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Hands-on With the Pico Goblin VR HMD: An Affordable Entry Into Virtual Reality

Let’s face it, VR is here and it is likely going to be a fixture moving forward in the video game landscape, so you might as well start embracing it now just in case you thought the fad would die off. Although, if you’ve avoided jumping into VR due to the high cost of entry, then let me tell you about a new device that won’t hurt your bank account if you want to dabble with VR gaming experiences.

This little device is the spawn of a new VR company called Pico, and it is called the Pico Goblin. It is a VR HMD (Head Mounted Device) in the vein of the Merge VR HMD, or Samsung’s Gear VR, but it won’t cost even half of what it takes to get either of those headsets up and running for jaunts in virtual gaming worlds. You see, the Pico Goblin is a highly portable self-contained VR HMD. You don’t need a powerful smartphone to run it, so while the Merge VR and Gear VR are somewhat cheap as standalone units, they’re useless without a high-end smartphone costing anywhere from $300-$900.

The Pico Goblin can get you the same quality experiences, if not better, for just $269. That’s it, $269 to access VR games and experiences loaded onto the Pico platform through an app store you access from within the HMD. This price point definitely allows for more gamers to enjoy what VR games and experiences can offer, so if anything else the Pico Goblin is a value priced device in a market swimming with expensive technologies that price out many gamers.

With that being said the Pico Goblin’s low cost of entry isn’t the only reason to take note of it. It also does a pretty damn good job at delivering VR experiences through its Snapdragon 820 CPU, which look very crisp running on the unit’s 2560×1140 resolution display (5.5 in). I got to play a game for the Pico Goblin that saw me trying to defend myself from waves of demonic skeleton soldiers using the included wireless remote as my bow and arrow and sword. I found the three DoF motion controller capable at tracking my moves and head turns, and the experience overall felt on par with what I’ve played on other HMD VR devices, as well as some demos on console and PC based VR systems, such as the PSVR and HTC Vive. The visuals were clear and easy to read, and the level of immersion was strong. It was more of a demo than full on game, but it provided a great picture of what the Pico Goblin can do, so if the Pico team can enlist some great developer support there’s no telling what sort of experiences could be created for it.

I also found the Pico Goblin’s lack of cables to be a blessing, because on more expensive devices they truly do get in the way and sometimes hinder the immersion factor that is so key in making a quality VR game. Sure, other HMD VR devices also lack cables, but if you want to use headphones you typically have to weave cables into them, making things a bit clunky, so I just appreciate the cables-free feeling that the Goblin provided. It just allows for freedom of movement, which is everything in a virtual world when it comes to making your brain feel like you’re in one, so I can only hope that the more expensive VR headsets follow suit one day and ditch their cumbersome cables.

If you’ve been jonesing for the VR revolution, but don’t have $1,000+ to get into it, then you should look into Pico and its Pico Goblin headset. The Goblin can be pre-ordered now, but a more advanced version is in the works, so stay tuned for more details on that model. You can check out tech specs and product shots below.

Technical Specifications

  • CHIPSET – Qualcomm 821 Snapdragon
  • MEMORY – 3G LP-DDR4 1866MHz high-speed memory
  • FLASH STORAGE – EMMC 16G
  • SD CARD – 128G expandable
  • DISPLAY – Pico VR customized TFT screen 5.5 inch X 1
  • RESOLUTION – 2560 X 1440– 2.5K total
  • REFRESH RATE – 70Hz
  • FOV – 92°
  • SPEAKER – Mono track HD audio
  • AUDIO JACK – 3.5mm Jack port for headphones (stereo)
  • CONTROLLER – 3DoF controller tracking
  • INTERFACE – Micro USB 2.0
  • BATTERY – 3500mA – 2.5 hours play time
  • WIRELESS – BT4.2/WIFI B/G/N 2.4G

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Tags : E3 2017Pico
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he's not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB's Star Wars Time podcast show.