Amazon Review by Jay Tee
1186 people found the following review helpful
The future is here now ALMOST
Ive been waiting for these googles my whole life, but sadly Im afraid I might have to wait a little longer.
NOTE: Ive paid for these goggles. They were not a freebie in return for a review (unfortunately). Although if someone wants to send me some free ones they are more than welcome
First some background. Im a military pilot. I have 20/20 vision and have never required any vision correction. My vision gets tested annually. I also dont suffer from motion sickness. I only mention this now, not to brag, but it will become pertinent later when I bring up a couple of things Ive learnt about myself from operating with Night Vision Goggles (NVGs). Im also not an optometrist/ophthalmologist so hopefully my opinions are close to correct.
Im using my goggles with a Galaxy S7 Edge (no screen protector as instructed by the goggles instructions).
First the good stuff
- The Oculus app, and store (that come included and are indeed required) is great. The Oculus app is its own ecosystem of apps and all other apps are launched from WITHIN the Oculus app. It looks professional and sets the tone for a great VR experience. Its your very first look into the VR world, and as soon as you put the goggles on you know you are in for something special. Oculus have done a great job and Samsung has done well to pair with them.
- A good number of the apps you can access for free, through the Oculus store, are pretty impressive even just simply accessing their main menu screens. They really leverage the VR experience.
(1) The download and installation of the REQUIRED Oculus app is fully automatic once you connect your phone. The setup is really easy so dont stress if you are concerned about a big setup process. The Oculus app makes it all very easy.
(2) If you are like me and want to try and download the Oculus app and additional content prior to the arrival of your goggles dont worry about it. There appears to be no way of doing it without the goggles, so like me you will be just wasting your time looking. I found there is not too much about the how to access the Samsung VR/Oculus apps written anywhere I did search beforehand and was a little confused as to what was available and how to download them from Google Play Store. Basically you dont! (NOTE: you will find Google Cardboard VR apps in the Google Play Store, and also find online workaround tips on how to use Google Cardboard apps with the Samsung VR goggles. This is definitely not required, and these apps are run EXTERNALLY to the Oculus app and its ecosystem.)
(3) Definitely try the Netflix app, Moon VR player, Samsung Milk VR, Titans of Space. They are all pretty impressive. A number of the VR players on there will also allow you to play your own content from your SD Card.
Next Get a controller maybe
- Although the Samsung VR goggles come with a touchpad controller on the side, which can do MOST stuff, life can be a little easier with a separate Bluetooth controller (sometimes). It also gives you access to some of the content that requires a controller.
- Dont get confused when you read online about people using magnets to control VR apps. This is a Google Cardboard thing, and once again does not apply to anything from the Oculus store.
- I happened to have the MOGA Pocket Bluetooth game controller already, just by chance. It works with the Samsung goggles if you set it up properly. It took me a little while to track down the info on this.
- The MOGA Pocket is an older controller (but feels good and works well enough) thats on Amazon for only $6 right now so why not? (Thats way less than what I paid for it 6 months ago.)
MY TIPS FOR THE MOGA POCKET CONTROLLER:
(1) Forget about the MOGA Pivot App. Unless you want it for the games on their website which (a) arent good (b) arent free © reportedly no longer work or download properly. Importantly THE MOGA PIVOT APP DOES NOT WORK WITH THE OCULUS APP. I wasted hours trying to get this to work before conceding defeat and giving up. The redemption code included in the box for a free game also doesnt work. Overall very poorly done.
(2) Download the MOGA UNIVERSAL DRIVER from the playstore. Manually pair the controller via Bluetooth to your phone (I think my controller showed as BD&A or something like that), then open the MOGA Universal Driver app, and continue the setup, and add it to your keyboards. NOTE: You need to open the app, pair the controller activate the keyboard, and enable the driver, prior to inserting your phone into the goggles each time. (There is probably a more automated way but I havent worried at this stage).
(3) There is more info in the Amazon reviews for the MOGA controllers if Ive not been clear here. (This was not meant to be a MOGA Controller review :)’ )
(UPDATE: please note that someone in the comments has mentioned that they have had trouble trying to get this controller to work with the headset. The best I can offer is that the MOGA controller worked fine for me, although I no longer have the headset to test it out anymore (still working fine for Non-GEAR VR apps right now though)… if this concerns you there are a number of other controllers out there give a go. I do believe it was worthwhile having one.)
