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Take a closer look at Google Cardboard (pictures)

Google Cardboard offers virtual reality on a shoestring budget.

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Nate Ralph
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1 of 9 Nate Ralph/CNET

Google Cardboard

Meet Google Cardboard. While there isn't all that much to it, this little box is a $30 gateway to the world of VR -- just add an Android or iOS smartphone.

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Cardboard folds up into a neat, compact package. This is the second version of Google Cardboard, designed to fit larger phones.

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You'll look through these lenses when the package is unfolded.

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Cardboard's instructions are stamped on the front lip. It's not very complicated: just fold the eyepiece out, and snap the velcro pieces together.

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When fully unfolded, the wings on either side of the lenses do a good job of blocking out ambient light.

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See that little nub in the center? It taps on your phone's display whenever you need to interact with an app.

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Press this trigger up top to activate the nub.

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Cardboard works with Android or iOS devices -- you just need to download the Cardboard app, or one of the many Cardboard-compatible apps that are available.

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Sure, it doesn't look like much. But this $30 contraption is a fun, accessible way to experience virtual reality, and share it with your friends.

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