Portable VR Headset by Dlodlo, making news in VR world because of its design

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Dlodlo, pronounced “dodo”, is the latest company entering the virtual reality market. The Shenzhen, China-based company showed off its new device, the Dlodlo V1, at an event in New York City on Monday.

The V1 will be available in October, the company swears, at an oddly specific (and exorbitant) price of $559. Beyond just looking good, the company claims the product has specs that compete with headsets from Samsung, Google, and others.

While this was the first time that working models were available for demos, the device has been teased for quite sometime. Dlodlo is looking to change the VR landscape with its new and lightweight headset. Current VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive  or the Razer OSVR are bulky and require being tethered to an expensive computer, but the Dlodlo V1 resembles a large pair of sunglasses and can be powered by your smartphone.

The headset weighs only 3.1 ounces, or about half the weight of an iPhone 6S Plus, and can be folded to fit in your pocket. While the design and hardware showed promise from afar, actual usage fell short of my expectations.

The glasses feature a 2,400×1,200-pixel resolution display in front of each eye, which is equivalent to over 800 pixels per inch, and has a 105-degree field of view. Yet, my experience certainly didn’t look like 2K — images, videos and gameplay appeared blurry and not as sharp as on an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or even the New Samsung Gear VR. We tested early production models, though, so there is a possibility the display will improve.

The V1’s design also fell short. There is no strap on the back, and I had to use my hands to make sure the glasses wouldn’t fall off. Similar to the LG 360 VR, light leakage was a serious issue. There was light coming in from the top and even more so on the bottom, which removed me from the immersive experience and made it harder to concentrate on the screen.

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Along with the headset, Dlodlo is releasing a small device that resembles a chunky iPod Touch. The Dlodlo D1 is a WiFi-only device that is used to power the V1, although it will also work with smartphones and computers. The device is equipped with a quad-core processor paired with 2GB of RAM and a 3,000mAh battery, which the company said will give you up to two hours of a continuous VR usage.

Dlodlo’s marketing materials show the headset by itself, however this isn’t entirely accurate. The headset isn’t wireless and does require a cord to be connected to the device powering it, whether that be the D1, a smartphone or a computer.

The Dlodlo V1 will be available for $559 (which converts to about £430 and AU$730) as part of a Kickstarter campaign that is slated to begin in coming weeks. A developer edition will begin shipping in October. Pricing and release information wasn’t announced for the Dlodlo D1, and it remains unclear if it will come bundled with the V1 headset.

So two things.

First, the very idea of a touch interface for a product that covers your eyes seems inherently silly. If I can’t see the interface, how will I know where the buttons are? For the demo we tried, which involved sailing a pirate ship through stormy seas and firing a battery of canons at enemy ships, we used an Xbox controller. The company may mean to use the D1’s touch interface to control settings, or access its proprietary store via the Dlodlo app (go ahead, groan along with me), but that still would mean stepping out of the immersive experience. It just doesn’t seem like a good idea.

There’s a reason every other model on the market straps around your head, it turns out.

Also, we didn’t see the D1 at all. The prototype we saw was connected to a PC, which allowed those standing in line to see what the V1 wearer saw. It also means we can’t really judge the final experience, since it was unclear if it was running off a similar unit or simply off a powerful PC. I asked the CTO where the D1 is, and was told it was at a separate event across town, “because it was portable.” Unlike the sunglasses, apparently. Was there a separate press event? Or an investor event? Or something for people who only like iPod Touch shaped stuff? Who knows?

To recap, no D1, which seems like a bad idea anyway. This ships in October, let me remind you.

CEO Gang Li was interviewed by Forbes almost exactly a year ago (ignore the fact that Forbes described the company’s VR glasses as “now available to tech-savvy consumers” – that just wasn’t true at all). In that interview, Li told Forbes that he was “crystal clear” on what he wanted to do next: “The Dlodlo team is developing a VR glove device that will offer precise tracking and positioning of up to 0.27mm. This device will tremendously improve the convenience to operate the VR HMDs, and we are planning release of this product in next couple of months.”

Next few months huh? I’ll look for it in October.Till then check out few other VR Headsets from the collection.

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