Google Cardboard is a cool idea, but the iconic headset has a major flaw: for something that's supposed to be super-casual mobile VR, it's way too big. Who wants to carry around a thick chunk of paper — or an even bigger hunk of plastic — to watch a 360-degree YouTube video? This is precisely the thinking behind SmartVR, a simple but effective mobile headset made by Dodocase.
SmartVR meets Google's certification standards for Cardboard, but instead of a foldable cardboard cutout, it's a thin rectangle made of black nylon. Two hinged wings swing out to hold your smartphone, and a protective lens cover flips over the top, doing a surprisingly good job of keeping out light. It's not the only miniature headset — if you want the absolute smallest thing on the market, you can check out the Homido Mini — but it's probably the most stylish.
An Indiegogo campaign page currently lets backers preorder SmartVR for $32, with delivery set for June. The headsets will cost around $40 once they start shipping, and either way, it's more of an investment than your average Cardboard headset. But if you're already sold on mobile VR, you'll also probably get more use out of it — and get something a little cooler to keep in your bag or pocket.