The GO4D Virtual Reality headset is definitely an original design for a VR headset. Originality in this instance is a little outside the realm of acceptability for me.
First, this headset is huge, it’s long and rigid - it doesn’t collapse onto itself or fold, the headband can be removed from the actual headset only by unscrewing the two bolts on the side. One would think that loosening the side-screws would allow the headset to flip up like a welder’s helmet, however it does not and this is a missed opportunity for something to set this headset apart from the others.
Looks aside, the headset is a solid Google Cardboard headset. The user is able to adjust the interpupillary distance easily and the screen is accessed fairly effortlessly through one of two finger holes on the bottom of the unit.
The tray that holds the device is fine for setting a phone like the iPhone 6/6s inside, but there isn't much to keep the device secured in a fixed position. The two openings on the back of the tray aren't positioned in a way that allows for any camera pass through, so aside from a cosmetic detail I'm not sure of their purpose. Perhaps the tray was designed with a specific phone in mind, with its holes for ports on the 'bottom' and completely open 'top' but I do not know what phone that may be. I placed a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 into the tray and it fit very snugly, but the volume and lock button were squeezed the entire time rendering the phone useless in the headset. I ended up using my 6s Plus which fit on the shorter end but which was too long for the tray, which meant that I had to adjust the placement of my screen to center it in my field of view.
The Punch List
Field of View & Optics
The quality of the lenses is good and the field of view is pretty standard as these things go. You can see the black edge of the tunnel on the outer sides but as always we suspend disbelief and it's pretty easy to get immersed in the experience.
The GO4D is great in terms of tunability. The lenses can be pushed inward or pulled out to three different distances and the interpupillary distance can be adjusted from 50 to 70mm and anywhere in between.
This headset is very light, almost too light, and can be worn for as long as an experience deems necessary without any strain on the head or neck.
There are no external input buttons making interaction with any software, especially anything made for Google Cardboard, very difficult. Any interaction with the device involves removing the tray from the slot to access the device screen.
The GO4D outer shell and device tray feel fairly cheap but the 'leather' face cushion is soft and durable and the hard plastic lens holders are solid and feel like a better quality plastic than the rest of the unit.
The headband has an elastic front which is fairly comfortable compared to the hard plastic back - as this part is held against my hair, I didn't notice much discomfort there.
The GO4D is far from the most portable VR headset I have encountered, however, it can be detached from it's headband and travel much more easily that it would in it's assembled form.
There is no master list for devices that are compatible with this headset that I have found, and through trial and error with the common devices I have at my disposal it seems that the phone needs to be one that had a screen that is greater than 4.7" but no bigger than 5.5". The iPhone 6/6s plus worked fine for me with some horizontal adjustment.
Depending on the device that you are using you may be able to access your camera for use in AR apps, but for the most part the GO4D was not designed with global AR support in mind.
A hundred bucks for this headset is a bit much for me. It isn't fully compatible with many of the most common devices and it just doesn't feel like a quality unit to me. The plastic is thin and sharp around the device tray and that tray itself is so thin I was afraid it would break under the pressure of a Samsung Note 3.
The GO4D headset provides a fairly decent experience if you can find a compatible device. There are a couple of things I would recommend in a second iteration: firstly, they should create a device tray with adjustable brackets to keep the device centered in the field of view and to hold it in place. Secondly, there were so many times I wanted to be able to just flip the headset up like a visor to go about tasks in reality and be able to slip seamlessly back to virtual reality by just flipping the headset back onto my face. If the Go4D were $50 or even $60 I would recommend it to someone looking for a 'better than cardboard' headset but at this $99 price point, for all of issues I had it's just not worth the hassle.