Xiaomi Mi VR Headset In-depth Review | Is It Worth to Buy?

It looks like any product from Xiaomi is becoming focus of attention. Like the Xiaomi Mi VR Headset that grabbed lots of attention last week, it also raises lots of questions out of curiosity.

In this article, we will give a full 360-degree experience of the Xiaomi Mi VR headset, and we will answer some of the questions raised by our friends online.

How much is it? Does it work with my cell phone?

Does it work only with Mi 5 Standard Edition (3+32 GB)? Or does it work with other phones?

Does it work with iPhone 6?

I just want to know the price of Xiaomi headset!! And how much is it?

The Mi VR headset is priced at 199 Yuan, a price that looks little expensive compared to the 49 Yuan Mi VR headset (Toy Edition). However, price tag of 199 Yuan is still a low price in VR headset segment, and it looks like this product is also in line with the high-performance cost route of Xiaomi.

Mi VR headset Toy Edition (left) and Xiaomi headset Official Edition (right)

In the press conference at the launch event, Xiaomi has announced that the Mi VR headset (Official Edition) will work with Mi 5/5s/5s Plus/Note 2 phones. This is similar to the Samsung Gear VR that can work only with some Samsung’s phones. It looks like Xiaomi and Huawei’s are following the same idea for their VR headset. This offers technical advantage as software and hardware integration will be better and will be easier to optimize the hardware to software level. However, for consumers who use other brands mobile phone, this is adrift. Sellers’ market or buyers’ market? We will have to watch the market as it unfolds.

Design: It looks like PlayStation VR, and functions like Samsung Gear VR

Ever since the release of Mi VR headset (Official Edition), many have expressed that the appearance looks like PlayStation VR. However, in this review, we won’t discuss the similarities in appearance, but interested focus on the functional aspects.

In this section, we will focus on some functional design of hardware.

As mentioned above, Mi VR headset (Official Edition) is compatible with some Xiaomi’s Mi phones, just like Samsung Gear VR is compatible with some Samsung phones. The Xiaomi headset comes with a connection to the mobile phone interface, and the design of the interface like Gear VR. There are two gears to adjust to different sizes of phones. And there is a Type – C USB interface to connect to the mobile phone.

There is a proximity sensor in the middle of the two lenses, when the Mi headset is not in use, it turns off the display automatically, thus saving power. The top of the glasses also has a focal length adjustment roller to adjust the focus.

Adjustment roller and button

Compared to Samsung’s Gear VR, the Xiaomi Mi VR headset does not have a touchpad, but retains a button. This is because Mi has moved all the touchpad functions to 9-axis somatosensory handle. In fact, may Xiaomi fans welcomed this move, and find it more convenient, after all, operating with the touch panel on can be very tiring during a long game session.

The 9-axis somatosensory handle is very simple. The upper part is a touch panel. There are two buttons in the middle of the mi headset, a return key and a menu key.

We will talk more on the handle later (in this article).

Wearing experience: much more comfortable than toy version

Q: How about the weight after putting on the mobile phone?

Thanks to the headband design, which is similar to PS VR, the Mi VR headset (Official Edition) is much more comfortable than the Mi VR headset (Toy Edition).

PS VR (left) and Mi VR headset (Official Edition) (right) – Headband comparison

The predecessor, Mi VR headset (Toy Edition) uses a T-type headband design, which has the eyepiece part secured tight against your eyebrows, and the eyepiece part does not have a sponge liner either. This hard feel is very uncomfortable. However, with the Xiaomi VR headset (Official Edition), the weight of the equipment is loaded to the headband, and the eyepiece part of the basic will not pressure the eyebrows (but a little pressure is loaded the nose), plus the device itself is not heavy (the Mi VR headset Official Edition and the Mi 5 will be about 500 grams), so you will not feel any burden in wearing the device. This device can be considered as one of the most comfortable ones, when compared to other VR headset.

The PS VR has a button behind the headband that is used to adjust headband size (you have to hold the button while adjusting it), and the second half of the headband can be adjusted up and down. With Xiaomi Mi VR headset Official Edition, the eyepiece is not adjusted before wearing but done after, with the focus adjustment roller. So, it is more comforting for the users.

Display effect: 1080p screen is still too weak

User Question: What are the effects of imaging? How about caton, drag, and grain?

