Zeiss VR One Plus Virtual Reality headset review
Should you buy cheap or expensive VR goggles?
- High-quality optics
- No control buttons
- Much cheaper competitors
It's a very good general-purpose VR viewer. But high-end optics are currently wasted in a world of low-quality content and you can get a similar job done for one-fifth of the price.
Price$ 200.00 (AUD)
VR is taking off – whether it’s watching ultra-immersive videos or utilising apps on your phone, or embedding yourself into whole new worlds with the help of a monster PC – it will soon be normal.
The Zeiss VR One Plus is a VR phone headset which means you put your phone in it and watch special split-screen VR content through two binoculars-style lenses. We recently reviewed a competitor, the 3SIXT Virtual Reality Headset which costs just $40 but is far more cheaply constructed. The Zeiss VR One Plus is like a super premium version of that. Neither have any controls or buttons (they’re only viewers) but this isn’t a deal breaker in the current market. So is it worth paying the huge price difference?
[Related: Google Daydream VR full, in-depth review]
The first difference we see is the mounting mechanism. Whereas the 3SIXT has a cheap, sprung clasp which annoyingly puts pressure on the phone’s side-buttons, the VR One Plus has a separate tray for the phone. This tray is generally compatible with phones from 4.7 to 5.5 inches. We had no trouble using a Google Pixel XL and iPhone 6 Plus but you’d struggle with anything bigger. Usefully, the tray has a notch in the middle to help you line the phone's screen up so it's exactly in the middle of the lenses.
Slotting it in is relatively simple but we found the tray could cover corners of the screen where some settings are usually positioned. It’s not a huge annoyance but it means sliding the phone out and maybe moving it around to get at the controls sometimes. We’ve yet to see a perfect phone clasp system. But this one is certainly less likely to draw blood than the cheap, sharp-edged 3SIXT.
The VR One Plus feels better constructed and will likely last longer – we broke a cheap clasp on the 3SIXT when setting it up. But both are equally comfortable with their padded surrounds when wearing them although the VR One Plus is made from higher-quality materials.
The main difference is the optics. Instead of plastic lenses in the 3SIXT the VR One Plus has Carl Zeiss glass lenses. The improvement in sharpness is immediately clear when switching between the two. But there’s a problem. Even top phones like the latest Pixel XL, Samsung S7 Edge and iPhone 7 Plus still exhibit the screen-door effect when looking through a VR headset – basically you can still see the individual pixels. Even when watching Full HD videos and using Full HD apps everything looks a bit low res when magnified. Consequently, the benefit gained by looking at poor-quality content is very minimal indeed. Once you’re set up and immersed, there’s not a significant difference to be had.
We suspect this will change over the coming months and years as screens become even higher definition and so does the content to appear on them. But for now, we really can’t justify paying more for the luxury Zeiss model unless build quality and robustness is important to you or you’re only watching very high quality content in your VR. If you've got a Samsung Galaxy phone then the Samsung Gear VR is a better buy with it's built-in electronics, glass lenses and (roughly) $75-lower price. If you can't find the 3SIXT, check out the 360fly Mobile VR Viewer, which is the same thing rebranded - it costs $69 but is easier to find.
The score may rise down the line, but right now it loses out for value as you can buy five competing headsets for the same price.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Acer Swift 7
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Surface Pro 4
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Intel pursuing new chips as it plots a wearables future
- TAG Heuer's Connected Modular 45 is the Android Wear 2.0 watch you want but can't afford
- Why Intel put a smartphone chip in Tag Heuer's $1,600 smartwatch
- New, colourful LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C was designed by Neil Poulton
- Huawei's new smartwatch doesn't need a phone
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- Behind the scenes with Team Walkinshaw at V8 Supercars Melbourne 2017
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTJava Development Lead/ / Senior Java DeveloperVIC
- FTProject Manager- SAP FICO implementationNSW
- CCSenior Full Stack Web Developer - Port MacquarieNSW
- FTSystem EngineersVIC
- FTBusiness Solutions AnalystNSW
- FTBusiness Improvement ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Java Developers (Several positions available)QLD
- TPUnix- Technical Support OfficerVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - General InsuranceNSW
- FTAGILE Implementation Manager ContractNSW
- CCProcurement OfficerQLD
- CC.net Developer (Front and Back end)QLD
- TPService Desk AnalystVIC
- CCFinancial/Logistics Administration OfficerACT
- FTInfrastructure ArchitectNSW
- FTPolicy & Programme OfficerACT
- CCTest Manager OfficeACT
- FTMid Level PHP DeveloperNSW
- FTProgram Manager-SAP Transition, SAP FICO ImplementationNSW
- CCProcess Improvement Specialist - TelcoVIC
- FTHead of ArchitectureNSW
- FTLead Change Manager- Culture & Process ChangeNSW
- FTTest LeadNSW
- FTResponsive Design Developer, Frontend, PHP, WordpressNSW