Every great journey begins with a single step…
It’s difficult to talk about the current VR landscape without acknowledging the influence of the Cardboard. It seemed only fitting to share our own Google Cardboard Review. Right out of the gates, people were clamoring to grab a Cardboard and try VR for the first time. This was Google’s first headset and its made from you guessed it, cardboard. The Google Cardboard is fitted with lenses and a head strap and requires a compatible smartphone. Upon the release of the Cardboard, virtual reality was suddenly a very real and accessible experience. Does the Cardboard still hold up or does it belong in a museum?
Google Cardboard Review
Cardboard VR Viewer by Google
The Google Cardboard was a very necessary part of the early evolution of virtual reality but do I want to strap one to my head today? Hell no. The Cardboard is as comfortable as it sounds and there’s so much light leakage it might as well be made of stained glass. Remember that Halloween you made your own robot costume out of a bunch of boxes? Remember that it turned out to be a questionable costume choice? The Cardboard feels like that. You’ll get your candy but at a cost.
If you compare the Official Google Cardboard (or in our case the Unofficial Cardboard) with newer 3rd party headsets, it doesn’t really hold up. Other brands have done a decent job recreating the magic of the Google Cardboard with molded plastic and padding.
The HooToo, J-Deal and BlitzWolf VR headsets work under the same basic principle while employing their own twists. The Bobo Z4 has built-in headphones but the influence of the Cardboard is obvious with all of these android compatible VR headsets.
Until the Daydream View came around, the Cardboard was Google’s only real platform for delivering VR and 360° video content. We can now rejoice now that there’s something more comfortable, remarkably lightweight and not made from paper.
Hot VR, Hot Deals, Hot Phones
The simple nature of the Google Cardboard design makes it pretty versatile. We now see branded cardboard headsets at major events, folded up in cases of beer and used in all types of promotions. I kick myself for not getting my own bacon scented VR headset from this year’s Bacon and Beer Classic in NYC. The Google Cardboard has become the NASCAR of VR headsets and marketing folks couldn’t be happier.
The Cardboard is designed to work with most Android or iOS phones as long as the screen size is between 4 and 6 inches. Setup is very simple and the Official Cardboard App is helpful for those new to VR. You can get a quick tutorial and enjoy a taste of virtual reality with access to 3D maps, video and more.
VR apps you install from the Google Play will appear here as well and it provides an easy way to watch 360° videos on YouTube.
Be warned not to spend too much time in virtual space because your phone will heat up like the griddle Denny’s.
Part of VR History or Alive and Kicking?
The Google Cardboard still has a role to play as we move forward in VR development. Companies like Aryzon have taken the original idea behind the Cardboard to produce a portable and affordable way to enjoy augmented reality (AR). The simplicity, accessibility and the ingenuity behind the Cardboard continue to be upheld and improved upon.
Several major brands already look at the Google Cardboard as a new and fresh medium for marketing campaigns and these guys are experts in mass and targeted markets. Companies see the number of Android or iOS phones out there and the number of consumers who have yet to try VR. Crunch the numbers and it means we’ll see more scratch-n-sniff and Minions branded VR headsets in the near future.
If you’re a VR fanatic spending hours in Tilt Brush or Star Trek Bridge Crew then you probably aren’t crazy about using a Cardboard again. This being said, the Google Cardboard still might be the instrument that introduces most people to the world of virtual reality. The only time they should be purchased at this point is in bulk by a marketing exec working on a big campaign.
So, can I put you down for 2000 or 5000 headsets?