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LG 360 VR review – hands on with the G5-compatible headset

LG 360 VR

LG's 360 VR headset is light and sleek but we didn't find it as immersive as we hoped

We had a very brief go with LG’s new 360 VR goggles at the phone’s launch event at MWC on Sunday, but we didn’t have enough time with it to come to a definitive conclusion. Now in the cold light of day with the hype and excitement of LG’s press conference a distant memory, I returned to LG’s still bustling stand to give the headset a proper once over. Things don’t look good.

All of our MWC 2016 coverage in one place

First, the technical info. The 360 VR consists of two 960×760 pixel panels behind two separate lenses. Unlike the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, the phone doesn’t slot into the goggles at all and the screens are an entirely separate entity. This means the phone remains in your hands, connected via the LG G5‘s USB-C port.

LG 360 VR side

Image quality is extremely poor. Not only is the resolution really not high enough, there’s perceptible lag between your head movement and the action appearing on screen. Even worse, the image produced is jerky and the whole thing looks to run at about 20fps. This makes for a semi-nausea-inducing experience. The fitting isn’t particularly tight either, and you can quite easily see things going on in your peripheral vision, which rather dampens the whole VR feeling.
LG 360 VR lenses

If you can get past all of that, there’s some potential. The headset is light and comfortable thanks to the lack of a slab of smartphone being attached to the front of it. The user interface is controlled via a pair of buttons on the top, one for going back and one for selecting what’s on screen.
LG G5 360 VR being worn

Slip on the headset and you’re greeted by a fairly simple set of menus. It’s impossible to take photos through the lenses so you’ll have to use your imagination in conjunction with my words. Point your head towards the button you want to press and tap on the select button atop the device.|
LG 360 VR button

You can open up various apps and experiences from here, or select photos you took with the 360 Cam accessory. The demonstration software is hardly enthralling, with LG’s representatives suggesting either a ‘home theatre’ or ‘cinema’ experience. I thought this would mean something immersive, but it actually meant sitting in a virtual living room on a virtual sofa watching an LG G5 commercial. Not at all thrilling.

LG says the headset will work with other VR-compatible Android/Google Cardboard games such as Clash of Clans 360, but there was no word on any bespoke games for the device. This is concerning, and I hope LG can confirm development of future bespoke content to assure buyers that this is a long term investment and not a gimmick.

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