Picture yourself holding a VR headset. Place it over your eyes and suddenly you’re on a remote beach. You can see the ocean stretching out in front of you as far as you can see. You can hear its wave lapping the shore. There’s sand all around you and you can almost feel the warm sun above.

The immersive power of VR is amazing – and only improving with time. But with technology accelerating at its current pace, and the VR industry growing as quickly as it is, the question does arise: which VR headset is right for you?

Mobile vs. tethered

There are several points to consider when deciding between a mobile solution and a tethered one.

Mobile headsets are encased lenses that allow you to view VR content on your phone. They require a VR-viewing app to be downloaded onto your device, which will split the content into two frames – one for each eye. Mobile VR technology is growing in popularity.


  • Mobile headsets can be taken anywhere and set up with ease. Show off your work in VR to a client or take your VR portfolio to a sales meeting.
  • They are relatively inexpensive in comparison to tethered headsets – up to hundreds of dollars less.
  • They require less technology to learn, like movement sensors, camera trackers, unwieldy cables, or high-end PC’s running complicated programs.
  • There is considerably less set-up time. Simply open the VR app on your device, slip it into the headset, and begin the viewing experience.
  • Mobile-VR users are less susceptible to nausea.


  • Mobile headsets don’t typically allow you to interact with your surroundings, (beyond menu options). They’ll likely allow you to view all angles from a fixed-point rendering (FPR), but not to move anything except your line of sight.
  • You cannot walk around the scene. Mobile VR tracks head movement only in what we call three degrees of freedom, vs. the six degrees of freedom a walk-around experience allows.
  • Image quality is lower in the mobile experience because your phone wasn’t designed to require the photo-realistic resolution a tethered VR experience can offer.

Tethered headsets are more complex than their mobile counterparts. Connected to a PC by long cables, these devices typically come with built-in motion sensors and an external camera tracker often set up on tripods in your space. They can also come with some sort of remote control, depending on how you wish to navigate the VR space.


  • If you’re looking for top-of-the-line tech for the ultimate immersive experience, look no further. This is what tethered VR was designed to do.
  • Tethered headsets also provide the best video game experience. Walk around, pick up items, and generally interact with your surroundings.


  • Your movement is restricted to the length of your cables.
  • You need a dedicated space of at least three square metres.
  • Tethered VR is costly. Don’t expect to spend less than $500.
  • It’s time-consuming to set up.
  • Users are more susceptible to nausea in the tethered experience.

Mobile headset options

Samsung Gear VR

The Samsung Gear VR is a mobile winner in our VR headset comparison for price and quality of the image.
If you have a compatible phone, the Samsung Gear VR is a winner for price and image quality.

Price: $95 CAD, Amazon

Compatibility: Works on most devices that are USB Type-C and Micro USB. Does not work with iPhone.

Comments: Sleek, comfortable design. Excellent viewing quality. Wide range of content and games available, both paid and free.

Google Daydream View    

The Google Daydream and Pixel phone. Maybe a good alternative if you’re deeply embedded in the Android ecosystem. Consider the phone as part of your VR headset comparison.
Google Daydream View combines a hand controller with overall comfort. Phone compatibility is less effective, however.

Price: $140 CAD, Google Store

Compatibility: Works on most select Android devices including some LG and Samsung models. Does not work with iPhone.

Comments: Very sleek, comfortable design. Excellent viewing quality. However, there is less content available than on the Samsung Gear VR. thewirecutter.com also tested the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View and concluded the Samsung was a better value because of the range of content available.

Homido V2   

The Homido 2 could be a good option for compatibility across phones. Consider the phone as part of your VR headset comparison.
The Homido 2 is a fine option for compatibility across many phones.

Price: $112 CAD, Homido Shop

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones.

Comments: Comfortable design. Lower image quality than Samsung Gear VR. The grip keeping your phone in place is strong, but there have been some issues with the magnet that keeps the lid shut when used with thicker phones. There have also been complaints about the headphone jack.

ETVR 3D VR       

The ETVR 3D VR is a popular option for good image and design at a lower price in our VR headset comparison
The ETVR 3D VR is a strong contender for value, ie image quality for price.

