Review: Leji VR Mini cute, tiny and fun

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

Leji VR Mini - wideThe Leji VR Mini that I ordered from AliExpress for $11 has just arrived, and I love it. It comes in a bunch of colors, including yellow, pink, light blue, and light green, but I got the white one because I’m boring.

Leji VR Mini -- packaging

It came with a lens cleaning cloth, some QR Codes that take you to Chinese-language websites, and a tiny little Chinese-language instruction sheet. Fortunately for those of us who don’t read Chinese, this headset really needs no instructions.

Leji VR Mini phone animated

 

1. Field of view

The field of view is officially listed as 96 degrees, which is the same as the Gear VR.

And even though the headset looks tiny, I could actually see some of my smartphone outside my Samsung Galaxy S6’s 5.1-inch screen.

The company says it will hold smartphones with screens of 4.7 to 6.0 inches.

2. Weight

It weighs just 209 grams, or 7 ounces. By comparison, the DeePoon, another new headset with a similar design, weighs 9 ounces, and costs about three times as much.

3. Straps

Usual straps that go around the sides and over the top of the head. These are stretchy, which might not work for a heavier headset, but is fine with the Leji.

4. Fits over glasses

My glasses, which are tiny, definitely did not fit. On the plus side, the lenses are adjustable.

5. Adjustable lenses

The interpupillary distance is adjustable, which is the distance between the lenses. You change it by moving the lenses closer together or further apart. You have to take off the headset to do this, which is slightly inconvenient — some headsets have an external dial, so you can adjust the lenses while wearing the headset. However, given the small size, there was probably too little room to fit in that mechanism.

In addition, the focal distance of the lenses is adjustable as well.

On the left, the phone is closest to the lenses, on the right, the viewer is expanded to its maximum.

On the left, the phone is closest to the lenses, on the right, the viewer is expanded to its maximum.

To adjust the focus, click on the white buttons on sides of the headset. This makes the front of the headset, the part that holds the smartphone, pop out away from the main body of the viewer. Normally, I don’t like this approach because when you hold the viewer tight, or take the phone in and out, it’s too easy to squeeze everything together and ruin the focus.

However, with the Leji, if you try to push the headset back together, there will be a little resistance and you will hear clicks as the phone moves close to the lenses. I like this approach.

6. Ready for augmented reality

The plastic piece that keeps the phone in place has open sides, leaving plenty of room for the smartphone’s rear-facing camera.

That means that all augmented reality applications work work just fine.

7. Fits over audio and power cables

The open sides mean that there is plenty of space for cables as well.

8. Controller

This is the one missing feature of this headset — no built-in button. You will either need to stick with look-to-activate apps and VR videos, or get an external controller. Some sellers actually bundle the controller in with the headset.

9. Ease of use

I found this headset extremely easy to use.

The headset did not come with a Google Cardboard QR Code, which was very disappointing. But I found that the Vrizzmo QR Code seemed to work fine.

VRizzmo - QR Code - vr-iphone-dot-com

10. Price

You cannot beat the price of this headset. It is a very decent headset, one that compares very favorably with headsets costing several times more. It is also an excellent alternative for anyone considering buying a headset made of cardboard.

This is a great headset to get to tide you over while waiting for the Daydream sets to come out, or to buy for your kids.

It’s available for $10 from AliExpress, $10 from GearBest, $12 from Amazon and $13 from GeekBuying. If you search the sites, you can also find offers that are bundled with a Bluetooth remote controller. (Disclosure: I’ve included affiliate links where available.)

If you buy in bulk from AliExpress, the prices fall to less than $5 per unit — a great option for corporate deployments.

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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.

  • JohnMasto

    Hi, thank you for another great review. Would it be possible to link the page for the bulk order from AliExpress? I can’t seem to find an offer for 5$. Thanks

  • davids12

    Hi, thanks for this nice summary. Can you maybe say some words how this vr mini compares for example with bigger vr glasses like fiit vr or bob z4 vr? Is the vr experience similar? Or why is it maybe better to pay at least double for fiit vr? Thanks for any feedback 🙂

    • I just got it, so I haven’t been using it for a long time. However, it is so small and convenient that I’ll probably be using it for all my app reviews in the future — simply because the other headsets take up more space on my desk, and there’s an extra step to using them (specifically, opening up the front cover). Obviously, I’m a special case — I’ve got something like 30 headsets in my office, and I’m always using them to test out some app or watch some VR video.

      So even though I’ve got two versions of the BoboVR Z4, which is the best headset on the market, it takes up too much room, and is slightly more awkward to use, and the headphones just get in the way, etc… Same thing for the FiiT. Since I got my DeePoon, I haven’t used the FiiT once — and now that I’ve got this Leji, the DeePoon will go back in its box, as well.

      Plus, since Daydream is coming soon, I would not be spending any money on a mobile headset right now. Just buy the minimum you need today, and put the rest of your money in a jar towards your next smartphone.

      • davids12

        Thanks a lot for your answer. I’m wondering if this vr glass is really big enough for 5.5 -6 inch phones? Were you able to thest it for example with an iphone 6 plus? Thanks 🙂

        • Sorry, don’t have an iPhone 6 plus… But the way the set is designed, the worst that will happen is that the edges of the image will be cut off slightly — the phone will still fit.

          • davids12

            ok, thanks. But what do you think about this new kind of vr glasses where you cannot close the front as it was possible with fiit vr for example and also all older ones? I think in case you use a smaller phone (4-5 inch) most probably you get also a lot of brightness into it since the front does not close. Do you know what my concern is? Does it mean this headset has to be used in a dark room only? Or how is this solved? thanks again

          • With this headset, the phone completely covers the front, so no light gets in. Maybe you’re thinking of open-sided headsets?

            http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2016/06/13-open-sided-vr-headsets/

            Those DO let light in — but I haven’t found that to be a problem when using them. If you can see the phone’s screen, you can use the headset. It does lower immersion, however — plus, you generally have to hold these headsets to your face. So they’re not viewers that you would use for long games or movies, but they’re okay for quick experiences and short VR videos.

  • Lorenzo Lucchini

    How would you say this compares with the Noton, which is similar in some ways and also a good “cardboard Cardboard alternative”? This one seems to have more features (adjustments, mainly), but maybe the Noton provides the better VR experience, quality- and immersion-wise…?

    • I prefer the Leji. It’s not that much more expensive, but much much nicer and user-friendly. The field of view is the same, and they fit the same size phones. Weight is 6 ounces for the Noton and 7 ounces for the Leji — not a big difference.

      But the Leji has padding, and adjustable lenses.

  • Xenan

    Than you Maria, your reviews are helpful! I have noton, it is great and immersive for 5″ screen because edges are not visible but I wouldn’t recommend it for bigger screens (wasted pixels). Leji looks amazing, tiny headset with beautiful huge lenses! 🙂

    What is the optimal screen size for Leji? Will edges still be visible on 5.5″ screen? If you can see edges of 5.1-inch screen, it means the lenses are weaker than lenses in noton. Bigger but weaker lenses = less chromatic aberration, less distortion, less screen door effect and better FOV (if paired with bigger screen) compared to noton. Is that true?

  • Q S

    Thanks for this review – was hovering both Shinecon and VR box, but Leji VR Mini was readily available where I live so I opted to ship this model instead. The VR Mini does what it says, has a competitive FOV with other cheap headsets while also striking a balance with both comfort and portability. It’s not as clunky as other headsets which makes it more practical for public use, i.e. on a planetrips.

    • Yeah, I don’t recommend that anyone buy either the Shinecon or the VR Box — old, clumsy to use, narrow field of view, heavy.

  • yeahman45

    can you see clearly even without your glasses??

    • Yes, I can, because the lenses are adjustable. But also, my vision isn’t all that bad. I pass the driving eye test without them.

  • steve316

    I used a Shinecon VR headset with my 5.5 inch one plus one phone and it showed black borders on the sides. Do u think it will be the same with this headset ?…. because I feel that if I had a 6 inch phone then it wouldn’t have seen those black borders.

    • The Shinecon has a pretty narrow field of view — just 80 degrees. Most Cardboards are at least 90, Gear VR is 96, FiiT is 102, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are 110, and BoboVR Z4 is 120 degrees (according to the manufacturer, at least).

      As a result, I typically don’t recommend the Shinecon headset except to people with low-resolution screens, where a wide field of view will just make everything look pixellated. Like the world is made of Lego’s.

  • 1stSOCOM

    Hi Maria. Thanks so much for your tips.
    Which remote would you recommend?

  • yeahman45

    Virtoba X5 Elite at $16 vs Leji VR MINI at $10 vs FIIT VR 2S (not sure if it is same as FIIT VER you reviewed?) at $16

    which one seems to be the best deal for you?

    • I’ve got copies of all three, and I reach for the Leji most often because it’s small and convenient. Also, it’s really hot where I am now, and the last thing I’d want to wear on my head is a large headset with headphones.

      But at these prices, you can’t go wrong with any of them. Plus, they’ll all be obsolete soon, when the Daydream sets come out.

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