Review: Merge's comfy purple goggles deliver iPhone VR

Comfy purple goggles make the best of iPhone VR


Soft and eminently comfy.
Soft and eminently comfy.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Best List: VR Goggles by Merge

If you’ve ever had a hankering to try out VR with your iPhone (or other smartphone), the Merge VR Goggles are a fantastic fit. They’re made of a soft, lightweight, purple sculpted foam that will fit any face and pretty much any smartphone.

You’ll be able to comfortably wear these as long as you can stand virtual reality apps on your iPhone, thanks to the way they mold to your particular facial features and don’t weigh your head down.

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Putting these on my head feels a little ridiculous, but they’re definitely much more comfortable than any other VR rig I’ve tried, like the Oculus Rift.

Sliding my iPhone 6 Plus into the front viewing area can be somewhat of a pain, due to the way the power button is set on the side; I keep accidentally turning it off when I’m really just trying to get the iPhone into the goggles.

The straps are easily adjusted with velcro, and there’s even a little cutout on the front to let your iPhone’s camera peek through when you want to see what’s in front of you or play one of those virtual overlay games. Two conductive buttons on top of the mask let you tap on your screen while your iPhone is inside, and they double as a focusing feature — simply slide them left or right to make sure what you’re seeing is clear. The styluses can be dodgy, though; my iPhone registered taps through this system intermittently depending on the VR app I was using at the time.

That’s the whole problem with smartphone VR: It’s still so nascent that you encounter a wild variety of quality when it comes your gaming experience. I liked some of the 360-degree museum exhibits I found in Google’s Cardboard app, and I really enjoyed a game called InMind VR. It’s as impressive as any implementation of VR gaming I’ve seen.

Tons of apps claim to deliver VR, and Merge has an impressive database of the best ones. Just know that you’ll have to check out a bunch of them before you find ones you like.

All of that isn’t to say that the Merge VR goggles are to blame; on the contrary, they’re easy to use, comfy to wear, and let you get in on the virtual reality action early if you want to try iPhone VR, all for a reasonable price.

Buy from: Merge, Amazon

Cult of Mac’s Best List is a roundup of products that make us want to push it. Read more Best List mini reviews.


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