Price: $50 CAD, Amazon

Compatibility: Compatible with most Android and iOS smartphones.

Comments: Comfortable to wear. Image quality not as impressive as some other headsets. For the price, however, the ETVR 3D VR is a fine option.

Homido Mini   

The Homido Mini is a pair of folding glasses that clips onto any phone and provides a great viewing experience. A winner in our VR headset comparison.
Image from amazon.com. The Homido mini is my personal pick for best giveaway / in your pocket VR experience.

Price: $15 CAD, Homido Shop

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones.

Comments: Designed as a pair of glasses as opposed to a headset. More affordable than all other headset options. Sleek, foldable, highly portable design. Image quality is clear but less immersive, and you have to hold the headset and device up to your eyes at all times when viewing. Without the headset, you can still see and feel your physical environment around you. A definite recommendation if price is your primary concern. Also an excellent option for the idea of a portfolio in your pocket.

Google Cardboard

No VR headset comparison is complete without the Google cardboard - essentially a fold up box that fits the smartphone in front of some plastic lenses.
Google Cardboard was the first headset to democratize VR. A good, cheap viewing option.

Price: $20 CAD, Google Store

Compatibility: Compatible with all smartphones.

Comments: Similar to the Homido Mini in that it’s designed as lenses you have to hold up, rather than being strapped to your head. It offers a more immersive experience with its peripheral-covering sides, however. Cost is excellent. Very lightweight.

Tethered headset options

Oculus Rift   

The Oculus Rift is made up of a headset, two hand controllers and 4 positioning cameras. Our VR headset comparison has to contain this poster child for VR.
The Oculus Rift is among the most popular headset for tethered VR-viewing.

Price: $530 CAD (for headset alone), $1300-2600 including hardware setup, Oculus Rift Store

Compatibility: Rift hardware only.

Comments: Oculus Rift and Vive are similar options. Rift offers more advanced motion control and is accompanied by a powerful processor leading to a very high quality viewing experience. Among the most costly. Experience is limited to a 5′ x 11′ rectangle, so for a more immersive walkabout experience, this may not be the best option.

HTC Vive/Steam VR       

The HTC Vivie is made up of a headset, two hand controllers and 2 positioning.
The HTC Vive is the tethered experience we use in the Yulio labs.

Price: $800 CAD, Vive Store

Compatibility: PC Computer

Comments: Sleek and comfortable headset. Hand remotes are also comfortable. Image quality is very high. The only headset that allows a walkabout experience (within a 15′ x 15′ space). Setup is extensive, however. There are many cables and each piece of required equipment needs to be plugged into the computer.

Sony PlayStation VR   

The Sony PlayStation VR’s sleek headset.
The Sony PlayStation VR is a more affordable tethered option.

Price: $400 CAD (for headset alone), $580 including PlayStation 4

Compatibility: PlayStation 4

Comments: While image quality may not be as high as some other tethered options, it’s still a fine option for first-time VR users. It remains the most affordable of tethered options, if you already own a PlayStation console. Otherwise, it more of a costly option for its quality.

Summary and final considerations

Consider how you’ll be using VR. Is it for showing work to clients? Or simply for personal home use and entertainment.

Mobile headsets are excellent if you’re looking for a simple business-ready solution or if you don’t require your VR headset for video gaming (and thus don’t require movement-tracking or motion sensors). Mobile VR also allows for a more nimble experience when sharing your work in VR with clients. Visit their office to present in person or send a link to the other side of the world. Our recommended mobile headset for value and quality: Samsung Gear VR.

Tethered headsets are must costlier but an excellent option for those looking for a premium video gaming or entertainment experience. They allow for greater interactivity within the VR experience. While costly, Oculus Rift has the most content options available. As for business, tethered experience may make a splash at a trade show, but is impractical for sharing work with clients. Our recommended tethered headset for value and quality: Oculus Rift.

Learn more about business-ready VR at Yulio.com. Sign up for a free trial account (no commitment or credit card necessary) or take our free, 10-minute-a-day 5-day email course.