Review: BoboVR (aka Virtoba X5) best low-cost viewer yet

Update: In August, I bought a FiiT VR 2S, and that is now my new favorite. But I’m also still recommending the BoboVR Z4 headset, because of its 120-degree field of view, built-in headphones, and built-in control button.

The Virtoba X5, a rebranded BoboVR Z4.

The Virtoba X5, a rebranded BoboVR Z4.

I would not recommend that anyone go rush out and buy a virtual reality headset right now. The tethered ones, like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, are too expensive, and you don’t want to buy the first generation of a technology anyway, unless you’re a really dedicated early adopter. And Google just announced its new Daydream platform, coming this fall, which promises to make mobile-based headsets much, much better than they are today.

But if you are going to buy a headset, this is the one you should get. Ignore all the articles I’ve written previously. The BoboVR Z4, distributed under various brand names, is the headset to get.

It fits all of the ten requirements I’ve got for a virtual headset, plus offers two bonus ones.

The picture of the guy with the headset accurately reflects my feelings about finally getting my hands on one.

The picture of the guy with the headset accurately reflects my feelings about finally getting my hands on one.

Disclosure: The headset I reviewed was distributed under the Virtoba X5 brand name, and sent to me free for review by GeekBuying. I’ve also ordered and paid for an original BoboVR, but that one hasn’t come yet.

The headset was packed well, cushioned in custom-molded styrofoam, plus protective plastic film on the outside cover and lenses.

The headset was packed well, cushioned in custom-molded styrofoam, plus protective plastic film on the outside cover and lenses.

1. Field of view

Its field of view is billed as 120 degrees. By comparison, the Oculus and Vive are 110 degrees, and the Gear VR is 96.

Is it actually 120 degrees? It certainly feels that way. The full human field of view is around 180 degrees, so any current headset is going to have a little bit of black border on the far sides, but to me, the BoboVR has the biggest view of any headset I’ve tried so far.

And I don’t even have the biggest possible phone. My Galaxy S6 has a 5.1 inch screen, and this headset can hold phones up to 5.5 inches.

The image quality was super bright and very sharp. I’m not the best judge of this, since I’ve got lousy eyesight, but to me, it looks fantastic.

2. Weight

I couldn’t find my trusty kitchen scale today (I’ll update the story when I do) but the headset is officially listed as weighing 15 ounces, or 419 grams. That makes it heavier than both the FiiT VR, my previous top recommendation, which weights 10 ounces, and the Gear VR, which weighs 12.

However, it does have built-in headphones. The version without the headset is listed at just 11 ounces, which is extremely reasonable.

Even the version with the headphones, however, feels light and comfortable to me when I put it on.

3. Straps

The round white thing is a padded plastic disk that sits on the top of your head.

The round white thing is a padded plastic disk that sits on the top of your head.

They’re the usual straps you get with most headsets, except for a little cap on the one that goes over the top of your head. Maybe it’s there to help reduce the perceived weight.

What I particularly liked about the straps on this headset is that they came already attached, and they fit my head immediately without any adjustment.

4. Fits over glasses

The foam padding around the lenses.

The foam padding around the lenses.

It fits over my glasses, but if you have larger glasses you might have a tight fit. However, the foam around the face area is so soft and flexible that you can just push it to the side.

5. Adjustable lenses

The interpupillary adjustment is at the top center of the headset.

The interpupillary distance adjustment is at the top center of the headset.

You can adjust both how far apart the lenses are — the interpupillary distance — and how far the lenses are from the smartphone screen, or the focal distance.

And here is my first quibble.

Virtoba X5 focus knob

Two knobs, one on the left and one on the right, adjust the focal distance.

There are two ways to adjust the focal distance. You can either move the lenses forward and backwards within the headset, or you can move the phone itself. BoboVR moves the phone. So when you have the focal distance set at its maximum, the front part of the headset is actually extended out. And if you hold it in your hands and squeeze, it will move right back again. And it moves very easily with this headset.

That means that you have to careful when you hold it.

If the manufacturer is reading this, make a note to fix this in your next release.

6. Ready for augmented reality

Virtual reality headsets typically allow augmented reality use in either having a completely or partially open front, or a transparent cover, so that the smartphone’s rear-facing camera can see out.

The BoboVR has a transparent cover which lets the camera see out. I was a little worried about whether the cover would create distortion, but I tried it with a couple of augment reality apps, and it worked fine.

7. Fits over audio and power cables

The BoboVR has the now-common openings on all sides of the cover, allowing for both cables and air circulation.

8. Controller

The bottom of the headset. The volume control is on the left, and the button is on the right, under the "OK" label.

