Archos VR Headset Review & Comparison with Other VR Devices
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The French company Archos, took the first step into the VR market. They are better known for their cheap mobile devices and they seem to continue that tradition with the Archos VR headset.
What is a VR Headset?
A virtual reality headset is a device mounted to the head that provides virtual reality for the person wearing it. These headsets are used widely for video gaming, however, they also have other uses such as training and simulations. They comprise a stereoscopic head-mounted display. This type of display provides separate images for each eye. They also include stereo sound and have head motion tracking sensors. Some more advanced VR headsets also include eye tracking sensors and gaming controllers.
VR headsets offer a brand new immersive gaming experience. The wearer can look around with their head and the display will follow. This means that you can look around different virtual environments, and this makes the gaming experience a lot more realistic and fun.
What is the Archos VR Headset?
It is basically a device on top of which you mount your smartphone in order to get a VR experience. The goggles are not expensive and they will only set you back $29,99.
Their most important feature of the device, is that it will work with any smartphone available on the market, regardless of their operating system (iOS, Android, Windows), as long as it has a 6 inch screen, or smaller. On top of that, Archos stated that their product is compatible with over 100 VR apps. The company has also released a companion app, called Archos Video Player, that will allow you to watch movies in stereoscopic mode.
The Archos Headset was released in November 2014 and it still enjoys great popularity.
In order to get the best out of the device, Archos recommends that you use at least a quad-core smartphone, with a 5 inch screen and a resolution of 1080p. This means that the newly released iPhone 6 Plus, Nexus 6 and HTC One M9 will be ideal for this headset.
The headset is made out of plastic, with a chunky visor that straps around your head with a rubber band. The visor has a front slot, in which you slide your phone in. The design is actually quite nice and simple, but it looks a bit cheap to be honest. It comes in a single ,black color.
On the inside you will notice two lenses that go on your eyes. The one bad thing about the design, is the bottom cut, where your nose is supposed to go. From personal experience, I can say that after 10 minutes of usage, your nose will start to hurt and you will feel uncomfortable. What I do like about it a lot, is that is the fact that it’s small and light weight.
The VR headset comes in a small box, where you will find a little instructions manual, a warranty with safety notices and, of course, the device itself.
The Archos Headset should not really be compared with the Oculus Rift, or with the Sony Project Morpheus, for it is not the same thing. This device is basically a plastic box with lenses and nothing more, but, just like Google Cardboard, it’s capable of giving you a 3D experience and furthermore, the price is very attractive, although the Google Cardboard is a little cheaper.
The downside to using this headset, is that the image that you get is not HD and it will look a little pixilated. I’ve tried the goggles with 3D movies, games, panoramic pictures and other 3D apps, and I was a little disappointed by the picture’s quality. I never had the feeling that I was really there, like I did while using the Oculus Rift.
Comparison with Other VR Headsets
The Sony Project Morpheus
It is one of the most anticipated VR headsets out there, with a release date set for the first half of 2016.
During the 2015 GDR, they’ve announced that they have replaced the 5 inch LCD display, with a new 5,7 inch OLED one, that is meant to improve motion blur and enable low persistence. The new display makes 120 FPS gaming a real possibility.
As of yet, no pricing information was released. This device is definitely more advanced than the Archos VR headset.
Samsung Gear VR
Just like the Archos VR Headset, this device is meant to work with a Samsung (exclusive) smartphone mounted on it.
Samsung’s entry into the VR world, in collaboration with Oculus Rift, has delivered us one of the best and consumer friendly headset on the market.
It is a Oculus Rift powered device, that uses a Samsung Galaxy phone (there are two versions available, one for the Galaxy S6 and another for the Note 4) as its display and processor. All you have to do is slide your mobile phone into the slot located in front of the lenses and it will connect to a MICRO USB dock.
The Samsung Gear VR, cost a lot more than the Archos VR Headset, $199 to be more precise, but it is of a higher quality.
This is the device that started all the hype concerning VR. It was developed by a the young, 21 year old American, named Palmer Luckey. He first financed his project via Kickstarter and, later, that project was bought by Facebook for a nice 2 billion dollars.
The Rift, plugs into your USB port and DVI slot and provides you with 3D images, by utilizing its stereo screens, while tracking the movements of your head.
The latest version brings 1080p visuals with a 360 degree perspective, and it will cost you $350, which is a very reasonable price for a very good device.
This is the device that took everybody off guard and it is half VR and half AR (augmented reality). It merges real life images with “holographic” virtual images. This means that you can combine your living room with the surface of Mars, if you so please.
The HoloLens has a 120 degree FOV and, just like the Kinect, it will recognize your voice commands and gestures, and it is capable of HD visuals.
The most interesting thing about this headset, is that you do not have to connect it to your PC, because it will come equipped with Windows 10 and it will use a battery as its power source.
No release date was announced as of yet and no pricing information either. This happened for many of the Latest Virtual & Augmented Reality Devices.
When this headset was first announced, during the Google I/O, in July 2014, many thought that it was a joke, but the device actually works. All you have to do is strap a smartphone to a cardboard box and you are done.
You can build one yourself or order the starter kit for $24,95. It is the cheapest option that you have when it come to VR, but you might consider getting the Archos VR Headset instead, for its of a higher build quality and more resistant to sweat.
This isn’t a rival to the other headsets out there, but more of a device intended for developers that want to make VR applications. It is unlikely that a consumer version will make its way into our living rooms any time soon and definitely not before 2016.
If you do want to buy one, then you should know that its available at “razerzone.com” for $199,99.
Best Games for the Archos VR Headset
#1 Tuscany Dive
Developed by FabulousPixel
This is one of the best looking VR games that I came across. The game is very simple and will let you explore a Tuscan villa. To start walking, just look down at the red circle. You can explore the inside of the villa, or you can also go outside if you like.
This is the first attempt to make a VR holiday experience.
#2 VR Roller Coaster
Developed by Frag
Riding a roller coaster is always fun and now you can do it in a safe VR environment. There are a lot of roller coaster simulators out there, but I do believe that the game developed by Frag is the best available.
#3 Lamper VR
Developed by Archiact Interactive
Here, you play as a little “Lamper”, that you have to guide, in a third-person perspective, trough a series of tunnels, while avoiding hazards and collecting goodies along the way, in order to get a high score.
Developed by Otherworld Interactive
This is a terrifying VR experience, where you have to navigate through a haunted mansion, in a first-person perspective. It is recommended that you use headphones with this game for a better and more chilling experience.
#5 Volvo Reality
Developed by Volvo
Volvo is the first mainstream car manufacturer that tries to bring one of their cars into the VR world. You take control of the Volvo XC90 without having to leave your chair. One very particular feature, is the “Friday Getaway”, where you get to take your new Volvo SUB for a drive into the mountains.
For the price of $29,99, and if you are curious about VR, it is an Ok product, but if you are looking for a more complete experience, then I advise you to buy the Oculus Rift, or to wait until Project Morpheus comes out (heavy breathing).
- It is very cheap
- Has a lot of fun games that will keep you busy for a while
- Compatible with all smartphones that have a 6 inch display, or less
- A wide range of applications on all three major platforms
- Feels a bit too cheap
- It is rather uncomfortable for your nose