Affordable introduction to immersive virtual reality

Tech Review: Vodiac VR headset is not only available right now, it can be bought for less than €100

Vodiac VR headset

Virtual reality hasn’t gone away. Apple’s Vision Pro “spatial computing” device is set to arrive next year and Meta has in recent weeks unveiled the Meta Quest 3, both targeting different parts of the market for computer-generated environments.

But both of these options are expensive — one significantly more so than the other — and therefore out of reach of those on any budget. The Vodiac VR headset, on the other hand, is not only available right now, it is available for less than €100.

That’s because it uses your smartphone to display the content, through the Vodiac VR app. This means the better your phone’s display is, the better the content will look on the headset.

The content in question is a range of channels with VR experiences that Vodiac has curated, from swimming with humpback whales (fairly Zen and relaxing) to a first-person view of a wingsuit (the opposite of Zen and relaxing).


You can experience what it’s like to bobsleigh, or go white water rafting — all short experiences lasting less than 10 minutes — or explore some of the world’s greatest cities in VR. There are also documentaries on trips to the South Pole, virtual trips to Mars and an Oculus-made documentary on the last survivor pulled from Ground Zero on September 11th.

One of the surprising things was that Vodiac didn’t require an account to use this particular headset. That may make it more appealing to people planning to give this to younger users, although it is worth noting that the app will collect some usage data.

It is easy to set up. You run the app on your phone, switch it to VR mode, and pop it into the headset. Once you have done so, the controls switch to the headset — you have a dot on the screen that you control by turning your head, and that will allow you to select and play content.

Don’t panic though; the app gently walks you through the process, giving you step-by-step instructions on how to use the controls. You don’t need an account to get started, just the app, which is available on both Apple and Android.

The headset is quite comfortable, with ample padding between its plastic surround and your face. It is held in place with adjustable elasticated straps, and a series of dials adjust the focus on the display. Headphones would make the whole experience more immersive, but also increase the possibility someone could sneak up and surprise you mid-rollercoaster ride.

The whole set-up is reminiscent of Samsung’s VR headset. But the key difference here is that the Vodiac headset is compatible with a range of phones, both Apple and Android. And while you could install more apps on the Samsung platform, with Vodiac, you don’t have that flexibility — it is meant for immersive but passive viewing only. So while it gives with one hand, it also takes away.

This is reflected in the price though. The Vodiac VR headset costs €70 and if you decide to change phone there is a good chance that it will be compatible with the headset without needing an adapter kit. If the phone can run the app, you are good to go. Smaller phones can use the included plastic insert to steady them in the right position.

Be warned though — it can make the headset a little on the heavier side. I managed to fit an iPhone 15 Pro Max in the Vodiac device, and while Apple has shaved a little weight on its largest device thanks to the decision to switch some elements to titanium, you will still notice it if you decide to strap it to your face.


There is a good range of content on the channels, from starry night skies to rollercoasters. In total, there are about 80 experiences on there, catering to different tastes and age ranges.

The Vodiac headset is priced lower than other mobile-dependent headsets, mainly because it is chiefly aimed at immersive viewing experiences, rather than gaming.


You can’t install your own apps. Once you have gone through the channels and all the content available, you might be waiting for a new experience to land. You can use it for other VR viewing apps though, although not all of them will be of the same quality as the built-in content.

Everything else

The phone is held securely in place, which is reassuring as to make it fit I had to remove the protective case. The last thing you want is to see your unprotected phone slide out of the headset and crash to the floor.

You can download the app and dive straight in — no accounts needed.


A gentle introduction to VR.

3 stars
Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist