Virtual reality has blown up in the past two years thanks to companies like Google making it accessible to all in the form of Cardboard. While there are multiple expensive virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, mobile VR headsets like Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR have built a decent amount of following among the users.
We’re going to talk about some of the best virtual reality apps available for Android right now. These apps will come in handy if you have a Google Cardboard or a similar device. Keeping this in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that three of the five apps we’re talking about have been developed by Google.
So let’s have a look at some of the best VR apps available for Android.
5 Best VR Apps For Android
This is a full-blown virtual reality movies app, allowing you to view full length feature films in VR. It supports both stacked and side-by-side VR formats, offering you the liberty to use practically any VR format. The onscreen controls are comprehensive, allowing you to navigate freely within the app. Scrolling remains a bit of a concern since it’s not easy to do it without removing the headset. Unfortunately, the developer has currently removed support for Bluetooth mice to fix a performance related issue, but it will be fixed soon.
Several customers call this one of the best VR apps out there for Cardboard and other compatible headsets. Be advised that this is a media player app, and not a streaming site. So any media you play on this has to be in the supported format. But thanks to the number of formats supported by default, users should have no problem getting a file to work. You can even add subtitles to your video files and enjoy movies for hours on end without interruption. If you’re looking for a complete VR media player app, this app will have to do it.
The app is free to download, and comes with ads. There are no in-app purchases.
The 1971 Apollo moon landing mission is one of the most recognizable videos of our time. You can now relive the entire experience in VR thanks to this handy app. You will experience landing on the lunar surface and even ride the Lunar Rover just as they did back during the mission 47 years ago. The developer mentions that the app is best experienced with headphones on. Luckily, no buttons are required to use this app, so you can simply place your smartphone on Google Cardboard and descend into the moon.
One handy tip given by the developer is to lower the resolution to “half resolution” in the main menu if the footage is choppy. The app is highly rated by customers, making this one of the recommended apps for VR users, especially if you’re into astronomy. The app is free to download and there are no ads or in-app purchases.
This is Google’s default app for its Cardboard devices, so it’s a must have for every Google Cardboard user. This is not just a standard VR app, however, as it includes a bunch of demos curated specially for Cardboard. There is a lot of content to choose from, so you will find plenty of time to kill with this app alone. One of my favorite features of the Cardboard app is to watch all the Photo Sphere images you’ve taken from your home.
If you’re unaware about Photo Sphere, it’s a stock Android camera feature that allows users to capture 360 degree photos. This, when viewed through a VR headset, brings to life all the memories associated with that particular photo sphere. You can also travel around the world using Google Earth, while peeking through the Arctic. As a standalone app, Cardboard is extremely functional and comes highly recommended for VR lovers on Android.
As you can probably guess, this particular app lets you create immersive 360 degree photos. Pretty similar to photo sphere, but think of this a standalone app to capture images to view on your Google Cardboard. Using the app is extremely easy and doesn’t take any prior tech or Cardboard knowhow. You simply have to find the view and start taking photos to later view on your Cardboard.
There are some caveats, however. For example, the app can only do horizontal panoramas or VR photos, so vertical scrolling won’t be possible with photos captured on this app. But if you want a camera designed specifically for Cardboard content, it doesn’t get any better than this. The app is currently facing some issues with image quality, but Google is expected to be working on a fix as we speak. Best of all, it’s a free app and doesn’t carry annoying ads.
This is yet another Cardboard centric app, designed to take you on long distance trips using your Cardboard. This is built as an educational tool to let groups go into an immersive virtual reality expedition into mountains, outer space or even underwater. You can either guide a group or join an existing group on an expedition. The guide will be able to point out historical landmarks and areas of importance while on the expedition, adding to the educational aspect a great deal.
Using virtual reality, children can significantly boost up their learning credentials as there is a lot more information on offer at a small space. Even though this app was built for education, it can be used by all.
There are over 200 expeditions to choose from, so there’s no dearth of quality content to check out. The guide can download some expeditions, allowing other members to join the expedition without an internet connection. Users will have to be on the same WiFi network for this to work, however. Expeditions is compatible with devices running Android 4.4 and above. It’s free to download and has no ads or in-app purchases.