Review of Shinecon: Cheap, light, entry-level set

A fully-enclosed headset from China, available in both black and white, lightweight, but with a narrow field of view.

It weighs 13.5 ounces, or 380 grams and the field of view is 80 degrees — narrower even than headsets made of cardboard.

The Shinecon comes in two colors, black and white.

The Shinecon comes in two colors, black and white.

At $20 from Amazon and GearBest, this is a decent low-priced headset, and could be a worthwhile trade-up from a cardboard set. And it’s a good headset if you use it for watching movies and videos, where the narrower field of view is actually a plus.

Smartphone held in place by two sliding plastic grips on springs.

Smartphone held in place by two sliding plastic grips on springs.

 

You can adjust the focal distance, which how far away the lenses are from the smartphone screen, and the interpupillary distance, which is the distance between the lenses.

It doesn’t come with a QR Code, by I’ve found one that seems to work:

Shinecon QR Code

Getting the smartphone in and out of the headset requires a couple of steps and both hands — you have to flip open the front cover, move apart the spring-loaded grips, and squeeze your phone in. On the plus side, I didn’t have to take the protective cover off my phone.

The area around the lenses is padded, but too narrow to fit glasses.

The area around the lenses is padded, but too narrow to fit over glasses.

There’s padding around the eye area for comfort, but the opening is too narrow for glasses.

It fits smartphones with screens of 4 to 6 inches, both iPhone and Android, and works with all the 1000-plus Google Cardboard apps out there.

Overall, my verdict is that it’s worth $20, but I wouldn’t buy it, personally. Instead, I’d move straight up to a Baofeng Mojing if i was buying the headset for an adult, or a View-Master VR if I was buying one for a child.

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.

  • Rahul P

    Hi Maria,

    Thanks for the great reviews! I am contemplating buying Baofeng Mojing 4 after reading your post on Baofeng Mojing 3. I’ve read that their bluetooth controller works with their app which is in Chinese. Do you suggest buying it and using it with google cardboard and perhaps a third party bluetooth controller?

    • I’ve got a bit of a collection going of the little tiny controllers that come included with headsets. They seem to have very limited functionality.

      But a couple of days ago, an ipega controller that I ordered from Amazon came in the mail, and I’m going to be testing it out with all my phones and headsets, and will be posting an article about how it works within the next couple of days.

  • Avery Davîd

    I bought this headset (on Amazon) and returned it almost immediately. Wasn’t comfortable to me and getting the phone in and out was annoying. And clunky. Field of vision, like you said, was pretty weak. I hadn’t read your reviews yet and just stumbled on these pages. I just ordered the LeNest that you recently recommended. Thanks!

    • I just took a collection of two dozen different Google Cardboard headsets and the Gear VR to a local PodCamp and folks were extremely impressed with the LeNest/FiiT VR. Many people wrote down the buying info.

      At $25, it really is the best deal out there right now, and compares pretty favorably with the Gear VR (minus the trackpad and extra sensors of course — well, you can’t have everything).

      But there are bunch of new headsets coming down the line that are Cardboard compatible and DO have those extra Gear VR-style bells and whistles…

      Fortunately, at $25, you won’t mind buying a replacement. Compared to say, if you had shelled out $1500 for an Oculus and new PC… you know that the 2nd gen devices are coming soon, cheaper AND better, and that’s a lot of money to throw away!

      • Avery Davîd

        Thanks for your response, and thanks for your help! I’m looking forward to checking out the LeNest. I also completely agree with you. I blog about many subjects, mostly geopolitics, but often tech trends also. It seems ludicrous to me that people are spending the kind of money they have, as you said, been “shelling” out in advance on the Oculus, or even the Samsung VR (I only say that because it’s proprietary to Samsung). Tech patterns dictate that in a couple of months there will be a ton of new “cardboard” devices that have Gear and Oculus features as well as others floating around in the $25-$50 range that should be great…..And you’re right, spending $25 right now for something that can easily be replaced or upgraded later is nothing. Nature of the new paradigm. For better or worse….Meanwhile, I will keep my eye on your reviews and blogs. Thanks again!

        • I do have to say that, if you can afford it, and have a Samsung phone, the Gear VR IS very nice. But I bought it knowing full well that it would be out-of-date very, very quickly.

          The Chinese manufacturers are innovating super quickly, and Google itself is improving its platform dramatically, so while the computing power and graphics will continue to be a drag on the mobile approach for a little while yet, until phones catch up, on the headset side I expect to see a LOT of progress.

