VR Head Mounted Display Part 2: Mobile VR

Mobile VR HMDMobile VR HMD uses the smartphone encased in a headset (sold separately) to create VR experience. The smartphone screen act as the display, the smartphone CPU to run the applications or games, the VR headset has its usual lens and adjustment knobs and may or may not have control buttons depending on the model.

VR application are quite intensive as it has to create 2 different screens compared to one for most games or apps, so only the more powerful and expensive smartphones can run the games or apps smoothly.

Compared to the high end HMD, it has lower display resolution, more noticeable lag, support less high quality applications, does not  include features like hand controllers, positional tracking, etc. BUT its redeeming factor is that you are not tethered to a PC and everything is cheaper (smartphone v.s. PC and mobile VR headset v.s. high end VR headset)

The Duo

Google Cardboard
– Price: $3 onwards
– What do you get: The most basic VR headset with a box  with 2 plastic lenses.
– What’s unique: Google showcased to the world how easy and cheaply a VR headset can be made. With some spare cardboard and some cheap plastic lens, you can make your own with instructions found on the google website or just buy one online. There are many online marketplace that sells it for very cheap prices for example: qoo10.sg, vr1.com.sg, aliexpress.com . Any mobile phone can be used provided that the size fits in the headset.

Samsung GearVR
– Price: $149
– What do you get: A more advanced version of VR headset with headstrap for wearing on your head, cushioning for your face, glass lenses, proximity sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, and control buttons
– What’s unique: Samsung has the best mobile VR experience that it created together with Oculus. It has more value added compared to any other mobile VR headset. Hence. it needs a list to showcase its goodness.

  • The slot for placing the smartphone is more secure and ensures accurate placement.
  • The accelerometer and gyroscope sensors allow smoother viewing when you look around.
  • It is more comfortable with its cushioning.
  • The control buttons offer additional control features for controlling the software.
  • The proximity sensor helps with power saving as it turns on the screen only when you wear the headset.
  • It uses the Oculus Store for exclusive VR content.
  • From the moment you install Oculus Home on your phone, you are guided for your initial VR experience to ease you into the controls.
  • Samsung also restricts the usage of GearVR to certain phone models (Galaxy S6 and S7 series and Note 5)  to ensure the VR experience will not be bottlenecked by less powerful phones.

The Others

There are plenty of players in the mobile VR market as it is the most accessible given the huge amount of smartphone owners that easily overtake the high end market. New entrants like LG, Huawei, and current VR headset manufacturers like Carl Zeiss, BoboVR, ViewMaster, Homido, Durovis Dive, etc are more or less the same with them that serve the purpose of holding a smartphone and viewing them through the lens. They offering various level of configurations of model designs (headset look, weight, allowed smartphone size, cushion, strap availability, lenses quality, adjustment knobs, magnetic button).