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Merge VR Review

This relatively inexpensive headset designed for kids is compatible with many different types of phones
Merge VR
Best Buy Award
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Price:   $50 List | $50 at Amazon
Pros:  Super easy to set up, very user-friendly
Cons:  Not very interactive
Manufacturer:   Merge
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Sep 21, 2017
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49
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 10
  • Interactiveness - 35% 2
  • Visual Immersiveness - 20% 5
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • User Friendliness - 15% 7
  • Ease of Setup - 10% 9

Our Verdict

If you are searching for a budget VR headset that is comfortable enough for frequent use, then look no further than the Merge VR. This headset is designed particularly with kids in mind, with its soft foam material making it particular unbreakable. There are a handful of accessories available for this product, to even further increase the gaming fun. It's not the best headset around, but it's a good choice for a budget headset that works with Android and iPhone and is a little more durable and comfortable than the Google Cardboard.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Merge VR
This Product
Merge VR
Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $50 List
$49.99 at Amazon
$300 List$400 List
$299.00 at Amazon
$899 List
$899 at Amazon
$500 List
$410.00 at Amazon
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Pros Super easy to set up, very user-friendlyVersatile, easy to use, very immersiveExceptional image quality, super comfortable, very user-friendlyHighly interactive, very immersive, easy to useExceptionally visually immersive, very user friendly, highly interactive
Cons Not very interactiveCould be a little more comfortableTether can be finickyCould be more comfortable, can be hard to set upNot super comfortable, only works with PlayStation
Bottom Line The Merge VR was relatively unremarkable in our test, but it is quite durableAll in all, this is one of our all-time favorite VR products and we highly recommend it to anyone who wants the best of the bestThis is one of our all-time favorite headsets and we think it’s one of the best overall VR products currently out thereImmersive, interactive, and very user-friendly, we are highly impressed with this top-notch headsetOffering an exceptional gaming and VR media experience, the PlayStation VR is a fantastic choice, as long as you already own a PS4
Rating Categories Merge VR Oculus Quest 2 Oculus Rift S HTC Vive Cosmos... PlayStation VR
Interactiveness (35%)
2
8
7
9
7
Visual Immersiveness (20%)
5
9
9
9
8
Comfort (20%)
6
6
8
6
6
User Friendliness (15%)
7
9
9
8
8
Ease Of Setup (10%)
9
9
8
4
7
Specs Merge VR Oculus Quest 2 Oculus Rift S HTC Vive Cosmos... PlayStation VR
Phones that fit iPhone 6 and newer, Galaxy S5 and newer, HTC One M8 and newer, LG G4 and newer. Compatible with most iOS and Android devices from the last 2 years and fits iPhone 5 to iPhone 6 Plus in size. N/A N/A N/A N/A
Adjustable Lenses Only side to side Slight IPD Only side to side Only side to side No, need to move the headset around
Sound Phone Integrated Integrated Integrated Headphone Jack or TV
Available Controllers / Remotes Yes, Merge Cube Yes Yes Yes Yes
Field of View 95 92 110 110 100
Refresh Rate N/A 72Hz, 80Hz, 90Hz 80Hz 90Hz 120Hz, 90Hz
Room For Glasses? Less snug than Bnext Glasses get pressed against the face Presses, even with glasses spacer Glasses get pressed against the face - Fits fine with glasses, but lets in a lot more light

Our Analysis and Test Results

This headset is relatively unremarkable compared to the rest of the headsets in the group, only excelling as being one of the easiest headsets to set up overall and is one of our favorite smartphone options.

The Merge VR.
The Merge VR.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


To determine which VR headsets are worthy of our recommendations, we bought the best models on the market at the moment and put them through an exhaustive series of head-to-head tests, dividing theses evaluations among five weighted rating metric. The results of the Merge for these metrics are explained in the following sections.

Not having a rigid place to put your face made it comfortable for...
Not having a rigid place to put your face made it comfortable for most people even with glasses.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Interactiveness


Earning the most weight out of any rating metric, Interactiveness accounts for 35% of the final score for each product. We based the score on how easy it is to interact with the headset and the accuracy of the motion tracking. The Merge VR didn't perform terribly well in this metric, meriting a 2 out of 10 — one of the lowest scores out of the entire group.

