VR doesn't seem to be as exciting these days. Whether it's the limitations of mobile VR (like heat, video quality, and battery drain) or being tethered to your PC with the Rift or Vive, VR doesn't seem that appealing to many people — I, for one, am not one of those, but I digress. To combat some of the weaknesses of both platforms, Zeiss has come up with the VR One Connect, which bridges the gap between mobile and PC virtual reality... in theory.

Using a "modern" and "powerful" smartphone, the VR One Connect taps into your computer's power to play SteamVR games. The two controllers are connected via Bluetooth to your phone, which is plugged into the actual headset; that is then hooked up to your PC via a USB cable. Don't get me wrong, this sounds great, but I am dubious of the actual efficacy in its implementation.

My skepticism aside, Zeiss is pricing the VR One Connect very competitively. For $129, you can get into the world of PC VR without dropping several hundred dollars on a headset (and still have low latency). Since the phone does none of the computing, it shouldn't turn into a tiny space heater. You can pick up one of these in Q4 from Best Buy or Gamestop.

Press Release

OBERKOCHEN, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ZEISS, an international leader in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, today announces the launch of ZEISS VR ONE Connect. The solution will enable interactive gaming using a mobile VR headset. It features high-quality hardware with a comparatively low investment. Compatible with SteamVR™, a large number of exciting VR games are immediately available in the platform.

ZEISS VR ONE Connect bridges the gap between PC-connected VR gaming and mobile VR by connecting the smartphone in the mobile VR headset to a gaming PC. The system allows users to connect and play games through SteamVR™, which currently has roughly 300,000 users. ZEISS VR ONE Connect allows more interactive gaming possibilities than ever before through a mobile VR headset. The product may be used with iOS® and Android™ smartphones.

"This mobile solution is unparalleled in the VR space," said Franz Troppenhagen, senior product manager at ZEISS. "Now users can have access to games on SteamVR™ at a fraction of the cost of traditional desktop enabled systems, in addition to having access to traditional mobile VR apps and 360 video content.”

A current smartphone (iOS® or Android™), VR Ready PC and a mobile VR headset is required for operation. The smartphone is slid into the ZEISS VR ONE Plus headset, or another mobile VR headset unit. A USB cable connects the smartphone to a VR-capable computer, allowing the use of games and other content on the SteamVR™ platform. The two wireless 3DoF (degrees of freedom) controllers and the smartphone are linked via Bluetooth®. Built-in sensors in the controllers, together with the three sensors of the smartphone, allow intuitive interaction with the VR environment and thus a seamless immersion in the virtual world.

“The market demands that we bring VR from a niche market and make it available to the public, and that means providing entry-level solutions based on smartphones so that everyone can have access to this technology,” said Dave Hodgson, North America sales representative for ZEISS. “Our approach demonstrates that this is feasible, without compromising interactive gaming VR capabilities. ZEISS VR ONE Connect will further democratize the VR industry.”

ZEISS VR ONE Connect* is set to be available at major US retailers including Best Buy and GameStop in Q4 for $129. To stay up-to-date on the availability of the ZEISS VR ONE Connect, visit www.zeiss.com/vrconnect and register for the ZEISS VR newsletter.