Archos VR Glasses
One thing you can say about 3D, without fear of any major contradiction, is that this is a technology that refuses to admit defeat with regards its general acceptance by the public. There have been at least two major attempts to bring the technology to the big cinematic screen as the next big thing to make a lasting impression. However both attempts were met with apathy by the ticket buying public and a less-than-welcoming support from the critics despite the vast amount of money spend to bring the experience to fruition.
The follow up attempt to make 3D a must-have television feature could hardly be considered a success. Minimal content being available to take advantage of the technology did not help generate acceptance especially when users were expected to pay a premium for the screens to display the content. Plus, of course, there was always the subject of special glasses, and all that that entailed, being needed to view the 3D content which brings me to the next product under review as 3D makes yet another attempt to gain acceptance by the public at large.
The Archos VR Glasses is a piece of wearable technology kit designed to allow you to experience the mobile virtual reality world. Some could say that this is another way of saying 3D glasses perhaps, with the intension of minimising any residual bad karma left over from previous 3D experiences. Rather than use these VR glasses for a visit to your local multi-screen cinema emporium or for watching one of Sky’s 3D sporting events being broadcast on your large flat-screen television, this Archos product is meant for use with your smartphone whether based on the iOS, Android or the Windows platform.
The Archos VR Glasses is a one-piece unit constructed of lightweight, black material which extends 105mm from the face. In appearance it looks similar to the eye protection worn by welders when at work apart from the fact that it features adjustable lenses for the left and right eyes. Small slider controls allow you to adjust the positioning of each lens to suit your individual face arrangement. The unit is held in position on your head by straps arranged like a skull cap worn by certain rugby players. I found that the only way to wear these VR Glasses was to remove my usual spectacles.
You will need to provide the content viewable using these glasses by attaching your smartphone to the glasses. This is achieved by inserting the smartphone into the front of the glasses. Your mobile device will be held in position by adjustable support bars running across the top and bottom of the unit. A wing on each side of the glasses can be opened to provide more viewing space at the front of the unit. For many smartphones, these wings will need to be opened prior to inserting your viewing device.
Appropriate software will need to have been downloaded on to your smartphone. Archos has provided a list of possible downloads that it has categorised as Games, Software and Simulators. Downloading a selection of these offerings, such as VR Spider, Cartoon Villager, Jet Sprint, Space Terror and a 14-minute free 3D video entitled Sintel, produced a mixture of results. In some cases, especially with games, you do need a Bluetooth controller in order to use the software as the apps touch screen facility will be blocked by the glasses.
There was also a problem in getting the lenses lined up to handle the stereoscopic technology to produce the 3D images. This situation was not helped by the fact that I was unable to wear my normal glasses with the Archos product. This caused a problem because without my glasses alleviating a problem I was having with a weak eye, my vision was slightly handicapped. I found that wearing these VR glasses became very uncomfortable after no more than 25 minutes. Like big screen movies and 3D televisions, I can not see products such as the Archos VR Glasses become a mainstream product. This product is available priced at £24.00 from www.archos.com.
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