In a week OnePlus will take the wraps off its flagship OnePlus 2. Unlike some of the grand launch events in auditoriums filled with fans and media, the Chinese company is taking a different route virtual reality (VR). Last week, OnePlus sold its branded Google Cardboard headset called Carboard VR via Amazon India for Rs 99 (plus shipping) to help people follow its virtual launch event. We spent some time with the headset and here are our first impressions.
For first time users, the OnePlus Cardboard VR might come across as cheap, considering it is only made of cardboard. But the concept of a Cardboard VR is offering the virtual reality experience at affordable rates. But for those who have already used a Cardboard before, OnePlus rendition is one of the better ones.
OnePlus says that it has used stronger and thicker cardboard as well as a high-durability Velcro. The quality is easily visible, and it doesn t feel flimsy as some of the other Google Cardboard-inspired headsets you get in the market today.
There s not much in terms of assembly, and what little is required is far from rocket science. To keep it compact, the headset is tucked into itself, and all you need to do is unravel it. Pull out the flaps that are fastened with Velcro, and swivel them around towards the back of the unit. This creates a viewer of sorts that blocks the light from entering from the sides when you are staring into the lens.
Next, you insert your phone in flap on the front, and fasten it using the Velcro strip. While the company has specifically built the headset for the OnePlus One, it says the headset can easily handle smartphones with displays ranging from 4.5-inch to 6-inches. As mentioned above, there is a lot of precision that has gone into making the headset, and you don t worry about your smartphone falling off the sides when immersed in the virtual reality world.
For navigating or making selections inside VR apps, Google Cardboard has a magnetic button the side. On OnePlus headset however there is an indent on the top-right corner that can be pressed to make selections. One thing missing however is a strap for your head, which would have helped free your hands. Currently, you need to hold the headset to your face as long as you are using it.
As for the apps themselves, OnePlus has yet to release its own that will host the launch event. In the meantime though, there are quite a few apps you can try out including the Google Cardboard app. The overall app experience is still quite nascent, and despite using a flagship smartphone, they are plagued with lags. This is however more to do with the software themselves, rather than the headset per se.
OnePlus then has created quite a decent headset, especially when you consider how ridiculously cheap it is. It may not be perfect, but virtual reality as a concept has a long way to go before it irons out its issues. While OnePlus intentions are for people to use it for the launch event, users are unlikely to throw the Cardboard VR away and keep enjoying the virtual reality experience instead.