of these three platforms offers different experiences and works best with different smartphones.
Google’s fold-out cardboard viewer with plastic lenses kicked off the mobile VR craze in 2014. So far, over 10 million Cardboard viewers have been shipped, and the number of Cardboard-compatible VR apps has grown exponentially.
Cardboard’s two main advantages are that it has anultra-low-cost system and that it works with virtually all Android and iOS smartphones. As long as a smartphone has a gyroscope, accelerometer, and runs Android version 4.1 or higher, it should work with Cardboard without any issues.
Being anultra-low-cost system made of cardboard and plastic, the experiences it provides are not nearly as immersive as one might hope them to be. Still, they serve as a great introduction to the wonders of mobile VR, making Google Cardboard great choice for people with low-end and mid-range smartphones.
Cardboard turned out to be a great success for Google, so it didn’t come as a surprise when the company announced its enhanced VR platform, Daydream, at Google I/O 2016. Unlike Google Cardboard,Daydream works only with Daydream-ready smartphones.
At the moment, the list of Daydream-ready smartphones includes the Samsung Galaxy S9/S9+, S8/S8+, and Note8, the Google Pixel 1 and 2, the Asus ZenFone AR, the LG V30, the Motorola Moto Z, Moto Z Force, and Moto Z Force 2, the Huawei Mate 9 Pro and Porsche Design Mate 9, as well as the ZTE Axon 7.
Out of these, two smartphones stand out as the best choices for Google Daydream: the Google Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9+.Both have high-resolution screens with excellent pixel density, and both feature a powerful processor capable of running the most demanding mobile VR experiences without any slowdowns.
That said, theSamsung Galaxy S9+ has one trick up its sleeve that the Google Pixel 2 doesn’t have: it also supports Samsung Gear VR.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR is a mobile virtual reality platform and headset developed by Samsung in collaboration with Oculus. It was released in 2015 and is compatible with several Samsung Galaxy devices, including Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge/S6 Edge+, Galaxy S7/S7 Edge, Galaxy S8/S8+, Galaxy Note FE, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy A8/A8+, and Galaxy S9/S9+.
When it comes to VR performance, Samsung Gear VR is comparable to Google Daydream, offering high-fidelity mobile VR experiences with fluid motion and, at times, stunning graphics. The situation is different when it comes to comfort, however, as Samsung Gear VR fits very snugly on the head and can be worn for a long time without any discomfort, which is something that’s not easily possible with Google Daydream.
Understandably, not everyone will be willing to splurge nearly $1,000 on a new smartphone to experience Samsung Gear VR in the most immersive way possible. For those who won’t, Google Daydream is a perfectly better alternative.
Samsung’s flagship smartphones, such as the Galaxy S9/S9+ give you, by far, the greatest bang for your buck when it comes to mobile VR. They are not only compatible with Samsung Gear VR but also with Google Daydream and Google Cardboard. If you would like to replace your current smartphone anyway, the extra money you spend on a Galaxy device will give you access to the very best mobile VR has to offer.