At a glance
- Portable, foldable, and affordable VR glasses
- 34mm Bi-convex lenses and adjustable arm lengths
- Comes with black wraparound cloth strap for instant immersion
- Suitable for phones between 4” to 5.5”
If you mention VR, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the bulky box you need to strap to your face in order to use it. While entertaining for a short period of time, in most cases the weight of this mound of plastic and glass begins to take its toll on your head’s comfort level.
Stimuli VR, an ambitious New York-based startup, knows about this problem all too well – and became determined to fill the surprisingly gaping void of truly portable VR in the VR headset market in early 2015. After two years of rigorous research and prototyping, they released the 2VR headset as part of an Indiegogo campaign and via their online store in late 2016.
We managed to get our hands on a pair of these unique VR glasses with one question in mind – will these pave the way for more compact and accessible virtual reality in the future, or will they get lost in the sea of VR headsets that have been flooding the market in recent years?
The design is what is touted as the selling point of the headset, which at first glance looks like a pretty quirky pair of reading glasses. Also akin to reading glasses is their foldable aspect – both the arms and the front phone holders can be folded down to a size that could probably fit into most eyeglass cases.
The arm tips curl down considerably, which are presumably designed to help hold and balance the weight of the phone, and the phone itself is clamped into place by rubber pincers. A rubber nose piece helps soften the weight, and the arms can be adjusted by pulling them into each of the adjustment sockets. Adjusting the arms also changes the focal distance from the 34mm bi-convex lenses, so you can play around to find what’s comfortable and best suited to your eyesight.
The way that the glasses are designed hampers the immersive aspect of VR when using them as they are, but the Stimuli team are two steps ahead and have also included the ‘2VR Fabric’ – a light-weight black cloth that can be wrapped around the glasses and tied to your head using the in-built elastic in order to block out lights and the area around you.
The glasses are super easy and intuitive to setup right out of the box – simply unfold the phone holder and place your phone in between the pincers, then adjust the arms so that they fit over your ears comfortably. If you’re after instant immersion, adding the fabric mask is as simple as placing the glasses face down into it and wrapping the elastic around your head!
Depending on the size of your device, you might start to notice that even though the rubber nose piece is designed to soften the blow, there is still a considerable amount of weight pressing down on your nose. This can be alleviated by holding some of the weight with one or two hands (which may be needed to touch the screen in certain apps and games anyway), but does take away a little from a comfortable true “hands-free” experience.
Although the pincers are out in the open without any protection on the sides to shield the device, we found that thanks to their rubber grip and overall sturdiness our phone (an Asus Zenfone) didn’t budge – even with semi-vigorous head movements. This is a big plus compared to other portable viewers like the original Google Cardboard, which have a tendency to slide out of their casing when put at certain angles!
The lenses themselves are overall of good quality and designed to cater to the general masses, but there is no option for adjusting the interpupillary distance (IPD, or distance between your two pupils), so some people may have difficulty focusing clearly. Depending on the size of your phone, the field of view can increase or decrease, but again when compared to viewers within a similar price range, it’s acceptable for most casual users of VR.
- Extremely light-weight and portable, at only 55 grams
- Adjustable arms make it more comfortable for different kinds of people
- Sturdy grips alleviate any possible worries of phone slippage
- The black immersion cloth works great and doubles as a protective casing
- The weight of the device on the nose is noticeable and can become uncomfortable after prolonged periods of use
- The black immersion cloth doesn’t seem available to purchase separately in case you lose or damage it
- No adjustable IPD could prove troublesome for some users
Overall, the 2VR is impressive in how it manages to condense the power of a full-sized mobile VR headset into a small and portable viewer that you can literally take with you anywhere. It’s refreshing to see the preconception of bulky VR headsets challenged, and we’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Stimuli to see the improvements they bring to the 2VR in the near future.
If you’re into color, there are four to choose from – red, blue, black or clear – which can be purchased directly from the Stimuli VR website or via Amazon. You can also stay up-to-date with any updates and future editions of the 2VR by following them on their Instagram, Facebook or Twitter accounts.