The best VR smartphones (Cardboard)

 VR-Smartphones

Best VR Phones: What VR smartphone is the best for Virtual Reality?

a ‘VR Smartphones’, seen in this context, do not really exists (except for the new Daydream generation; read more further in this post). The term ‘VR-suited smartphone’ refers to smartphones which, due to their specifications (size, display resolution, display technology), are very suitable for VR headsets.

In order to enjoy the ultimate VR experience, the most suitable display size and high pixel density are decisive criteria. The higher the pixel density, the sharper the image and the better the display.

 ATTENTION: These are the best mobile phones for VR glasses suitable for the generation “Google Cardboard”. The Google Pixel is also in this list because it can be used with Cardboard aswell.

If you want to use Google Daydream, you must own one of these smartphones: Daydream-Ready Smartphones

Cardboard VR headsets can be found here: VR headsets charts

Google Cardboard vs. Google Daydream

By the end of 2016, Google has set a new standard for virtual reality on smartphones with the release of Android N and the new Pixel Phone (we have reported: Google Virtual Reality – Daydream finally revealed).

Google Cardboard can be used with any VR glasses on the market (VR glasses charts), as well as you can use almost any smartphone, whether too large, too small, too small resolution, too bad display, etc. It is Ideal for beginners in the Virtual Reality. Of course, the VR experience is not as good as on Google Daydream or with the HTC Vive.

With Google Daydream, Google has set strict guidelines for Daydream. A list of the Daydream-suited smartphones can be found here: Daydream-Ready Smartphones. It is currently only a handful of smartphones.

Another difference is that Daydream currently only works with the Daydream View and this is at least twice as expensive as the usual VR glasses on Amazon. If you want to use Daydream, you have to dig a little bit deeper into your wallet.

On the list further below, you’ll find smartphones that you can use with Google Cardboard.

What is the pixel density? What are ppi?

The pixel density or ‘dot density’ (ppi = ‘pixel per inch’) is the ratio of the display resolution and the display size. If a smartphone has a high resolution and a small display, many pixels are displayed in a small space. This leads to a sharper picture. If a smartphone has a low resolution and a large display, fewer pixels are displayed in a larger space. This leads to a ‘pixelized’ image, that is to a blurred image.

If you want to know more about the Pixels, you can make yourself smart here: VR headset resolution

Wir haben eine hilfreiche Liste erstellt, auf der ihr sofort sehen könnt, welche Smartphones momentan die höchste Pixeldichte aufweisen. Diese wirkt sich enorm auf das VR-Erlebnis aus, da man durch die VR-Brille ganz nah auf das Display blickt. Zugleich muss man bei Virtual Reality die Pixeldichte durch 2 rechnen, da für jedes Auge ein eigenes Bild angezeigt wird. Eine hohe Pixeldichte ist somit essentiell.

We have created a helpful list where you can immediately see which smartphones currently have the highest pixel density. This has a tremendous effect on the VR experience, because you look look through the VR headset very close at the smartphone display. At the same time in Virtual Reality you have to consider dividing the pixel density by 2, since for each eye a separate picture is displayed. Thus, a high pixel density is very essential.

Basically, everything is about 5 inches and 500 ppi ensures at the moment for great VR experiences with Google Cardboard.

1. Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9 VR-Smartphone

Pixel-Density

568 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

5.8 ''

Weight

163 g

Resolution

1440 x 2960 px

Released

2018-03

Samsung has unleashed another flagship in the Galaxy S9. Compared to the Galaxy S8, but it is only a “small” progress. But the Samsung Galaxy S9 is very, very good for VR, in addition it is Daydream Ready.

2. Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung Galaxy S10 virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

551 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

6.1 ''

Weight

157 g

Resolution

1440 x 3040 px

Released

2019-02

Samsung Galaxy S10 – Fingerprint scanner in the display; instead of a Notch, the camera is directly in the display. The so-called “Infinity O” display is now also used in their flagship. Is it good for VR?

3. Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Plus)

Samsung Galaxy S10+ (Plus) VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

525 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

6.4 ''

Weight

175 g

Resolution

1440 x 3039 px

Released

2019-03

The Galaxy S10 + can be said to be VR (Virtual Reality). It is not Daydream-ready though and therefore contents of Google’s platform “Daydream” can’t be consumed. With a screen size of 6.4 inches and a pixel density of 522 ppi, VR content looks sharp through the lenses of the VR glasses. The powerful Exynos 9820 Octa with a Mali-G76 MP12 GPU brings it to just under 340,345 points at Antutu and is thus well prepared for all current applications.

4. Samsung Galaxy S9+

Samsung Galaxy S9 VR-Smartphone

Pixel-Density

531 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

6.2 ''

Weight

189 g

Resolution

1440 x 2960 px

Released

2018-03

Samsung has released another flagship, the Galaxy S9 +. Compared to the Galaxy S8 + but is only a “small” progress. But the Samsung Galaxy S9 + is very, very good for VR, in addition it is Daydream Ready.

5. Huawei Mate 20 Pro

Pixel-Density

538 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6.39 ''

Weight

189 g

Resolution

1440 x 3120 px

Released

2018-11

Huawei Mate 20 Pro – Big innovations in the smartphone market come with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro – 3 cameras, fingerprint sensor on display and artificial intelligence. Can this power smartphone convince?

6. Google Pixel 3 XL

Google Pixel 3 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

522 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6.3 ''

Weight

184 g

Resolution

1440 x 2960 px

Released

2018-11

Google Pixel 3 XL – Google’s new flagship, in contrast to the smaller model (Pixel 3) has not a very large Notch. Many people might consider that very unattractive. Otherwise, small updates to Pixel 2 XL, no dual camera, but still extremely good photos. As with the Google Pixel 2 XL, the Google Pixel 3 XL is again a relatively small hardware update. It has been brought back to the current state of things, which is by no means negative. The only thing Google does not follow is the number of camera lenses. Google sticks to a lens and wants to rely on artificial intelligence instead of hardware solutions.

7. Google Pixel 2 XL

Google Pixel Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

537 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6 ''

Weight

175 g

Resolution

1440 x 2880 px

Released

2017-10

The Google Pixel 2 has grown very strong compared to Google Pixel 1 in terms of software, in the hardware you do not have to expect the reinvention of a wheel. Even so, with its support for VR and ongoing updates coming directly from Google, it’s a VR phone that should not be ignored.

8. Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Pixel-Density

807 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.46 ''

Weight

195 g

Resolution

3840 x 2160 px

Released

2017-06

As a display wonder, at least in terms of pixel density, the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is another splendid specimen. In a very noble housing works a powerful system, but the housing could easily tolerate less wide margins. In addition, the Xperia XZ Premium IP68 is certified. The only downside to VR Smartphone is the IPS LCD display.

9. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e VR-Smartphone

Pixel-Density

435 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.8 ''

Weight

150 g

Resolution

1080 x 2280 px

Released

2019-03

Samsung Galaxy S10e – Fingerprint scanner not display, instead of a Notch is the camera (only 2 instead of 3, as with the S10) directly in the display. The S10e comes with small drawbacks, but is still a top smartphone. With only 432 ppi pixel density, it is not 100% ideal for VR. Nevertheless, a top smartphone.

10. Lenovo Moto Z2 Force

Lenovo Moto Z2 Force - Daydream-ready VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

18 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

143 ''

Weight

143 g

Resolution

143 x 2560 px

Released

2017-07

The Lenovo Moto Z2 Force brings a few special features with it. In addition to the ability to add modules on the back, the display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 should be virtually indestructible. One more thing: It is Google Daydream-ready and therefore suitable as a VR smartphone.

11. Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung Galaxy S8 Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

568 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

5.8 ''

Weight

155 g

Resolution

1440 x 2960 px

Released

2017-04

Samsung has launched a large litter with its S8 on the market. Great changes (such as removing the physical home button) came with the new high-end smartphone. Very pleasant for Virtual Reality: The impressive AMOLED display, which borders nearly completely the entire front. It has even been certified by Google as Daydream-ready. As mentioned above, however, this is a top list for “non-daydream” VR glasses. However, due to the performance and the good display, the Galaxy S8 also ranks among the leading smartphones here.

12. Google Pixel XL

Google Pixel XL Virtual Reality Smartphoe

Pixel-Density

534 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

168 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2016-10

Google’s latest smartphone, which is also really “made by Google”, is to revolutionize the VR market. With a pixel density of 534 ppi it lands behind Samsung, HTC and Sony. Why this is not set to a higher resolution is questionable. However, 534 ppi is perfectly adequate for a sharp image.

13. Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8 Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

531 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

6.2 ''

Weight

173 g

Resolution

1440 x 2960 px

Released

2017-04

Just like the small model (S8), the Galaxy S8 + from Samsung is a big throw. Also here the physical home button was omitted, whereby a nearly borderless screen could be placed on the front. Unfortunately, it cuts a bit worse than the smaller model. The larger screen will make you lighter. In addition, the proud weight of 173 grams has a negative impact on longer VR experiences. Nevertheless, one should not believe in the Galaxy S8 + it would not be a good VR smartphone, as it is also a Daydream-ready smartphone.

14. Google Pixel 3

Google Pixel 3 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

439 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

148 g

Resolution

1080 x 2160 px

Released

2018-11

Google Pixel 3 – Google’s new flagship, in contrast to the larger model (Pixel 3 XL) has no Notch. Positive for many people. Otherwise small updates, no dual camera, but still extremely good photos. As with the Google Pixel 3, the Google Pixel 3 is again a relatively small hardware update. It has been brought back to the current state of things, which is by no means negative. The only thing Google does not follow is the number of camera lenses. Google sticks to a lens and wants to rely on artificial intelligence instead of hardware solutions. The pixel density of less than 450 ppi could have been slightly higher for VR.

15. Google Pixel 2

Google Pixel 2 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

441 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5 ''

Weight

143 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2017-10

The Google Pixel 2 has grown very strong compared to Google Pixel 1 in terms of software, in the hardware you do not have to expect the reinvention of a wheel. Even so, with its support for VR and ongoing updates coming directly from Google, it’s a VR phone you should not forget.

16. LG G7 ThinQ

LG G7 ThinQ - VR geeignet?

Pixel-Density

563 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

6.1 ''

Weight

162 g

Resolution

1440 x 3120 px

Released

2018-05

The LG G7 ThinQ actually comes with everything you could ask for as a smartphone enthusiast. A large, very bright 6.1-inch IPS display that impresses with incredible brightness and impressive black values.

17. LG V30

LG V30 Smartphone

Pixel-Density

537 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6 ''

Weight

158 g

Resolution

1440 x 2880 px

Released

2017-09

The LG V30 With the “OLED Fullvision” display and the elegant thin of only 7.3 mm, the noble smartphone is definitely something for the eye. Similar to the Samsung Galaxy S8, the display occupies most of the front.

18. Huawei P20 Pro

Huawei P20 Pro

Pixel-Density

408 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6.1 ''

Weight

180 g

Resolution

1080 x 2240 px

Released

2018-04

The Huawei P20 Pro comes with an impressive 40 MP camera and 3 lenses from Leica. The display has a notch, but with a low resolution of only (!) 408 ppi it can not be used for VR.

19. OnePlus 6

OnePlus 6 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

402 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

6.28 ''

Weight

177 g

Resolution

1080 x 2280 px

Released

2018-05

The OnePlus 6 follows the trend of the almost borderless display in a contemporary way and also has a ‘notch’ on the top. There, the display runs around the speaker, selfie camera, proximity and brightness sensors. With its very minimalist and elegant design, it certainly meets the taste of those who simply love it.

