Review: Generic knockoff VR viewer is cheap but out of focus

Prices for some of the first-generation VR mobile-based viewers out there are dropping fast, possibly because the coming Daydream VR platform will make them obsolete. Even Amazon, where the prices tend to be a little higher than on GearBest or AliExpress, there are a lot of plastic headsets for under $10. Like this $4 no-brand folding viewer, this $6 ColorCross, this $7 VR Fold, this $7 EgoMall which I haven’t heard of before, This $8 WFS, which looks like a rebranded version of one of the Sunnypeaks, this $9 LYe, and this $9 Teefan.

I wouldn’t recommend any of them, except for the folding ones, which are so cute. Instead, if you’re looking for a low-cost plastic headset to tide you over until you get a new phone, get the Leji VR, here for $14 from Amazon, or just $10 from AliExpress.

HD VR Box II 3D. (Image courtesy AliExpress.)

HD VR Box II 3D. (Image courtesy AliExpress.)

But I can’t keep myself from trying some of these cheap sets out. So a couple of weeks ago I went and ordered the HD VR Box II 3D for $8 from AliExpress. Not to be confused with the real VR Box 2, here available for $17 from Amazon.

VR Box 2 wide

Actual VR Box 2. I do not recommend buying this headset.

I ordered the HD VR Box II 3D because I thought it was a re-branded version of the Baofeng Mojing D headset. which start at $17 on AliExpress.

Baofeng Mojing's super low-cost XD headsets.

Baofeng Mojing’s super low-cost XD headsets.

But I was fooled. The real Baofeng Mojing D has soft padding around the face, which the HD VR Box II 3D doesn’t.

I do like the velvety feel of the plastic, and the fact that’s easy to use and seems to have a decent field of view. But the lack of padding around the face, and no lens adjustment, puts it in my “do not buy” category.

1. Field of View

 

I couldn’t find an official field of view for this headset, but my guess is that it’s around 90 degrees. Not great, but okay.

HD VR Box II 3D. (Photo by Maria Korolov.)

HD VR Box II 3D. (Photo by Maria Korolov.)

2. Weight

It weighs about 6 ounces, making it one of the lightest enclosed headsets I’ve tried to far, possibly due to the lack of any adjustments or padding.

3. Straps

Very stretchy straps on this headset, which would be a problem with a heavier headset, but seems to work fine for this one.

4. Fits Over Glasses

Nope.

No padding, no adjustments. (Photo by Maria Korolov.)

No padding, no adjustments. (Photo by Maria Korolov.)

5. Adjustable Lenses

 

Nope. You can’t move the lenses closer or further apart, and you can’t adjust the focus. And this is a problem because of the above. For me, everything was out of focus for me.

6. Ready for Augmented Reality

Yes, this headset is ready for augmented reality. As you can see in the image above, part of the outside cover is transparent, allowing the phone’s camera to see out. In my case, my camera is able to look out.

7. Fits Over Cables

There are two openings on the headset, one on each side, which allows the user to keep their phone connected to power or audio cables.

8. Controller

There’s no button on the headset, so you will either have to take the phone out of its holder, use apps that don’t require a button, or — if you have an Android phone — buy an external controller.

9. Price

As I mentioned above, the HD VR Box II 3D is available for $8 from AliExpress.

But the Leji VR is about the same weight, has adjustable lenses, and has padding, for only a few dollars more.

10. Ease of Use

This headset is very easy to use, just drop the phone in.

It did not come with a Google Cardboard QR Code, so I had to randomly try QR codes from my list.

This one seemed to work the best for me, though it was still slightly out of focus. If you find a better QR code, please let me know.

Noton temp QR Code

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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.

  • Hi Maria,

    Would you be interested in trying out the NEODiVR uPLAy? It is pocketable, but it is more than that since you will also be able to buy an optional headband/phone bracket and optional brackets for positional trackers from Occipital, Intel and Leap Motion. Oh and did I mention it uses B.A.L.T?

    http://neodivr.com/images/uPLAy-1.2-Collage-lo.jpg