We used a Mi 5 (3GB /32GB version) phone with a screen resolution of 1980*1080 (1080p). Many users will ask whether such resolution is sufficient, and the Xiaomi fans definitively feel that it is not enough.

The VR display is closer to the actual viewing effect…

When we used a Mi 5 to evaluate the visual experience, the display is often appear blurred with out of focus, so we had to adjust the focal length. The other display effects are very obvious and we saw the display like a layer of yarn. Here is the screenshot, you can see the pixels seems to be like a layer of yarn.

We often refer the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR devices, which runs a resolution of 2160 * 1200 (thus providing 1080 * 1200 for each eye). In these VR headsets, we see the display is clear, and also can see the pixel point unambiguously. Since the screen of the mobile phone with VR headset will have resolution divided into two halves, and with the lens that will magnify the pixels of the screen, a VR with 1080p screen like that of Mi VR headset (Official Edition)is definitely not enough.

User Question: The current Xiaomi Mi phones have no 2k screen it?

In the Xiaomi VR headset Official Version is made for new Xiaomi mobile phones, which do not have the 2K resolution display. So the display performance is somewhat lagging.

User Question: It is reported that the Mi VR headset Toy Version causes dizziness. How is so in the Mi VR headset Official Version? Will it cause dizziness?

Many people wearing VR glasses may experience dizziness, which is the same with every other 3D or panoramic display devices. Some users mentioned that they have experienced dizziness with Xiaomi VR headset Toy Version. However, Xiaomi fans says that thought dizziness it normal with Toy Version, they haven’t experienced dizziness with the Mi VR Headset Official Version.

Too dizzy…

However, in some somatosensory games that swing your head movement towards left and right, does cause dizziness to the users. This is mainly because of the game design, with the physical world remaining motionless, but the characters in the game move, causing dizziness.

Content experience: not much of an advantage

Users Question: I want to know which content app (for Mi VR headset) has a lot of fun.

At the launch event unveiling the MIUI VR, Xiaomi said that it has worked with a number of content providers. Many Xiaomi fans realize that the applications and games, are around 50, and most of the content are basic video platform, or other basic types of applications. The games are also commonly available games, which exist in other VR content platforms.

Overall, the MIUI VR interactive experience is good, the Xiaomi phones when used with Mi VR headset, will automatically turn to the VR perspective. If the VR begins to download an update or a content, and if the phone is disconnected in half-way, the Mi VR headset’ application will continue to download, which seems to be a nice feature.

Somatosensory accessory: Accuracy is not great enough

User asked: The 9-axis somatosensory handle gives a powerful feel. How effective is it in actual use? Whether the screen shows the phenomenon such as self-drift and so on?

The 9-axis body somatosensory handle is Mi VR headset Official Versions’ biggest selling point, because somatosensory accessory is generally bundled with high-end VR, and for a low-end VR Glasses they are rarely provided with. So, many Xiaomi fans were highly interested in the somatosensory handle.

The handle does not move freely and sometimes skews.

The Xiaomi fans were a little disappointed when they used the somatosensory handle. In fact, the handle of Mi VR headset is high precision and provides a quick response. However, the somatosensory feature skews often and needs some time before it corrects. This is because the handle and the phone are connected via Bluetooth, and there seems to be some delay introduced with it.

Moreover, there are only a few somatosensory games in the store, four to be precise, of which only one offers support. It looks like the content providers are not taking advantage of the somatosensory handle.

Buy? Not buy?

It is a tricky question to answer, though a Xiaomi fan would have answered it even before the launch of the product.

If you are a non-Xiaomi mobile phone user, it would be advisable to consider other VR headsets which offers support for your mobile phone.

If you are a Xiaomi Mi 5/5s/5s Plus/Note 2 users, Xiaomi has indeed optimization the VR for your mobile phone, and if you want to experience VR, then Mi VR headset (Official Version) is the best choice (and the price tag of 199 Yuan is not too expensive, perhaps is a killer deal).

In fact, you would observe Xiaomi has sincerely improved the VR experience (when compared to the previous Mi VR headset Toy Edition) and in many places will appreciate the similarities with high-end VR devices (like Sony PS VR, Samsung Gear VR, Daydream somatosensory handle, etc.), though you can say that there is still much room for progress and innovation.

You may also interest in other xiaomi products review:

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