Review: Baofeng Mojing 3 vs. 4

Last month, I wrote a review of the Baofeng Mojing 3, which immediately became my favorite Google Cardboard-compatible headset.

Last week, GearBest sent me a new version of the same headset, the Baofeng Mojing 4, so that I could do a review.

Baofeng Mojing 4 comes in a nice box.

Baofeng Mojing 4 comes in a nice box.

Disclosure: I got the $44 headset for free, in return for doing this review.

I bought the Baofeng Mojing 3 with my own money from AliExpress for $38. It is also available from GearBest for $36. You can also order Baofeng Mojing 3 from Amazon for $40 and the Baofeng Mojing 4 from Amazon for $49.

So is the update worth the extra $8? If you’re in a hurry, skip to the end of the article for the bottom line.

Custom-cut cardboard to protect it during shipping, with protective plastic film covering the lenses.

Custom-cut cardboard to protect it during shipping, with protective plastic film covering the lenses.

Overview

The two headsets look a bit different right off because of the head strap. The previous version had the standard three-point approach, holding the headset by the sides and with a third strap up and over the top of your head.

The older Baofeng Mojing 3 is on the left, with the standard fabric-and-Velcro straps. The newer Baofeng Mojing 4 is on the right with that one circular plastic piece to hold it to your head.

The older Baofeng Mojing 3 is on the left, with the standard fabric-and-Velcro straps. The newer Baofeng Mojing 4 is on the right with that one circular plastic piece to hold it to your head.

The new version has just one single circular holder that snaps in at the top of the headset then has an adjustable plastic widget on the back. It’s fancier, but I had a much harder time adjusting it to stay steady on my head.

With their respective straps, both headsets weight just about 15 ounces, but without the straps, the new one weights just 10 ounces, and the old one weighs about 13, according to my kitchen scale.

It also looks as though the lenses are closer to the phone’s screen, but the two sets are the same length and height.

Both sets fit comfortably over my glasses, and both had bright optics and a nice, wide field of view.

Open the front panel, drop in the phone, close the panel. Easy peasy.

Open the front panel, drop in the phone, close the panel. Easy peasy. I didn’t even have to take the cover off my smartphone.

The front cover snaps open and closes with two small but powerful magnets, and the phone drops right in and sits on a shelf — very easy to take it in and out.

On the new headset, the front cover is open on both sides, allowing a phone’s camera to look out for augmented reality applications. On the previous one, the cover was translucent, instead.

Both come with a small controller that’s easy to hold in the palm of your hand that pairs easily with Android devices. The controller works with two AAA batteries, which were included. It doesn’t seem to play well with the iPhone, but I’ve had problems getting controllers to pair up with the iPhone in general.

The controller fits easily in your hand, makes it easy to shoot down aliens.

The controller fits easily in your hand, makes it easy to shoot down aliens.

The two headsets also have different kinds of padding where they touch the face. Version 3 had a fuzzy, spongy material. Version 4 has just the bare silicon — easier to clean, but a little harder to get comfortable on your face, in my experience. If your face is shaped differently, you might have a different preference here.

Finally, version 3 has two adjustments for the lenses. You can change the focal distance, which is the space between the lenses and the screen of the phone, and the interpupillary distance, which is the space between the two lenses. With version 4, you can only do the second one, possibly because it’s already set as close to the phone as it can get.

The Baofeng Mojing 3 will probably remain my preferred headset since the Baofeng Mojing 4 hurts my nose and cheeks if I play more than a couple of levels of End Space VR.

Gear VR, on left, and the Baofeng Mojing 4, on right.

Gear VR, on left, and the Baofeng Mojing 4, on right.

You might also notice that both versions of this headset, but especially the Baofeng Mojing 3, look a lot like the Samsung Gear VR. In fact, with the same kind of straps and padding, version 3 is almost an identical clone of the Gear VR.

In case you don’t know what the difference is, the Gear VR only works with a handful of the latest models of Samsung smartphones, the phones are difficult to get in and out, it does not run any Google Cardboard apps, and has only a small selection of apps in its own app store, which also tend to be pricier than the Google Cardboard alternatives. But the apps also tend to be better, since they take advantage of the extra sensors that the Gear VR packs into its headset. The Gear VR also has a built-in trackpad, back button, and volume button on its headset.

