Impressions: Google Cardboard

vrI’ve had a Google Cardboard sitting in my house for a while. When cleaning up the living room tonight I saw it, and I thought…why not try it.

Loaded up the test app that came with it, and set up my phone in the cardboard case. The next thing I knew I was sitting on a snowy mountain with a cute white fox standing in front of me. It was beautiful.

Another simulation let me fly with seagulls… Glad I was sitting for that one. Then I was sitting in a boat, fishing, and a whale came up for air just beside me.

I 2016-10-28-07-17-27let my daughter try it. She kept saying “wow! What! Omg!” Over and over again. It was kind of funny. My boyfriend gave it a shot too and finally handed it back and told me he better stop or he’d be watching it all day.

I downloaded a couple other apps. A wizard school that had you “walking” from building to building, knocking down frozen towers with snow balls, and killing “germs” with well aimed magical bolts. And the dragon…mustn’t forget about the dragon.

2016-10-28-07-42-51Another one let me look around a pleasant aquarium while bubbles billowed around me, and I could poke the fish and make them swim away.

My over all impression? This was far more impressive than I thought it would be. For a $15 piece of cardboard with lenses it worked pretty well. I was able to adjust my phone in the case, and it relatively focused pretty easily. But it wasn’t perfect, of course. Not everyone has their eyes spaced exactly the same, and the adjustment of the phone inside the viewer is a bit finicky. Even so, once you set it up it’s easy to use. Has just one button. And gives you a lovely scene to view.

It did not strain my eyes as much as I thought it might. I’m light sensitive, and I often have problems with harsh lights in my eyes, but this wasn’t difficult at all. It didn’t make me nauseous, and I didn’t become disorientated like I had with Oculus. Maybe because it doesn’t cut you off from the surrounding environment like an Oculus can?

It is processor heavy. I wasn’t in the VR system for long, about 15 minutes or so, and when I pulled my phone out it was running hot. I play a lot of games on my phone, like all of the games I’ve reviewed on this blog. Only a few have managed to heat up my phone. But the VR images are taking a lot more power to run than the other games, and a lot more battery too.

I would definitely recommend the Google Cardboard as a low cost test. But be careful which games you download. Many of them have ads that can get loud, and hurt your eyes with them so close to your face. It would be nice if the ads were VR based if they were going to have ads in the first place.

I’m going to have to try new games, and experiences to see how well this simple VR works. I’ll add reviews as I play through some of them. I almost wish I could buy all of the different Cardboard’s (there are 13 of them) so I could see which ones were better, and more comfortable. But for now I’m going to enjoy my cardboard.

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