It seems like everyone is having a crack at making a virtual reality headset, so why shouldn't LG get to have a go? After all, if Viewmaster can stage a VR comeback, then surely so can the Korean electronics giant?
Despite handing over a headset to CNET for testing, LG didn't tell me the price (despite the fact that some online retailers are listing it for $200, which converts to around AU$265 or £140). Nor did it offer a rundown of the specs or even confirm if the 360 VR was getting an Australian release. And truth be told, if the company decides to base any release decisions on early response to the product, maybe we won't be seeing the 360 VR any time soon...
But first off, let's look at how it compares with its most obvious competitor,:
|LG 360 VR||Samsung Gear VR (2015)|
|Resolution (per eye)||960x720 pixels at 693ppi||1,280x1,440 pixels, at 518-577ppi depending on phone|
|Connection||USB-C cable||Micro-USB connector inside headset|
|Weight||134.3 g (4.7 oz)||318 g (11.2 oz) headset only, phone will add 171 g (6.03 oz)|
|Dimensions||164.1x185.6x45.9mm with arms extended (6.46x7.3x1.8 inches)||92.6x201.9x116.4 mm (3.64x7.95x4.6 inches)|
|Works with||LG G5||Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Note 5, S7 and S7 Edge|
So it's like the Samsung Gear VR?
The 360 VR does actually work in a very similar way to Samsung's Gear VR. It uses the processing power of theto run the virtual experiences. However, instead of placing your phone directly into the headset and using the phone's screen as your window into virtual reality as you would with the Gear, the 360 VR -- complete with its own screen -- plugs into the G5 via a USB-C cable.
The result is a lighter headset that works kind of like a pair of safety goggles, only less cool-looking. It's not the prettiest product I've ever seen: grey plastic on grey textured fabric does nothing for me. Urgh.
Since it doesn't use the G5's screen, what's its screen like?
The headset has two IPS displays built in, offering a dual 960x720-pixel resolution with 693 pixels per inch. That's a lower resolution than you'd get with a Gear using aas its screen, which has a pixel count of 1,280x1,440 per eye.
But it's more comfortable to wear?
Credit where credit is due: The 360 VR is the most comfortable of the VR headsets that I've worn, but that comes with a big caveat. The open design makes for a lot of light leakage, where light seeps in from the real world. While theand Gear VR work to block out the real world, I found it really easy to peek around the sides of the 360 VR.
I'm assuming this is a deliberate design move. The lack of a touchscreen on the headset itself means you're supposed to control your way around using the phone's screen and the design lets you look down to see what you're doing, although you could easily do it by touch alone. It does, however, make for a less immersive experience. That said, I never had the lenses steam up the way the Gear VR will do occasionally, which was a nice, sweat-free change.
The arms are made of a springy, curved plastic and can't be adjusted. Despite having a fairly large head, I never found them uncomfortably tight. I did quickly learn to take off the headset with both hands though -- using the one-handed style of "whipping off" caused the arms to hit my eye rather painfully. Oh, and dealer's choice: you can plug your headphones into either the headset or your phone.