On the list of Things You Didn’t Expect Google To Do This Week, you can put “create a black market around cardboard” at the very top. Shortly after the company declared it was giving away cardboard VR kits to all of its Google I/O keynote attendees, the Internet fell in love with the idea of a DIY virtual reality gadget built with corrugated paper. And the insanity began.
Roughly 24 hours after I/Oers got their hands on the ultra-cheap VR gear, there were several ways to get your hands on one of your own, varying wildly in price. Whether you’re in the market for a custom made knockoff or a genuine article straight from the I/O event, you too can join the cardboard revolution.
The cheapest option is undoubtedly the replica kit from DODOcase. It’s priced at a mere $19.95 and comes with all the same pieces included with the Google version, minus the optional NFC tag—that will set you back an extra $5. If you’re not familiar with DODOcase, the company makes a ton of tablet and smartphone accessories and generally has a pretty stellar reputation for quality, so it would be hard to justify shelling out the extra case for the “real” kit when this one is just so much cheaper.
Of course, if you really just absolutely have to have a piece of genuine paper swag from Google’s big show, there are plenty of folks willing to take your cash in exchange for one. Craigslist is one option, where you can pay as much as $100 for the privilege of owning an official Project Cardboard kit. That’s a lot of cash for some brown paper, but people have paid more for less, I suppose.
EBay is another spot where people are hawking their I/O goodies, and prices range from reasonable to insane. There seems to be an unspoken price agreement of $35 amongst several sellers, but there are still listings that have slipped past the $100 mark and continue to climb—and that’s not including the $15 shipping.
The choice here seems pretty clear: The $20 DODOcase knockoff is your best bet across the board, unless you can score a free Google Cardboard kit from a friend, of course. The one drawback is the 4-6 week wait time for delivery. If you just can’t wait, the other options are still there, but please remember that all we’re talking about here is a little bit of paper and plastic.
Photo via erix!/Flickr (CC By 2.0)