We review the Merge VR
Are you looking to dip your little toe into the VR/AR market but don’t want to go all in on a Vive or Oculus straight off the bat? Well maybe the Merge VR is what you are looking for.
VR is hot AF at the moment, I think it is pretty clear to say but there are a few barriers to entry you have 2 options first off the bat, do you want to go for a high end option with built in display like a Vive or Rift or do you want to give it a taste first and use one of the few phones based systems available?
The issue you have with the high end options is cost after you shell out the $1,000 plus just for the headset then you have to have a pretty beefy computer rig to actually be able to run it. So what about the other end of the scale well you have the Gear VR (which is made by Oculus) which is great but only if you happen to use a small selection of Samsung phones (sorry Apple fans) well how about Google cardboard I hear you say well yes that is an option but it doesn’t give you much in the way of options when it comes to moveable lenses or a head strap even (for the base models) an now Google has moved onto bigger and better things with the Daydream but like the Gear VR that only works with a very select group of phones. So where does the Merge VR sit in this scenario?
Well the Merge VR is like a version of the Gear VR but for the mases and it isn’t biased when it comes to what side of the iOS vs Android fence you happen to be sitting on. Now to be honest when I first opened the box and looked at the Merge VR a certain children’s TV show Dinosaur did come to mind but that’s where the joking stops. This is one fun little purple box.
Unlike the Gear VR and Google Cardboard’s of the world Merge decided to go with a soft foam for the body that is both soft and squishy at the same time (it is really cool) so you don’t have to worry about running into walls with this one. The other major plus about the foam is it is antimicrobial so you can pass this bad boy around to every man and his dog and not have to worry about any nasties. In terms of the rest of the design there are a pair of inputs on top of the headset that also double as adjusters for the lenses and some vents to prevent fogging and to be able to connect things like your headphones to the phones ports on either end. There is also a large removable cut-out section on the front which is used for AR allowing your phones camera to peek its head through the front of the device, a really cool little addition.
When it comes to apps for the Merge it has its own online collection called VRStart which has a heap of awesome apps to sink your teeth into, but it will also work just fine with any VR or AR app you find on iTunes or the PlayStore.
This really is a great headset, my kids love using it, they think it is the best thing ever just seeing the sheer amazement on their faces when they are walking through a coral reef looking and fish and sharks swim past them or riding on a roller-coaster it is really something special.
So should you buy one? Well if you own one of the few phones that works with the Gear VR I would go with that, there are a few additional bells and whistles that only comes from building a headset for specific devices. But if you own anything else then the Merge 360 VR is what you need to get without a shadow of a doubt.