Review: Shinecon Mini not that mini

Shinecon Mini.
The Shinecon Mini comes in white, yellow, pink and blue.

The other mini headset that I ordered recently has arrived, the Shinecon Mini from AliExpress, which cost me $13.50.

Since it came at about the same time as the Leji VR Mini that I reviewed yesterday, I was able to compare the two mini headsets. They have a lot in common — both are “mini” headsets, both come in a variety of colors. But the Shinecon headset is heavier, bulkier, and more awkward to use.

The Shinecon Mini is on the left and the Leji Mini VR is on the right.
The Shinecon Mini is on the left and the Leji Mini VR is on the right.

I also liked the color selection of the Leji Mini VR better, but that’s just a personal preference.

1. Field of view

The field of view is officially listed as 90 degrees, which is actually less than the Leji VR Mini’s 96 degrees. It’s not a huge difference, but the view does feel narrower — though it could just be my imagination.

The field of view also depends on the size of the phone. Typically, the larger, the better.

The company says it will hold smartphones with screens of 4.7 to 6.0 inches, which is the same as the Leji VR Mini.

2. Weight

It weighs 252 grams, or 9 ounces. By comparison, the Leji VR Mini weighs just 7 ounces.

The Shinecon Mini is on the left, the Leji VR Mini is on the right.
The Shinecon Mini is on the left, the Leji VR Mini is on the right.

3. Straps

Usual straps that go around the sides and over the top of the head. These are stretchy, like those of the Leji, but the extra weight might make a difference with how well they hold.

4. Fits over glasses

My glasses fit easily, with room to spare. Here, the Shinecon Mini has an advantage over the Leji, which does not fit over glasses.

5. Adjustable lenses

The interpupillary distance is adjustable, via a dial on top of the headset. This is convenient, since you can make the adjustment while wearing the headset.

However, the focal distance is not adjustable.

6. Ready for augmented reality

The front is open, leaving plenty of room for the smartphone’s rear-facing camera to see out. That means that all augmented reality applications work work just fine.

The Shinecon Mini's open-front design.
The Shinecon Mini’s open-front design.

7. Fits over audio and power cables

The open front means that there is plenty of space for cables as well.

8. Controller

This is another 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 will bundle the controller in with the headset.

9. Ease of use

The headset has nice padding around the lenses.

Shinecon Mini (3)

The design of the headset requires you to slide your phone in from the side, and it can be difficult if the phone has a case. In addition, it can be tricky to get the phone positioned just right — it needs to be centered, and level.

Shinecon Mini with phone

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

This headset is priced very competitively, and is a good alternative for anyone considering buying a headset made of cardboard.

This is also 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  $12 from AliExpress, $11 from GearBest, $22 from Amazon and $22 from GeekBuying. If you search the sites, you can also find offers that are bundled with a Bluetooth remote controller. Some AliExpress sellers also offer bulk discounts.

Maria Korolov