20. Huawei Mate 9 Pro

Huawei Mate 9 Pro Smartphone

Pixel-Density

534 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

169 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2017-11

The Huawei Mate 9 Pro with its particularly strong Leica camera shoots beautiful photos. It is also very well suited for Virtual Reality, not least because it is a Daydream-Ready smartphone.

21. Google Pixel

Google Pixel Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

441 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5 ''

Weight

143 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2016-10

We were a bit astonished, but Google’s VR-flagship smartphone “Google Pixel” actually has only 441 ppi. This does not provide the best VR experience. At least we could see this in our tests. Over 500 ppi were a lot more beautiful to look at. Under 500 ppi you could already very strongly recognize the pixels. If you have a lot of emphasis on Virtual Reality, you should rather grab the Pixel XL.

22. iPhone X

iPhone X - für Virtual Reality geeignet?

Pixel-Density

463 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.8 ''

Weight

174 g

Resolution

1125 x 2436 px

Released

2017-10

The iPhone X has caused astonished faces when it became known that the previously existing button has been omitted and the smartphone is almost borderlessly filled by an AMOLED display.

23. Sony Xperia Z5 Premium

Sony Xperia Z5 Premium VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

801 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

180 g

Resolution

2160 x 3840 px

Released

2015-11

We could hardly believe it when we first heard of the Xperia Z5 premium pixel density: With the Xperia Z5 Premium, which has an incredible pixel density of 806 ppi, Sony has released a beast on the market. This smartphone is a unique choice for any VR junkie. A single drawback is the high weight of 180g. A pleasant VR-glasses, such as the ELEGIANT Universal 3D VR or Tepoinn 3D VR are therefore recommended.

24. Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact

Pixel-Density

483 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5 ''

Weight

168 g

Resolution

1080 x 2160 px

Released

2018-02

The display offers on the 5 inches a screen density of 483 ppi, which unfortunately looks too blurred by a VR glasses. The display size of 5 inches is at the lower limit, which ensures a good experience with Virtual Reality. The IPS LCD display also suffers the “after-glow effect”, where the picture blurs during fast movements.

25. Sony Xperia XZ2

Sony Xperia XZ2 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

424 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.7 ''

Weight

198 g

Resolution

1080 x 2160 px

Released

2018-04

The display offers on the 5.7 inches a screen density of 424 ppi, which unfortunately looks too blurred by a VR glasses. The display size of 5.7 inches is suitable for a pleasant VR experience. The IPS LCD display also provides the “after-glow effect”, where the picture blurs during fast movements. This does not happen with an AMOLED display.

26. Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

576 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

5.1 ''

Weight

152 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2016-03

The Galaxy S7 impresses with its AMOLED display. This gives VR a particularly good experience. The S7 is a few grams heavier than its predecessor, which can be noticeable in longer “VR sessions”. Regardless of VR, however, the performance is stronger and can perform better in complex games.

27. Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Front

Pixel-Density

401 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

202 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2017-09

The Apple iPhone 8 Plus comes in the usual Apple quality, unfortunately unsuitable for VR junkies, as Apple is not set to VR. In short, this means that the display resolution is too low for pleasant VR experiences. With at least 64 GB, it also provides plenty of storage space and delivers with its 401 ppi a bit more sharp than the smaller version.

28. HTC 10

HTC 10 Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

18 ppi

Display-Technology

LCD

Display

161 ''

Weight

161 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2016-05

HTC has made a big throw with its HTC 10. With 5.2 inches the display is 0.1 inches bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S6. The pixel density suffers a bit from it, but the larger display provides for a better immersion in the virtual world. Opinions differ in this respect.

29. Samsung Galaxy S6

Samsung Galaxy S6 VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

576 ppi

Display-Technology

Super AMOLED

Display

5.1 ''

Weight

138 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2015-04

With the light weight of only 138 g, Samsung’s Galaxy S6 ensures high wearing comfort, even with VR headset for beginners, such as the Google Cardboard. The high resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels even exceeds the Oculus Rift (2160 x 1200 px). In combination with a nice VR glasses here a very solid experience will be generated.

