The Immerse Virtual Reality Headset is a product you’ll find at The Sharper Image for $39.99, and it appears there are several re-branded or similar versions of it on Amazon as well. It allows you to view stereoscopically separated 3D content while blocking out light.
It fits most smartphones with 3.2-5.7″ screens, has adjustable eyepieces and lenses, and is basically a fancier version of Google Cardboard when you get right down to it. You can slap in a wired headset and run the audio out the side.
The adjustable straps allow you to keep it on your head securely.
Some of the product claims
I had a little problem with the claims of this product, figured I’d address them here. One of these claims is “The 3-D content roars to life with an ultrawide field of vision, plus 360° head tracking that follows your every movement.” I’d say no on both points.
The Immerse VR Headset is plastic and glass. The way the thing is stated tends to indicate that the headset will somehow report your movement to a smartphone, which it will not. They’re using a fairly loose claim for tracking, which means to follow. If it’s on your head it won’t impede your head turning all the way around. Your neck breaking might, but this won’t.
The field of vision is fairly limited. This isn’t a failing of this product so much as you’re dealing with half the resolution of your phone. It’s sort of like an old 4×3 TV. there’s no ultra-widing this.
“Wireless 3-D headset turns your smartphone into a 3-D movie screen” – yes, it’s wireless, like a solo cup or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is wireless. We use the term “wireless” these days to indicate something has Bluetooth or WiFi or can transmit data without wires, not that something like a tree doesn’t have them.
Oh it’s wireless and has 360 degree head tracking? Must be worth it!
My first problem with using this came with the power and volume buttons being on the side of my phone. The up or down volume was always getting mashed, and if I changed the direction of the phone all three buttons were getting mashed, which ends up restarting the phone.
There were three stick on rubber studs included with the product and not referenced anywhere. I plopped them into position where they would keep the arms from pressing down on the volume and this seemed to work for positioning.
Now came the content – there’s no software included with this or even a link to anything you can use it with – I went to YouTube and searched for 3D SBS videos, and found some. My first video was eye shattering… as in my eyes felt like they were going to bleed. I popped the thing off, adjusted the straps, got the lenses into the right position and tried tried again.
Everything was blurry. I started rotating the lenses (these eventually screw out) which it said to do if the image was not clear. The blur didn’t go away, but the image did get a little sharper and I also poked myself in the eye. The lenses aren’t designed to be easily rotated while you’re wearing the headset, so you have to pop it off, rotate, pop on, repeat.
After a while I had a headache, decided to pop the phone out and adjust each eye using a receipt I had. I noticed the receipt was blurry too. The lenses which I’d just pulled off a protective coating fifteen minutes ago were smudged all to hell.
Odd, thought I. I hadn’t touched them that I recalled. Luckily there’s a cleaning cloth included, I gave them a wipe down, wiped down the phone, and slapped it back on. And the image was smudged up again.
Due to the tightness of the strap, evidently my eyebrows were running across it. Clean it again, loosen the strap up to the loosest possible setting, try try again.
This time the image is clear of smudges, but it’s out of focus. Twist, twist, twist and after a while get it almost right. There’s no focusing image included with the headset, which would make this significantly easier.
I’m actually a little unclear on why we have a glass focusing ring on these. Seems like it would be significantly easier to just have the empty space. Would also eliminate smudging. Scratch that, you can’t focus that close. Nevermind.
Also every time I adjusted the rotation of the lenses, the eyepieces would move left or right requiring me to re-adjust to my non-beedy eyes. A screw-down locking mechanism would have been much appreciated.
It also lays on the bridge of my nose as they used plastic to separate left and right. They could have used foam there or pretty much nothing. It would probably have worked as well and not caused the headset to ride my nose.
If you take out the phone and close the item up and look through it you’d hope you’d see the abyss, but what you see instead is a little light shining from the headphone ports on the side, and some light coming in from the top. While it’s not enough to be annoying, you shouldn’t see it.
After a while of watching videos I noticed I felt like I was watching a very very dark and then bright video. The automatic brightness on my phone was going up and down as light on the screen was reflected back into the sensor. This was alleviated by turning off automatic brightness and setting it to static.
It works, $40 is a lot to pay for it though. You can find them at The Sharper Image