There are two types of virtual reality headsets on the market these days: expensive accessories for a PC or game console, like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and upcoming PlayStation VR, and cheap headsets that let you strap a phone to your face to experience VR on your phone screen.
But we’re starting to see a third option: all-in-one devices that don’t use a phone or PC… but which are largely similar to the phone-based systems like Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR.
For example, the DeePoon M2 has everything you need for a VR experience built into the contraption you strap to your head. But it basically has the guts of a powerful smartphone… which makes me wonder whether there’s a future for this type of device.
The Deepoon M2 is powered by a Samsung Exynos 7420 processor, which is an octa-core chip with four ARM Cortex-A57 and four ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores and ARM Mali-T760MP8 graphics.
It has a 2560 x 1440 pixel display and you can adjust the focus so that the screen can be viewed comfortably.
Other features include 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, and a 3,000 mAh battery.
Speaking of pre-orders, you can place one for $619. That makes this headset a lot more expensive than a Samsung Gear VR… but cheaper than the price of a Gear VR headset and a Samsung smartphone with similar specs. And while the Deepoon M2 is priced about the same as an Oculus Rift headset, Deepoon’s model doesn’t require a $1000 PC to be useful.
That said, the Deepoon M2 doesn’t have all the features you get with a a PC-based system. It doesn’t support motion tracking for a full-room VR experience, for example.
The question I have, is whether it makes any sense to buy a VR headset with phone-like specs when you probably already have a smartphone that can serve the same purpose. You can find phone-cradling headsets for between $5 and $100.