How to setup and use Virtual reality with Android phones

A complete setup guide on VR for Android phones

Let’s assess the situation here:

You’ve got an android phone, and you just want to experience Virtual Reality in all it’s glory.

But...

Sometimes it can be confusing, or a little difficult to get to grips with at first.

We say, do not worry.

In this guide we’ll take you through step by step on how to setup and use Virtual Reality with android phones.

Contents

Step 1

Setting up your smartphone for VR

Setting up your smartphone for VR

One of the key components in setting up Virtual Reality with Android phones is the phone itself.

But there is one key question you need to ask:

Does your android phone meet the minimum requirements for VR?

You may not have realized it but your phone may not actually be ready for Virtual Reality content.

Luckily most smartphones will be to cope with the VR element of it, you just won't be getting the full experience you could be getting.

It goes to say, if you’re not rocking a smartphone, then you can forget all mention of VR. It also goes to say that the larger the resolution, and pixels per inch, the better an experience you’re going to receive.

Try to ensure you’re using either a “VR / Daydream” ready phone, or one of the newer models of phones on the market today.

If all else fails, do not worry.

You will still be able to setup and use VR. Just make sure to set your phone to do not disturb before venturing any further.

Step recap
  • Make sure your phone and screen size is compatible with your choice of headset
  • Set your phone to do not disturb

Step 2

Setting up your mobile VR headset

Setting up your mobile VR headset

The first step to experiencing virtual reality on your android phone is ensuring you have a working mobile virtual reality headset.

Unfortunately you won't be able to experience VR without one.

If you don’t own a mobile VR headset you will need to purchase one of the many found on our virtual reality headset database.

So what type of mobile VR headset do you own?

Depending on your VR headset the setup may be slightly different. The attachment of your phone may be a Slide, Clip, Clasp or direct connection. This should be identifiable depending on the mechanisms on the headset.

For example the Samsung Gear VR physically requires you to plug the phone in, where as the Homido V2 will clip your phone directly in.

In some cases you may also be required to plug in a headphone jack.

Adjusting the Headset where possible for comfort.

Excluding Google Cardboard headsets and selected other Mobile VR headsets, you may be able to adjust the lens distance and / or distance between your eyes (IPD) to make the experience more comfortable.

You should be able to do this by the use of a wheel either on the top and bottom or side of your headset. (The Gear VR has a wheel located on the top of the headset where as the Homido V2 has a wheel on the top and bottom to allow more adjustability.)

How do I know I’ve adjusted it right?

When properly adjusted, what you see on screen should appear clearer and less blurry than before. To properly test this you will need to launch VR content first.

Step recap
  • Make sure you own a VR headset
  • Attach your phone to the VR headset
  • Adjust your headset where possible for comfort

Step 3

Downloading and viewing VR content

Downloading and viewing VR content

The next most important step for you is going to be content.

Now although you won't be able to experience full scale immersive VR, you will be able to download a few various apps, and access a wide variety of VR related content on selected devices.

If you’re using any headset (other than the Gear VR, see below) then the first go to app to download should be:

The Google Cardboard App

As your first “go to app” Google have integrated features that will direct you to the VR world.

This app has a variety of demos built-in including:

  • VR Demo
  • Watching your own movies
  • Creating movies
  • Travelling around the world
  • Discovering other apps to enjoy

The purpose of these demos is to get you hooked, and make you really want to experience the full VR experience.

Youtube

Chances are you already have Youtube installed on your android phone. If not, download it here.

Now although, whilst it is not technically classed as VR, 360 video is available to be viewed in all directions, in stereoscopic 3D.

This provides an immersive environment to enjoy a new medium of video.

Cardboard Applications and games

Across the Google Play and WEARVR stores, there is a selection of apps and games you can download, unfortunately it just takes a bit of time to find the best android VR apps for you.

With the Gear VR headset you will need to download an app to specifically assess just the cardboard functions like list above.

Got a Gear VR?

With a Gear VR headset you will be able to access a larger range of high end applications and games that are just not accessible on ordinary android stores.

To access this, you will need to own Samsung devices.

When you plug your phone into the Gear VR, Oculus Home will automatically boot up and the store and library will be navigable within VR.

Step recap
  • If using a Gear VR, follow on screen instructions to browse the Oculus store
  • If not using Gear VR, download Google Cardboard app and enjoy the demo
  • Explore Google play and WEARVR store for content
  • Make sure you own a VR headset
  • Attach your phone to the VR headset
  • Adjust your headset where possible for comfort and optimal experience

Step 4

Difficulties and things to remember

Difficulties and things to remember

There are a few thing you’ll need to remember when setting up VR on android phones.

Mobile VR is not the same as tethered VR

In an ideal world we’ll all be able to access all types of VR content from our mobile phones, but unfortunately the technology just isn't fully there yet to provide that.

Keep in mind that mobile VR will not provide the same experience as a tethered PC headset.

However that being said, you are still able to experience a lot of different content from your mobile device.

Watch your battery life

As with all things that use a lot of video processing power, you will need to watch your battery life and using your screen with VR for extended periods of time will suck the life out of your battery, and can overheat your phone.

Don’t use it for extended periods of time

It goes to say for strapping any kind of screen to your face for extended periods of time.

Don’t. Or at least be careful.

Make sure to take frequent breaks from VR as not to cause eye strain. Your mobile device may also heat up dramatically over this period of time due to this extended use.

Question?

Don’t hesitate to ask! Our experts are available daily to answer your hardware related problems or questions where possible. Just email [email protected].

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