The Splaks is a Google Cardboard 2.0 VR viewer. Without the need to assemble the HMD, and with a sleek black design the Splaks Google Cardboard is extremely easy to set up and looks much cooler than the original Google Cardboard. While it provides a great introductory VR experience, it is limited in its function and isn’t very comfortable to wear.
The Splaks costs a mere $15 – the same price of the original Google Cardboard. It comes in a small black box roughly 4″ X 3″ X 2″ in size. The backside of the outer box contains 3 numbered steps on how to set up the VR viewer. The steps are extremely easy to follow and it only takes a few seconds to set up.
Before you can experience VR the first thing you need to do is get the Google Cardboard app. The app supports all phones that have a magnetometer, which includes most modern smartphones.
After downloading the app the first thing that it asks you is to pair your phone with the Google Cardboard headset. Simply follow the instructions and scan the QR code on the HMD to complete the pairing process.
Next, simply place your phone into the Splaks headset and start enjoying VR! You can also attach the provided strap to secure the HMD to your head so you don’t have to physically hold it.
The first thing the app asks you to do is to look at the fox, this is to ensure that you are able to navigate the VR world and that the lenses are functioning properly. Next, the app shows a dialog bog and prompts you to look at it and press the button. There is indeed a button on the top right of the headset.
The way it works is by pressing on the button it creates pressure on the top middle of the phone, simulating a finger tap. This is a very clever design as it allows the user to further interact with the VR experience without the need for any electronics.
The next gesture that the app teaches you is to rotate the phone in order to go back. This is another way of interacting with the VR experience. Simply turn your head sideways to the right and the app will interpret that as “go back.” Those are all the basics gestures that the app uses so it is very simple to use.
One thing I did notice about the headset is that it is very uncomfortable compared to the HTC Vive or the Occulus Rift. While the headset has a special padding for the nose area, it still feels very uncomfortable in that area. If only the product had more padding in that area it would have really improved the experience.
Furthermore, other than the fact that you can look around Google Cardboard doesn’t offer a true immersive VR experience. Since the headset relies 100% on your phone the magnetometer can only track where you are viewing and has no way of tracking your position – which is the major difference between the cardboard and higher end VR headsets.
That is also the reason why a Google Cardboard costs $15, and an HTC Vive costs upward of $700. The Google Cardboard makes a great gift for someone unfamiliar with VR as it provides a great starting point for newbies. However, if you already own a higher end VR headset there is really no reason for you to get this product.
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