Are all phones VR compatible?
While most modern smartphones are compatible with VR, not all are. In order to move around within the VR experience your phone needs to have an internal gyroscope, which older and low-cost phones do not have. For Apple users, iPhone 4 (2010) or newer, your phone has a gyroscope and is compatible. For Android users, any phone running version 4.1+ with gyroscope sensor will be compatible with VR.
Once you’re sure your phone is compatible, there are a few other constraints you need to be aware of in terms of which headsets support which phones…
Not all VR experiences require a phone
High-end VR headsets such as HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Sony PlayStation VR are desktop or console VR devices and do not require a phone to use. These headsets are either run off a console, such as the PlayStation VR, or the technology is already built into the headsets, meaning they need a powerful PC or Laptop to support them.
Specific VR headsets requiring specific phones
Some headsets will require specific phones to work. Samsung Gear VR is designed to work with Samsung’s flagship smartphones only. These include: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+.
But don’t worry, if you have a Samsung phone you aren’t limited to just Gear VR headsets. Samsung Android phones are compatible with other headsets available on the market.
Finding a phone compatible with Google Daydream View is a little trickier. Although Google has recently increased the number of phones suitable for Daydream and is planning 11 more compatible phones by the end of 2017, compared to other headsets, there are definitely fewer phones with the right specs out there.
Phones that are compatible include: Google’s Pixel, Motorola’s Moto Z, Huawei’s Mate 9 Pro, ZTE’s Axon 7 and Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.
However, Google isn’t done developing Daydream just yet. They recently confirmed many rumours by announcing that the company is planning a significant move forward for Daydream, towards stand alone headsets.
Put simply, this means that all of the parts needed to drive the Google Daydream experience will be found inside the headset itself. No need for a phone or PC, and no cables in sight.
A bit of advice…
In the current mobile VR landscape Android phones reign supreme. In general, Android is better suited to VR, due to its a higher resolution screen and the higher number of VR apps available in the app store.
If a phone’s VR compatibility is high on your list of things to consider when buying a phone, it may be worth getting an Android phone for now.
For those of you on team Apple, they are yet to bestow upon us any VR tech of their own. However, if the rumour mills are anything to go by, this may be set to change. Until then, there is no need to worry about the lack of Apple VR as if you have an iPhone 4 or newer (with a non cracked screen) you can enjoy pretty much all VR headsets through your phone.
And there you have it… Happy reality hopping!