Google Cardboard: everything you need to know

What can you do with it?

Google Cardboard works with numerous apps, including games, video apps, and more. Start by testing out what Google Cardboard is capable of with the Cardboard app. This app comes with demos like Google Earth, where you can fly wherever you'd like. Or try it with YouTube to view popular videos on a seemingly massive screen.

Google Cardboard

Games, like Lamper for Google Cardboard, are built to work in virtual reality and take you through fun obstacles and challenges to make you feel like you're right in the game. There's even an app called VR Cinema for Cardboard that converts MP4 files into a split screen to give you that 3D virtual reality feel with any movie.

You can also go behind the scenes of Elle photo shoots or enter the Shire for a VR experience.

Keep in mind that Google Cardboard won't turn any app into a 3D experience, since you need a split screen optimized for Google Cardboard to create the 3D effect. However, the good news is that Google has made it easy for developers to create apps compatible with Google Cardboard, so you can expect more options in the future.

What's also cool is that you can use it with apps developed for other VR smartphone-compatible headsets. It's just that Google Cardboard is going to cost you a lot less.

Where can you get it?

Google Cardboard is super easy to get. Just start here and choose a manufacturer. Buying a kit can cost you under $20, and all you have to do is follow the instructions and fold it up. There are also spin-off products available that use pretty much the same design.

Many manufacturers offer different sizes, so you'll want to make sure that your phone will work with the design first. This is important so that your phone lines up properly with the lenses; otherwise your VR experience could be compromised.

If you don't have the spare change, you can download the design for free at the same link mentioned above. Just keep in mind that you'll need all the pieces, including the 40-mm lenses, to make this work. However, you should be able to get all the supplies cheap at your local hardware store - or even hiding in your garage.

While companies will continue to work on high-tech virtual reality solutions, Google has proven that you don't need a whole lot of money or fancy hardware to enjoy the cool experience VR headsets have to offer. All you need is the smartphone you already have, some compatible apps, and a cheap build-it-yourself kit.

What do you think? Is Google Cardboard something you'd like to try out, or will you wait around for the high-tech versions to hit the mainstream market?