The Bobo VR Z4 has been something like an insider’s tip in the mobile VR community. I finally got my hands on a unit and in this review we’ll find out why that is the case! Does the advertised 120° FOV hold true to reality? How about those built-in earphones, are they any good? Let’s check it out!
Build / Specs
When you first take the Bobo VR Z4 out of the box you will feel the big weight difference as compared to the Daydream View. Yes, the Bobo VR Z4 is quite heavy with its 400g of weight. In comparison the Daydream View only weighs 220g! My firs reaction was: “How could something that’s so heavy be comfortable?”. But rest assured. It is comfortable. More than the Daydream View. But more to that later.
The headset sports huge 42mm lenses that allow for a field of view (FOV) of 120°, a very noticeable upgrade to the Daydream View’s 90° FOV. We will get to that in the FOV section of this review.
But there is more to the optics. The Bobo VR Z4 allows for the Interpupillary Distance (IPD) to be adjusted by a wheel on top of the unit. IPD is the distance between the center of your pupils, or in laymen’s terms: how far your eyes are away from each other. It’s obviously different for every person, which makes one size fits all approaches like that of the Daydream View where you bascially cannot adjust anything not really ideal. For the Bobo VR Z4 you can adjust this distance from 58 to 68mm.
Another big advantage is the focus wheel. People who suffer from near- or farsightedness will truly appreciate that they do not need to wear their glasses with the Bobo Z4, they can simply adjust the focus wheel. For short-sightedness this will work in the 0-800° range and for far-sightedness it will work in the 0-500° range.
On top of all of that the Bobo VR Z4 also comes with built-in earphones. There is a 3.5m headphone connector in the phone compartment that you simply connect with your mobile phone.
Now that the specs are out of the way, let’s try out the Bobo VR Z4!
What do you think, which headset is more comfortable? The feather-light Daydream View which mostly consists of fabrics or the 400g Bobo VR Z4 that is made from plastic in most parts? I had given it away earlier in this review and it is quite interesting: The Bobo VR Z4 is way more comfortable than the Daydream View.
Google keeps on stressing how comfortable the Daydream View was, but that does not make it a reality. It might LOOK more comfortable, and in public I’d rather strap on the View than the Bobo VR Z4, but the reality is that the View’s parts that are in touch with the user’s face are quite thin as compared to most other headsets. Thinner touch points mean higher pressure on the wearer’s face, making it very uncomfortable for longer sessions. The fact that there is no overhead strap on the Daydream View that could pull away the weight from your face makes things worse.
In contrast, the Bobo VR Z4 comes with an overhead strap that is connected to an additonal cushion pad to distribute the weight more evenly. The headphones give the headset an additional counterweight to make it less front-heavy. Wearing the Bobo VR Z4 feels more like wearing a helmet than wearing some front-heavy diving goggles, which makes you completely forget about the weight difference of the two headsets.
The part of the headset that gets into contact to your face is made from faux leather that is soft and easy to clean. The big advantage over the Daydream View is that for the Bobo VR Z4 this part completely surrounds your face and evenly distributes pressure around the touch points, which not only makes it more comfortable but also does not allow for light leakage – a big problem of the Daydream View. Moreover, the touch areas are not as thin as those of the Daydream View. This also makes the Bobo VR Z4 more comfortable to wear than the Daydream View despite it’s heavier weight.
Can the Bobo VR Z4 live up to its bold claim of having a 120° FOV? That would be worlds apart from the Daydream View’s 90° and even of that of the Playstation VR’s 100°. So of course I made the comparison and fired up a Daydream game on the Daydream View and then changed headsets and played the same game on the Bobo Z4. Wow! A difference like night and day!
When you wear the Daydream View, you are unfortunately very conscious of those rings around your field of view. The lenses are simply smaller and the 90° field of view does take away from the immersion. Not so with the Bobo VR Z4. It feels like suddenly you are really within your virtual world, no more like you are looking through a periscope. It’s quite a difference. A difference that is so severe that I have completely shifted to using the Bobo VR Z4 for all my Daydream activity.