The bottom of the headset. The volume control is on the left, and the button is on the right, under the “OK” label.

The BoboVR has a working button. It is one of the few usable headsets I’ve tried that actually has one. Most either have you use a wireless controller, or are open sided so that you can tap the screen instead to interact with the apps.

The button is on the bottom right of the headset, where you can easily press it with your right thumb. There’s a little nub, a little smaller than a pencil eraser, that comes out and touches the bottom of the phone screen.

I’ve tried it out with a Samsung Galaxy S6 phone in a game that uses the button, and it works very well, and is comfortable to use. However, it worked only intermittently with my iPhone 5S. This may have been due to the kind of screen protector I have on the phone, but unfortunately, I don’t remember the type of brand.

9. Price

The Virtoba X5 I got free from GeekBuying costs $60. The site also has versions without a remote controller for $27, and without the headphones for $26. GeekBuying also has a version sold under the BoboVR Z4 brand name for $44.

I also ordered the official BoboVR one for $39 on Newegg.

On GearBest, prices start at $28. On AliExpress, you can get it from $30. Amazon prices start at $29.

10. Ease of use

The outside cover opens easily and smartphone insertion is simple — you just drop the phone onto a shelf. This is also rapidly becoming standard in the newest headsets.

The phone sits on two little plastic shelves.

The phone sits on two little plastic shelves.

There is a little spring-loaded metal piece that keeps the phone in place. Another quibble here — it could, theoretically, scratch the back cover of your phone. In the future, they might want to add a little bit of padding or plastic coating here.

Mine easily fit over my smartphone case, but this will depend on how bulky your case is.

If you want to use the headphones, there’s a little connector on the side that you plug in. You put on the headset, adjust the straps if needed, adjust the focus, and you’re in business.

For me, this headset was extremely comfortable and as easy or easier to use than any other headset I’ve tried.

Bonus features

I’ve already mentioned the headphones a few times. They’re easy to use and worked perfectly for me. Some Reddit users were originally concerned about how good the sound quality would be, expecting “tin cans” but after the headset started shipping, all the reviews I’ve seen have been extremely positive.

Of course, if you have your own headphones, or don’t want the extra bulk or weight, you can order a version without them.

Yup, that's an official Google Cardboard QR Code right there on the back of the box.

Yup, that’s an official Google Cardboard QR Code right there on the back of the box.

The other bonus feature is the official Google Cardboard QR Code.

Yes, the headset comes with a QR Code. Mine had it on both the box and in the user’s manual.

Here it is close up, in case you’ve lost yours.

Virtoba X5 QR Code

Virtoba X5 QR Code

There wasn’t one anywhere on the headset itself, which would have been ideal — who keeps the box or the user manual? — but maybe the manufacturer can add it to their to-do list for next time. In a perfect world, the code would be located on, say, the inside front cover, so that if you switch headsets you can easily switch the settings.

The QR Code is needed because every headset has different lenses and physical configuration, and the phone needs to know how it’s set up so that the image isn’t out of focus or distorted.

Some folks on Reddit have complained that the official QR Code is distorted, and they offered some better ones. I’ve tried them out, and they do seem to have straighter edges than the QR Code above. Here they are, in case you noticed a similar problem. One of these may work better for you:

BoboVR Z4 -- Reddit 1 BoboVR Z4 -- Reddit 3 BoboVR Z4 -- Reddit 2 BoboVR Z4 -- Reddit 4

Bottom line

If you want a virtual reality headset and can’t wait, and you don’t have a late model Samsung phone, then get this headset.

If you do have a Samsung phone, seriously consider the $99 Gear VR, which has extra built-in sensors, a trackpad, and a better virtual environment for switching apps, as well as unique content such as Netflix, Hulu and Eve:Gunjack.

If you can wait a few months, then hold out for Daydream.

Related Posts

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.

  • Shocking

    Ow, I’ve just got Fiit after reading your last review, wish I could back on time… lol… well, hope I like it until Google daydream comes

    • The technology is changing so fast right now that everything is obsolete within a month.

      At least you didn’t invest $2000 in a Vive and a new computer, only to find out that version two is coming right out and you have to replace both! LOL

      • Shocking

        Yeah, you’re right!

  • Most ppl are reporting a FOV of ~85. Are you sure you’re getting 120??

    • I don’t know how they’re measuring it. It definitely feels wider than the Gear VR to me, which is 96.

      • which phone did you use if I may ask? Thank you!

  • Mustafa A.

