launched its Deepoon M2 All-In-One Virtual Reality headset two months ago. There were limited demonstrative functionalities as it was just a prototype for public relations. Now, the gear maker has announced release of the final commercial product.
Since its previous E2 model, Deepoon’s fate has been intrinsically linked with Samsung, with the latter’s AMOLED technology for the headset. However, All-In-One model uses Deepoon’s in-house CPU and GPU. All those apart, it is similar in all aspects to the Samsung Gear headset. Here, we used Samsung Gear and S6 Edge phone to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the two rivaling offers.
Packaging & Contents – Deepoon M2 All-in-One
The final version is packaged much properly compared to factory prototype that was delivered wrapped in bubbled films. The design is simple and wordings are clear.
The packaging held the headset and two accompanying accessories trays steadily in place, executed with premium quality. Similar to the prototype, there was a head band, data cable and charger. Additionally, the production version also included additional accessories such as manuals, cleaning fluid & cloth, and a back-up adhesive protector.
Exterior, Buttons and Controls
Deepoon M2 All-In-One and Samsung Gear look very similar from the exterior. In both, the brightness adjustment buttons are located on the top and there is a square indent on the left. However, the Deepoon headset has a built-in cooling fan and its power button is located on the top.
The Deepoon unit also has a touch panel on the side for volume controls and other functionalities. In Samsung Gear, volume button is positioned on the front of its black frame.
Samsung Gear and the Deepoon M2 All-In-One has a Micro USB socket each at the bottom. But the latter also has an auxiliary 3.5 audio output, power connector and TF memory card slot. Part of the exterior is made of a composite material for improved sturdiness of the unit. In addition, Deepoon headset has more cooling vents than Samsung Gear to ensure good ventilation and lower instances of fogging.
Both headsets have brightness control for the eyepiece which automatically sense where the headset is being used. The Samsung Gear uses a circular lens, whereas Deepoon M2 uses a shaped lens which provides better image rendering near the nose area.
Materials used in the Deepoon headset makes it more durable and sturdier than Samsung Gear. Deepoon M2 also fits more comfortable while Samsung unit used velvet-like materials and made wearing the headset rather stuffy. It also made the build quality look cheap.
Although of similar lens size, Deepoon’s viewer is shorter than that of Samsung’s. So, Deepoon M2 lens is closer to viewer’s eyes. Moreover, telescopic effects are less pronounced in Deepoon M2.
Where Samsung Lacks?
So now the verdict on whether the Deepoon is merely a copycat of the Samsung. Anyone may stop using the Samsung Gear after 30 minutes. The Chinese version of its software is badly executed. In addition, the server is located offshore and hence requires a VPN to run smoothly. Another gripe is that there is only one demonstration file available at the moment, and hence the interest in the headset wanes rather quickly.
Apps and Software – Deepoon M2
The Deepoon M2’s demonstration file is a scene in a sun-filled room of a mansion (the Samsung Gear shows a room with a panoramic sea views). The main interface is a menu page which allows the user to choose to view videos, watch movies or play games. You can also access the pre-installed scenes and see your browsing history.
To the left is a limited settings menu which allows the user to access personal settings and local files. One is not able to see the original Android system settings, with only simple controls such over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth available.
The right menu is an online resource page where you can choose from an ample amount of panoramic videos, some 3D videos and the app store. This means most of the Deepoon ecosystem will eventually be accessed through here.
There are quite a lot of contents under the movies page and Chinese subtitles are all shown in 3D. There is one notable issue that Deepoon should consider correcting; 2.35:1 ratio movies are automatically scaled to fit 16:9. In addition, Deepoon M2 should provide more scenes outside the current Gobi Desert video.
The App store consists of a relatively broad selection of free games and this content will also be updated over time. However, it is noted that the Deepoon M2’s hardware advantages should be backed up with further software improvements. In particular, solutions around the aforementioned issue with the movie ratio as well as more subtitles and availability of more scenes will give impetus.
Recommended retail price of Samsung Gear is US$99, with actual expected pricing of around $112-120, which should mean the whole Samsung Gear system should cost more than $598. This is higher than the $448 crowdfunding and pre-sale price of Deepoon All-In-One.
Overall, the Deepoon M2 has a number of advantages over the Samsung Gear, namely lower pricing, better build quality, more comfortable fit, fewer obvious telescopic distortions, less fogging, better Chinese language support and a more developed ecosystem, particularly its film and television content which have 3D Chinese subtitles. Of course, the Samsung Gear has two powerful advantages, the first being exclusive games and content from Oculus, the second being that the S6 can also be used as a cell phone. However, with lower durability and weak local language support, it is really a sub-par option.