If you haven’t heard of Google Cardboard, you’re either living in a cave, or you’re just not quite as nerdy as some of us. Whichever it is, Cardboard is kind of cool, but one thing that the viewers have lacked thus far is a cool way to hold them to your head without having to use your hands. For just $15, as you can see above, that problem has now been solved, with Kmart marketing a $15 pair of 3D VR glasses which are compatible with Google’s Cardboard specification.
Though they don’t officially go on sale for a day or two yet, we managed to find a pair in our local Kmart, and there’s plenty on the shelves. You’ll find them in the AV section — near mobiles, tablets, and video games — and they come in a fairly non-descript box the size of a box of tissues. Once you pay for them, get them home and unpack them, you’ll find a plastic arrangement inside that’s fully compatible with Cardboard, though sadly there’s no QR code to fine-tune the VR viewing experience.
We tried these goggles with the Samsung Galaxy S6, and they worked first time without a hitch, and there’s even a magnetic button on the bottom of the glasses to allow you to interact with various compatible apps. There’s really only two criticisms I have, and considering these are $15 glasses, they’re really not major issues – the first is that you can’t tune your Cardboard apps to the glasses, which means depending on your handset, you could be ever-so-slightly out of focus, leading to significant eye-strain if you use them for too long in one go. The second issue is that the phone isn’t held in all that securely; unlike Google’s Cardboard which sandwiches the phone in quite firmly between cardboard layers, Kmart’s glasses hold the phone in place with soft foam inserts and a bit of pressure from the case itself; this works fine, but it makes it a bit tricky to align the phone perfectly.
After a couple of tries, we figured it out, and you will too. I’m not sure that you’ll be making the same facial expressions as the chap in the promo material … unless you’re accompanying them with “Argh, my eyes hurt!” because you’ve used the glasses for too long … but they’re definitely a bit of fun, and the built in head-strap means you can enjoy your VR experiences 100% hands free.
Kmart probably won’t be selling them for long, so if you’re keen, best head down there soon!
Ed. Sorry the photos are so dark, it’s very dark in the office this evening!