Until I got the new myCharge VRCharge in my hot little hands, I had no idea the Samsung Gear VR even had a USB port. Maybe I should have. I don’t know. But it’s been there the whole time, completely unused. Until now. Now, it has a cable from a battery-filled canister that sits on the side of my head, powering up my phone as I experience the wonders of mobile VR.
So, I know I’m excited. I love VR without pesky cables, but one of the main side effects is the extreme suckage of juice involved with marathon VR gaming or viewing. myCharge aims to correct this problem, at least somewhat, with their rather amusingly designed charger. Thanks to this powered canister, they claim to add four more hours of time to ignore society within your own personal VR bubble.
myCharge, based on their press release, seems to think many Gear VR users are actually using the HMD with a power cord attached, which is honestly something I’d never considered. On the other hand, now that they have introduced the idea into my mind, I can’t help but think about the absurdity of it all. Or, as the myCharge VP of Marketing says, “Fans of virtual reality gaming and entertainment no longer have to look like they are on timeout staring at the wall in a corner while wearing ski goggles.”
I approve of this statement on so many levels and not just because I still like to secretly (or not) laugh at people when they have VR headsets on their head. Don’t lie. You do too.
Testing the device out, four hours seems about right. It depended on the app used, of course, but I can vouch for a few extra hours of charge time certainly. Plus, it’s not strictly for the Gear VR, so you can of course connect it to any phone (or object) with a micro USB port. Admittedly, using it for anything other than the Gear VR wouldn’t make quite the amazing fashion statement.
It’s hard to look at the VRCharge and not laugh a little bit at the canister design that literally hangs off the side of the Gear VR’s head strap. It’s the technological equivalent of this:
Ok, so maybe that’s a bit extreme, but still… I mean, this looks pretty sexy, right?
Granted, it sure beats using duct tape and a standard old boxy battery case, because that would look even more absurd.
Just the same, kudos for myCharge, a company that seems extremely confused about the basic rules of letter capitalization, for being the first to bring a VR-themed battery pack to market. The 3350 mAh battery charges to full in a couple hours and fits in your pants pocket easily. Well, my pants pocket, anyway. I don’t know what you wear.
The company press literature also importantly tells us that the VRCharge uses something called Safe Cell Technology, which essentially means they feel pretty sure it won’t get really hot and blow up the side of your head. So, clearly, it’s not an Apple product.
Still though, at $29.99 it seems a tad bit steep in comparison to other similarly powered battery packs. Duct tape, after all, is surprisingly reasonably priced and does come in a variety of colors and patterns now. If you want an actual extra charge that is naturally color coordinated to your Gear VR and conveniently placed, however, the VRCharge certainly does the trick pretty nicely.
We’re probably still gonna laugh at you while you’re wearing it, but with all the extra battery life you won’t even notice.
Note: The company website has the product listed as the myCharge VRCharge, but press materials describe it as the myCharge POWERGear-VR. We’ve opted to use the product name listed on the website, the VRCharge.
Jason D’Aprile is a freelance writer with work appearing in prominent publications such as Gamespot, Playboy, and many others.