In my ongoing search for a suitable alternative to the standard “Google cardboard” headset I’ve procured yet another phone housing. I prefer the phone-based approach to virtual reality as it’s far more accessible to people than head-mounted displays are at this moment in time. In addition to that, the camera throughput allows for interesting uses of augmented reality. I’ll be writing more on that in the future. This entry is a small hands-on review of the Durovis Dive 5 headset.
My first experiment with alternative approaches to cardboard began with the colorcross headset. While the approach provided for a more robust alternative to an ever-deteriorating cardboard product, it was still lacking. The phone housing wasn’t very comfortable around the eyes and it would leave tell-tale marks outlining where it had been digging into the users face. This rendered it somewhat unsuitable for my purposes as my interest is in rolling this out to students at some point and comfort is of paramount importance. In addition to that, with the colorcross approach, the phone wasn’t entirely secure. The Duros Dive 5, however, seems to fix these issues.
A better build quality than most housing alternatives
The Duros headset feels a lot sturdier than the cheaper colorcross, which is what you’d expect given it’s price tag of €59.98, making it three to four times more expensive. What this affords you, however, is a very comfortable experience. The foam padding around the eyes eliminates the indentation marks inflicted by the housing and ensures that it remains in place without biting into your head.
Both lens can be adjusted independently
Each lens can be adjusted separately and they don’t feel loose. This feature makes it great for accessibility in my books. They can be moved in two directions, closer to the screen and out to each side. In terms of the size of the phone it can house, this model isn’t meant for large phones. My Galaxy S3 fits inside nicely but if you have it augmented with an extended battery (resulting in a thicker phone, it won’t fit). The full compatibility list is on the manufacturers website.
The field of vision is relatively good, moving the lens closer tends to improve things but, due to the size of the phones the Dive 5 is capable of housing, it’s not a completely immersive experience. It’s worth mentioning that the Dive 7 model is designed to house 7 inch tablets which is something I’m keen to try next. I’d expect that the field of vision in something of that size would make for a very interesting experience. The housing alone for the Dive 7 costs €119, which still provides for a more scalable and cost effective solution than a separate head-mounted display device.
The foam padding isn’t just for your eyes, it’s also used to keep your phone in place
You can purchase a magnetic upgrade kit for the Dive 5 separately from the website, if you ordered before the 9th of March 2015 as it’s stated that anything ordered after the date comes with one (though mine did not)!
I’ll be using my colorcross for the moment as my S3 uses a giant battery, bringing its size slightly outside of the comfort zone of the Dive 5. The product is solid however and if you’re looking for an alternative to the cardboard housing, this is a great step to take and makes a world of difference. It’s an order of magnitude more comfortable.