How does VR KIX Measure up to Other Virtual Reality Headsets?
We put VR KIX to the test against other brands in the vr market
Research & Testing
Popular VR Headset Comparisons
We wanted to make sure our VR KIX Virtual Reality Headsets were the best value so we decided to personally test other VR Headsets. We bought 24 different headsets to compare. We bought 3 cardboard style, 19 mobile style and one Oculus Rift DK2. Ok, so the Oculus isn’t really in the mobile segment, but we had to try it out, right?
Out of the 19 mobile style headsets, we bought some familiar names such as, the Noon, the Ziess VR One, the ViewMaster, the Homido, and of course, the Gear. (We bought both the $250 and the $99 Samsung Gear VR Headsets.) The prices of all these units ranged from $17 to $250.
Here are our findings for the mobile style:
Most of the units have some kind of padding for your face. Three of the 19 had no padding at all, but neither does the cardboard style. The 3 with no padding also had no head straps, again, making them very similar to cardboard. If you hold the unit to your face, the padding isn’t as big of a necessity as it is when the straps hold it to your face.
Of the units with padding, 12 of the 19, have a foam or felt covered foam padding. Those with the felt did feel soft against your face while plain foam was less comfortable. The Gear, Homido, Zeiss One and Noon all have the foam style padding. We are happy that the VR KiX is one of the 4 units that have a leather-like material covering the foam padding.
The benefit of the covering, is that not only is it soft on your face, but it can be washed or sanitized. Imagine wearing the headset for hours (maybe not consecutively or perhaps so) and then again and again. What your foam face pad does is collect the oils from your face. They are there day after day. This can lead to skin irritation. What if you wanted to share the experience with your friends? You can share their face oils too. If you get a headset with covered foam, you can simply wipe it down after use. Face oils are gone!
We think that dual focal adjustments are important because not everyone has the same eyes. Some people cannot see distance and some people have wider distances between their eyes. If you have no distance focus, a person with glasses would have to wear their glasses while using the headset. Glasses fit various headsets depending on the size of the glasses. It’s much easier to get a unit with a focal adjustment and not worry about your glasses fitting.
Of the 19 units we tested, 6 had no focal adjustment at all. This works fine if you are “cardboard compliant” meaning your headset is essentially a plastic cardboard style headset. The ViewMaster is an example of this. This headset was designed primarily for children. Children can experience motion sickness easier than adults, so it is the most appropriate for younger children to use a headset that is not mounted to their head. Of the other 5 units, 4 of them had head straps and narrow openings that would not accommodate most glasses wearers.
Next there were 4 headsets with only distance adjustment, 2 of these were the Samsung Gear and 1 was the Noon. This adjustment is great because, like I said before, you can use the headset without your glasses and most people can see just fine.
There is a second focal adjustment and that is Interpupilary Distance (IPD). This is the width measurement between your pupils. This adjustment is important because if you are looking through lenses that are too close or too far apart, you can experience motion sickness. If you have a headset with the IPD adjustment, it can work for children too! 3 of the headsets we tested, one being the Homido, only have the IPD adjustment. Again, those with glasses might find they can’t fit in these headsets.
The dual adjustments are found on 6 of the 19 headsets, the VR KIX being one of them. We really like the dual focal adjustments because it makes the headsets more comfortable for your eyes. It also makes it more comfortable for a larger majority of people.
Of all the headsets we tried, there is the most variation in the way each headset holds your phone. You have spent a lot of money on your phone; you do not want to place it in just any tray. Make sure that your phone is secure and will not get scratched while using the headset.
10 out of the 19 headsets have nothing more than a piece of foam or suction cups and pressure holding your phone into the unit. It makes me wary to place my phone in one of these units. The suction cups do not adhere to my phone and the foam presses it up to the unit. This could result in scratched screens in a couple of the units. If the door comes open, there is nothing else holding your phone in place. It could fall right out!
The bigger name companies have tried to make their phone holding devices more unique to their brand. The Noon uses a rubber strap and mounting brackets to hold the phone in place. It’s a tiny bit difficult to position a smaller phone like an iPhone 5. The phone doesn’t move while in use so it seems secure enough. The downside to this holder is that you have to undo the strap and re position your phone every time you want to use a new app.
The Samsung Gear has a connection all its own because the unit uses the USB connection to communicate with the phone. It is very secure because it is specifically designed to work only with specific models of Samsung phones. The unit will not hold any other phone. Be prepared to hand over your phone with the unit if you want to share it with your friends, unless they have the same phone, of course!
The Homido uses a clip tray that is the length of the phone. Your phone slides in between the clip and the face of the unit and the pressure of the clip holds it in place. It is fairly easy to get in and out when you want to change the app you are using.
The Zeiss VR One has a custom tray. You specify the phone you have and you get the tray that fits that phone. The tray slides into the unit so that the entire phone is within the unit making it very secure, but selecting a new app can be a bit of a process.
The VR KIX uses a spring loaded tray that holds your phone by its side edges. The tray is located in the front panel of the headset. It stays in place even when you open the front to select a new app. You do not need to readjust the phone every time. The VR KiX makes it easy to simply open the front, tap the screen and close it. The phone stays in position and you can keep going.
Three other units use a similar tray. The ViewMaster is the most similar with their location of the tray and dual side springs. Two other units use a slide out tray with a top mounted spring loaded bar to keep your phone secure. It is quite secure in the tray, but if you need change the app, it’s a bit difficult to slide out, tap and slide back in while wearing the unit.
Out of the 19 headsets, only the 2 Gear VR headsets and the ViewMaster have an input button. The input button makes it convenient to tap the screen in some apps. Many apps are moving to “focus to select” instead of a button. The Cardboard app and other “made for Cardboard” apps do require the button.
Our solution for this is a Bluetooth controller. We offer 2 types and either can be used as a replacement for tapping the screen. The controllers can be used with any of the headsets. It is also great to have as a a remote for game play. These controllers work great with Android phones, which are made using Google, but not so well with Apple phones. Apple users find that using Cardboard apps, they still need to tap the screen to access the content.
We are working on a solution for our Apple users. Just because Apple and Android don’t “get along” is no reason for our Apple customers to miss out on some great VR experiences. Keep your eyes open for it!