LG is diving deeper into virtual reality at Mobile World Congress 2016 with the announcement of the LG 360 VR mobile headset.
Last year, LG followed walked the Google Cardboard path when it unveiled its own headset called VR for G3. Made specifically for LG G3 smartphones, it was given away with each G3 purchase. Then it all but disappeared into the nether.
Considering it was just a plastic Cardboard, it makes sense then that the company would try again with a flashier unit. If you’re familiar with the setup of the Samsung Gear VR – using a handset to power up a VR experience, then you’ll get the gist of LG’s device.
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However there’s a huge difference between the two: the LG 360 VR doesn’t require a phone to sit in front of your face. Rather, the headset plugs into LG G5 handsets via a dedicated USB-C cord.
The LG goggles weigh only 118g and delivers a resolution of 639ppi. You’ll be able to view with 360-degree images and videos captured with the LG 360 CAM, as well as all Google Cardboard content. LG claims it’s like watching a 130-inch TV from 2 metres away.
Only Samsung phones work with the Gear VR and, you guessed it, only an LG G5 will work with the new LG headset. The LG reps noted that the company does want to let other handsets work with the goggles in the future though, but a specific timeframe wasn’t given. All Google Cardboard apps are compatible.
We weren’t able to demo it fully by plugging it in to a LG G5 during my MWC briefing as it wasn’t completely ready yet, however LG sounds confident the goggles will release some time in April.
However, I was able to plop the goggles on my face for a bit and pretend I was in a Tilt Brush Gallery.
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The LG representative was most excited to tell me how light the device feels – and he wasn’t lying.
Though awkward to put on at first – the goggle legs (equivalent to Gear VR straps) had to be pulled outward to place on my face – it was noticeably well, unnoticeable because of its lack of heft.
I only wore it for 10 minutes on and off, but I didn’t detect too much pressure sitting on my face and I could picture myself using it on a plane pretty comfortably. The fact that it’s also foldable and far slimmer than other mobile headsets makes it more appealing for travel.
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The lenses are adjustable similar to the Gear VR’s diopter but also like Sammy’s headset, the LG 360 VR isn’t good for glasses wearers. The nose pad, however, can be removed and replaced with better fitting pair. There’s also a cover that forms to your face and can be taken off for a more comfortable one.
There are two buttons on the top right – back and “OK” – which let you navigate the VR interface.
The cord sits in an odd place on the right side of the goggles. Instead of being underneath the goggle, it’s secured on top. I wondered if it would get caught while taking the device on and off, but perhaps the design decision will actually stop it from getting tangled. A longer period of usage is needed to test it out.
Full specs still haven’t yet made the rounds but we’ll be sure to update once they’re released.
At the moment, I’m impressed LG didn’t go the usual mobile headset route but I’m also hesitant to say this is a revolutionary device since I haven’t seen it in full action. There are still a lot of questions LG couldn’t answer for me which will hopefully be addressed come April.