VR is starting to become a big deal. The proliferation of headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR, and others have solidified the platform’s popularity. However, none of them can even come close to the affordability of Google Cardboard. Anyone who has managed to pick one up over the last couple of years are no doubt looking for some awesome apps to put on there and use. Here are the best VR apps for Google Cardboard. Regrettably, Google Daydream has kind of taken over the VR apps market for mobile. We have those linked just below. They should deliver a better experience and some more variety as Google Cardboard begins to fade into the background.
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Cardboard Theater is a unique video player for Google Cardboard. It basically lets you view your 2D and 3D movies in a virtual cinema without too much of a hassle. It also supports 360-degree and 180-degree video content. The app supports several video codecs, has simple controls, and it actually works pretty well. We also have it on good authority that the developer is a good person who doesn’t smoke and works out (apparently). In any case, the app has its issues, but it’s difficult to complain about a Google Cardboard app that is still updated in 2018. Give it a shot!
Google Cardboard app
The official Google Cardboard app is a must have. You can use the app to set up your Cardboard experience. It also has some decent VR experiences all on its own. The app lets you view you videos, photospheres, and other VR content stored on your device. More importantly, it has a directory of VR apps and games that makes finding new stuff a lot easier. Google hasn’t updated this app since 2016 and that’s a little concerning. However, we still recommend it for now because it’s the only app that does what it does.
Cardboard Camera is another one of those must-have VR apps that can be a lot of fun. This app’s focus is to take VR pictures that you can then, obviously, view in VR. It’s ridiculously easy to use and Google doesn’t require you to sign up for any accounts or anything ridiculous to get started. You just download, open, and go. It takes a bit to get used to and your first few VR photos aren’t going to be amazing, but it’s a lot of fun once you get the hang of it.
Expeditions is an education oriented app that is meant to be used in a classroom environment. However, it can be used just about anywhere that you want. The app has over 200 expeditions that you can immerse yourself in. You’ll be able to check out various destinations, landmarks, landforms, waterscapes, and tons of other places. There is a 360-degree mode that works without Cardboard if you need it to and the app is fairly easy to use. It’s also completely free, which is nice. Google Arts and Culture is another fantastic eduction-based VR app made by Google! The only complaint we have is that Expeditions occasionally suffers from connection errors.
Fulldive VR calls itself a VR navigation platform. What that means exactly is that the app will help you find and view tons of VR content from around the web. It has support for VR video from YouTube, a VR video player built in, and even a VR browser to view online content. There is also a camera, photo gallery, and a market place to take VR images and surf for more VR apps and games. It’s definitely one of those VR apps that are worth checking out. It is also free to download. As it turns out, it’s also great for Daydream!
Google Street View
Google Street View is an old friend of Google Maps and it was updated not long ago to support VR content. It works essentially as it always has, which has provided people with 360-degree views of various roads, addresses, landmarks, and other places. With the VR update, you can also use your Google Cardboard to look at all of that stuff. On top of that, you can view content posted by other people and provide your own content if you need to. It’s a fun way to experience the world and probably the best way to experience Google Street View.
Sketchfab is a neat little educational app. It has both AR and VR elements with support for Google Cardboard. You can check out a variety of things, learn some new information, and play around with the various animations. It’s really a repository for 2D and 3D animations. It boasts a collection of over two million models overall. It’s not the most functional app ever. However, it works on Google Cardboard and it’s actually a lot of fun to use. The app has a few bugs, but it’s also completely free so we can’t complain too much.
Trinus Cardboard VR
Price: Free / $9.99
Trinus Cardboard VR is a VR app that lets you play games. Here’s how it basically works. You go through the process of connecting Trinus to both your computer and your phone in a Google Cardboard. It provides a VR environment where you can play your computer games. That includes support for controllers, most Cardboard style VR headsets, and more. It’s quite buggy, but it’s getting more stable with every update. There really isn’t anything else quite like this. It’s also a super cheap way to play games in VR without upgrading your computer or your game collection. Please note, it does make your non-VR games into VR games. You still play them on a flat screen of sorts. That screen is just in a virtually reality environment.
VLC for Android is a bit of a future entrant on this list. It doesn’t have any VR specific features just yet. However, the beta version of this app does. It’s available in Google Play. The full functionality should arrive in the main app sooner or later. VLC is a rock solid video player that supports pretty much every video codec ever. That includes DVD ISOs and even live streams if you have the URL. You can hit the download button above to join the beta and check out the 360-degree video feature if you want to. The app is free to download and use.
Price: Free / $12.99 per month
Of course, the venerable YouTube is one of the great VR apps to have in your arsenal. It is one of the largest sources of VR content on the Internet. There are tons of videos and channels you can follow that provide everything from entertainment to educational video for you to watch. It’s been one of the few platforms where VR has really taken off and there really is a lot of stuff there if you want to check it out. YouTube is free for most of its features. YouTube Red removes advertising and enables some extra stuff. It’ll remove the advertising and enable background listening.
If we miss any great VR apps for Google Cardboard, tell us about them in the comments! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists!