The rise of the Oculus Rift has made virtual reality headsets a hot commodity at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, but that’s not always a good thing.
Take, for example, a new startup called “3DHead,” a self-proclaimed “Oculus Killer.” It’s a hilariously large and cumbersome helmet.
Now it’s important to note that the 3DHead helmet wasn’t functional when I tried it. There’s always the chance that 3DHead will wow me when it launches, but everything I saw pointed toward the exact opposite.
Besides the sheer size of the headset, which is comparable to the one worn by the villain Dark Helmet in “Spaceballs,” the 3DHead is basically a 3D display held 10 inches from your face using the an absurd amount of plastic.
3DHead’s chief operating officer James Jacobs showed me a working 3D tablet, which is the same display used in the headset, but he mentioned the displays were currently “held up at customs,” as officials aren’t sure whether to call the shipments tablets or displays.
That said, the Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and Sony’s Project Morpheus are so far ahead of the pack because they feature an incredibly large field of view that expands across your vision so that you feel like you’re really there. Because all three of these VR headsets use special lenses to immerse you in the 3D environment, it’s a far different experience than just watching a 3D movie or playing a 3D game.
In contrast, the 3DHead is basically a small 3D cinema for your face, with a tiny field of view.
The startup is touting its ability to play 2D and 3D games from Microsoft and other existing platforms, but that’s nothing new; there are already plenty of smaller 3D headsets that do this.
In fact, 3DHead is just a larger version of the 3D displays that you can already get, with the addition of head tracking, which will only work in games and couldn’t even be tested to see how well it was implemented.
While the 3DHead headset leaves much to be desired and is far from an “Oculus killer,” the company is working on a interesting streaming service that will livestream 3D content to your 3D tablet or to the 3DHead.
It also converts 2D to 3D in realtime, which you can view without using glasses, and it was honestly far more impressive than the headset.
There’s no doubt that virtual reality is on the rise, but startups like 3DHead just go to prove that consumers are going to need to be careful not to buy into every so-called “Oculus killer” they hear about.
Before buying any virtual reality headset, you really need to try it on in person to see if the promises are virtual or actual reality.