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VR technologies were invented for computers. Everything that a smartphone is capable of will only disappoint you. I’ve tried a bunch of smartphones to consume VR content, and a bunch of devices to position them comfortably.

All of them spoil the impression of virtual reality. This is not a cheap substitute for fashionable Oculus Rift or the very cool PIMAX, but just just another trick to get money out of you.

A smartphone in VR glasses / helmets plays the role of a screen, an audio device, a means of processing, searching and playing content. That is – both the calculator and the “monitor”. Bad tandem.

Picture quality is zero

For a high-quality picture, you need a very cool screen with a pixel density per inch of at least 400. Bigger is better. Let’s say a 5.5-inch Full HD panel looks really grainy. For such dimensions, at least Quad HD. So your iPhone really doesn’t roll – especially if you have something to compare it to.

At the same time, a diagonal of 5.5 inches is the minimum required. Remember side vision? Without a large diagonal, the picture is very small. So ideal for VR would be a curved screen by type LG Flex. There are no analogues, and the radius of curvature of the screen is needed more.

Of course, an advanced reader will object: “There are lenses in the headsets, they will fix it.” But they are unrealistically difficult to adjust to your own vision, and they do not turn a narrow screen into a wide one. And they are not at all able to fight with grain.

Play or fry?


High screen resolution = powerful processor + heat. All smartphones with a powerful processor decently heat up. Therefore, some Chinese crafts for smartphones are equipped with wild fans that cool the battery.

And then another problem is brewing – what to feed this voracious creature? In games, everything is discharged instantly. So you need a cable for charging.

What kind of game is it to play at the outlet with a hot piece of metal near the eyes?

You have to pay for pleasure. For VR for smartphone – twice

You have to pay for a good processor, normal firmware without brakes and a high-resolution screen. It is usually quite a lot to pay; in Russian retail, smartphones with the necessary characteristics usually cost from 25 thousand. If this is not last year’s flagship, or another Chinese craft.

Cheap smartphones lack for VR either the processor part or the high-quality screen. However, expensive ones usually also lack pixels per inch – the fashion for QuadHD and 4K screens are gone forever. Already a reason to think about the future of this technology.

At the same time, VR content for smartphones does not shine with a well-developed picture or serious physics. It turns out that the device will have to be bought for a couple of arcades and virtual panoramas? What nonsense!

It will turn out like with 3D in the cinema – first, TVs disappeared from the sale, and then the content disappeared. There are also few cameras for shooting relevant videos with really suitable parameters and a picture.

Any VR helmet for a smartphone is a piece of cardboard

Actually, it’s not the worst. The craziest thing is that VR glasses for smartphones are not progressing at all. They all repeat to some extent. Google Cardboard.

Yes, Baofeng (aka DNS or another fancy name given by local dealers) makes excellent plastic glasses with a built-in headset. But they do not have their own sensors. Actually, there is nothing, except maybe a headset and a joystick.

Even if such a headset costs 10 thousand rubles, you won’t find anything different from Cardboard in it. The maximum is more thoughtful pads between the face and the helmet, and at least some ventilation holes.

Most developers use some sort of elastic band from their underpants to secure the helmet to the buyer.

Ease of use – you can’t imagine worse

It is impossible to call comfortable wearing a half-kilogram structure on the nose, with a head rewound with straps. Under them, the face always sweats, the nose is the center of the load, half of these structures cannot be used with glasses … Not enough?

I had about 15 helmets of “different” designs and manufacturers. Among them are Xiaomi and Samsung. All are absolutely the same, uncomfortable, bulky. Yes – VR helmets for computers are bigger and heavier. But at least they give a normal picture, immersion and really cool software.

The best thing that mobile engineers could come up with is NFC tags, which launch certain applications when the proximity sensor is triggered. Let’s say a game store.

If this is not the case, you have to manually or with a Bluetooth joystick launch the corresponding application. Only the voice assistant saves – if it works of course.

What is dead cannot die

Aren’t you scared? Then it is worth recalling that there are no serious VR games or applications for smartphones. And no one is going to develop them. There is a more promising, convenient and friendly AR.

Augmented reality does not require a helmet or headset. The cost of image processing is less. And there are more real use cases. I think many of our readers have already explored the new AR apps for iOS. Some of them are really helpful. The boom in Pokemon Go shouldn’t be attributed to crazy hipsters either.

AR technologies for smartphones do not require anything other than the smartphone itself, and do not take away autonomy from users. For everything else, there are desktop computers on which you can install resource-intensive software or a cool flight simulator.

On them War Thunder or “IL-2: Sturmovik” with PIMAX gives an indescribable feeling of a real flight. New Silent Hill fascinates no less (although give him HTC Vive). Is it possible to run this on a smartphone? No. And all the shortcomings described above will make it possible to do this in 5 years, no less. Then why bother?

Don’t get fooled by stillborn technology. Use AR for mobile phones, VR for PC.





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