    The fov depends phone size. If you have 6 inç you will get +-120 fov

  • Linked Devices

    I really doubt you’re seeing 120 degrees unless the screen isn’t being lensed evenly. With the 96° field of view the Gear VR is already completely flush with the entire screen. The Oculus rift only offers 4° more degrees which is hardly perceptible.

    I’ve had the Gear VR since day one. In that time I’ve gotten to play dead secret, Esper 1 and 2, and lands end to completion. I’m currently playing minecraft (which is basically infinite amounts of fun), hero bound 2, Annie amber, smash hit, and bait. It’s seriously been the coolest thing I’ve ever gotten for a long time. I bring it almost everywhere I go these days.

    It’s definitely worth the 99$. Besides a couple games I listed above, I would stay clear from any of the free titles though. They all feel like gimmicky google cardboard ports and will waste your time and squander the true potential of your device.

    With the level of proprietary hardware and software tech behind the Gear VR courtesy of Oculus, Daydream isn’t going to be able to hold a candle to it anytime soon.

  • lmpierce

    Bought it, returning it an hour later.

    The touch function is a fail. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I checked the mechanism. The lever actuates, but the plastic construction is feeble and does not reliably create contact with the screen. I tried to re-mount the phone a few times, and it fit perfectly, but the touch feature still failed repeatedly.

    The focus knobs do not convey confidence as they move in halting steps that are not meant to be discrete stops, but are indications of a poorly designed mechanism. Focus should be a smooth throw from front to back. Furthermore, the focus is easily knocked out by simply touching the front side of the headset, and you will touch the front side because…

    The front side with the phone is, understandably, heavy. The head straps do not really reach around and secure the device firmly enough, so that it becomes necessary to grab the headset and push it back up into position up every few moments unless one sits perfectly still. But head turning is part of navigation, so with the weight of the phone, the headset will quickly work its way out of position and require constant adjustment.

    Finally, the earphones have an adjustable length, but could use another inch of travel.

    Also, and I cannot emphasize this enough, the magnification of the lens will create an image that looks like an old-style CRT monitor, even on an Apple Retina display. After finally reaching a place where screens can appear pixel-less, it’s disappointing to have those RGB phosphors become so evident once again. This is not a fault of the headset of course, but it does suggest that if phones are going to become de facto VR viewers, they’ll need ‘Retina Plus’ displays as well as better quality headsets to put them into to create truly satisfactory viewing experiences.

    • Thanks for the review! Glad to have more takes on it.

      Which particular version did you get? Was it the official BoboVR or one of the other branded versions of it?

      And what is the PPI of your phone?

      • lmpierce

        I got the Virtoba X5 (branded that way). The phone is an iPhone 6 Plus with 401 ppi.

        Of course 401 ppi is rather amazing and Apple never intended for people to have a great experience using a magnifier on it, so in some sense my critique is meant to be read with that in mind of course. Honestly, if the headset was ideal, I would probably accept the enlarged pixels for the benefit of the 3D experience. I would add, however, that the headset did not give me a sense of immersion, but simply magnification. As some people have noted, without sufficient peripheral imagery, the screen still feels like a window, not a ‘space’.

        For my desktop setup I have three monitors. This setup does give some sense of real immersion in virtual worlds, for example, if I pull the viewer across all three screens, and I account for this as due to the peripheral vision effect. I have not tried something like the Oculus Rift, but if they give good peripheral viewing, I believe that will add more to the sense of immersion than 3D alone.

        • I have 551 PPI on my Galaxy S6, so that might be making a difference, pixel-wise. Also, I have lousy eyesight!

          I did also just receive my official BoboVR Z4 headset in the mail, and will be comparing it to the Virtoba — especially paying attention to the control button, since that seems to be causing users the most problems. (Other people have complained about it as well.)

          The headstraps issue and the earphones is probably more specific to individual people, since everyone’s head shape is different.

          • lmpierce

            I would be interested in your experience, especially regarding the quality of control button functionality. I do have a large size head, yet my current bicycle helmet fits in place and stays in position due to a clever design of the back plate, whereas my previous helmet would always slip around a bit, even with the neck strap properly adjusted. I think the current headset makers are failing to really ‘design’ a system for securing headsets, but are just using straps to hold them in place initially – the difference between what looks effective and what would really be effective.

    • Orxan Huseynov

      any advise? BoboVr Z4 or Fiit Vr? In Fiit Vr heard that difficult to adjust to find the QR-code…it scares me a little bit of Fiit Vr, and besides in some respects BoboVr Z4 steeper … but your comment about BoboVr Z4 put me in a stupid position. I am now very confused, do not know how to take him.

