With the Vodafone Smart VR headset providing easy access to the world of Virtual Reality, there's never been a better time to dive in...
The new Vodafone Smart platinum 7 is a heck of a phone, but if you only keep it in your pocket or motionless on the table, you’re really missing out on one of its best tricks: virtual reality. Luckily, every Smart platinum 7 comes with a specially designed VR headset as standard, meaning there’s no excuse not to give it a whirl.
All you need to do to get going is open up the preinstalled Google Cardboard app’s ‘get apps’ section, choose a compatible VR app to download, slot your platinum 7 into the headset and you’ll be transported into a whole new world. But with a boatload of ‘cardboard’ capable VR apps out there, how do you know which ones are worth checking out?
Allow us to guide you: we’ve been lost in VR for the past couple of weeks and have emerged – wowed and amazed – with a list of the must-download experiences you need to put in front of your eyes right now…
YouTube’s 360 video channel is really burgeoning now, and while it’s fine and dandy to watch its content by holding your phone aloft and spinning it round, they’re made for headsets like the Vodafone Smart VR. New, engrossing videos are uploaded daily from around the world, and from some of the world’s biggest media brands. And the best bit? It’s all totally free.
One of the major things we discovered about virtual reality in our time with the Smart VR headset is just how good it is when it comes to relaxing. Seriously! Put your headphones in, fire up Lanterns – a set of calming 3D scenes from rural China – and hunker down for 10 minutes; you’ll feel so much more chilled afterwards. Also worth checking out is ‘Tuscany Dive’ – a 3D rendered house in the Italian countryside. Walk to the house’s garden, take a real life seat, and watch the (virtual) world go by for a while.
Shrink to nanotech size and explore the human brain in this brilliantly colourful, awesomely trippy shooter. In InMind you’re on the hunt for the neurons that cause mental disorders, blasting them to dust by looking at them. It’s not particularly challenging, and it’s on-rails so there’s little actual exploring to be done, that doesn’t detract from the experience: InMind is vibrant VR gaming at its finest.
Want something a bit more brutal than InMind? Zombie Shooter VR should be right up your street. Pick your weapon and head out into the tunnels and tracks of a zombie infested subterraria to blast it free of the undead. Like InMind, this is an on-rails shooter with a simple mechanic, but it’s graphically impressive for a mobile game and its 360º field of view makes 2D console shooters seem practically dull by comparison.
Situation: your pals come round and ask to see what this VR malarkey is all about. Question: what do you show them? Well, you can’t go wrong with a good old VR roller coaster. That’s why there are countless Google Cardboard-compatible coaster apps on the Google Play Store, and Roller Coaster VR is the best of the bunch because of how much work has clearly gone into its mysterious jungle island setting. You probably won’t come back to its lone virtual ride again and again, but it’s a fantastic, free demo for what the technology can do.
Within VR is a one-stop shop for the best in VR film-making. It’s got a curated collection of content from top flight outlets like the New York Times and Vice, as well as beautiful and educational short films from independent directors. It’s also home to one-time-only VR video from some unexpected sources. On 31 July, for instance, Within users could watch an awesome 13-minute Mr Robot experience that expanded on the show’s story by using the medium to awesome effect.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be stuck in solitary confinement? 6X9 is a brilliant little 360 video experience by the Guardian that shines a light on the tiny spaces that thousands of people are forced to live in around the world. And it’s a perfect fit for the medium – personal, short, informative and immersive. Trust us: you’ll be glad to take the headset off by the film’s end.
Confession time: we’re wimps when it comes to scary stuff. But if there’s one entertainment genre that VR lends itself to, it’s horror; the ability for nasties to sneak up on you in 360º space makes things incredibly visceral and genuinely unnerving. Sisters is a terrifying little interactive experience that demands you stand in the middle of the room and keep a beady eye on the goings on in the spooky old house that the game plonks you squarely in the middle of. Wear headphones for maximum freakiness.
There are a host of VR cinema apps out there – which let you watch videos stored on your phone on the big screen in a realistic cinema setting – but the somewhat pricey Cmoar VR is by far the best we’ve tried. And that’s for a number of reasons. Firstly, the actual cinema setting here is the most realistic, with light from the screen bouncing off of the chairs and a real sense of scale. But it’s also got local Plex support (as an in-app purchase for £2.29), which means you don’t even have to have your movies and TV shows saved on your phone.
Get your hands on a Vodafone Smart VR headset… Order yourself a Vodafone smart platinum 7 to get a VR headset at no extra cost!