Earlier this year, Julie and I had the chance to review the Samsung Gear VR headset while looking at the Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone. Being my first real go at the VR experience, I had a good time with the Oculus-backed headset. That said, the Gear VR only works with recent Galaxy smartphones thus greatly limiting those who can use it. Fortunately, the Virtoba X5 virtual reality headset is engineered to work with a majority of the smartphones currently on the market…Android and iOS alike.
The Virtoba X5 headset (and others like it) are engineered to take Google cardboard VR to the next level. The X5 integrates adjustable lenses and built in over-the-ear sound to create an immersive VR experience. The headset is meant to work with smartphones 4 to 6 inches in size and most Google Cardboard apps. The headsets are designed with sheet molding technology making the headset lighter while remaining solidly built.
- Field of view: 120°
- IPD: 58 – 72mm
- Focus: Adjustment wheel 5mm travel
- Compatibility: 4″ to 6″ smartphones
- Dimensions: 6.69 x 4.13 x 4.92 in / 17 x 10.5 x 12.5 cm
- Weight: 410 grams
The Virtoba X5 headset has 42mm diameter lenses with a 5mm focal distance and 120 degrees of viewing angle. They are made from PMMA materials (come to find out PMMA is a fancy name for plexiglass) that “create clear and sharp viewing”. The lenses are adjustable in both diopter distance and the inter-pupil distance (IPD). The diopter adjustment goes from 0° to 800° myopia and 0° to 400° hyperopia so in most cases there is no need to wear glasses when using the X5. The Gadgeteer Kid and I found we could both tweak the adjustments to achieve a very clear and crisp viewing experience.
The built-in headphones give the X5 a leg up on the Samsung Gear VR, making them a bit more like the Oculus Rift. While not spectacular, the sound quality is fine enough. Being a $40 headset, that is not unexpected.
Instead of using Bluetooth, a headphone jack physically connects your smartphone to the headset’s audio. When not in use/connected, the 3.5mm plug and cable are stored to reduce the chance of being damaged.
As mentioned above, the X5 is designed to accommodate 4 to 6-inch smartphones. The front door opens 35° making it easy to place the smartphone on the auto-adjusting rail that perfectly centers it for optimum use. When the front is closed, your smartphone is lightly sandwiched between four rubber nubs on the face of the headset and a plastic plate built into door assembly.
On the bottom left side of the headset there is a small volume wheel enabling you to adjust volume without having to remove the smartphone from the headset. In addition to volume control, there is also a mechanical touch screen button allowing you to select things on the screen without the need of a Bluetooth controller. Though if you do not have a Bluetooth controller, I do recommend spending the extra $10 on the Virtoba V1.
The top of the X5 has the main focusing adjustment wheel and front plate release button.
The Virtoba X5 has a 3-way adjustable head-strap engineered to distribute the weight of the headset. The face padding is made of regular foam and is comfortable on your face. The overall fit and weight while wearing the X5 was just fine.
The face padding and front cover has ventilation holes giving the headset good ventilation, during testing neither of us had any fogging issues. Along with good ventilation, the Virtoba X5’s design also does a fine job of blocking out the ambient light.
The X5’s VR is good but there is definitely a difference in game/app quality compared to the Oculus-backed Samsung Gear VR.
The Virtoba X5 headset is an inexpensive way to turn your smartphone into a decent virtual reality experience. While not as cheap as an actual cardboard VR headset, the X5 does bring adjustable lenses, built-in sound, and 3-way adjustable head strap for under $40. And unlike the Gear VR, the X5 is not bound to any specific manufacturer or limited set of devices and can accommodate any 4 to 6-inch smartphone.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Geekbuying.com. Please visit their site for more info and to order.