Noon VR is a neat home experience, but the tech is very limited


Far from true VR

As most of you know, I’m not completely sold on VR yet. I mean, I actually really likethe tech, it’s very cool, but I’m literally not soldon it.

I’ve had a full-time job basically since I was 15, so I could generally afford buying consoles at launch and keeping my PC up to date. But adding $400 (or more) VR platforms on top of that? It’s going to get really pricey real fast, especially when the VR war begins, with multiple storefronts and exclusive games. I know I’ll get some kits for review purposes, but I do still buy gaming related items to this day to support the industry.

Noon VR is a bit more affordable at $89, but you also get a more budget experience for your price.

I’ve had the chance to mess around with Noon VR for a few weeks now, and I’m mostly impressed given the (relatively) low pricepoint. The setup is easy enough — you simply open the strap on the front, place your phone inside (iPhone5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, Galaxy S6 Edge, S6, S5, S4, Note4, Note3, Xperia Z3, Xperia Z2, G3, G3A, G2, Nexus5, MI3, MI NOTE, One, Moto G, VEGA Secret Note, ZenFone 2, Honor 6 Plus, AQUOS PHONE ZETA), and you’re good to go. As you can see from the lengthy list of support devices, basically anything will work — not just Samsung or iOS products, for example.

From there, you’ll want to focus the unit just like a camera, and you’re good to go. Of course, because you can’t actually access the phone from the VR kit (other than a quick tap on the back to re-center the screen), you need to set a game or experience up ahead of time. Because modern VR is in its infancy on mobile devices, all you’re going to really get is a limited amount of virtual videos, and some rudimentary, almost tech demo-like games. On iOS this selection ranges from a zombie shootout simulator to a battleship game, putting players into a gunner seat. There’s a Noon VR app with a great UI that’scompatiblewith the kit, but right now it’s rather quaint with random videos.

The controls (all motion) are pretty much perfect. There’s no separate controller or device to use — one just moves their head to aim or select UI options. It probably sounds wacky to some of you who haven’t tried VR yet, but it’s very comfortable, and you can play it anywhere. Even after some lengthy sessions my neck didn’t feel cramped in the slightest, as the sensitivity feels spot on — you don’t need to jerk your head or move it too far.There are a number of 360 degree experiences (playing on a swivel chair is fun), but most games only require you to use 180 to prevent you from spinning around too often.

While I did enjoy my time with Noon VR, the main shortcoming beyond the limited selection of games is the tech itself. While it does display VR in a vibrant and clear fashion, the instructions clearly state that you shouldn’t play more than 30 minutes at a time. Although it makes sense, other kits (most of which aren’t out yet) don’t have this restriction. Even if I wasn’t doing this full-time I’d game at least a few hours a day, and this would be a major holdup for me once more titles hit the market that were worth playing.

VR is really interesting. I have no idea what the future will hold, what device porn will choose to win, who will come out on top, and who will have wasted millions in R&D. It’s like the console wars all over again, and it’s exciting for everyone but my wallet.