Merge VR Review
Pros: Super easy to set up, very user-friendly
Cons: Not very interactive
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$49.99 at Amazon
$299.00 at Amazon
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$26.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Super easy to set up, very user-friendly||Versatile, easy to use, very immersive||Exceptional image quality, super comfortable, very user-friendly||Inexpensive, easy to setup||Cheap, easy to set up|
|Cons||Not very interactive||Could be a little more comfortable||Tether can be finicky||Uncomfortable, not as immersive or interactive||Not interactive, not user-friendly|
|Bottom Line||This relatively inexpensive headset designed for kids is compatible with many different types of phones||If you are searching for the best of the best when it comes to VR, we think this product is hard to beat||Featuring excellent image quality, user-friendliness, and comfort, we think it's hard to go wrong with this top-notch tethered model||This bare-bones headset is the best way to experience VR on a budget||This low-cost VR headset is easy to set up, but that's the end of our praise for a product we don't recommend|
|Rating Categories||Merge VR||Oculus Quest 2||Oculus Rift S||Google Cardboard||Bnext VR|
|Visual Immersiveness (20%)|
|User Friendliness (15%)|
|Ease Of Setup (10%)|
|Specs||Merge VR||Oculus Quest 2||Oculus Rift S||Google Cardboard||Bnext 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||Most 4" to 6" phones||iPhone 5 and newer, Galaxy S5 and Note 4 and newer, Google Pixel and other 4" to 6" phones|
|Adjustable Lenses||Only side to side||Slight IPD||Only side to side||No, need to move the headset around||Lenses slide left/right and back/forth|
|Available Controllers / Remotes||Yes, Merge Cube||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Field of View||95||92||110||90||100|
|Refresh Rate||N/A||72Hz, 80Hz, 90Hz||80Hz||N/A||N/A|
|Room For Glasses?||Less snug than Bnext||Glasses get pressed against the face||Presses, even with glasses spacer||Less snug than the Merge VR||Snug|
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.
We based the score of this metric 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, receiving 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. This tracks with most devices that require the insertion of a phone.
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, which limits the interactiveness of the device compared to higher-end VR headsets. The lack of any hand controls did hurt the Merge in this metric, dropping its score substantially.
The Merge's performance improved slightly in this metric. 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. 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. The Merge did do a great job of blocking ambient light, only letting in a little light through the ventilation slits.
Our Comfort metric 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.
The Merge is exceptionally comfortable, with its soft and pliable construction. There is plenty of room to wear glasses, with only a few issues with exceptionally large-framed spectacles. However, this headset is the least breathable of the bunch and can cause your face to get sweaty after longer periods of use, even with its ventilation slits.
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,
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.
We also had zero issues with buttons being pressed accidentally. There is also plenty of room for your case to remain on the phone when using it in this headset.
Ease of Setup
We based Ease of Setup assessments 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 here.
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 desired app(s) from the Merge Miniverse and you are finished. This headset works with all Cardboard-compatible phones.
The Merge is an alright value, as it is the best discount headset for frequent use.
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. 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