Whilst Google Cardboard was a genius idea as it made virtual reality accessible to literally anybody with a smartphone – which is most of the UK’s population – it failed to hit the mark in a couple of areas. In my opinion the design just wasn’t robust or compact enough for it to be something that you could carry around and show to your friends or colleagues, meaning that after you had bought it and played with it once or twice, it was likely to get shelved.
Yes, I do understand that the materials and design of Google Cardboard were all a part of the plan to get the price point as low as possible and to make it as accessible as possible. At the cost of just £3.99, you probably spend more on coffee every morning during your commute. However, I can’t help but wonder if it has cheapened the value of a VR experience. Do you really want to tell your friends about this breakthrough in technology as you shove a piece of cardboard in their face? We can all lie to ourselves and say that aesthetics aren’t the most important thing in the world, but lets face facts, you need a sleek and stylish design if you want commercial success and longevity in the tech world. Furthermore, we haven’t even considered the fact that this is a piece of mobile technology, thats designed to work with your smartphone. Who in their right mind is carrying around a thick and bulky bit of cardboard in order to watch 360 videos? No-one, that’s who. The only people I see gazing into the bottom of cardboard boxes on my commute round one of the worlds busiest cities are the homeless.
Luckily, the geniuses at Dodocase have recognised the problem with Google Cardboard and come up with something a little sleeker and a lot more portable. I present to you, the Smart VR.
As you can see, your foldable piece of cardboard has been replaced with a thin rectangle made from black nylon. It’s got hinged wings, like any pair of glasses, but these actually hold you’re phone instead of resting on your ears. The Smart VR does a great job of being small and stylish whilst working just as well as or if not better than the Google Cardboard.
They’re currently on sale from the Dodocase’s Indiegogo campaign page for around the £20 mark and should be shipping by June. Although, if you own or know someone with a 3D printer then you can get the design for much cheaper and have it in your hands a lot quicker. Whilst the Smart VR is clearly more pricey than a cardboard headset, its also evident that you’d get a lot more use out of it, which makes it better value for money in my opinion.
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