VR viewers for phones can be fun, and cheap. But they're usually not convenient. It's what makes this particular VR phone accessory pretty clever: it's made to snap into shape on the fly.
Figment VR, launching today on Kickstarter, is a clever spring-loaded iPhone 6/6S or 6 Plus/6S Plus case that transforms into a stereoscopic viewer for your phone's VR content.
I got a chance to look at the case: It's like the opera glasses of VR, or those folding travel binoculars that have been around for years.
The steel back flips out, and any iPhone VR app -- Cardboard or otherwise -- can be viewed through tiny lenses. It's a conversation starter, at least. The lenses are exposed on the back, however, which worries me a bit.
It's not a small case, but it's a lot more compact than what other phone-compatible headsets feel like. At least this doubles as a phone case, too.
Made by Quantum Bakery, a small accessories company in San Francisco, Figment VR is designed to be portable and easy to access. The field of view on the prototype I tried seemed small, but no more or less than most Google Cardboard-level VR cases. They worked while held over my glasses, at least. (The photos here are provided by Quantum Bakery but match what the prototype device feels like.)
Figment VR is available to back for $49 and will eventually cost $79 after the Kickstarter-backer period that runs into January. The case comes in black or white...sorry, no rose gold VR yet.