Now the negatives and theres a pretty big one
Within about 5-10mins of putting these goggles on I start to feel a painful eye strain. It is NOT excruciating, however it is quiet noticeable and uncomfortable and more importantly I can still feel it some many hours after taking them off. This is not motion sickness, but eyestrain. It feels like pulling a muscle in your eye sockets. Ive spent ages trying to work it out and I think it all comes down to the basicness and cheapness of Samsungs build/design.
Im not an optometrist/ophthalmologist but for what its worth here are my thoughts.
Inter Pupillary Distance (IPD) IPD is the distance between the pupils (your eyes) and hence how far the lenses are apart. Most of us have used binoculars before. You will recall there are normally 3 basic adjustments to be made:- IPD (when you adjust the width of your binocs), Diopter, and Focus. The IPD in the Samsung goggles is fixed, yet we dont all have one-size-fits-all heads. I’ve read previously that the Samsung VR goggles are designed for 55-71mm IPD (I’m not sure what mine are). The spacing between the two images on your phone screen is also fixed. This affects the convergence of your eyes. Think of the case where the lens IPD are too far apart. Each eye will be trying to look in opposite directions to see through each lens at the same time, whilst simultaneously trying to converge the 2 images into one in an attempt to create a stereoscopic image. This is not normal for your eyes. In real life they normally naturally converge onto one subject in a manner comfortable to them not look outwards (as in the too wide case) at 2 separate images. The opposite is true for too close you must go slightly cross-eyed. Ideally, you should be able to adjust the lenses in the goggles, to your eyes IPD and natural convergence range.
Also… if you aren’t looking through the centre of the lens, but rather the edge, they go out of focus. The spacing of the lenses in the is not the same as my IPD hence I am not looking through the centre of the lens most of the time.
Diopter Diopter is designed to let you compensate for differences between your own two eyes. Basically, some peoples eyes dont focus equally so what you do is close one eye, then focus for the open eye normally. Then change eyes and adjust the diopter for the now open eye. Both eyes should now be in focus. Think of it as individual focus for each eye. (On your binoculars it’s the eyepiece with the +/- numbers around it.) The Samsung VR goggles do not have the ability to adjust diopter or focus for each eye individually. Just one central focus adjustment.
Now, as some background, prior to each flight on NVGs we place them into a calibrated test unit and adjust the diopter and IPD (amongst other things) for myself and my special head. Most of us are all slightly different. The outcome however is that we can wear these goggles comfortably for many hours with no adverse eyestrain. In my case my diopter is generally 0 meaning my eyes focus about the same. The same goes for the diopter setting on my Canon DSLR. Now I dont know if I have a bad set of VR goggles (but I do tend to trust the expensive and calibrated aviation NVG’s), but with the Samsung VR goggles I find that if I close one eye and focus the goggles, when I switch eyes the other is always out of focus. Sadly as there is no way to adjust diopter (or focus each eye separately) this cannot be rectified and may be another source of this discomfort as one eye is always struggling to focus an unfocusable image. I certainly personally have never experienced eye discomfort like this wearing goggles.
So why such a low rating from me? Because regardless of how awesome the technology behind it is, and how good the Oculus store and associated apps are, it is all a deal breaker if the goggles cause eye pain.
AND, because there are a number of small no name chinese manufacturers out their turning out plastic Google Cardboard goggles that are of comparable build quality (the Samsung goggles only have plastic lens also), that also offer IPD adjustment and individual eye focus, for less than $30. I find it astonishing that Samsung has not incorporated these features and can only assume that they might have been able to rectify my discomfort. Considering this is Samsungs second generation of these goggles, and considering the resources behind Samsung, and considering SAMSUNG CHARGE 3xTIMES MORE! for their goggles, I would expect that they would have these basic features also included, just as the cheaper manufacturers have (they could also easily include a calibration section in the Oculus app allowing you to adjust the goggles and set the apps IPD, as well as calibrate Diopter).
So, whilst it guts me to say this, and I really really want to keep them but every time I use them I cant help but feeling Im doing irreparable damage to my eyes So Im going to have to send them back. Hopefully Samsung will do a better job with their 3rd generation goggles - we are almost there.
In the meantime I might try some of the 3rd party goggles and see how they feel and will likely report back here with an update.
Sorry for the long winded review. Hopefully you found some of it useful.