      • I’ve got QR Codes for both: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/faq/vr-headset-qr-codes/

        Both headsets have adjustable lenses, too, but I like the way the FiiT VR adjusts its focal distance a bit better.

        Both are very easy to use. I’m not a big fan of the headphones on the BoboVR, though — they make the headset really bulky. Fortunately, you can buy them without the headphones.

        The FiiT VR, is, on average, about $10 or so cheaper, depending on where you go. Lots of distributors for both of them, so you can pick and choose which one you want. Get one bundled with a remote control if you don’t have a Bluetooth controller already.

        Keep in mind that the Daydream phones and headsets are starting to come out, so whatever you get, it will be obsolete in a few months. So might as well go for the cheapest one.

        • Orxan Huseynov

          “Keep in mind that the Daydream phones and headsets are starting to come out, so whatever you get, it will be obsolete in a few months. So might as well go for the cheapest one.”

          I did not understand the significance of this proposal. that you wanted to convey this to me? ) Wait? do not rush into buying glasses virtual reality?

          • I mean, don’t spend too much money today.

            In the fall, there will be much, much better headsets. (But you will have to buy a new phone!)

          • Orxan Huseynov

            Well, I will not rush into buying virtual points and wait until the fall. Only I did not understand why, if I have to buy a new smartphone?

            2016-06-02 2:56 GMT+04:00 Disqus :

          • Google has said that NO existing smartphones will work with Daydream. And Daydream is a big advance for mobile VR.

            So far, there has been only one phone released that is good enough to run Daydream: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2016/05/zte-releases-first-daydream-ready-phone/

      • lmpierce

        Sorry for the late reply, I just read your comment. I’ve been contacted by the seller and we have been going back and forth on the Virtoba X5. The replacement they sent me was even worse – the touch feature did not work whatsoever. It had the same problem, the lever actuator for touching the screen just didn’t have enough force and it failed to trigger a response, no matter how many times I tried it. Today, however, the seller has said they are going to send me a Virtoba X5 ‘Elite’ in a few days, when it becomes available. They represent that issues in the Virtoba X5 (non-Elite) have been resolved. I’m a bit skeptical, but curious all the same. I’ll add a comment here once I have that model and try it out.

        As for the Fiit VR I have no experience with that device.

  • Orxan Huseynov

    Hi Maria! when you have a post about BoboVr Z4? I’m really looking forward to this!

    • I got my BoboVR Z4 in the mail, and at first glance it looks ABSOLUTELY IDENTICAL to the Virtoba. I’ll go through them feature by feature and double check, though, when I get a chance. Maybe tonight or tomorrow.

      • Orxan Huseynov

        On Virtoba X5 many complain. I agree they are exactly in exactly the same, but the quality of many people say that virtoba sucks. I do not know why. Certainly I will wait for your opinions on BoboVr Z4. Bye!

  • midian

    I am not a gamer but got hold of a basic cardboard and love it. I like the NYT & Vrse stories. when i wanted to upgrade I noticed the proliferation of headsets and felt very lost. most reviewers with ‘excellent’ reviews seem to have been gifted the product whereas reviews are not so favourable otherwise. Yours have been honest, thoughtful and extremely informative. I really want to thank you for that. I think i may be mostly caught up on the tech now.

    My ‘must have’ upgrade to non cardboard were (i) has a button built in as i am just an entry level player unlikely to spend hours on this and (ii) fits around glasses. I will buy this one on your recommendation but not with the earphones as some apps have immersive sound so will use my better quality ones for that.

    looking forward to your reviews of daydream!

    cheers!

    • Get it from somewhere with a good return policy, since your glasses might not fit. I’ve been told I have small, child-size glasses!

      And some folks also report problems with the button. (It worked for me, but only on my Galaxy S6, not on my iPhone 5S.)

      Meanwhile, most video apps — including YouTube — are controlled simply by looking in a certain direction, or aren’t interactive at all, and you have the take the phone out of the headset to switch apps.

      And don’t spend too much money! The Daydream sets and phones are coming soon, so you want to be saving up for those!

      • midian

        More wonderful advice from you! I hadn’t thought about the returns policy.

        I have an LG G4 and will let you know about the button.

        Thank you again.

  • Reuben Dsouza

    There is another headset similar to bobovr is called procus pro

  • Zeafer

    Based on your review, I’ve now ordered my Virtoba X5. I’m in Australia, so the most affordable option for me was from AliExpress, where I picked one up for under US$27, including free shipping.

