The virtual reality headset that started it all, Google Cardboard, is still as relevant as ever. It’s true that Google is taking VR to the next level with their soon-to-be-released Daydream platform, but Cardboard will still be available as a low-cost way how to experience virtual worlds for the price of a bottle of tasty craft beer.
Cardboard is also a fantastic way how you can watch 360-degree VR videos on your smartphone. The headset is compatible with most Android and iOS devices with screen sizes from 4 to 6 inches and Android 4.1 or iOS 8.0 or higher. The latest iterations of Cardboard have a partially laminated body for extra durability and come with quality lenses. When you receive the device in your mailbox, it will be completely disassembled, but it takes just three simple steps to put it together and start watching immersive 360-degree videos on YouTube.
How to Watch 360 Degree Videos with Cardboard
Watching 360-degree videos with Cardboard is as simple as its assembly:
- Get your Android smartphone and open the YouTube app.
- If you don’t have the app already installed on your device, you can download it for free from the Play Store.
- Visit YouTube’s 360Video house channel.
- The channel has two URLs: https://www.youtube.com/360 and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzuqhhs6NWbgTzMuM09WKDQ
- They both lead to the same channel, but the former is much easier to remember.
- Alternatively, you can also search for “#360Video.”
- Once on the channel, just tap on any video you would like to play.
- With the video playing, tap once on the screen to reveal the on-screen menu. There, tap on the cardboard icon, which will cause the screen to split into two parts.
- Place your smartphone or phablet into your Cardboard headset.
- Move your head around to see the 360-degree video in its entirety.
What Else Can I Do with Cardboard?
Using Cardboard solely to watch 360-degree videos would be just scratching the surface of what’s possible with this amazing platform.
The most obvious thing to do is installing the official Cardboard app. This app is a gateway to other virtual reality experiences, including a VR version of Google Earth, virtual tour of Versailles, or a journey across the Artic.
Other apps and games for Cardboard are available from the VR section of the Play Store. That’s where you find virtual roller coaster rides, terrifying haunted houses, and tranquil immersive renditions of oriental shrines, sunny beaches, or cozy farmhouses.
And when you find yourself ready to slowly float back into reality, you can literary travel back to where you live from the top of Mount Everest or the center of Shanghai with the help of Google Street View and its VR support.
From 360-degree videos to thrilling virtual reality games, the inexpensive cardboard headset delivers a fantastic value at a price that’s hard to refuse. If you still haven’t had the opportunity to try what virtual reality is all about, Google Cardboard is a great place where to start your VR journey.