          Meanwhile, I have to wonder if Apple is about to pull another rabbit out of the hat!

          • Avery Davîd

            I agree with you across the board. Chinese manufacturers are pouncing at every opportunity. Often well, and often cost effectively. As far as the computing power/graphics/drag issue, for me that has been a constant problem for years and one that will probably never go away. I am a photographer and musician. The constant issue with both computers and iOS has been that a new machine comes along that is amazing, works great for a while, and then companies like Adobe do a massive software upgrade that my brand new MacBoook/iPad can’t handle as well because they use too much CPU/graphics/RAM…..You name it…..Then the cycle continues….
            Regarding Apple and the VR world, I think they’re definitely gonna pull something out of their hat. I’ve heard rumors from people I know there, but also the media has been already talking about Apple poaching people from VR companies. Personally though, given Apple’s previous business models, I would be surprised if they got into the hardware market with VR. My gut feeling is that they would marry themselves to a hardware company that they like/endorse, and then put all of their money into developing a ton of their own high quality VR apps and games through the App Store. Then releasing an iPhone 7 VR, for example, that has a screen that is optimized for the right “goggles” or glasses. Apple has always been about other people spending money on hardware and them just licensing them the tools to make it work…..Anyway, sorry for my novel;)

          • I think there’s a good chance that Apple will follow Samsung’s model — create a custom set that’s tightly integrated with the iPhones and that adds additional functionality — like using the back-facing camera for hand gesture recognition or positional tracking. And then having its own app store for apps that are specifically designed to work with that headset.

            I see Apple as much more of a hardware company — they make all their own devices. Unlike Google or Microsoft, which are platform companies, and let other people make the hardware. Apple makes all its own computers, tablets, phones, and iPods.

            And Apple has been relying on third-party developers to fill up its App store, except for certain key apps like the browser and Apple maps.

            So I would expect to see a Samsung Gear VR-style Apple VR living room, with a virtual navigation system that lets you find and download Apple-compatible virtual reality apps and run them.

          • Avery Davîd

            I’m enjoying this discourse. Thank you. I agree with you that Apple will follow Samsung’s model in some respect. They will just have to find a way to make it “Apple”-esque, for lack of a better expression. You’re right, Apple is a hardware company, but they’ve been clever through the Steve Jobs years about what hardware they focus on. For example, they make a great phone or tablet or music player, but sell crappy earbuds to go with them…..They purposefully leave the quality peripherals to third parties. Clever business move.

            Personally, as an engineer (audio), I was surprised and befuddled by Apple’s acquisition of Beats. Not only because the audio quality of Beats products is sub-standard, but also because they chose not to co-brand it after the fact. A very un-Apple thing to do. That said, if that is a new business model for them, then I can see them acquiring a VR hardware company and having them do the major legwork (after all, Facebook took Oculus from a couple of kids before it was even finished, right?…).

            I believe that if Apple wants to get into the VR game and make it competitive, then I concur with your last point, which is that they have to come up with some kind of VR living room. Up the stakes. A simple pair of glasses (like the basic 3D kind), for example, that interact with an Apple TV or tablet in a proprietary way. If you’ve ever seen the 80’s movie “Brainstorm”, that’s what I imagine….

            To address your point about Apple relying on third party developers to fill the App Store, well, yeah, but Apple controls the ADK that goes to those developers in advance. So if they poached a rockstar VR developer from another company, then it wouldn’t be surprising if they took advantage of that in terms of VR app development that was iOS specific.

            Also, let’s not forget, and it’s almost ironic, that the Gear VR is Samsung’s first real foray into a proprietary market. That’s usually Apple’s domain. Samsung has generally been playing catchup with Apple in the phone and tablet world for a while. Throwing the kitchen sink at consumers just to stay relevant. Like, “Hey, we sell a Galaxy that’s waterproof. And one you can throw off a building….And our screen is now bigger. Or camera is now better…”.

            Gear VR was a ballsy move for them, and one that so far seems to be paying off…For now, right? I can’t comment on that further because you know WAY more than I do about this technology, I just look at trends and business models and get to play with free stuff occasionally:). Anyway, thanks so much again for this discussion!

  • medo guda

    hi maria . what is the best qr code for phone one plus one , shinecon

    • It doesn’t matter what phone you have — it’s the same QR code for all phones, while every headset has a different QR Code.

      That’s because there’s no electronics inside the headset, so it has no way of telling the phone what it’s specs are. Meanwhile, the phone knows all about itself — it knows its own screensize, resolution, etc…

      • medo guda

        thanks to much ,big kiss