    I’m an iPhone 6 user primarily, and don’t have any intentions to switch to Android anytime soon so I figured Daydream would remain just that for now. I do have a older HTC One (m7) for testing though, so that may also be an option (perhaps slower). My cardboard headset is starting to fall apart, so hopefully this will be a little more sturdy 🙂 I’m also very keen to see the larger POV, although I understand the letterbox effect may be more prominent. I have very good eyes, so I’ll let you know how I get on once it arrives!

  • Reuben Dsouza

    can u review about Homido headset please

    • I’ve reviewed the Homido Mini: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2015/12/homido-mini-is-a-super-small-vr-headset/

      I wasn’t planning to review the main Homido headset, however, because it’s heavy and way overpriced — there are much better headsets on the market for half the price or less. It does have brand-name recognition, but it doesn’t look as though it’s been updated since it first came out, which was quite a while ago.

      I’d take the $70 bucks I would spend on the Homido and use it to buy a DeePoon, which is very similar except much, much lighter and costs half as much (or less).

      And I’d put the rest of my money towards saving up for a Daydream-compatible phone and headset, which is the next generation of mobile VR, is supposed to be a significant improvement, and coming out later this year.

  • Reuben Dsouza

    and also the noon headset

    • It’s $100, and the only thing it seems to have going for it is that it’s relatively light. To get the phone into it, you take off the cover and there’s a band that snaps around the phone. It’s an awkward mechanism.

      For this much money, I’d expect extra built-in sensors, Gear VR-style, or some other additional features that justify the price tag. I don’t see any. I’d buy a $20 FiiT instead to tide me over until the Daydream sets start coming out.

  • Nadam

    Just found a $10 coupon for the Elite version (Virtoba X5 Elite).
    Code: QYFBJGYS

    The shop is Geekbuying, you can google that. I don’t want to look like a spammer.

    • lmpierce

      Hi Nadam,

      The discount code is a perk to the readers who might have wanted to make the purchase in the first place and is not considered spam. And in reference to the Virtoba in this article and comments section, Geekbuying has already been cited as a vendor.

      I would, however, recommend waiting a couple days to make a purchase. I’ve been sent a Virtoba X5 Elite by Geekbuying for evaluation, and will be updating my comments made earlier about the shortcomings of the Virtoba X5. I expect to know by this Friday if the issue with the button, in particular, is resolved through better design or materials.

      • lmpierce

        Just an update… There has been an ongoing issue with the Virtoba headsets that Geekbuying has sent me to review. The pad that touches the screen from pressing the activation button does not consistently trigger a response. A makeshift strip of aluminum foil attached to cover the pad and be positioned between the pad and the glass phone screen helps tremendously. I have shared this information with Geekbuying and they have indicated that the information has been passed on to their engineers. I remain optimistic a fix will be implemented and will update my comments accordingly if new information becomes available. It is also possible that some units work better than others. For example, perhaps there was just a bad batch of material for the touch pads that got through on some units. If anyone is using a Virtoba X5 or Virtoba Elite and the touch button works first time, every time, please comment here. Of special interest is how it works on the iPhone, but any experience, good or bad, on any phone is important to share.

  • amanieux

    i cannot recommend the BoboVR Z4, comfort is ok with no light leaking and phone is super easy to put position but chromatic aberration is the worst i ever saw on a vr headset. other neagtive points : it is very heavy, the 3.5mm jack on my sony z5p is blocked by the plastic holder (i had to cut some of the platic) and finally the fov seems smaller than antvr taw so 120 degrees is BS and even if it had 120 degree fov the chomactic aberation is so severe that image is already blurred and with crazy color shift at 50% of the fov. do not buy this headset !

    • What phone are you using it with? And have you tried other QR Codes?

      Also what is “chromatic aberration”?

      Also, do you remember which particular distributor you got it from? There seems to be a significant variation between the individual headsets that people are getting.

      • amanieux

        i got it from gearbest, i do not use QR code for the moment, i am testing with split screen apps such virtual monitor resolution or tuscany dive. chromatic aberration is a failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point :
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration#/media/File:Chromatic_aberration_(comparison).jpg

      • amanieux

        sony z5p and galaxy s6, i dont use qr code, i use apps that does sbs rendering such as “virtual monitor resolution” chromatic aberration is also called “color fringing” example : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromatic_aberration#/media/File:Chromatic_aberration_(comparison).jpg
        got it from gearbest

        • Chris Davis

          If I may, you absolutely *must* set up Google Cardboard with the proper QR code for the Z4 or you will not get proper results… without the information contained in the code (and there’s a lot of it) your phone will not know the configuration of the Z4 and be unable to calibrate the apps properly, resulting in much of what you are describing. From what I have tried thus far, SBS only mode (Trinus, ect) does not render properly. I have had good luck with Riftcat, however. Try using one of the QR codes Maria supplied above- they really do make a huge difference. And if not, you haven’t lost anything. Good luck!

