There are countless VR headsets on the market today, with some certainly being better than others. The Zeiss VR One Plus is a second-generation headset put out by the Zeiss group, who has a history of developing optic devices for a variety of industries throughout the world. Prior to reviewing this headset, my only experience with the Zeiss brand was with their wipes, which I use for my glasses on nearly a daily basis. How does their headset stack up?
The Device Itself
After unboxing the Zeiss VR One Plus, I noticed how good the headset itself felt. Many of the smartphone headsets available are made as cheaply as possible, but the Zeiss felt pretty solid in terms of material construction. The weight was also well-distributed around my head, and wearing the device didn’t give me any issues with feeling heavy, despite having the device on for extended periods of time.
The biggest difference I spotted between the Zeiss VR One Plus and other headsets is the cartridge loading system the device uses. In the Zeiss, you take and load your cell phone into a cartridge, which then slides into the phone. The company supports a number of phones with specific trays, and there are also plans online that you can download and 3D print in order to accommodate more phones.
I use an iPhone 6 Plus, and found that my device fit well into the One Plus headset, although my device certainly was on the larger side and came close to maxing out the cartridge in which it fit.
Zeiss is known for its optics, so it should be no surprise that the One Plus headset has some impressive lenses. The zoom and fit for the lenses is about perfect, and I noticed no edge blurring, which is a major issue that most VR headsets seem to have problems with these days.
I give the overall quality of the headset build high marks, and really it should be well-built, considering the pricey $129.99 MSRP, which is a bit steep considering the Samsung Gear VR headset only runs $99.99 (albeit with only support for a handful of Samsung devices).
One Fatal Flaw
Although there are a lot of excellent things going on with the Zeiss VR One Plus headset, we would be lying if we said there wasn’t something that serves as a big problem with the device: a lack of a screen interaction button.
This is a big issue, as many VR Apps out there have the necessity of button presses on the screen in order to interact with your virtual world. Google designed their Cardboard Headset with this in mind, and many major developers have built this into their devices. For nearly $130, I would expect any device to have this built in.
If you’re running with an Android smartphone, you can offset a lot of the problem a lack of a button gives you by utilizing a Bluetooth controller. Unfortunately, those using an iPhone in the Zeiss will not have such an option, meaning that a lot of the functionality is thrown right out the window.
To help promote its headset, Zeiss has released a few apps, an augmented reality experience and the VR One Cinema, which lets you watch films in a simulated theater. Both are decent, if somewhat unspectacular, and there are certainly better experiences for users to take advantage of with their phones.
The Zeiss VR One Plus headset is well-built, but the lack of a button is a major issue for a $130 device. If you have an Android smartphone and are willing to invest in a Bluetooth remote, then by all means this is a good headset for you. If you have an iPhone though, you may be better off looking elsewhere.