I received my XG VR headset yesterday, and as you could imagine i was pretty excited:
And although most people appreciated the humorous intent behind my little video, I’ve had plenty of requests for more details from multiple individuals so here we are, my review of the XG VR headset!
The hell is it?
Quality-wise, this device is smack in the middle between a Google Cardboard and a Samsung Galaxy Gear VR:
It’s a wrapper for your phone to transform it into a Virtual Reality device but unlike the Gear VR, it supports most phones, and unlike the Google Cardboard, it’s not half bad!
The device is made by a small Hong Kong company called I AM Cardboard who started out by selling Google Cardboard kits online. After a successful kickstarter campaign they managed to bring the XG VR headset to life in two colours (Black and White), and three different packages (The “Lite Package” that just comes with the headset and a carry case, the “Android Package” which also includes a bluetooth clicker for input and the “Ultimate Package” which contains a stand-alone screen for direct connection to a PC).
It’s hard not to see that the device heavily resembles an Oculus DK2. Some people consider it ugly but that’s just a matter of taste, personally I believe it looks adequate.
It has the same head strap configuration as the DK2 but for some reason it feels better. The memory foam that comes in contact with your face also feels a lot more pleasant to the touch and not as uncomfortable as the one on the Oculus.
To load the phone up into the device, the front part opens like a little door to reveal two adjustable latches and it can fit any size phone up to the Google Nexus 6. These latches are tightened together by pushing them closer and released by pressing this small button underneath the device.
The biggest downside to the latch is the fact that you can’t adjust the centre position of the phone without some sort of prop to hold it in place. You can see on my LG G3 that because it has a narrower top bezel it doesn’t correctly align with the centre of the device.
On each side there are two knobs, these can be used to adjust the distance between your eyes and the lenses like you would on an Oculus DK2.
The last thing I would like to mention in this section is that the face cushion is swapable on the XG, making it great for demos. It even comes with a spare cushion as standard
Oh yeah and it also comes with a carry case.
The big features that I found were lacking with this device are IPD adjustment and focus adjustment elements, that even the Color Cross has at only $14. You can justify the lack of focus adjustments since you are able to use this device with glasses on. Also the lenses are fairly close together, with an IPD of approx 62mm between the centre of the lenses, making it a comfortable experience for people with small IPD.
The lens diameter of the XG is 35mm. For comparison’s sake, the Color Cross ones are 31mm and the Oculus DK2 ones are 40mm but that doesn’t really tell me much, as I don’t have a reasonable means of actually measuring the diameter of the sweet spot in the centre of those lenses (the sweetspot is the viewable area in which the image still doesn’t suffer blur or color aberration)
I would have liked to have done a comparison with the Gear VR as well, but unfortunately I don’t own such a device n’or do I have access to one.
This is a subjective opinion as we all have different shaped faces, thus the devices will feel different for everyone. With that being said I personally found the XG the most comfortable of the three. On the Oculus, even when fully extended my nose would hit the edge of the lenses. I’m not even going to discuss the color cross as it is just plain uncomfortable. There is no cushion, the design is not well thought out causing pain in the pressure points that come in contact with my face.
With the XG I did not experience any discomfort. The problem of perspiration is still there, especially in a warm environment, but that applies to all headsets.
Field of view
It’s 100 degress FOV. Not much else to say here as it’s pretty standard.
The XG is comfortable to use, of a good build quality (feels solid and robust in the hand) the lenses are nice and sharp and the loading mechanism, although having one fault, is easy to use and precise.
For the full Mobile VR experience the best device is still the Gear VR + Note 4 / S6,seeing as they were built for this purpose, however out of the “phone holder” selection I believe that the XG VR is the best quality you can get for the price tag ($79). Its only competitor could be the Zeiss VR One but, at almost double the price and only supporting a handful of phones, it makes it a hard purchase to justify.