Google Cardboard is a fascinating product, a product which puts virtual reality into the hands of regular Android smartphone users at a fraction of the price of what most people would assume virtual reality kits cost.
Cardboard went from concept to project to product in what seems no time at all, and while Facebook bought into virtual reality technology for a mind-blowing $2 billion, Google settled for something a little more simple…
Google Cardboard was created under Google’s 20 Percent Policy, a company policy that allows employees to spend some of their normal working hours on side projects. This is the first indication that this policy is indeed an effective one, and it has spawned a market for third-party Google Cardboard kits as well as a new hobby for DIY-ers.
Google lists a number of recommended Cardboard kits right here, but we thought it’d be helpful to offer greater detail about these Cardboard manufacturers with regard to pricing, quality and additional features, as well as point out other places you can pick up this product.
Best Google Cardboard Kits
There are five vendors of Cardboard that stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at these and find out more.
DODOcase High quality
DODOcase is currently offering two Cardboard kits – V1.1 and V1.2. Each of these kits includes pre-cut cardboard, bi-convex lenses, magnet, Velcro and an NFC tag.
V1.1 costs $21.95 while V1.2 costs $24.95. The key difference between the two is that V1.1 only works with the following devices: Google Nexus 4 & 5, Motorola Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4 & S5, Samsung Galaxy Nexus. V1.2 works on any smartphone thanks to a new capacitive touch button.
Assembly takes around 10 minutes and the cardboard feels rigid and the build quality is high if you take your time. DODOcase doesn’t offer any colour choices, though.
I Am Cardboard Lots of choice
I Am Cardboard offers nine Cardboard kits – I Am Cardboard for Nexus 6, EVA Version, Bigger Version in Black, I Am Cardboard without NFC, I Am Cardboard with NFC along with four other colour choices for that model – black, red, yellow and blue.
Each Cardboard kit contains pre-cut cardboard and everything you need to get started. Assembly takes around 10 minutes and prices range from $19.99 to $34.99.
These kits are made to the highest quality and are excellent to use, on-par with DODOcase.
Get Google Cardboard Cost-effective
Get Google Cardboard is not a Google-listed vendor, but they offer some decent products. This website is less visual than the others so it’s hard to see what you’re getting, but basically all of the Cardboard kits on sale here are cardboard-coloured.
The Basic kit costs $18 and consists of pre-cut cardboard, a quality glass lens with 45 mm focal length, magnet, and adhesives. The “With NFC Tag” version costs $22 and comes with all of the Basic’s parts with the addition of an NFC tag. Coloured versions are coming soon.
Less popular than over choices on our list, but this vendor is worth a punt.
Knox Labs On-trend
Knox Labs offers Cardboard kits in a variety of styles. There’s the Snowflake Cardboard VR Kit, Classic Cardboard Kit, a retro Knox Shutter Cardboard VR Kit and a premium Aluminium VR Viewer, as well as a few other chic designs.
Prices start from $18.95 for the Classic Kit and go up to $44.95 for the Knox Aluminium VR Viewer. Interestingly, Knox Labs has a Cardboard 2.0 kit that you can pre-order that’s made for the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6+. These Cardboard kits are incredibly stylish and look better than most other vendors’ products, in my opinion.
You can also order a custom Cardboard kit with your own design.
Unofficial Cardboard Excellent for starters
Last but not least, Unofficial Cardboard has over 55,000 users. Prices start from $14.95 and go up to $16.95. There’s only one kit available, but it’s available in two sizes – Classic and Large, so this kit should be compatible with most smartphones so long as you choose the correct size (check out the website to see compatible handsets).
Each kit includes pre-cut corrugated cardboard, bi-convex optical lenses, a forehead strip, ceramic disc magnet, ring magnet, velcro, rubber band and NFC tag. In other words, everything you need to get started.
You can also order other Cardboard parts from Unofficial Cardboard.
Image credit: CNET.