Ever since we announced the news of InStyle Virtual, our immersive 3D experience that sends viewers on a 360-degree tour of our November cover shoot with Drew Barrymore, our whole office has been buzzing about virtual reality. To some, the idea of strapping on a headset and traveling to a far off place, while standing in the comfort of your own home, may seem far-fetched—not to mention expensive. But as the experience becomes more mainstream, companies are jumping on the VR bandwagon and developing products that are both affordable and easy-to-use. From our very own device to the hyped-about Glyph headset, here are six you need to know about—at every price point.
1. InStyle Virtual
In addition to taking you on a tour of our November cover shoot at Pier 59 studios in Manhattan, our very own VR player, launched in partnership with Jaunt, a company pioneering cinematic virtual reality experiences, will transport you to a slew of upcoming premieres and parties that you won't want to miss.
(Free while supplies last; instyle.com/virtual)
2. Google Cardboard
The great democratizer of VR, Google Cardboard lets users experience myriad computer-generated simulations in an easy and affordable way. All you need to do is stick your phone inside the viewer (literally made out of cardboard), and you're free to explore a plethora of immersive games on Google Play. While the tech conglomerate doesn't actually sell the Cardboard viewers themselves, you can buy one via its list of certified vendors. (We're fans of the DODOcase in particular.)
(Starting at $15; google.com)
Every kid nostalgically remembers playing with their View-Master, but this revamped, VR-enabled version takes 3D photos to a whole new level, working with Google Cardboard to bring users into an augmented reality. Simply slide your smartphone in, make a selection, and soak in the epic views.
4. Freefly VR
This headset, which works with the iPhone 6 and most Android smartphones (click here to check if your phone is compatible), works in tandem with a wireless bluetooth controller for what promises to be the ultimate VR gaming experience, whether you need to shoot zombies or spontaneously pull the cord of your parachute.
5. Samsung Gear VR
Samsung's recently unveiled device, compatible with the Galaxy Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6, and S6 Edge phones, not only looks super sleek—its unique 96-degree viewing angle lets you see things far beyond your peripheral vision. Plus, its cushioned straps allow for extra comfort if you feel like being immersed for an extended period of time, either playing a game, watching a movie, or seeing the performances at this year's South by Southwest festival up-close.
In lieu of smartphone screens, the highly anticipated headset uses micro mirrors to reflect vivid images, which is said to reduce motion sickness and eye fatigue. Also, unlike other devices, the headband is pulled down over the eyes for your VR experience.