Although this product is a video viewing headset and not a VR headset (that is to say, it does not have any head-tracking), we have reviewed other such products before – notably the Avegant Glyph. The manufacturers themselves call this product a 3D Mobile Theatre. And that’s exactly what it is. But an extremely good one!
We have in fact given some advance information about the Royole Moon, on August 16 and August 31. Now, as Christmas approaches, we would like to give you our impressions of it. First of all, what we said in our multi-product review about the Sony PlayStationVR resembling something out of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, is even more true of the Royole Moon.
The stylish design is not only pleasing to the eye, but also highly functional. It folds up with the viewing section over the user’s head. This is similar to the Avegant Glyph, except that the Glyph doesn’t have a separate headband. When you wear the glyph as an audio headset, the viewer doubles as the headband. When you use the Glyph as a viewer, there is no overhead band.
With the Royole Moon, the headband and viewer are separate – and we prefer this. It means that you can easily push the viewer up over your head when you need to interact with the real world, or you can pull it down and it covers your eyes and cut yourself off from the world, when you want to immerse yourself in the content of the video. All in all, we just have to say, that when it comes to design aesthetics, the Royole Moon sets the bar extremely high. Competitors – both old and new – will have to put in a lot of effort to catch up.
It comes in a custom-made box, with a controller box, various custom-branded adapter cables and a carrying bag. The control box has inputs micro-HDMI, micro-USB, the headset itself and a power cable. The adapter cables enable you to connect full-size USB and HDMI to their micro siblings.
The headset itself is a highly sophisticated affair. In addition to a 2D/3D switch button above the eye display, it also has a volume control around the right ear. This is a capacitation touch control – meaning you just slide your finger round the ring in one direction or the other and it gets louder or quieter. You can also tap the middle part of the right ear to start, stop or pause what you are watching.
As the Royole Moon is designed to be work without glasses, it has to make provision for user vision issues. It does this with diopter adjusters for each eye which can be varied from -7 to +2. This is a good enough range to cover most users. If you press the eyepieces you can move them to accommodate different distances between the eyes (58mm – 70mm), but the scope of this feature was just slightly more limited than we felt it ought to be. Maybe that’s just because this reviewer is a bit of a Big ‘ead (in more ways than one), but we would have preferred a larger range.
When it comes to content, the device can be connected to any HDMI source. It also has its own basic operating system, with some neat features including its own browser. It also WiFi and Bluetooth connection. And it has 32GB of internal storage, so you can actually upload content. This is very useful if you are going on, say, an airplane journey and want to use it as a standalone system.
The fact that the device has no headset tracking does not mean it cannot be used for gaming. Like other video headsets, it can be used with game-controllers. You just don’t get that added dimension that head-tracking offers. But then again, this probably matters only to hardcore gamers.
The video quality is excellent, although a very slight second to the Avegant Glyph, if not better. Each eye sees a 1920 x 1080 image. The refresh rate is 60Hz. That is less than the 90Hz that is par for the course in true VR game-oriented headsets. But it is perfectly fine for video, matching US television and exceeding the 50Hz of British TV. Furthermore, while the video sharpness falls very slightly short of the Glyph, the overall immersive experience is much better, free of the light leakage that plagues the Glyph.
This immersive experience is further enhanced by the audio quality, which beats the competition any day of the week. The Royole Moon has built-in, over the ear headphones with active noise cancelling. The sound quality is superlative in all area of the audio spectrum: high, low and mid-range.
In the portability department it again comes second to the Glyph, both because of its larger size and the need to carry the additional control box (albeit a box that is about the size of a mobile phone). However, this is to some extent offset by the Royole Moon’s storage capacity (or that of its control box), which means you don’t have to carry a second device storing your movies or other content.
Another advantage of the Royale Moon is that it is extremely comfortable for a device of its size. This was quite surprising, considering that it probably looks somewhat suffocating. But looks and feel are two different things and this device is actually more comfortable than the Glyph.
On the other hand, it is somewhat more expensive than the Glyph and this might count against it, depending on how price conscious you are. One thing you can be sure of is that notwithstanding the Glyph’s unique video technology, it is the Royole Moon that is the most advanced product in terms of its overall use of technology. It is excellent for discreet viewing and it gives you a wonderful feeling of privacy in a public place.
OUR VERDICT: The best video viewing headset on the market – but it comes at a steep price.
PLEASE NOTE: At the time of writing, the Royole Moon is not yet available in the UK.