SnailVR SVR Glass Review: It’s A Well-Priced, Immersive Mobile VR Headset
There are so many choices in the market for VR headsets right now, and for many of the consumers who look for great VR experiences without breaking the bank, mobile VR is usually the perfect solution. This is because almost everyone owns a smartphone nowadays, and mobile VR headsets are getting more affordable than ever.
The question of whether or not mobile VR will be a great experience lies in the quality of the VR headsets available. To fully take advantage of the VR potential of your smartphone, a good pair of VR glasses must do the trick. But in the sea of mobile VR headsets available, which ones will really live the promise of immersive mobile virtual reality? A new VR headset from Chinese startup SnailVR is aimed at delivering immersive VR while staying within the budget of many consumers. Meet the SnailVR SVR Glass.
SnailVR is a Chinese tech startup which takes on the popular Gear VR headset from Samsung. While the Gear VR is now priced at just $99, its functionalities are only limited to Samsung’s flagship smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 5 and the Galaxy S7. SnailVR attempts to tap into the large market of non-Samsung smartphone users with capable hardware.
The SnailVR SVR Glass come in a sleek, white box reminiscent of minimalist packaging found in Apple products. A simple lift of the magnetic latch on the box itself reveals the pair of VR glasses, along with its accessories including a Bluetooth remote, quick start guide, a carrying bag for portability, and a cleaning cloth for the lenses.
The VR headset itself is made of hard plastic, with a rubberized viewing mask and an adjustable and stretchable head strap which securely and comfortably fits in your head with a Velcro strap mechanism. Its lenses are large enough for the optimal viewing experience, providing a field of view of up to 96 degrees – which rivals that of the Gear VR.
A useful feature of the SVR Glass is its adjustable lenses for near-sighted people. However, it is quite tedious to adjust the lenses according to your eyes since you have to remove the headset itself while adjusting. It is necessary to repeat this process over and over until you achieve the perfect clarity for your eyes. On the bright side, if you are lucky to have perfect eyesight you won’t need to adjust the lenses.
To compensate for comfort while wearing, the SVR Glass have a soft foam lining for the viewing mask, and four ventilation holes lined with precisely perforated paper lining.
The SVR Glass will fit a wide range of smartphones, with sizes ranging from 4.7 inches to 6 inches. It supports both Android and iOS smartphones. I have tested this pair using my iPhone 6s Plus, and inserting the phone into the placeholder is a breeze. The phone holder is lined with a matte rubberized finish which prevents scratches to your phone while inserting.
Setup and Usage
The quick start guide that comes with the SVR Glass is in Chinese (sorry, there is no English version out of the box), which bothered me to setup the glasses itself. Luckily, this pair of VR glasses is compatible with many VR apps, so pairing it up with any VR app should not be a problem. It works with basically every VR app which supports the Google Cardboard.
It comes with a Bluetooth controller, which provides options to scroll on-screen content on your smartphone, as well as to control volume and other viewing options. It needs to be paired to your smartphone, and pairing it up is easy as well. With a five-second press on the power button, a flashing blue light indicator appears which lets you pair it up with your smartphone.
Starting with my iPhone, I searched for VR apps available on the Apple App Store. Many apps have piqued my interest, including “The Divergent Series: Allegiant VR” and “Discovery VR”. By launching one app at a time, I followed the on-screen instructions to tilt the phone horizontally to trigger the VR mode. These instructions for VR apps may vary, but basically it requires you to rotate your phone along the horizontal and insert it onto the phone holder of the SVR Glass.
Once the app starts to show content, the VR glasses render a clear and crisp VR experience. A high-resolution smartphone screen helps in the immersive factor of the SVR Glass, as you will see individual pixels with lower-resolution screens. The iPhone 6s Plus has a full 1080P HD screen resolution, making the VR experience sufficiently smooth and clear. The clarity of the VR experience depends on the resolution of your smartphone screen. This means that a truly high-res smartphone, such as a 4K screen, will deliver the highest clarity possible on the SVR Glass.
Wearing comfort is also top-notch with the SVR Glass. For a continuous 30-minute usage I had testing this pair of VR glasses, I had no issues with sweating on my eyes, eye strain, or overall discomfort. The SVR Glass has a premium feel to it during use, and you can enjoy prolonged usage of this VR headset without having to take it off once in a while.
Aside from proprietary VR apps, there are also VR movie apps which you can download. These apps will work with the SVR Glass as long as it doesn’t require a specific VR headset. You can fire up such an app, load a 3D movie in it, and voilà – you can watch 3D movies in the comforts of your room with the SVR Glass.
Pros and Cons
The biggest advantage of the SVR Glass over every other pair of mobile VR headsets is its wide compatibility across many VR apps available either on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. Just choose a VR app that does not require a specific VR headset, insert your phone into the SVR Glass, and you can have an immersive VR experience with just a few taps.
As for a first-generation product, the SVR Glass also has its drawbacks. One is that the setup guide comes only in Chinese, which many users might find cumbersome to understand and get the initial setup done. The Bluetooth controller which comes with the VR glasses is a hit-and-miss – it is also labeled in Chinese, and many of its buttons won’t work across third-party VR apps. Luckily though, it can be used for volume control and to return back to the home screen of your smartphone.
Priced at just $50, the SnailVR SVR Glass is a great pair of VR glasses for a budget-friendly yet immersive VR experience on your smartphone. It offers decent bang for the buck, thanks to its crystal-clear viewing lenses with a wide viewing angle, and a comfortable premium feel during usage. For a first-gen VR product, the SVR Glass hits a lot of right spots for VR consumers looking for an affordable VR headset capable of delivering a satisfying mobile VR experience.
The SnailVR SVR Glass VR headset is now available at Gearbest.