LG Electronics has today made the VR for G3 virtual reality headset available in Australia. The headset is free though there are only a limited number being made available Down Under.
Working only with the LG G3 smartphone, the VR for G3 allows users to explore the inchoate world of headset-based virtual reality. The entertainment potential from these headsets, as well as their saleable viability, is yet to be fully realised, but they certainly present and exciting new frontier for consumer electronics. They can be used for immersing oneself in documentary footage, like going on safari in Africa or swimming the Great Barrier Reef; for enhanced gameplay; or simply to escape the monotony of our daily lives.
Unlike rival Samsung, which is charging RRP $249 for its Gear VR headset, LG is making its VR for G3 unit free for existing G3 warranty holders (provided they have signed up), Facebook competition winners and the first 500 new purchasers through Optus. Being free, however, naturally means there is a trade-off, and in this case it appears to be build quality. While Samsung’s is being designed and manufactured in partnership with Oculus, a vanguard of VR with its Rift headset, LG has opted for a Google Cardboard-style lo-fi headset, which “has a stylish design built with durable plastic”.
“The VR for G3 has a unique design that not only leverages the G3’s signature Rear Key but also takes full advantage of the smartphone’s 1-watt speaker with Boost AMP,” an LG spokesperson told me. “So whilst the visuals drag you into a virtual world the accompanying sound will aid to completely immerse you in the rollercoaster or Wild West shootout, or whatever scenario you choose from the host of VR apps on Google Play.”
Dealers and consumers should note that the VR for G3 headset, as the name suggests, will only work with the LG G3 handset. The smartphone actually slips into the headset, providing the grunt, visuals and audio, while the headset is more a facilitator of the virtual reality.
An LG spokesperson told me there is no option to purchase the headset and that they was currently no visibility on how many units were available in Australia.