  • Chris Davis

    Maria, I just wanted to thank you for your informative and in-depth review of the Z4.
    I’ve been an avid follower of VR since I first strapped one on in the late 80’s, and it’s exciting to finally see the technology come to fruition.

    Not being able to afford (yet) a ‘real’ VR rig (plus, I’m also waiting for the 2nd generation hardware after things settle a bit) Google Cardboard was enough to get a taste to tide me over.
    But which viewer to get?
    After experimenting with an old heirloom Victorian stereoscope and constructing my own HMD using the lenses, I needed something better. Your site (and VRKommando’s videos) were the only reliable resources I could find. Thank you for that. You broke down each unit and what features they need, simplifying things immensely.

    As to the Z4, I have been very satisfied with my purchase.

    With respect to the gentleman below, I understand the importance of QR codes to obtain the proper results and have found the lenses crystal clear with no distortion clean to the edges and of high quality.

    My model seems to be the Xia series with the foam (sans driving glove material) surround.
    Mine does contain the coiled cord for the earphone connections. Sound quality is actually quite good.

    The headset is lightweight and very well balanced. Yes it is heavier than other sets with the addition of the headphones, but properly fitted, it is very comfortable.
    If the unit is pressing down on your nose, it has not been fitted properly- but this can be remedied by proper adjustment of the head straps.

    The straps should be adjusted so the triangular pad on the back sits dead center just below the curve of the back of your head.
    Many people wear it too high, it needs to be down lower to provide proper support.

    When fitting:

    Loosen the top strap and sides.
    Let the weight rest momentarily on the nose as you place the triangular pad in positon and simultaneously tighten both side straps.
    It should be snug, but not tight.
    Settle the earphones in place and ONLY THEN do you tighten the top strap, and then only until you feel it lift the weight of the unit off your nose.
    Set your IPD and focus and you’re good to go.

    I have one real quibble with the unit:

    The attachment point for the straps should be roughly 1/4″ to 1/2″ higher than it is. Attaching it through the same slot as the headphones may have been convenient for the manufacturer, but the end result for us is that the straps tend to run OVER the surface of your ears, which gets uncomfortable.

    This can easily be remedied by modding the HMD and moving the attachment/anchor point for the straps, and will likely be a mod I try within the next several days.

    I’m considering adding an elastic strap that runs between the two headphones along the back of the head simply to pull the headphones flush to the ears for better bass response and immersion.

    I have added a few Velcro circles on the right side of the straps for cord management during USB tethering and also to reduce connector strain.
    Speaking of, loving the large ventilation/cord slots on the cover. Fits my S5 perfectly. Now I want a larger phone, though…

    The only other improvement I’ve made was (since I didn’t receive the nicer foam surround) to cover the surround foam with black velvet; it stops the foam from degrading and provides luxurious comfort as well. Black velvet also absorbs any stray light that may bounce from your phone, reducing glare.

    I’ve purchased Vridge and am already looking for a Leap Motion for controller emulation.

    FOV: Ah, FOV. The make it or break it feature. And I’m with you. Is it 120? It sure as heck seems like it. With my S5 (5.1″ screen) I would say I’m getting about a 100 to 110 FOV easily, but I also have a wide diopter setting too. Throw in a phone with a 6″ screen and yeah, I would say 120 FOV is accurate.

    It’s certainly immersive enough to make me lose my balance on games like Wrong Voyage (mild plug, if it’s allowed- I’m not affiliated or compensated, just recommending) and to fulfil my dreams of space combat and dungeon crawling.

    In all, I would (and will) highly recommend the Z4 as the best current option in Mobile VR (until Daydream takes hold)- or until you can afford to pop for a Vive/Rift (and a PC to run it!), Virtex Omni and some good wireless controllers.

    Definitely more Pros than Cons for this buyer/reviewer!

    • amanieux

      sorry but it is definitely not 120 degrees on a 6″ – the front back plastic plate with the 2 circular holes fit exactly a 5.5″ phone so anything over 5.5″ on this vr headset is lost screen surface.

  • amanieux

    i confirm that the fov is a bit bigger than gearvr (usb unplugged) but much smaller than antvr taw. so there is no way it is 120 degrees. not to mention that the center image area where image quality is acceptable is much smaller than these other two headset (by that i mean image area that is not too blurry and without excessive color fringing) so optics are the weak point of this vr headset.

    • Chris Davis

      Sounds like you’re trying to push the HMD way beyond it’s design capabilities. Perhaps GearVR, Rift or Vive would better suit your needs. Good luck!

