Amazon Review by Chris F.
351 people found the following review helpful
MergeVR Goggles - Think Outside the Box
Merge VR - Virtual Reality Headset for iPhone and Android
UPDATE JANUARY 2017 - MergeVR has come out with 7 different colors of goggles including their original signature purple
Please sit down and have your seat belts fastened, it’s going to be a fun ride! Please read further down after a thorough search of the current VR goggles on the market, why I chose these versus the competition. This is a lengthy review but I had a lot to say!
Don’t you know that PURPLE is the color of power?! That is where MergeVR Goggles come in. Powerful, durable, and just plain fun! Forget cheap plastic, embrace high density proprietary foam…I have! That is where MergeVR and their trademark purple color separate themselves from the competition. I sound like a salesman but I am not trust me…I just like innovative companies making quality products. I do not recall any other VR headset products made of foam, especially robust and durable ones. The advantage of the high density foam, marshmallow foam as the company calls it, is that you can drop the goggles with your device in it and not worry about damaging your expensive phone or the goggles themselves, while plastic models out there may fare otherwise.
MergeVR, a relatively new up and coming technology company based in San Antonio, Texas, has a formidable set of virtually reality goggles that they introduced in 2015 that are worth taking a second look at. Mine are the 2016 “360” branded version…which are essentially unchanged from previous versions. If you are unaware of MergeVR, yes they are the purple elephant in the room…but in a good way. Similar to Henry Ford’s initial introduction of the Ford Model-T and the famous saying “It comes in any color you want as long as it is the color black.”, MergeVR’s only set of VR goggles come in a deep rich purple that frankly has grown on me. This is a smart marketing move in my opinion because it sets Merge apart from the competition. Whenever you see these purple goggles, you know exactly who made them! I like a company that thinks outside of the box and is brave enough to try new ideas.
The goggles are packaged very well with an almost Applesk approach as far as the unboxing is an experience unto itself. The retail packaging is chock full of useful information including the product’s features, large array of compatible apps and games compatible with both iOS and Android devices, a full size ruler to lay your phone on to verify that it will fit, and even a web link to check phone compatibility at VRtest.Ninja. Merge also has a great starting point for beginners at their VRstart website, although since these goggles also work with Google cardboard, finding compatible games and videos will not be hard.
Now for why I chose MergeVR’s goggles over the countless array of high-end (and cheap) products out in the market today. I have a musculoskeletal disease that limits my strength and dexterity. I was worried that these MergeVR goggles would be too cumbersome and heavy to use but they are the only goggles on the market today, aside perhaps from Google’s new goggle entry that are soft and impact resistant. MergeVR’s are the only ones that I know of that are made from soft yet firm proprietary foam that sit comfortably on your face. You can drop and abuse these (which I have thanks to my clumsy hands and wheelchair) without fear of the phone or the goggles getting damaged. Plastic goggles likely cannot say the same. At first I was concerned about the fit and size of these goggles. After putting them on, the image was still blurry no matter how much I adjusted the two black adjustable black sliders at the top (These help match your individual interpupillary distance for a clear, comfortable experience). After more adjustment I finally realized that I had the goggles simply too high up on the bridge of my nose. After pulling them down slightly, everything came into focus perfectly. I do not wear glasses but Merge claims they will fit most reasonably size glasses. These two black sliders, by the way, double as dual capacitive trigger buttons to use while in the VR experience. MergeVR is the only manufacturer that I am aware of that has two buttons. I love them because I am a lefty and I can use the goggles more easily instead of complying to a right handed world. MergeVR is also one of the few manufacturers out there making VR goggles that you can utilize your phone’s camera to be used as an augmented reality experience. This makes them future proof as more games and Apps hit the market taking advantage of this technology. Unlike Google’s new introduction to the market, as well as other brands, MergeVR’s goggles have not only the easily adjustable Velcro straps for your head circumference, but an additional strap over your head to help evenly support the added weight hanging off of your head. This comes in very handy after wearing to goggles for a while. With your phone in it, over time, things can get heavy and uncomfortable.
