google-carboard-review

The Google Cardboard Review

Technology develops at such a fast rate that often there isn’t really time to be impressed – its usually just the next progression, with minor upgrades from existing tech. But with VR, I was really impressed. I waited in the queue like everyone else and laughed at how stupid people looked with their Oculus Rift headset on while moving around. That was until I tried it. The graphics aren’t quite Vanilla Sky but you get the gist and the feelings are real. With a price tag of $599 (R9000), the Oculus Rift isn’t for everyone. Plus you will probably need to get motion controllers as well. Enter Google Cardboard.

This is an in-depth review, so to skip to the juicy parts, just click on a link below.

What exactly is Google Cardboard?
How do I put Google Cardboard together?
Watch videos with Google Cardboard
Play amazing games with Google Cardboard
Travel the world with Google Cardboard
So should you get Google Cardboard?

What exactly is Google Cardboard?

this-is-google-cardboard

Google Cardboard is a device that lets you experience VR in a fun and affordable way. As the name suggests, it is made of cardboard and can easily be put together*. It consists of a magnetic button on the side and lenses in the front. The VR part comes in when you add your smartphone to the device and it is for everyone. It works with most smartphones: Android or iOS.

How do I put Google Cardboard together?

Hint: not like this. 

Before:

google-cardboard-before-flat
Google Cardboard arrives flat and half the fun is putting it together. You are really made aware of reality while trying to assemble it.

After:

google-cardboard-after
Even though the instructions are clearly printed on the device, it took me a while to figure it out.

Just add smartphone:

google-cardboard-your-phone-goes-here
Once assembled insert your phone. And in case your’re wondering how I got to this step, let’s just pretend this is one I prepared before ala infomercial style.

*It took me a while to figure out how to assemble it. This is not something I’m proud of.

Now that I’m set up, what do I use Google Cardboard for?

Google Cardboard is best used for watching immersive videos and playing games that only require one button. The button is used to make menu selections or perform simple functions. And like all good toys, it comes with warnings.

“Promotional item for temporary use. Contains magnets that may affect pacemakers” – Google Cardboard

1. Watch videos with Google Cardboard

When I first set it up, I had to hold up a token to the camera which then played a video. Watching a 3D video in the comfort of your own home is awesome. I actually got a fright when the gorilla suddenly appeared. I am so used to watching “normal” videos, that once they go VR it takes some time to get used to, but in the best way possible.

360 YouTube – YouTube has an amazing selection of videos that give you a 360 experience and are best viewed with Google Carboard. There are great categories such as comedy, horror, amusement park and extreme sports. Just visit the 360 YouTube channel for more. Here are my favourities though.

Aladdin (and not just because it is one of my favourite Disney movies)

Gorillas in the Congo this is made with Jump, a 360 camera. I really want to do this in real life too.

Horror Movies – Get Out Zombie short the feelings are real in this one. With birds chirping and calming music you know you are just waiting for that moment. Warning: don’t watch this home alone at night.

2. Play amazing games with Google Cardboard

Cardboard Crash – a game that makes you think. You are in a self-driving car but have to make a decision as you are about to crash. Can an autonomous vehicle be held up to ethical decisions? Watch the video to get the full effect and then download the app.

 Cardboard Crash - Sundance Ed.- screenshot

Rollercoaster – you actually get butterflies in your stomach even though your feet are firmly on the ground.

 VR Roller Coaster- screenshot thumbnail

 VR Crossy – don’t get hit and use the button to jump. Lots of fun.

 VR Crossy for Cardboard- screenshot

Maze Cardboard – get lost in a maze VR style.

 Maze Cardboard- screenshot

For more Google Cardboard compatibale games, visit the Android store. 

3. Go travelling

Using Google Maps Street View you can travel around the world with Google Cardboard. Make sure your download the app. Simply type in the place you would like to visit, hit the VR icon and place your smartphone into the headset. You can even take Lomography fish lens style photos.

I decided to check out The Louvre.

google cardboard street view

BONUS: get over your fear of public speaking with this app. The VirtualSpeech app will help you practice for public speaking events, by providing a photo-realistic environment to train in.

 Public Speaking for Cardboard- screenshot

Google Carboard Summary

WHAT: A cheap VR headset

PRICE: About R275 but it depends where you get it from. 

AWESOME:

  • cheap
  • easy to use once set up
  • amazing apps from video to games as well as travel

NOT SO AWESOME:

  • not water proof (haha)
  • limited functionality

SO SHOULD YOU GET ONE? Absolutely. You will have so much fun with this cardboard beauty and you get to experience VR at a fraction of the cost of other headsets.

2 Comments

  • Reply Unavengedavo April 5, 2016 at 15:14

    To ad to this, check out Wizard Academy on the play store. It uses RealControl system and Phone Camera to track your hand movements so you can control the wand in the game.

    And if you want to play some games in VR(very basic) on your PC, also check out TrinusVR and KinoVR.

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