With Virtual Reality really getting a big boost in 2016, 2017 is the year that this technology is really going to take off. With many big names releasing their own VR headsets last year – these came with big price tags and really limited the VR experience to those that can afford them. This is where VR units like this one from Aukey come into play. At a price that allows everyone to experience VR as long as you have a smartphone, this is a quality headset that offers more than the budget Google Cardboard.
The Aukey Virtual Reality Glasses (VR-01) are solidly built ensuring that they will withstand the time and kids test. Giving them the edge on Google Cardboard which is in around the same price range as you can be a bit more rough with them and will not disintegrate due to sweaty heads and wet fingers. Most importantly the whole VR experience provided by Aukey is of a higher quality. I believe that this is down to the adjustable lenses that you don’t have on the cardboard products.
Aesthetically the headset is sleek and looks quite good. The solid black design with the silver accents in my opinion looks better than the white counterparts on the market. The weight of the headset is just right to enable a comfortable user experience, not too heavy that it gives you whiplash but not too light to feel cheap in hand.
Speaking of comfort this has to be one of the more comfortable budget headsets I have tried. The elasticated adjustable velcro head strap enables you to get a sturdy, comfortable fit for most head sizes, accented with a leatherette material the head strap is both designed and constructed very well for its price. The headset design allows you to wear it for prolonged periods without any discomfort.
Wearing the headset the padded eyepieces ensure that the weight is not resting entirely on your nose, this also ensures that external light is blocked out providing a better VR experience. One thing that I did notice was that some ambient light comes through around the nose piece, this may affect your experience in brighter rooms whilst in use. Whether this was my nose size or something that Aukey has to look at I cannot say but it didn’t affect the user experience greatly whilst I was testing this product.
Positioning your phone in the device is a simple affair. The front of the headset flips open revealing a spring loaded holder for your smartphone. This holder will support phones from 3.7 – 5.5″ securely when in use and with the additional supplied sticky pads you can rest assured that your phone will not sustain any damage and will remain in place during use. The flip front of the headset is held in place by magnetic fasteners and simply clips into place for easy access.
Getting started with the VR headset is simple enough. Although there are no guidelines included on what apps etc to choose to use with the headset there are a wide range of VR apps to select in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. There are plenty to get you started for a wide range of interests and once you have downloaded an app on your smartphone you are pretty much good to go. There is also a wealth of app recommendations available online if you take a few minutes to look. It may be worth Aukey inserting a small paragraph in the user guide, instructing people to go the app store on their mobiles to search for VR apps before starting. I would recommend they do this for those that have had no VR experience before as currently the user guide only states to check YouTube for videos.
A minor gripe found whilst testing is that there is no button for selecting menu options etc within apps that require this, meaning you will have to flip the front of the headset down again and manually make the selection on your phone. This issue can be found on the majority of VR headsets in this price range and is not exclusive to this headset. It can be rectified by purchasing an optional Bluetooth wireless remote controller to connect to your mobile. Although this is a small additional expense it will vastly improve the experience and is something Aukey could consider including with later releases.
During use the lenses on the Aukey VR Headset can be adjusted for individual users in two different ways. The width of the lenses can be adjusted which is ideal for people with some sight issues this is done via the focus dial at the top of the headset. Turning this dial will move the lenses either closer together or further apart depending on the direction turned. The focal zoom can also be easily adjusted by turning either of the knobs found on the side of the headset making the viewing screen appear closer to you or further away. With this combination of adjustments you can achieve optimal viewing pleasure for every user.
One of the things that I found really convenient with the headset are the slots on both sides at the front of the headset so your power cables and headphones can be attached to the phone whilst in use. Some headsets that I have used in the past lacked this feature which thinking about it is a simple and obvious addition.
VR allows you to experience so much, whether it’s the kids experiencing new worlds and different eras, educational materials for their homework or you visiting places you have always wanted to go to without leaving your home, there truly is something for everyone in the VR world.
Virtual Reality is certainly something that has to be experienced to be believed and something that I believe that everyone should experience even if only once. Thanks to manufacturers like Aukey this is now possible.
This headset is one that I would recommend. With a price currently under £20 it will not break the bank, has a strong build quality is easy to use and comes from a well known manufacturer. A 2 year warranty is also included in the price. Of course you cannot expect the same VR experience you would get on headsets more than twenty times the price. Using your existing smartphone and one of these headsets you can get a taste of what is available, enjoying the experience before jumping in at the deep end purchasing a more expensive model like the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, then finding out the experience is not for you.
Great value starter virtual reality headset.