How To Use VR Headsets With Virtual Reality Compatible Phones

It’s easy to turn your smartphone into a VR device with a compatible headset.

Virtual reality (VR) is an exciting new technology with endless potential. And while it may seem like the wave of the future, VR is available right now.

Woman wearing VR headset

Some of the most affordable VR options on the market today come in the form of smartphone-powered VR headsets. When paired with a compatible smartphone, VR headsets turn your device into an immersive, 3-D environment, taking your video-watching and game-playing to a whole new level.

Below, we’ve outlined everything you need to know about VR compatibility and how to pair a headset with your smartphone.


As VR tech continues to improve and more options become available on the marketplace, compatibility is becoming less of an issue. In fact, most new Android and iOS devices support VR. However, it’s still important to consider checking if your phone is compatible with a certain VR headset before making a purchasing decision.

For instance, the Samsung Gear VR is only compatible with top-of-the-line Samsung smartphones, like the Galaxy Note 9, Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, and a handful of other devices. Google Cardboard, on the other hand, works with almost any phone as long as it runs Android 4.1 or higher or iOS 8 or above.

Check the compatibility before you buy, and you should be good to go.

Screen Size

In addition to compatibility, screen size can make a big difference when it comes to VR. Most VR headsets only accept phones with 5-inch screens or larger. So you’ll definitely want to purchase a phone optimized for virtual reality. Also, you’ll want to be aware of the screen resolution. For better image quality, opt for a smartphone with a higher pixel count, like 1080 x 1920, 2560 x 1440, or 3840 x 2160.

Using VR headsets

Slide-in VR headsets are extremely easy to use. That’s because they’re powered by your smartphone. So if you know how to navigate your phone, you’ll have no trouble getting it ready for VR.

First, you’ll need to download a VR app, like Google Cardboard – it’s available on both Android and iOS. Once the application is installed, it’s time to slip your phone into the front compartment on your VR headset. Every headset is different, so be sure to follow the directions of your specific model.

After your phone is in place, you’ll need to adjust the head straps to fit your head, adjust the eye spacing, and adjust the focus, so it’s not blurry. Once your adjustments have been made, it’s time to immerse yourself in the VR experience.

Note about controls

A good deal of the time, you can control movement in the app of your choosing using a virtual mouse – as you move your head, the pointer also moves. However, there are some games that require the use of a controller. Keep this in mind, as you may need to invest in a controller to utilize certain apps.

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