So is it really 120° FOV when using the Bobo VR Z4 for Daydream? It depends on the size of your phone. For this review, I am using the Pixel XL, the largest Daydream VR phone right now. But even this phone is not large enough to fully make use of the Bobo VR Z4’s large FOV! There are black bars on the right and left of your field of view, simply because even the Pixel XL’s screen is not big enough. However, those bars are much better than the tube view rings of the Daydream View and who knows, probably there will be even a bigger Daydream-ready phone soon that can fully make use of the Bobo VR Z4’s incredible FOV capabilities.
Speaking of using the Pixel XL in the Bobo VR Z4, it perfectly fits the headset, even when you are using a case around the phone like I do. The headset even features a mechanism that can adjust itself to the phone’s size, so that you do not need to adjust its position everytime you put the phone into the headset. It’s simple and clever.
Focus Wheel / IPD Adjustment
While I personally did not have a problem with the IPD settings of the Daydream View, the one size fits all approach simply does not address the reality of people having different eye-to-eye distances. If you are wearing the Daydream View and feel something is off, probably your eyes would need a larger or smaller IPD setting than the View can offer you. Thankfully you are covered with the Bobo VR Z4’s IPD adjustment wheel that sits on top of the device. Use it and have the lenses move towards each other or in opposite directions to find the perfect IPD setting that fits your eye-to-eye distance.
I was more excited about the focus adjustment wheel since I am slightly short-sighted. The Daydream View can be used while wearing your personal glasses but I do not like to do so. It feels like overkill to wear goggles on top of my glasses so I’d refrain from that. I did not experience any problems since I am not heavily short-sighted. But once I was wearing the Bobo VR Z4 and adjusted the focus wheel to exactly compensate for my myopia, the experience was much more comfortable for me. This puts much less strain to my eyes than having your eyes try to compensate for the out-of-focus picture of the Daydream View. Another reason for me and probably for a lot of you to go for the Bobo VR Z4 as your standard Daydream headset.
Could you still wear glasses within the Bobo VR Z4? I have tried that as well for the sake of this review. You cannot, this headset fits your head too snug in order to do so. If you prefer to wear glasses, you shoud go for the Daydream View headset.
I didn’t expect much from the headphones. The Bobo VR Z4 only costs around $40, comes with all the great features as described above and wonderful lenses that blow those of the $79 Google View’s out of the water! So how much more could the company invest for the headphones? You would expect some crappy, tinny heapdhone sound, but actually I was very surprised when I tried them for the first time. Sure, these are no high-fidelity headphones, but the sound is loud and clear. At no point was I aware that I am wearing a $40 device, it sounded much better. A 100% acceptable for any of the experiences I tried out and having the headphones designed to be a part of the headset is so much more convenient than having to bring extra earphones with you. Just as everything on the Bobo VR Z4, the headphone clamp can be adjusted in length to fit your ears comfortably. In a nutshell, the Bobo VR Z4’s headphones are a positive surprise, just as the whole headset itself.
So what’s more? Yes, we are still not done. Next to all of the above, the headset even features a volume adjustment wheel on the bottom and an OK button that will touch the screen for you, in the case you would like to use Google Cardboard apps that rely on exactly this function. I tried it with several apps and it works as advertised. The volume adjustment wheel also works great, it would even take a call if you press it down, without having to take the phone out of the headset.
The Bobo VR Z4 is an incredible VR headset. It is more comfortable than Google’s Daydream headset and offers a huge field of view together with being able to adjust focus as well as the IPD setting. The included headphones are an additional benefit that I don’t want to miss anymore. For a price point of only around $40 the Bobo VR Z4 delivers and incredible bang for your buck and is the Daydream headset to go for. It’s a shame that you cannot buy the motion controller on its own, but at the moment you are still stuck with having to purchase the Daydream View headset as well if you want to use Daydream VR.
Don’t get me wrong here, the Daydream View headset is a well-manufactured VR headset as well and for what Google wants to achieve with Daydream, which is to bring VR to the masses and to establish the technology to average consumers, its simple and easy to approach fabric headset is just right. For everyone who would like to have more options and an ideal viewing experience, there is the Bobo VR Z4.