Google Cardboard is awesome. What started out as a clever concept has quickly transformed into world’s biggest platform for virtual reality games and videos. The only problem is the cardboard itself, isn’t exactly as comfortable or durable as you might hope.
A handful of companies have already offered up their own Google Cardboard designs, but we think we’ve found the best one so far. This is a Play, a simple well-designed VR headset looking to raise some money on Kickstarter.
The company behind Play, called Paralo, is actually just a group of recent graduates from Pratt college in New York. This is a serious project though, and Google has even expressed interest in the user-friendly design. However, the search giant is apparently keeping its distance until the group can hit its crowd-funding goal.
The version of Play pictured above was created using a 3D printer, but the final mass-produced model will use an injection molding process. The entire device is waterproof, drop-proof and comfortable in your hands, though you’ll still get tired after holding it up for more than a minute or two. Paralo considered adding a strap in back, but decided that Google Cardboard is best experienced in small short doses to avoid any sort of motion sickness.
You can order a Play headset for as little as $30 on Kickstarter while the early bird special lasts, though it won’t ship until May 2016. If you want a to add a bit of color to the design you’ll have to pay $85, which probably isn’t worth it unless you really want your headset in black or pink.
Like with any Kickstarter projects there are some risks here. First of all, you’re betting on a group of recent college students without much experience in manufacturing and producing a new product, though it looks like they may get some guidance from Google. Paralo also told us it’s still working out the specifics, including whether to work with a factory in China or the U.S. to produce the device.
You’ll also have to wait a long time for Play. It won’t ship for almost a year, and that could be even longer if the company faces delays. You can head to Amazon and buy your own Cardboard headset right now. Still, if you’re looking for a better way to experience Google’s VR platform this is a pretty great option.