Virtual Reality is all the rage nowadays, with its impressive applications in the world of gaming making it is a huge part of E3 2015. While there are a few great options already available, not all of them are particularly affordable, and in some cases, not very user-friendly either, but that is all slowly changing. Merge VR is hoping to also make an impression in this segment with their latest virtual reality headset, which we were able to spend some time with at their event.
The Merge VR is made from a high quality polyurethane foam that has more give to it while being durable, making it very comfortable to wear, compared to the hard plastics that you get with some other VR headsets. The top strap that goes over your head is also removable, so you don’t have to worry about messing up your hairstyle while wearing the device.
It has to be mentioned that the Merge VR will be fully compatible with Google Cardboard, which is big plus. Beyond that, it will have its own ecosystem of apps and user interface, that take advantage of the additional remote that comes with it. The company’s own application will also be available, where you can find compatible apps that are downloadable from the Google Play Store.
The remote is reminiscent of the Wii remote, albeit in a more compact form factor, that offers functionality that is quite similar. For example, if you are playing a game that requires any action, you can just swing the remote around or press the buttons, the way you would when using the Wii controller. The remote can even be used to navigate around the app and other features you get with the headset, and connects to your smartphone using Bluetooth. The remote also attaches to the side of the headset, so you don’t have to worry about losing this compact accessory.
As for the looks of the device, while the final VR headset will look about the same as it did in the demo, Merge VR says the remote will be of a hard plastic and will likely take on a more polished form at final release.
Although VR is obviously the big push here, the Merge VR is also being built with AR in mind. As you briefly saw in the video, the front of the headset does open up so you can use the camera for enhanced AR experiences. The demos we were shown weren’t too revolutionary, but it was still a very welcome extra.
At this stage in its development, device compatibility is limited to smartphones running iOS, but full Android support will be available with the final release product when it is officially released later this year. Another big selling point of the Merge VR is its price point, with the device expected to feature a price tag of around $130, which will make it one of the cheaper options when it’s released as far as VR headsets are concerned.
As for device support? Any handset up to about 5.5-inches should fit reasonably well. For reference, my own Huawei Mate 7 was just a tad too big, but anything under that should play nicely.
So there you have it for this quick look at the Merge VR! The Merge VR is another great example of how OEMs are expanding on what Google Cardboard is doing, and while it may not be at the level you get from a device like the Oculus Rift, this is certainly a lot more accessible, portable, easier to setup, and more importantly, easily affordable.
Stay tuned with Android Authority as we continue to bring you more great Android-related coverage from E3 2015!