There are a few big players in the virtual reality field, Occulus Rift amongst others comes prominently to mind. There are a few other players in the field however, and some are going down the lo-tech path. VR is hardly a new idea, having been kicked around for ages in real life, and far longer in movies and TV. The high tech path is still an expensive proposition, but there are cheaper alternatives becoming available. With thanks to MobileZap, DigitalReviews got to try out the Archos Virtual Reality Glasses.
The Archos Virtual Reality Glasses are a pair of lo-tech frame designed to hold your phone to your eyes in a comfortable manner. There are no wires, no computing power, no power switch and batteries included for a great reason - it doesn't need power to run!
The Archos has a "jaw" to mount your smart phone in elasticized bands to wear on your head. The hinged jaw accepts a phone ranging from 4.7 to 6" screens.
Getting started with the VR glasses takes hardly any effort. Squeezing the holder around my Nexus 5 and case, adjust the elasticised head straps to fit my head and if necessary, move the two eye lenses left and right to center on each eye. All in all, it barely took me any time to get going.
The actual unit itself is light weight, coming in at 178 grams, leaving the bulk of the heft at the smart phone that you use. There are no issues with wearing headphones with the unit. It is up to you to manage the cables so you are not tangled up, or go the wireless route.
I was not sure what to expect, but the Archos Virtual Reality Glasses are actually very comfortable to wear even for prolonged periods of time. There are plenty of VR apps in the respective camps - both Android and Apple, your choices are significantly more limited in the Windows mobile world though).
Given that the Archos is as lo-tech as it comes, any app that requires input is going to need an external controller, the logical choice being a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse. The experience can range from playable games to immersive worlds both terrestrial and extraterrestrial. Whatever your preferred flavour of entertainment is, it is mostly like to be well catered for. Archos provides a decent list of downloadable apps here.
You know what? This is probably the cheapest VR glasses out there, and it is actually pretty good for what it costs.
The Archos Virtual Reality Glasses makes for a great entry level VR device. There is no electronics to break, no batteries to recharge. Yes it does need something like a bluetooth controller, but for an entry fee of AUD$34.99, what else could you ask for? The Archos VR glasses can be purchased here.