      • amanieux

        yes i am pushing because we are not there yet (fov too small and resolution too small) so for the moment my best setup is antvr taw + sony z5p in 4k. if someone knows a headset with a wider fov (and with acceptable chromatic aberration) please share ( the antvr taw optics being square instead of round we also get an extra 25% fov in the 4 corners in addition to the wider circular fov compared to the z4, so the only advantages of the z4 over antvr taw is comfort and no light leaking, no vr headet is perfect 🙂 ).

  • Chris Davis

    Well, I can’t make heads or tails out of what you’re trying to show in the vid, but it did make me motion sick (your vid). Sounds like you’re pushing the HMD far beyond it’s capabilities. The HMD’s are designed for Cardboard VR and require QR codes to work properly. If Cardboard isn’t your thing, upgrade to GearVR, Vive or Rift. I use my Z4 with Riftcat/Vridge to do the same games you’re showing and the quality is perfectly acceptable to me… but Riftcat works with the Google SDK/QR anyway, so that’s not really a great example. Best thing for you would be to go the full VR route, I guess… but for those wanting Cardboard based VR to tide us over, the Z4 is the best all around HMD on the market now and it’s not fair to downplay it simply because you’re asking it to do things it’s not designed for. It’s all a bit wild and wooly right now in VR, but that’s part of the excitement. Good luck!

    • amanieux

      not my video it is just another z5p owner that has the same problem and it is not the headset that we are pushing beyond it’s capabilities it is the cardboard rendering library, cardboard lib just has a bug when it renders on a 4k screen that makes it unusable until they fix the bug.

  • Leon Jose

    Hi Maria, which cardboard headset do you recommend for non VR pc games that require you to see the edges of the screen with small interface like Xcom2? I just bought the Bobo Z4 it nice for controller games with bigger interface onscreen but isn’t ideal for smaller interfaced games near the edge of the screen. I have the Shinecon 1, which has smaller FOV and can play Xcom2 not so magnified which is nice but the lenses are too small i wish it were bigger so its doesn’t feel like Binoculars…what headset it the middle sweet spot, any suggestions? Fiit VR ? Shinecon 2? (for full screen visible screen edges)

    btw love your VR reviews! videos would be nice. hehe

    • I take it that you’re using the cardboard headset as kind of a virtual monitor for traditional games? What apps are you using to do that?

      If you’re losing the edges of the screen the problem might be in how the screen is converted into a VR view. For example, when traditional videos are shown in VR, they’re typically presented on a giant floating movie screen in front of your face, with different video apps showing a different-sized movie screen.

      Or does your game have a first-person 3D-like view that is being converted into a VR view? In that case, you will typically lose the UI elements on the edges of the display. Developers know about this problem, which is why it isn’t very simple to convert a traditional first-person game to VR. Plus, in addition to the interface menus, movement mechanics also have to change to avoid making people sick.

      • Leon Jose

        Hi tnx for the quick reply!… Yeah like a Oculus THRIFT hehehe for regular PC games (non vr), I use mainly Trinus VR and also Kainy for non head tracking… basically for first person games the z4 its nice with the lens distortion/correction.The first person thing i’m ok with Z4 and Trinus.

        I tried to tweak it for the edge screen games but still not to my liking.Then i used Shinecon 1 s for playing something like Strategy or RPG that have smaller interfaces and characters i kinda want it more like a TV in your eye mode which works for xcom2 and the like but the lens is has the binocular effect due to the diameter being too small… looking for similar but bigger lens yet not so zoomed like z4

        I’m hoping for lowest latency , just bought a 5Ghz router actually… for my Note 4. iused tridef before but nowadays just the normal stereoscopic duplicate view is fine even without the nice 3d depth. What Apps and headset combo will give me lowest latency/delay? slower games are fine with trinus tweaks to a point the quality to lag ratio hehe. I’m open to suggestion but i’m on limited budget hehe.

        • The headset won’t have any effect on the latency — there’s no electronics in the headset, it’s all in the smartphone. If you can use a USB cable to connect your phone, instead of WiFi, you might speed up performance a bit.

          But another problem is that video games that are designed to work with a computer screen typically don’t worry much about frame rates. You don’t notice minor differences when they’re on a screen — but you notice them a lot more when it fills up your entire view, and your body thinks that there’s something wrong with your vision and maybe you’ve been poisoned and should throw up.

          Personally, I’m waiting for the Android Nougat phones to hit the market, which promise to have the kind of performance we need for VR. Or, at least, as close to it as we can get with today’s mobile technology. They should start arriving this fall, and I’m saving all my pennies.

