Homido Review

Pros

  • Robust design
  • Compatible with a variety of devices
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Limited game/app selection
  • No interaction options
  • Expensive

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £59.99

What is the Homido?

When we refer to virtual reality, it’s likely that Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Project Morpheus are first to spring to mind. At a push the Samsung Gear VR might even enter your thoughts. One device we’re pretty sure that you won’t recall is the Homido.
 
It’s

basically a superior version of Google Cardboard, the search giant’s

low-cost VR platform designed to work with a fold-out cardboard mount.

The Homido is made of plastic, and as a result is far more studier – and

more comfortable to use.
 
The premise is exactly the same,

however. You slot your smartphone into a dedicated space at the front

and place the Homido on your head. This allows you to view VR content on

your phone through the device’s lenses.
 
Aside from the material

from which it is made, the other notable difference between the Homido

and Google Cardboard is the price. The Homido costs £59.99, whereas you

can pick up the Cardboard for as little as £10.

So is it worth spending the extra dosh for what is, essentially, a premium version of the Google Cardboard?

Homido 1

Homido – Design

The

Homido’s design is it’s defining quality. It’s made from a sturdy

plastic that has a matte finish, which gives it a premium feel. Around

the rear of the headset you’ll find a soft foam cushion that sits

between your eyes and the headset, which makes it comfortable to wear

for longer periods of time. This cushion can be removed and replaced if

it becomes worn over time – although you get only the one in the box.

Out

of the box, the Homido has a single strap attached that holds the

headset onto your head. However, a second strap is included too, which

runs from the top of the headset to the back of the headband. We advise

that you use this; the Homido is far more comfortable with the second

band in place, which stops the unit slipping down your nose when you

begin to move around.

SEE ALSO: Best Google Cardboard apps 2015

Homido 9
The

issue with the Homido’s design is that. like Google Cardboard, it’s

impossible to use if you require glasses – unless they’re particularly

slim and narrow. I tried it with some heavy-rimmed, “nerd-esque” specs

and found the headset couldn’t accommodate the rims within the trim.
 
However,

the Homido does have interchangeable lenses that should compensate for

your specs. They’re available in three variations: near-sighted,

far-sighted and normal vision. Just switch out the lenses for the ones

that feel most comfortable for you.
 
This is easily done too:

simply hook a finger under the rubber rims of the lenses and they’ll

easily pop off in order for you to swap them over.
 
Two bright

red knobs and a red slider on the headset allow you to alter image

quality. Turning the knobs on each side of the headset together changes

the distance between your eyes and the lenses. The slider on the top of

the headset is for adjusting the interpupillary distance; making sure

the lenses correspond to the distance between your eyes.

SEE ALSO: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Homido 23
One

of the most important design elements of the Homido is the large

plastic smartphone clip on the front of the unit. Unlike devices such as

the Samsung Gear VR, this feature allows the Homido to be compatible

with a range of devices, both Android and iOS.
 
The unit can

comfortably accommodate smartphones with screen sizes between 4 and

5.7in, but the company recommends you use a 5in display for the optimum

experience. However, whatever size you opt for – we tried it with an

iPhone 6, Google Nexus 5 and iPhone 6 Plus – the sturdy clip holds the

handset securely in place.

SEE ALSO: Oculus Rift vs Project Morpheus

Homido 17

Homido – Games and Performance

A

search around the App Store and Google Play reveals a good selection of

VR apps available. However, Homido attempts to make things easier for

you.
 
You can download two apps called Homido Center and Homido Player to kickstart your virtual-reality experience.
 
The

Homido Player allows you to watch 360-degree videos from YouTube,

iTunes and elsewhere. Of course, it doesn’t come with any videos itself,

so you’ll have to search them out online or buy some. Thankfully, the

internet browser within the Player app provides direct links to

360-degree video content on YouTube. However, it doesn’t yet feature

many interesting ones.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft HoloLens vs Oculus Rift

Homido Player
Within

the Homido Center is a selection of games and experiences – such as

virtual-reality movie trailers – that you can download and install

directly to your phone.
 
Sadly, we can recommend only a few – head over to our pick of the best Google Cardboard games to find out which they are – and you’ll probably only ever play them once or twice due to their nature.
 
Hopefully

this will improve with time, as developers realise the potential for

products such as the Homido. There are certainly a greater number

available on Android than iOS, thanks to the interest in Google

Cardboard when it was first released. Nevertheless, the number of VR

games still make up a tiny percentage of the total games on either app

store.

SEE ALSO: Best Games 2015

Homido Centre
There’s

also another issue with the Homido. Headsets such as Google Cardboard

and the Samsung Gear VR feature a touch-sensitive button on the side

that enables you to interact with the games – connecting to your

smartphone via NFC or Bluetooth.
 
The Homido has no such input,

however, so you might find that some of the VR games on Android and iOS

are unplayable. To get around this, you’ll need to purchase a Bluetooth

controller such as the Mad Catz C.T.R.L R to interact with your

smartphone without touching the screen. Homido has its own Bluetooth

gamepad, which retails for a fairly inexpensive €19.99 (around £15), but

it’s compatible with only Android.
 
This isn’t an ideal solution

either way, and it’s quite a stumbling block for those who have forked

out £60 for the headset only to find that half the available games

aren’t compatible with it.
Homido 5

Should I buy?

Devices

such as the Homido are a little like remote control helicopters. You

buy them on a whim, expecting to get weeks of fun out of them – but the

reality is that you’ll use them once and then they’ll sit in a cupboard

gathering dust, occasionally re-emerging as a party piece.
 
If you want your first taste of VR with a dedicated headset that doesn’t cost the earth then you could do worse than the Homido.
 
For

£10, however, you can pick up Google Cardboard, which may lack the

Homido’s premium design but you get a better device for a lot less

money.

Verdict

It’s a good VR effort, but the inflated price

and lack of input button make the Homido a one trick pony.

You can only be a bystander in VR for so long.

Score