Image quality while using is great. On the iPhone6 I can see the individual pixels, much like having a window screen mesh layer over the image but this is a phone resolution issue, not the lenses. With future phone screens increasing in pixel density, this will become less of an issue down the road. In my case, after using the goggles for a few minutes your brain blocks those artifacts out anyways. One of my most exiting applications is that I can even use these as FPV “first-person view” goggles with my camera drone and camera equipped model airplanes with the help of some specific apps out there that split the screen for you. These apps even support head-tracking so wherever I look, the camera looks. Out in the field is where I appreciate the forgiveness of the foam.
Without your phone the goggles weigh 11 ounces which is not too bad. Depending upon your phone’s weight, the whole assembly may become heavy over time and Merge recommends periodic breaks. I have difficulty with my grip but found the foam and many places to grip the goggles make the experience of using them much easier than slick hard plastic. These also are recommended for phones 123mm to 158mm in overall length. The recommend size is for an optimal experience but other sized phones could work. I was able to fit my iPhone6 in an Otterbox Defender case but only with the outer rubber housing removed. I highly recommend using your phone outside of its case because it will get really hot if not properly ventilated. Additionally, what I thought was dust and dirt on the goggle lenses turned out to be the nicks and scratches on my phone case instead. This being said, I wish MergeVR would create a way to open the goggles up to be able to clean the lenses on the inside. Short of an air spray gun or shoving a rag into the augmented reality hole at the front, there is no easy way to access that area. If there were a way to remove the lenses, I am not aware of it.
I am not sure exactly what the black extrusions are for on the sides of the toggles however rumor has it is that Merge may have a future wireless remote that will somehow mount onto these tabs. They are very helpful to grab onto though while adjusting for the interpupillary distance, installing and removing your phone, as well as adjusting the goggles themselves.
My gripes and recommendations for future iterations of MergeVR headsets is to allow the front to flip down like a flap like much of their competitors. They could be fastened closed via a Velcro strap or button loop method. As designed now, you have to take the goggles off each and every time that you need access to you phone. This is exasperated if you are also using your corded headphones which need to be removed and reinstalled each time. Technically I could make a few cuts and do this myself, but it should be redesigned that way in my opinion. If Merge took my advice with creating a flap instead of a top mount slot then it would minimize this headache of phone access, allow for larger phones to be used (but at the expense of potentially cutting part of the viewing experience off), and would allow for easy access to clean the lenses.
- Robust, quality, durable proprietary foam construction. Great for travel, use by kids, and use outdoors.
- Easy to clean with soap and water so can be shared amongst friends.
- Plenty of ventilation holes to cool your phone and avoid lens fogging.
- Fits most Apple and Android phones with overall lengths between 123mm and 158mm.
- Virtually complete blackness with no light leakage.
- Two capacitive trigger buttons that allow for future-proofing apps and game playability as well as being left-handed friendly.
- Great customer service from the manufacturer.
- Hundreds of VR experiences provided on MergeVR’s VRstart website, their Facebook page, as well as email newsletters that send you new VR finds weekly.
CONS and WISHLIST ITEMS:
- MergeVR should make a front flap “clamshell” phone design instead of a top-load only and add an easy to use clip to keep the “clamshell” shut.
- Make a second augmented reality cutout on the other side of the phone so that those with offset camera phones can install their devices either direction. This would also help solve the problem of lack of access cleaning the lenses as well as continuing the thoughtful design of making it left-handed friendly.
- Price is on the high-end side considering there are no electronics built into the goggles, however you get what you pay for and these should last. Everything is top quality, including the straps.
In conclusion, I am very happy that I got these goggles and they work great. There are a few improvements that I would make but overall it is a solid, quality, well-engineered product.
[.] THANKS FOR LIKING THIS REVIEW! I reserve the right to update this review if I come across any new information or issues to add. Please let me know if you have any questions!