Virtual reality headsets are expensive, but they are fun. Traditional manufacturer Zeiss is also taking a stab at this field with the Zeiss VR One Plus. Zeiss launched a spectacular enhancement for the VR headset at the IFA: The Zeiss VR Connect. It allows you to run SteamVR games on your smartphone, and we received the latest information from Zeiss on this new release.
Zeiss VR One Connect: SteamVR games, now on your smartphone
Zeiss VR One Connect is made up of three components. First, we have the well-known Zeiss VR One Plus headset, which is a cardboard-compatible headset that you place your smartphone into. You could put an iPhone in, but of course Android works as well. The second component is the two motion controllers that you can use to control virtual reality, and the tracking functions via the position sensors in the controllers.
But the third component is what will really make the magic happen. A USB cable connects your smartphone to your PC, then software on your PC connects to SteamVR and sends the picture information to your smartphone. There, the app ensures that the images are displayed and that the PC receives the control signals.
The USB cable is three meters long and is usually a conventional extension cable. An adapter on the headset makes all smartphones compatible, regardless of whether it has a microUSB, USB-C or lightning port.
When everything is connected, you can use your smartphone together the Zeiss VR One Plus as a headset for PC-based virtual reality apps. They can be VR games, but also apps such as Google Earth VR. Its most significant shortcoming is that the controller is only tracked in three degrees of freedom, and six degrees would be required for room-scale apps at Vive’s level. Technically speaking, the PC calculates the VR images and the Zeiss software takes the VR content from the graphics card and streams it to the smartphone.
Zeiss VR One Connect is intended as a lower-cost solution for VR apps, which explains the length of the USB cable. However, we haven't had a chance to try out the Zeiss VR Connect yet.
Zeiss is both demanding and modest when it comes to hardware requirements. Your smartphone doesn’t have to fulfill any exceptional requirements. However, powerful devices with an AMOLED display will likely have an advantage. On the other hand, your PC should have the necessary CPU horsepower - here you'll definitely need a VR-capable graphics card such as the Geforce GTX 1060.
Zeiss wishes to bring two variants of the VR One Connect to market. First is a bundle consisting of a USB cable and controller for around $150, which is of interest for users that already own the Zeiss VR One Plus. Anyone who doesn’t own it yet can also purchase a complete Zeiss VR set for around $240. These products are expected to be released in the Fall.
What do you think about the Zeiss VR One Connect? Would you buy it? Or would you rather buy a different brand? Share your thoughts in the comments below!