Bottom line

If you already own the Baofeng Mojing 3, don’t upgrade but wait for the headsets to keep getting better.

If you’re choosing between the two, and like being able to adjust the focal distance, and prefer the traditional fabric-and-Velcro headstraps and nice padding around your face, go with the Baofeng Mojing 3.

If I had my choice, I’d take the straps and padding from version 3 and use them with the lighter version 4 headset, since the focal distance worked for me without the adjustment knob. But maybe some people prefer the newer-style headstraps, otherwise the company wouldn’t have switched.

Maybe it’s my hair braid that gets in the way? No — undoing it didn’t help. So that’s a big “no” on the Baofeng Mojing 4 on comfort.

Ideally, you can try them both on and see which one fits you better. I’ll be at the Virtual/Augmented Reality Hackathon in Troy, NY with my full headset collection on April 16. If you’re in the area, stop by and try them out.

If you’re choosing between the Gear VR and the Baofeng Mojing, I would recommend the Gear VR for a better, more immersive experience — but suggest that you get a super-low-cost Google Cardboard headset as well, so you can play the Google Cardboard apps. Then wait for the Cardboard-compatible headsets to get a bit better before investing more money.

Neither of the Baofeng Mojings comes with the QR Code that you need to calibrate the headset, but you can get them both here.

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maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • A reader has asked me to compare this headset to the Shinecon. I happen the have the latter on hand, so here goes:

    The Shinecon weighs about the same — 15 ounces — with straps. Both focal distance and interpupillary distance are adjustable.

    But. The field of view is noticeably narrower — instead of it filling almost your entire vision, you’re looking through a black square. It’s okay for watching videos, but not so great for immersive video games.

    I like the straps and padding better. The headsets sits more firmly on my head, especially when I’m looking all around trying to shoot incoming enemy ships. But it doesn’t fit over glasses, if that’s an issue for you.

    My biggest issue with it, other than its narrow field of view, is that it’s tricky to get the smartphone in and out. There are two spring-loaded shelves that you have to pry open with one hand, while getting the phone in there with your other hand, holding the headset itself in place on your knees or by leaning on it. Fortunately, you just have to open the door in order to interact with the surface of the phone, you don’t have to take it all the way out as you do with the Gear VR.

    However, the Shinecon does cost less than half of what the Baofeng Mojing 3 does — just $17 on GearBest (http://www.gearbest.com/home-gadgets/pp_246872.html) and $20 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Generation-Shinecon-Virtual-Reality-Smartphones/dp/B015A08HO0)

    • I was also asked to compare the Baofeng Mojing 3 with the Freefly VR headset, which I reviewed here: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/09/freefly-vr-headset-looks-great-not-heavy/

      The Freefly VR DOES have a great, wide field of view. But that’s pretty much the only good thing about it. The headset heats up quickly. It doesn’t fit around glasses. The lenses are not adjustable. And the mechanism that holds the phone in place is so tricky that when I went back to use the headset a couple of weeks after I first reviewed it, I literally couldn’t get it open and had to look up again how to do it! You pull a lever here, you open the wings there, then you put in the phone, then you tighten everything into place… so much work!

      Plus, at $80 on Amazon, the Freefly is way, way, way overpriced. In fact, when I pulled up the Amazon listing and saw my original review of it, I actually went back and added a PS about how it is the least-used headset I own and that I would not recommend it. And I took away a star.

      • Ted Luera

        This has been a quest for me. I’ve tried both cardboards, the Freefly and now the Mojing 3. Still haven’t found a headset that gives me as good optics as the basic Cardboard 2. The Freefly, as you reported, does have a fantastic FOV and of the headsets I have tried so far is far and away the most comfortable on my face. The faux leather and comfy fit give the impression of a fully developed product. BUT… But the optics are atrocious. Despite going through a dozen VR codes (some hacked specifically to support the Freefly) there’s no getting around the distortion. It’s particularly evident if you look at a 2D 360 environment like “Sites in VR,” the impression is of looking through bubble-glass or funhouse mirror. Also, as you mentioned, the way the phone is secured to the headset is over-engineered. It is secured in place by four adjustable screw-things which you align to horizontal and vertical lines when you pop open the flap, but if you want to connect headphones, which you often do, it can only then held by 3 soft screws which then allow the phone to slip easily. The Mojing 3 has a much better, sensible, way to secure the phone–a shelf and magnetic snap. But the device feels heavy. Which is a problem because I have a ‘European’ nose. The headset, even with the optional foam and (slight) nose padding, refused to stay in place unless the device was jammed against my face. I tried all kinds of adjustments: tight side straps, tight head strap, loose side straps, etc.. I considered getting a carpet knife and cutting out the plastic nose wedge, but the deal killer was the optics. Now, I appreciate the ability to adjust IPD and distance to phone but I couldn’t get the 90 FOV to be as clear as the cardboard 2. The 60 FOV lenses looked fine, but… 60 FOV & nose pain. The search goes on….

