OnePlus Cardboard: The entry level virtual reality headset review and first look

Oneplus, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer of the OnePlus One, recently announced the unveiling and launch of the OnePlus Two completely in VR on July 27th at 7:00pm PT. One can view the launch through their OnePlus cardboard available on for Rs 99 plus shipping (currently unavailable).

Never in my life have I been more excited about, well, a piece of cardboard. Cardboard is basically Google's version of a cheap virtual reality headset that lets one experience virtual reality in a fun, simple and affordable way. It's a cheaper alternative to the expensive virtual reality headsets like Samsung's gear VR, Oculus rift and HTC hive.

But what exactly can we do on virtual reality, you ask? The virtual reality cardboard prepares us for a future where movies will be played around us, and not just in front of us on a 2D/3D screen. All you need is a VR cardboard and a smartphone and you will open yourself to a whole new world of virtual reality games- being able to experience how it feels to fly (virtually, of course), experience the horrors of afterlife with the Insidious movie app, travel through space and do much more with the variety of apps available on the Google Play Store.

The Oneplus Cardboard is based on the new version of Cardboard V2.0 announced at Google I/O, but with a few improvements of their own:

  • A thicker and stronger cardboard material and high quality Velcro for better durability
  • The entire unit is 20% smaller and will support most devices up to 6", although this is optimized for a OnePlus One. I have tested it on an iPhone 5s and it works perfectly fine.
  • For those with sweaty hands, the cardboard is coated with a special oil and dirt repellant film.
  • Assembly is pretty simple, one just has to slide the unit out of the box, pull the top Velcro off and there is a simple 3-step instruction to assemble it.  

The company has mentioned "This is not a product; it's an initiative. We are not making any money by offering OnePlus Cardboard. In fact, we are losing money with each one." This is a marketing promo for their new OnePlus two in the end, one that fits well with their earlier marketing initiatives by empowering their fan base.

OnePlus gives the power to its fan base to evangelize and sell their products unlike any other company by limiting the sale of their devices to their most loyal fan base first. With the OnePlus Cardboard, they might be losing money on every Cardboard sold, but for a start-up heading off against established companies like Apple and Samsung, it's a pretty reasonable marketing promo to get their branding out and acquire new fans for the price of a piece of cardboard and lens packaged together. 

We would be covering the virtual reality launch on OnePlus Two on July 27th- do come back to hear our updates on the OnePlus Two launch.

Meanwhile, read our latest post: OnePlus Two: Confirmed Features and Price


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