I Spent $30 on the VR Box and I [Actually] Don’t Regret It

I’d like to start this off by explaining, I really want either a PSVR or Oculus Rift. I just can’t get over the barrier of entry — which for me — is the price. The PSVR’s price tag is equal to a whole new console, while the Oculus would require a hardware upgrade for my PC. Either way, it’s an expensive investment.

That’s not to say it’s not worth it, but at least for me, right now, it’s not in the cards.

I have demoed the technology and the experience was amazing. Unfortunately — and as we’ve already established — it’s a pricey endeavor.

So, you’ll understand when I say I was a little apprehensive about picking up a VR headset on the cheap. I went with the aptly titled VR Box, which was about $30. The headset is just a cheap plastic case of sorts, which uses your smartphone as a display. It employs the Google Cardboard VR platform.

The VR Box is surprisingly solid and durable.

At first, I figured it would be tough finding some decent VR content, namely because I never really looked for it before. Boy, was I wrong.

There are a ton of apps and games on Google Play, but the best part — and this is the reason why I’m writing this whole thing — is the entertainment experience you get from watching movies and videos.

My brother in law loves 3D movies. I, on the other hand, do not. I find it rather gimmicky, which sounds funny because here I am talking about VR. I probably don’t have to explain that VR is a little different, however. I consider it to be a bit more immersive, if not totally more so.

So, he loves 3D, while I love VR. The point is that the experience of both is worlds different, and I personally believe that VR is more engaging. Even when you’re doing something as simple as watching a movie from your digital library.

Watching Movies in VR Is the Fucking Best

I fiddled around with a lot of VR apps and games on mobile. I even tried out a pretty cool rollercoaster game — I’m surprised it didn’t make me dizzy.

The real allure of a VR headset — especially a cheap one like the VR box — is the option to watch movies in VR. No, I’m not just talking about 3D-type movies that pop out of the screen. You actually put on the headset and it looks and feels like you’re in a movie theater watching on a big ass screen. It’s fucking rad.

The only downside is that the audio is a bit muffled because, well, your phone is locked inside the front of the headset. That means the audio must come from behind a thin veil of plastic. There is a remedy to this, and it makes the experience so much better.

Before starting a movie, you can pair your phone with a portable Bluetooth speaker. Then, the audio will come out of the speaker which you can place near you, and the video will take place inside the VR headset. You could also hook up the aux port to a surround or speaker system, but then you’d be limited by a cable and you need to be able to move your head. A third option is to use headphones, and yes there is a slot on the side of the headset so you can do this, as long as the Aux jack is on the top of your phone.

I cannot stress this enough, even with a cheap $30 headset the experience is pretty damn sweet. It puts my brother’s 3D movie collection to shame.

Just for context, I used BubbleUPNP and my Plex library to watch and stream nearly any movie you can think of. Jurassic Park and Warcraft are amazing in VR, let me tell you.

There are a wide variety of VR headsets available if you want to take a look for yourself.

Okay, What’s Your Point?

I mean, if we’re being honest, my point is only that VR — even with a cheap headset — is awesome. I can’t even begin to imagine what the experience will be like on a platform with much better quality.

Yes, I have demoed other VR devices including the Oculus, HTC Vive, PSVR, and more, but a demo doesn’t really provide the full experience, does it?

Come to think of it, now that I know just how awesome it is watching my movies in VR I think I will wait for the Oculus. Holy shit, I’m stoked.