Virtual Reality headsets have been making waves for months now, giving us a new way to experience our games and apps. Headsets allow you to dive all the way in, without holding up a unit to your face, so it's no wonder people have been clamoring for them. If you've been hoping for a great headset that's compatible with plenty of phones and has access to the many Google Cardboard apps out there, but isn't made of actual cardboard, there aren't as many options.
Homido is one such option, and the company is offering more than just a plastic shell for those interested.
Homido Virtual Reality Headset comes in a nice semi-soft carrying case, to keep everything safe and away from dust when you aren't using it. Right off the bat, this is a fantastic move, since we haven't seen many carrying cases for Cardboard units, or for the newer Gear VR. It could be argued that Carboard made of cardboard doesn't need a case, but if you've ever accidentally sat on one of Google's phone sleeves you know that's not always true. Inside the case you'll find the plastic headset itself, two bands to attach it to your head, a cleaning cloth, and special lens cones for near sighted or far sighted users. The first thing that you are going to notice when you pull it out and set it up, is just how small this headset actually is. It's the same size as a cardboard unit in height and width, but is a fair bit deeper.
At the top of Homido, you'll see some vents to help keep the lenses from fogging, along with a red scroll wheel. If you move it one way or the other, this will move the lenses inside Homido closer together, or further apart. On both the left and the right side of the headset there is a small red and black knob. Turning these will expand the viewing space inside the headset. The side knobs, consequently, should both be turned at the same time since each one only moves that side of the viewing space. It uses a two strap design similar to the Gear VR Innovator Edition, with Homido branding on the lower strap. The front of the headset has Homido branding as well across the clip that your phone fits into.
Using VR headsets while wearing glasses has been an iffy process at best. That's actually one of the really awesome parts about the Homido Virtual Headset. They made a real effort to make sure that those of us who wear glasses could still use their product. Allowing a deeper viewing space, adjusting the distance between the two lenses, and giving consumers the Near and Far-sighted lens cones made it much easier to use the headset without having your glasses on. The cones sit over the lenses, so to switch out for one set of cones or another you do actually have to pop the lens out and adjust the correct cone over it before putting it back into the headset. It's actually very easy to do, we promise.
If all you want to do is access Google Cardboard apps, your work is finished. Load an app and go nuts. To use Homido's extra features, the first thing you need to do is download and install the Homido Center app from the Google Play Store. This app works as a home base for all Homido apps. It's designed well with featured apps available up and center, or an exhaustive menu found by tapping the icon in the upper left corner. You can browse by type of app you're looking for, see new apps, even bookmark the ones that catch your eye so they can be found again easily. Homido Center works as a great hub for finding the great VR content, and when you tap to purchase an app it will open in the Play Store. Everything worked very easily, making this a great hub for finding and using VR apps and experiences.
After you have Homido Center installed, you just need to download your VR app of choice and you're nearly ready to go. From there you need to pull open the clip located at the front of Homido Virtual Reality Headset, and slide your phone inside. Getting your phone to sit correctly inside the headset is a bit of a hassle at the get go since there aren't many markers to show where your phone should precisely sit. That's because Homido is made to be compatible with as many phones as possible, and that means both Android and iOS devices. Once you are set up though, all you have to do is put the headset on and enjoy yourself.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the Homido Virtual Reality Headset is actually it's size. Smaller folks won't have any issues but if you're not tiny there is a serious concern that your nose will be too big for the viewer. Mostly this is a comfort concern, being able to use the headset for more than a few minutes before things get awkward is kind of important if you're going to be spending more than you would for a more traditional Cardboard experience.
So the question that has to be asked, is whether a VR headset with only slightly more function than Cardboard is worth the price tag. If you're an individual who wears glasses, the added lens cones, and ability to customize the depth and width of lenses can really make up that price tag. Especially because we just haven't seen this approach to users with less than stellar vision previously. It's also a very sturdy design, with plastic, which means dropping it isn't the end of the world — although we'd suggest not dropping it with your phone inside for obvious reasons. Having a well built headset that is compatible with plenty of phones means spending money, but at more than twice the cost of Mattel's View-Master VR it's a big ask. The added software Homido puts in here accounts for a fair bit of this added cost, but in the end it's a tough call to make.
VR definitely has a future with apps, experiences, and videos, and if you're looking for something a little more than Cardboard than Homido might be an option worth considering. Compact, compatible with plenty of devices, and easy to use. Will you be checking Homido Virtual Reality Headset, or has another VR headset already won your heart? Let us know in the comments!
€85 from Homido