          • Leon Jose

            yeah i tried that usb connection but its usb 2.0 its about the same on that phone. yeah i guess i’ll make do with this and wait n see Android N, Last question how do you compare the lenses on Fiit VR, Shinecon 1 n 2 and Bobo z4?

          • There are folks who say that they can see the differences in the lenses, but I can’t. But then again, I have lousy eyesight, so maybe it’s just me.

          • Leon Jose

            it’s cool tnx.

          • Leon Jose

            Hi again. I asked others and some recommendations i got were Fiit VR, Bobo Z3 , Shinecon 2.0 as well as a few others not available to me hehe. Which do you think gives the full screen no cropping on a note 4 which is 5.7 screen? I’ll gladly give up some immersive FOV for some full screen n clarity to a point…

            I’ll probably not jump to Android N right away I don’t really need a new phone(and no budget) and save up for PCVR down the road but for now just something to tide over till next year probably…

          • Sorry, my phone is just 5.1 inches — can’t help you there.

  • Michael Pinkley

    I wonder if you could us these for Daydream? I’ve been looking for info on headset requirements for Daydream vr, but can’t really find any.
    My birthday is coming this weekend and I thought this would be the best headset to get. (Tried a bunch of cheap ones, but the FOV sucked.) though 2 days after they’re going to show off Daydream.

    • Yes, I can’t wait for Daydream to come out!

      Google is making its big announcement on Oct. 4, and I’m going to run out and buy a Daydream-capable phone and Daydream VR headset the minute that I can.

      • Michael Pinkley

        I was trying to look up some minimum specs for a vr headset and found a video for Converge vr. It was full pupil and focal distance adjustment, at least 42 mil clear lenses, and at least, 100 FOV.
        Isn’t that what the Bobo v4 has?

        Here’so the link to the video:
        https://youtu.be/ZiDghprusC8

        Of course you still need to meet the.min specs on the phone.

        Plus you need those special controllers (which I’d hope you can get separately if you already have a compatability headset).

        I thought it’ be nice to get this now, for Cardboard, until I could afford the other stuff needed for Daydream down the line.

  • Wyatt

    Hi Maria,

    I’m currently looking for a headset to use with my 4 inch iPhone 5S. I know 4 inches is a bit small, but I don’t think having a smaller FOV will bother me that much so long as there isn’t a huge border and it doesn’t seem as if I’m looking through a mask.

    The BoboVR Z4 looks great, would you recommend it for use with a 4 inch phone? I saw a review here on Hypergrid for the Ritech Riem 3 Plus saying that it was good for smaller phones. Would I be better off getting a headset with a smaller FOV to reduce the visible border, or can it be adjusted on the Z4? I also saw your review on the Fiit VR 2S stating that it’s your favorite. Would that be better for me than the Z4 in terms of FOV? I’ve never used any VR products before, so this will be a new experience for me.

    Any input you could give would be great. Thanks!

    • I have tried several headsets with my old iPhone S5, and it’s okay… not great, but okay. Since it’s an iPhone, you can’t use an external Bluetooth controller, so you’ll want something with a button, or an open-sided set so you can just touch the screen.

      Some people have complained about the button not working well on the BoboVR Z4 with iPhones. Other headsets with buttons include the Mattel View-Master, the Dscvr, the Powis, Merge VR, and the Ritech Riem 3.

      List of open-sided headsets is here: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2016/06/13-open-sided-vr-headsets/

      • Wyatt

        After looking around a bit more, I actually think I’m going to hold off and get an LG G3 or G4 along with a better headset. I’m afraid the 5S would just be too small to get an enjoyable experience. The FreeFly looks great, but I’ve read a lot of reviews about it fogging up, blurry lenses, etc. I’m tempted just to get it anyway and try it for myself, I’m not sure yet. The Homido V2 and SnailVR also look pretty good. I’ll probably end up returning one or two before I find one that I really like.

        Thanks for your help, the reviews on this site have been helpful in my search.

        • If you can wait, I’d hold off for a month and get a Daydream-ready phone and a Daydream View-compatible headset.

          It’s supposed to be a big improvement over Cardboard — getting it close to the Samsung Gear VR (but without the exploding issue).

          I’ve already pre-ordered mine, and will write a review once it comes in.

          • Wyatt

            Google Daydream looks amazing, but I’m afraid a Daydream ready phone would cost more than I’m willing to pay at the moment. If it turns out to be really, really good I might wait until sometime next year when maybe the prices on some of the phones drop a bit.

            Thanks again, and I’ll be sure to check out the Daydream review.