  • Veysel Karsli

    Thanks for this great review and comparison 🙂 I have xperia z2 and maybe i may upgrade to z5 preimum. For z2 and z5 premium, which one would you recommend, 3 or 4?

    • First, the newer the phone, the better. You want the highest possible resolution, and the fastest processor you can get.

      After that, the only thing you need to do is check the screen size. Does the phone fit within the headset or not? Some super-large phones or phablets might not fit, and some really tiny phones will rattle around in there and give you a super small field of view.

      The Baofeng Mojing 3 and 4 both fit smartphones with screen sizes of 4.7 to 6 inches. It looks like the Z2 is 5.2 inches and the Z5 Premium is 5.5 inches, so both should fit both headsets.

      • Veysel Karsli

        Thank you Maria, for your kind and quick response :):) You’re right, that’s why i’m planning to upgrade to xperia z5 as it has 4k screen resolution and higher hardware. Your great reviews are key for me to choose the best mobile headset possible, i guess i’ll go with baofeng 3 considering your opinions about its comfort and quality. Thank you again you are a great person :):)

  • Maria, I’m considering the Mojing 4, but I have a few concerns.

    I have a fairly large head. Do you know what the range of adjustment is for the Mojing 4? I like the easy knob adjustment, but if it’s too small I’ll pretty much be dead in the water.

    I have 20/20 vision. Is the non-adjustable focal distance going to be an issue for me?

    I will be using a Nexus 5, with a 5″ screen at 1920×1080. Will that work okay with this headset, or will it be too small and fail to cover up the lenses completely?

    Thanks!

    • Andy —

      I would guess that it would be okay…but can’t guarantee it. As with all these headsets, I recommend not spending more money than you can afford to lose. First, they will be out-of-date almost instantly — the technology is evolving so quickly in this space that it’s just nuts.

      If you can, order it from a site where you can return it… or have someone lined up to whom you can give it as a gift if it doesn’t work out for you.

      If you’re in W. Massachusetts, you can try mine out and see if it fits you.

      • It would be a long drive from Ohio to try on your headset. =)

        Could you do me a big favor though? Take your Mojing 4 and adjust the headstrap to the maximum size. Measure the distance from side-to-side and front-to-back. Then adjust it all the way in to the minimum size and take the same measurements. Then I can measure my own head to see if it will fit.

        • Kyle Tyrrell

          id love to know this measurement also…

  • Mustafa A.

    Can u compare mojing 4 with fiit vr? Mojing 4 40$,fiit vr 18$

    • FiiT has more lens adjustments, and I liked the straps better. But the fit issues are a personal thing — your head is probably shaped differently than mine.

      And some folks have complained about the optics in the FiiT, though I haven’t seen any problems.

      • Mustafa A.

        So, you saying fiit has no problem. How about lens quality? For movies. For 3d effects. For clearity.
        I think fiit vr has the king throne, under 25$. But between 25-50$ products mojing 4 has the top right?

        • No, for movies I do not recommend FiiT VR — I recommend the Baofeng Mojing XD, which has a narrow field of view specifically designed to watch movies.

          Other than that, I personally haven’t seen any issues with lens quality in the FiiT VR.

          And, myself, I do prefer the FiiT VR to the Baofeng Mojing 4, mostly because of comfort — but, again, that is my personal preference.

          • Mustafa A.

            Okay, thanks a lot. Fiit on the way. and I’m gonna buy mojing xd too.

          • That’s one thing I like about Cardboards — you’re only out a few bucks, not hundreds of dollars, if something better comes along!

          • Gal

            I also bought both 🙂