VR Headset Review: Homido Virtual Reality Headset

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First Impressions:

We added a menu option to the nose area.

We added a menu option to the nose area.

The Homido Virtual Reality Headset is a solidly build Google cardboard device that is durable and very adjustable. Outfitted with various knobs and dials for perfecting the user's viewing experience, the Homido also includes replacement lenses for user's with glasses or crazy huge eyes. One important thing is missing from the outer housing; that is a button for interacting with the screen of the device while it is positioned within the headset. In order to select an onscreen option the user is faced with two choices: remove the device from the very firm grasp of the Homido, touch the screen, and replace the device into the unit - or slip one's index finger up through the opening between their nose and the lenses to tap the screen (all while avoiding the Google Cardboard settings icon strategically located in that very same location).

Game of VR Thone

Game of VR Thone

Our first major user experience with the Homido was unboxing and prepping 250 units (and their iPhone counterparts) for a virtual reality experience. Going hands on with so many of the same headset, we figured out the best ways for attaching the included top strap, adjusting the focus, and centering of the devices within the headset; and in having so many of the exact same experience we could see the value in the design of the device tray, the elastic of the headband and the dial for adjusting the interpupillary distance. The internal width of the visor is a little small for my face and if the strap is adjusted too tightly, the foam border provides little protection from the pressure of the plastic edges - so finding that happy medium between holding the Homido in hand and having it crush your face became very important.

 

The Punch List

Field of View & Optics

With my iPhone 6s Plus 5.5" screen it is still very obvious that you are wearing a small rectangle in front of your face, the edges of the display are visible on either side and a tunnel effect is created around the image. This isn't overly distracting, but it is obvious.

Tunability

The Homido had adjusted knobs on the left and right of the headset that slide the device tray away and towards the head and a dial on top to adjust the interpupillary distance for each specific use case.

Weight

This headset is fairly lightweight, and coupled with the weight of most devices the average user should not have a problem wearing it for extended periods of time.

Input

The lack of a dedicated input button is really discouraging and the alternative of sliding your finger awkwardly into the headset, while not a deal breaker, makes interacting with Cardboard apps seem like a complete afterthought.

Materials

The housing is a solid plastic that isn't too heavy and there is the right amount of tension in the tray that holds the device. The main head strap is elastic, adjustable, and coated with a gel strip that helps keep the band in place. The top strap is barely worth mentioning as it is just a strip of velcro material that loops between the front and back of the strap and headset to steady the view.

Comfort

The Homido is fairly comfortable, the foam around the viewing area is nothing too much to speak of and if adjusted correctly the headset doesn't impart much discomfort on the user. The viewfinder area is a little tight, so if the headset is on the tighter side that foam I mentioned before is not going to protect you from the very well defined edges of the headset.

Mobility

The Homido isn't as big as some of the other VR headset options on the market so slipping it into a small bag is easy. There are other options that are smaller and collapsable but none that I have interacted with that feel as solid as this headset.

Device Support

It is compatible with both android and iOS devices ranging in size from as small as a 4" iPhone up to a 5.7" android phablet.

AR support 

The Camera is not restricted at all, so augment every reality you may encounter.

Value

The headset is not without it's faults, the user interaction with apps is severely limited by the nose itching oversight of the missing input button. That being said, this headset is one of my favorite in terms of adjustability and durability. It feels like maybe a $40-$50 product in my hands, so the $76 price tag that they are selling it for seems a little steep for a Cardboard headset that lacks a dedicated input button. Perhaps a second iteration will solve this issue and I will feel a little better about the barely sub $100 price point. 

 

In Summary...

The Homido is a nice VR headset with a lot of welcome features in terms of adjustability, and feels like a quality product. There is a lot to like and I want to love it, however, the Homido remains unsophisticated - while simple to use, many aspects are underwhelming and there is a thoughtfulness lacking in the design. User experience needs to be top of mind in a device like this and it feels like it was an afterthought if at all. I hope to see a second version of the Homido with an external input mechanism of some sort. 

 

SCORE: 7.5/10