The Merge didn't have a terribly good way of interacting with the device, only having two buttons on top of the headset — similar to the Google Cardboard.

A button used to interact with the screen or slide from side to side...
A button used to interact with the screen or slide from side to side to adjust the lens width.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

The Merge tracks your gaze as you look around your VR environment, but like the other mobile VR headsets, it does not take into account your movement throughout the room. This motion tracking relies on the internal sensors of your smartphone, putting it on par with the Daydream, Gear VR, or Google Cardboard. However, the lack of any hand controls did hurt the Merge in this metric, dropping its score substantially.

The Merge proving that VR is not a fashion statement.
The Merge proving that VR is not a fashion statement.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Visual Immersiveness


Ranking next in terms of importance, our Visual Immersiveness metric takes credit for 30% of the final score. The Merge's performance improved slightly in this metric, earning a 5 out of 10. This score is based on the sharpness and overall quality of the image shown, the field of view, and if the headset suitably blocked out ambient light.

The Merge has a decent field of view, wider than the Daydream View or the Google Cardboard, but narrower than the HTC Vive or the Gear VR. It does feel slightly more zoomed in than other models when comparing test images side-by-side.

This carried over into our assessment of the overall image quality, costing the Merge a few points as the image would appear to be slightly distorted when compared to the other models in the group. We found it to be slightly worse than the Cardboard, but better than the Bnext. However, the Merge did do a great job of blocking ambient light, only letting in a little light through the ventilation slits.

The Merge was decently comfortable, but the material it is made out...
The Merge was decently comfortable, but the material it is made out of felt a little sticky after wearing it for awhile.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Comfort


Our Comfort metric, accounting for 20% of the overall score, consisted of evaluating if it is possible to wear glasses with each headset, whether or not your face would get sweaty after long periods of use, and if the headset is comfortable, even after prolonged use. The Merge delivered a decent performance, meriting a 6 out of 10 for its showing.

The Merge is exceptionally comfortable, with its soft and pliable construction, but couldn't quite match the Gear VR. There is plenty of room to wear glasses, on par with the HTC Vive, with only a few issues with exceptionally large-framed spectacles. However, this headset is the least breathable of the bunch and can definitely cause your face to get decently sweaty after longer periods of use, even with its ventilation slits.

The Merge is user friendly.
The Merge is user friendly.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness


Comprising 15% of the total score, our User Friendliness metric assessed each headset on how much work it took to get your smartphone set up in it, whether or not you are prone to inadvertently pressing buttons or if you have to remove the case from your phone to install it in the headset, and the amount of difficulty in attaching headphones. The Merge did very well in this metric, earning a 7 out of 10 for its top performance.

The Merge provides plenty of space to easily reach the headphone jack for most smartphones, making it a breeze to connect. It is also one of the easiest headsets to install a mobile phone into, simply sliding it in from the top.

Very easy to slip your phone inside. The flexible material allowed...
Very easy to slip your phone inside. The flexible material allowed phones with cases to fit easily.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

We also had zero issues with buttons being pressed accidentally, but it is slightly more likely to occur than the Gear VR, due to the method the phone is supported. There is also plenty of room your case to remain on the phone when using it in this headset.

The Merge is very easy to put on.
The Merge is very easy to put on.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Ease of Setup


Our fifth and final metric, Ease of Setup, accounts for the remaining 10% of the overall score. We based this on the amount of work it took to set up the hardware, configure the software, and the system requirements to make the VR system run properly. The Merge did extremely well, earning a 9 out of 10 for its superbly easy setup.

It is only necessary to remove the Merge from its packaging and adjust the lenses to get the hardware ready to go. Once that is completed, all that remains is to download the Google Cardboard mobile app and you are finished. This headset works with all Cardboard-compatible phones — a much larger group of phones than the Google Daydream or the Gear VR.

Value


The Merge is an alright value, as it is the best discount headset for frequent use.

Conclusion


The Merge is a great option when shopping for kids and teens or if you are looking for an inexpensive VR headset that is still comfortable enough to wear for longer periods of time. This headset has a wider range of compatible phones and is the best VR headset that we have tested that is compatible with iPhones.

David Wise and Austin Palmer