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Gear Review: DSCVR VR Headset

Virtual Reality on a Budget

April 10th, 2017 | by Mark Obre

Virtual reality headsets have come a long way in the last couple of years. The technology is no longer the kind of stuff that is accessible only to those with deep pockets. Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone can experience virtual reality at the comfort of their own homes.


Top 1With Google’s introduction of the Cardboard VR headset back in 2014 together with is open source SDK and API, developers along with manufacturers have been given access to the technology behind the headset and have allowed them to produce the VR headset in a more cost-efficient manner making it available to ordinary people.

I AM CARDBOARD is one particular company based in the Philippines that’s making VR headsets for the masses. Its top of the line model – DSCVR sits at the base of the list of Google-certified VR headsets at around $15, which is really affordable. However, does this price make it a great deal? I took the headset for a spin and list down my observations.




Box 1With such a simple product, I didn’t really expect it to be in a fancy box. The DSCVR headset came with a brown carton box with a small rectangular label at the top. The device comes with a plastic travel case and a microfiber cloth.




Compared to the original Google Cardboard, the DSCVR is made from polycarbonate plastic. The overall design of the device’s body is angular in nature and the plastic used is of high quality.


Headset lensAt the heart of the device are two biconcave lenses that project the images from the connected smartphone into the user’s eyes. The body of the headset is composed of the main unit that kind of nests inside the plastic eye cups. The main unit then pops out through the aid of springs attached internally on both sides after the two buttons on both ends are pressed.

The front of the device is where you’ll find the silicone strap that will hold your phone while you use the headset. The strap provides ample grip which should secure the connected phone with ease. Finally, a QR code is placed at the bottom of the headset, which can be used to easily setup the device.




Using the DSCVR headset is a pretty straightforward affair. After popping out the main unit, you need to open the virtual reality app of your choice, then attach the phone to the headset using the silicone strap. Once you’re all setup, you hold the device in front of your face and move your head or body around to explore the visuals projected by your phone.

In general, the VR headset is comfortable to use. The plastic eyecups fit snug to your face and since the user is holding the device during use, the headset isn’t constantly putting pressure on your face. However, this also means that you constantly need to hold the headset which kind of dampens the overall VR experience. Moreover, any app that may require you to use your hands (if there’s any) won’t be useful with this device.


Side 1The DSCVR also suffers from the motion parallax issue that’s present in most VR devices. This means that looking at the images projected on to you can sometimes cause dizziness and eye strain. During my test, there were plenty of times where I experienced this issue.

Finally, the user interface of the headset can definitely get some love. This is especially important for users who would like to use multiple VR apps. On the DSCVR, switching VR apps means you’ll have to remove the silicone strap, remove the phone from the headset, switch to the new VR app and then reconnect the phone and strap again.

I really wish there was a way to switch between VR apps without the hassle of taking the phone out of the headset.




In contrast to other branches of technology, the virtual reality space is still a budding field. So, we shouldn’t really expect a perfect experience – at least for now. But with the current developments available today, it’s quite surprising how companies like I AM CARDBOARD has gone especially with the DSCVR.

For a fraction of the price of high-end VR headsets from big companies like HTC and Facebook. When it comes to its DSCVR, I really liked the build quality and generally good viewing experience. However, I wasn’t a big fan of its inability to seamlessly switch between VR apps. On top of that, it would’ve been nice if they designed the headset with a head strap.

Then again, for its price, the DSCVR VR headset is not too shabby. If your purpose for purchasing a VR headset is simply to consume content and not really about virtual reality gaming, the DSCVR is more than enough to keep you satisfied.


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