AuraVisor has come along to steal the virtual reality crown from the competition by offering totally wireless immersion.
The VR headset is a crowd-funded project initially and will sell for £300 when at full price. That gets you 1080p screens, built in battery and the Android operating system.
The OS part is key as that means it'll arrive with plenty of VR content. It'll also be able to act as a screen for viewing movies, Netflix, console gaming and more.
We strapped on the headset to see if Oculus Rift and Morpheus are in for some competition.
Display quality is high
Baring in mind this was a prototype headset, the screens were impressive. They were far better than the original Oculus and on a par with the current model. Using two 5-inch 1080p displays the view is either total immersion or the equivalent of watching a large screen.
In the model we used the depth dials on either side didn't appear to have much effect and as a result depth was blurry. But apparently the final model will have different dials so this shouldn't be as much of an issue. There's also an ability to adjust the actual screens so they sit ideally to suit anyone's eyes – this really helped get the image clear.
Playback, on 360-degree video, games and movies were all lag-free even with fast head movements.
The headset is silly light
The first thing to shock us when we took hold of the AuraVisor was its weight. There was none. It's super light, despite cramming in a battery and connectivity ports.
The current design has a plastic nose bridge and the battery is low in the unit which results in a bit of a sore nose after a while, despite being light. The final model, we're assured, will have nose padding and a moved battery so the weight is held on the head rather than the nose.
The final version will also feature a foam that's removable so different people can use it without having the same, potentially sweaty, padding as another. The current model has a leather finish which got warm but the final one will be breathable.
Connectivity is great
While the unit itself is wireless and can load content from a microSD, there is also an HDMI port allowing it to be used with consoles or Blu-ray players making it double as a TV. It'll even create virtual 3D on normal 2D content.
The device charges via micro USB and even features the ports on the front so there will be add-on charging blocks that clip in. These will be stretch goals though.
While the model we tried had a 3.5mm audio jack for headphones the final model will have Bluetooth for wireless headphones and feature bone conduction audio built-in. Since it's the same developers as the Headbones bone conduction headphones these should be decent.
A computer is onboard
The headset actually features a computer system running Android for direct content playback. This also means it'll be future-proof for updates and works with Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services.
It also supports Android gaming, we tried a zombie shooter which lets you aim with your head position. It was so immersive we didn't want to stop – much better than your average Android game.
The company says it will support Unity, Unreal Engine and Cryengine gaming engine support.
The headset also ships with a Bluetooth connected controller that should make Android gaming an easily accessible option for everyone.
Battery life is plentiful
You'd expect a headset with this much going on to die after a few hours. It'll manage a solid five hours of video playback or gaming, with full virtual reality immersion going for three hours.
The headset can be plugged into via a micro USB charger for constant use. This also means it works with any portable charger allowing for even longer mobile use.
Overall we left the experience excited. While the prototype had a few issues with focus and comfort it's clear this is going to be a decent virtual reality option.
The key here is that it'll be affordable at £300. That is essentially buying a VR headset and TV all in one, for movies, TV, gaming and virtual reality experiences.
Competition from Oculus Rift or Sony Morpheus are still pricey or don't have enough content, if available at all.
Could the AuraVisor get into homes first? It's clearer than Samsung's Gear VR or Google Carboard and means HDMI gaming connectivity ease, so we're excited about this headset's future.