Take a look at our DPVR E3 4K Gaming Combo VR headset review. This is an entry level VR system from Chinese company Deepoon.
Chinese company Deepoon or DPVR rests itself at the lower-end spectrum of VR headsets with several under its wings. We tried the recently released VR E3 4K Gaming Combo headset which incorporates NOLO tracking and boasts an impressive 4K screen. However, we find the headset sits in a very unusal place right now, not only because it can’t compete with the likes of Valve Index at the top of the scale but also it’s going head-to-head with accomplished devices such as the Oculus Rift S. With that in mind then is it worth the investment?
After using the headset we can honestly say not at this time given the competition. There are simply too many negatives which makes this not worthwhile outside of its native China. If reasonably priced entry level systems like the Rift S didn’t exist then maybe but in the west that’s not an issue.
Looking at the headset and the first thing you notice is how light it is. That’s very good. However, it comes with a fairly long cable which comprises of a HDMI and three USB connections. On the top of the headset you have another connector to attach the NOLO tracking sensor and further jack socket for headphones. So that’s quite the combination of wires which aside from being quite fiddly adds to the weight.
Setting it all up is fairly easy. Download the software from the Deepoon website, install and then attach all the relevant cables. Once the software is up and running you can then set up the single NOLO basestation and configure that to pair with the two controllers and headset. Again, this is an easy process and a case of holding down micro-buttons on the controllers to pair them up. Without reading too much from the enclosed instruction and aside from the very slow download speed for the software you can set everything up within 10 minutes or less which isn’t bad at all.
The headset offers a sleek grey/black design which looks great on the outside but doesn’t offer much practicality in terms of comfort. Although this is entirely subjective depending on the shape and size of your head. It comes with a comfy faux leather removable face-foam which is good for a quick wipe if sharing with others. When placed on your head the only movement is a sliding side-strap akin to the original Oculus Rift and a top strap to loosen or tighten. A padded area at the back prevents any digging in to the back of the head. Basically, the headset clamps onto your head with a vice-like grip and whilst reasonably comfortable because of the very low weight it brings its own set of problems as a result. It’s a very rigid design with no quality-of-life knobs or adjustments to suit a variety of head shapes which is a shame. The front rubber might start to irritate over a prolonged period of use.
Once inside the headset and using something like Steam VR to test things out it’s instantly clear the 4K screen is very impressive. It practically eliminates any screen door effect and offers a pleasantly sharp image. This is good for adult VR options and movie viewing. However, the default eye distance to screen made the image a little too blurry for us and needed pulling away from the face slightly to feel properly in focus. This wasn’t possible and would need additional padding for it to work such is the design of the headset not allowing the strap to be locked in position to suit the user. No mechanical IPD adjustment either to aid this. With a very narrow field of view as well, pulling the headset further away increased the goggle effect. We also found the 3D depth to not be as good either but perhaps this is due to the eye distance to screen or incorrect IPD setting (we couldn’t find a way to adjust this in the software).
The LCD screen looks quite dull as well with a much lower lumen output compared to other headsets, even with the software allowing users to change the brightness. At its maximum it’s quite low which in turn means the colours also don’t really pop. The black levels are as you would expect from an LCD display which can’t compete with OLED. That said, the eyes acclimatise but it’s when you switch to another headset you instantly notice the dim display.
Perhaps the biggest issue we found was with some slight ghosting when moving ones head from side-to-side at speed and the issue of the world moving with you slightly as you move your head around. This obviously is dependant on the types of games played. In Project Cars 2 for example, the stationary position in the vehicle mitigated this effect. Lucky’s Tale for example exacerbated the world moving as you turned your head.
The NOLO tracking seems to work pretty well aside from the occasional stutter. We ran into some compatibility issues with certain games as well due to the controller configuration. The small controllers fit snugly in ones hand but use the same touchpad function of the Vive Wands. Steam VR recognises the controllers, but some fiddling with the steam settings might be required for some games. The controllers are quite basic and not in the same league as the Oculus Touch or Valve knuckles. A shame then, these haven’t been replaced for this product. It’s best to describe them and the tracking in general as functional.
The Deepoon software offers its own set of options for setting up the headset but does come with a few neat built in features. At the touch of a button you can switch to a desktop view, movie theatre or game screen. The headset also tracks some other things like calories burnt which is quite unique. However, there is a reliance on using Steam VR as the main gateway to your entertainment with which the headset works well. Again it’s a no-nonsense offering here that offers a functional system to work with.
The Deepoon VR E3 4K headset comes as an interesting prospect in such a competitive market now. It’s perhaps better suited for entry-level or enterprise users in its native China. The overall VR experience frankly isn’t as good as its peers and even if the price of the unit comes in much lower, it can’t compete on any level aside from the pleasant 4K screen but as mentioned this isn’t flawless. As an entry-level system to get a taste of what PC VR is like or media viewing then sure for some people this might look appealing. It’s fairly easy to set-up but lacking in options to get the comfort right for all head shapes. Therefore with more established headsets on the market in the west this is a hard sell and not easy to recommend, if at all. If there were no other headsets available then this might be worth a look. It seems to us that this headset is too far behind the curve to be of any merit all things considered. In our view it’s in need of a complete redesign to get it up-to-speed with what is current in western markets.