30. Apple iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8 Front

Pixel-Density

326 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

4.7 ''

Weight

148 g

Resolution

750 x 1334 px

Released

2017-09

The Apple iPhone 8 comes in the usual Apple quality, unfortunately unsuitable for VR junkies, as Apple is not set to VR. In short, this means that the display resolution is too low for pleasant VR experiences. With at least 64 GB, it also provides plenty of storage space.

31. Huawei Nexus 6P

Google Nexus 6P Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

515 ppi

Display-Technology

AMOLED

Display

5.7 ''

Weight

178 g

Resolution

1440 x 2560 px

Released

2015-09

Google’s own smartphone, the Nexus 6P, impresses with its AMOLED display. Disadvantage is the high weight of 178 grams, which means prints for wearing comfort. Advantage is the large display of 5.7 inches. For VR films, in which the head does not have to be moved too much, it is therefore very suitable.

32. LG G6

LG G6 Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

565 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.7 ''

Weight

163 g

Resolution

1440 x 2880 px

Released

2017-03

The LG G6 impresses with its extremely strong battery and its good display. The only shortcoming for some people could be the 18: 9 format. Thanks to the dual camera, and thus the larger viewing angle, the ‘Google Cardboard Camera App’ can take beautiful VR shots.

33. Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus Virtual Reality

Pixel-Density

401 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

188 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2016-09

With a pixel density of only 401 ppi, the iPhone 7 Plus unfortunately is far down on the list. No wonder – Apple is currently not in VR. The high price of the iPhone 6 and 7 is certainly not due to the display. It does not look any better with the smaller version (iPhone 7): with only 326 ppi it plays in the bottom league. But as mentioned earlier: Apple does not rely on VR.

34. Sony Xperia X Performance

Sony Xperia X Performance Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

441 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5 ''

Weight

164.4 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2016-06

The Sony Xperia X Performance is often referred to as the “successor” to the Z5 Premium. One should not compare here apples with pears, because the display is not a worthy “successor”. Keep your eyes open and always compare all technical data!

35. Apple iPhone 6s Plus

Apple iPhone 6s Plus Virtual Reality

Pixel-Density

401 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.5 ''

Weight

172 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2014-09

Unfortunately, we have a bad news for iPhone users: Apple does not rely on VR. The iPhone 6 Plus meets the requirements for a great VR experience rather less. The low pixel density is already very noticeable at only 401 ppi. The “Retina” display has not developed with the iPhone in terms of resolution in recent years, unfortunately, no wonder, since Apple does not rely on VR.

36. Huawei P20 Lite

Huawei P20 Lite VR Smartphone

Pixel-Density

432 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.84 ''

Weight

145 g

Resolution

1080 x 2280 px

Released

2018-03

Huawei P20 Lite – the “light” model of the Huawei P20 Pro comes with a few drawbacks in contrast to the stronger P20 Pro. Even with the P20 Pro there was a small flaw in VR, the low screen resolution.

37. Huawei P9

Huawei P9 Virtual Reality Smartphone

Pixel-Density

424 ppi

Display-Technology

IPS LCD

Display

5.2 ''

Weight

144 g

Resolution

1080 x 1920 px

Released

2016-04

The price does not quite meet the display. We recommend the Samsung Galaxy S6, which is in the same price class as the Huawei P9. If it goes below 400 ppi, the picture is already very “unsightly” in the use of VR glasses.


Where can I find VR apps?

After you want to dive into the new virtual world with a suitable smartphone and VR headset, you may wonder: “What apps do I need now?”.

We have created a list of our favorites: These VR APPS may not be missing on your smartphone

Does your VR glasses have a magnetic switch?

This question comes to VR-beginners when they have to “click” in an app. You may use a Bluetooth mouse here, or our Walkaround (retrofit magnetic switch).

Nevertheless, the good old remote control is still the best solution: VR-glasses remote control
VR-Brille Bluetooth Fernbedienung Magnetschalter

Mehr von VR-Junkies