Virtual Reality – The evolution of Google Cardboard

The future it’s finally here! The romance we’ve had for last few decades of the promised 3D virtual reality world. Now there are two camps, the full on PC tethered experience or the much more affordable mobile VR which leverages your mobile screen wifi and sensors to allow you to be wire free.

In the year or so since Google first announced Cardbord VR, the internet has lit up with a multitude of products to improve on the original cardboard design, to try and give you a more pleasant experience. There have however been more premium products using the mobile VR idea, with a preinum price, although they are more superior to Cardboard there are a couple of problems with this. Firstly at the higher price points you might as well skip them and put the money towards a more permanent HMD solution such as Oculus Rift, HTC Vie or FOVE. Secondly and as importantly, a lot of the more expensive Cardboard-esque products are not Cardboard and have their own proprietary systems and will not play nice with the Cardboard Apps. Now that Cardboard is hitting mainstream it offers a standard that all developers can follow and build Apps for, if you bought an HMD that isn’t designed to be part of the Cardboard eco-system, then you’re going to be plain out of luck for things to do with it. This is noticeably true when trying to use Apps from other non-cardboard HMD’s for example the Carl Zeiss One where by the SBS 3D doesn’t quite line up with the lenses cardbaord is expecting.

Today we are looking at the I AM Cardboard XGVR HMD, which is a happy medium between paying a bit more for a very useable product and not so much that you might as well just buy a PC based system. As you can see from the YouTube review it is sturdy product that does take some getting used to. It comes with lots of nice extras such as a carry case and changeable padding which you will want swap out to wash occasionally as your facial contact will have some amount of perspiration. Getting the best out of this product takes time, as this is a very new product to market, spend some time getting the headstraps in the right position will make the difference between a very comfortable experience to something less so out of the box.
I AM Cardboard XGVR

So what can I actually do with it?

There are a few apps out there supporting cardboard, they have about the same graphics as an N64 and are very limited in their experience, so we can really suggest two main things, streaming 3D movies and playing PC games.

 

Get your Plex on!

This is a biggie, if you want to watch movies from your own collection of 3D SBS movies then you will definitely need a Plex server up and running. Trying to run movies from local storage on your phone is totally unrealistic even if you decide to use OTG USB external memory, the time it takes to copy a 12GB+ movie kills the pick up and play experience and a movie will likely kill all your phone storage. On top of that any external memory you use will need to be correctly formatted to allow files bigger than 4GB (i.e not NTFS) which will require additional software to allow your phone to read / write to OTG storage. This is a nightmare you don’t want to go near.
Plex

 

KinoConsole for PC play…

The next fun you can do is stream your PC games to your face mobile device! There are a number of streaming apps but none of them have ever lived up to the promo videos that show natively like performance. However KinoConsole is a very different experience. this requires very lowly hardware, does not depend on Nvidia graphics cards and should run very well on most Android hardware. We will be posting lots more reviews to show how well this runs.
KinoConsole

 

And finally..

Do you want an easy way to find all those 3D movies or just have a Cardboard native app for navigating around for your next YouTube cats fix?! Then FullDive is your very best friend with voice search capabilities it allows you to find all the videos you want.
FullDive

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