Carl Zeiss may not be the first company which springs to mind when thinking about virtual reality equipment, but that hasn’t stopped the famed optics firm from putting its name on the VR-One, a brand new virtual reality headset. It works in a similar way to Samsung’s Gear VR, in that it uses your smartphone to create the VR world in front of your eyes.
The headset uses a clever slide-in tray system to adapt several phones for use inside the device. At the moment, a tray for the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S5 are available, but we’re promised more will come in the future. Phones with screen sizes between 4.7-inches and 5.3-inches are all possible candidates.
No specific technical specs for the VR-One have been released at the time of writing, but we do know the headset will be compatible with existing virtual and augmented reality apps, and will play 3D media content from YouTube and Google. A pair of apps for viewing and converting video and images over for use on the VR-One will come pre-installed. Carl Zeiss has already released a software development kit for its own AR Cube system, which powers the VR-One, so more content should be coming in the future.
Unlike VR equipment such as the Oculus Rift, the VR-One’s brains are provided by your phone, which keeps the cost of the headset down. Pre-orders are open now, and it’s priced at $135, or 100 euros, including an adapter tray of your choice. This compares favorably with the expected $200 price tag attached to the Gear VR, which also only works with the Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. The good news is, the VR-One should start shipping before Christmas, and with the Zeiss name attached, the all-important lenses should be of the best quality.