‘Tis the season of virtual reality. As the last days of 2015 come into focus, we’re proud to say to you what no one has ever said in any holiday season ever before. Here is a list of ten VR products you can spend your money on right now. Whether you’re shopping for the a virtual noob or a softly seasoned VR vet, you can finally give them the gift of virtual reality.
Google Cardboard | $15-30
Give the gift of heavy-duty paper to the one you’re pretty thankful for, but not in love with. Google Cardboard is a great gateway to VR for under $30. It comes in many shapes and sizes and works with most phones on the market.
Mattel View Master | $20
Send your kids to space while you pour yourself another hot toddy. Technically the new View Master falls into the Google Cardboard category, but this refresh of an old classic by Mattel is a little more fun and a lot more durable.
Samsung Gear VR | $99
This is the mack daddy of mobile VR. For someone who already has a Samsung Note 5 or Galaxy S6, it’s a screaming deal. It has the Oculus touch and features some of the best virtual reality content available to consumers today. For someone who doesn’t already own a requisite Samsung phone, you’ll need to be a little more desperate for their love.
Figment VR iPhone Case | $55
Virtual reality can be more accessible than ever with this iPhone case that doubles as a virtual reality viewer. Conveniently packed into a slim design, the phone case comes in black or white and is compatible with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. A flick of a slide trigger unlocks the VR viewer attachment, letting you load up your favorite Google Cardboard app or YouTube 360 VR video.
Since it is a Kickstarter, it won’t quite be ready for that special someone for the holidays, but rest assured this is one iPhone case we’ll all wait for.
Leap Motion Controller | $100
Already have a virtual reality headset like an Oculus Rift DK2? Now you can reach out into a whole new world with this additional hand-tracking device. On top of a library of apps ready to download, bringing your hands into VR to interact with what you are viewing adds an elevated level of immersion that is sure to bring smiles and a few karate chops this season.
Ricoh Theta S | $350
The video quality is far from perfect, but if you’re looking to start shooting 360 video on the cheap and easy, the new Ricoh Theta S is probably your huckleberry. It costs less than $400, and unlike most 360 cameras available today, you don’t have to stitch anything after you shoot.
360Heros GoPro Starter Bundle | $1,500
For a more serious creator looking to get started shooting 360-degree video, this starter bundle includes a 3D printed housing for 6 GoPros and all the software needed for stitching together their first immersive video masterpiece. You’ll have to tack on a cool $2,819.94 for the 6 GoPros themselves, so we’ll just assume you already have those lying around.
VRLA Winter Expo – $25
Sometimes giving the gift of experiencing the hottest in virtual reality firsthand can be more memorable than any VR gadget for the holidays. VRLA is hosting their virtual reality expo on January 23rd at the LA Convention Center, just in time to kick the New Year off right. Whether immersing yourself in HTC Vive or geeking out over the latest 360-degree camera technology, this is a VR enthusiast’s theme park.
Act fast though because these tickets sell out quickly.
Ready Player One | $8
Explore VR in your imagination with this cult classic from Ernest Cline. It’s a story of Wade Watts, a troubled kid in a dystopian future who spends his time studying puzzles hidden within a virtual utopia known as the OASIS. It’s jammed packed with action, adventure, love, and so many glorious references to 80s pop culture.
Snow Crash | $8
Another literary VR classic. This one was written back in 1992 by Neil Stephenson. It’s your classic story of motorcycle samurai redemption. Snow Crash follows Hiro Protagonist on his journey through another a grimy future where people spend their time in the Metaverse. Yep, that’s where the term you’re always hearing originated. Another interesting piece of trivia: Stephenson is now the Chief Futurist at Magic Leap, where virtually no one knows what he’s up to.
Note: All prices provided are estimates, subject to change.