3 Glasses D2 Vanguard
The current Virtual Reality market is over-flooding with so many different Head Mounted Devices (HMDs) that it has become a necessity to know about the product and choosing well before plunking ones hard earned cash on the table.
With China’s aggressiveness in the VR market, cheap China made VR devices have become readily available for purchase by anyone in the Western world. Brands such as Baofeng Mojing, DeePoon and BoboVR have made a name for themselves in the Chinese market. Most of these would cost half the price or even less compared to the HMDs manufactured in the West.
Enter the 3 Glasses D2 Vanguard VR headset. Priced at around 400USD, the Vanguard is a little more expensive than many China made headsets but considered as it is being sold in the West, the Vanguard is still around 200USD cheaper than the top 2 western brands.
The design is sleek and the headset comes in either streamlined white or all black. The straps provide good support for the 8.7-ounce headset that isn’t really heavy. Aside from the regular horizontal strap, a vertical one balances support holding the HMD firmly in place.
The D2 Vanguard has a 5.5-inch TFT-LCD display, with a resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 and a pixel density of 534ppi. That would be around 1080p in each eye, with a 110-degree field of view (FOV). However, unlike the top 2 brands (Vive and Oculus), the Vanguard only has around a 60 Hz refresh rate and somewhat offset by a 13-millisecond response time which definitely affects the quality of performance.
The headset however, doesn’t make use of positional tracking and doesn’t require positional cameras or Lighthouse trackers like the Oculus and Vive does. Instead, it makes use of a combination of accelerometers and angular rate sensors to be able to precisely measure head movement. The two lenses are non-spherical, and two sliders at the bottom adjusts the focus.
Also, the ports, HDMI, USB 2.0 and other connectors are located at the side of the headset and can be accessed by removing a protective panel. A circular controller is also located at the top of the headset.
Although setting up the D2 Vanguard is pretty much straightforward as far as hardware is concerned like connecting the various cables to a desktop PC which should automatically light up the LED Logo on the headsets faceplate upon power up, adjusting the performance settings in relation to the PC operating system requires more effort than usual.
First-off, the detailed setup instructions can only be accessed by viewing a YouTube video or downloading a PowerPoint file.
The D2 Vanguard currently works only with Windows 7, 8 and 10 and at present has no Apple Mac support. Also, the performance with using Windows 10 is sort of buggy and mired with a lot of technical issues. Even the set-up information given only focuses on both Windows 7 and 8.
The product uses its own specific app called the 3Linker which has to be downloaded. This manages both the software and content playback for the headset. However, after downloading the software, games and 360 Degrees video content from the 3Glasses website, you will still have to unpack them and add them manually into the Linker. Somehow, getting content to work requires a little more fiddling than usual.
As for content development, the company has its own SDK (Software Development Kit) made available to developers and the headset is also supposed to be compatible with the Oculus Rift Development Kit1(DK1).
As for availability, the company’s website provides several games and 360-degree video selections. Only 3 games where ready during the headsets initial release. ShowDown was the most awesome of the three with its super explosive action and mechanized opponent. ShooterGame was a fast paced immersive FPS game and lastly Lilith, a puzzle game of sorts. The games were played with the use of an Xbox One controller and via Mouse and Keyboard.
360-degree video content mostly featured landscape scenes in China and other nice point-of-view footages from hang-gliding to go-kart racing. Content from other VR sources may either run or not with the headset and all have to be accessed via a Windows PC. The company says that they are currently working with game developers in China and will be releasing around 8 new titles by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, regular PC games won’t work with the headset. Video would run and so would 2D content but whether they would perform well will depend and can only be verified through a trial and error process.
Overall, the headset can actually stand on its own merit though there seems to be no difference in performance as compared to the other mid-range headsets on the market. What more, the lack of compatibility and the number of content available seems to be the biggest factor in dragging the product’s viability down.
Sad to say, despite its cost-wise price as compared to both Oculus and Vive, the headset just doesn’t deliver a performance that can be at least acceptable in comparison with the two. Hopefully, if the company can fix the compatibility issues and have more content readily available, the 3 Glasses D2 Vanguard might be able to finally establish itself in the very competitive world of Virtual Reality.