UNBOXED: Reviewing the Royole Moon Personal Theater Headset
In traveling to tech show after tech show and reviewing product for UNBOXED, we’ve had the opportunity to see a number of different takes on this personal theater headset market. Generally speaking, and to be rather blunt, products in this space have been pretty awful. They tend to be clunky, heavy, overpriced, and have lacked in terms of solid execution. So you can imagine my hesitation when the opportunity to review the Royole Moon version of the personal theater headset was presented to me.
I want to take the compliment sandwich approach with this review. There are plenty of things that I think Royole does well, and we’ll get to that, but there are also plenty of struggles that a product like the Moon has to overcome—and I think they have more to do with the personal theater headset market in general, not necessarily this product.
Right upfront, I will say that the Moon is by far the most successful attempt at creating a personal theater headset that I’ve had the opportunity to experience. (This is the start of the compliment sandwich by the way.) Royole’s attention to detail with this product cannot be overstated. The Moon is built with some of the most premium materials that I’ve come in contact with as far as VR-like headsets are concerned. The leather headrest and accents around the headpiece made wearing the Moon less than a burden. And that’s an area that this product really could have struggled in given its nearly pound-and-a-half weight. I also credit Royole for doing an excellent job with the active noise canceling headphones integrated into this device. And the Box (the piece of hardware that drives the viewing experience) is simple to use, and the operating system is somewhat intuitive and easy to navigate.
Additionally, Royole made this a product that can fit comfortably onto nearly any size and shape head—even the glasses wearing individual. The headphones and eyewear adjust in all sorts of directions. And, most importantly, there are individual diopter adjusters that let the user correct the headset to match their near- or farsightedness between a range of -7.0 and +2.0. That means nothing to me as a nonglasses wearer, but for those who do and whose sight falls between that range, glasses can be left on the side table.
One Small Step for the Market
Where the Moon struggles has less to do with the actual product and more to do with how retailers are going to have to sell this product. At $800, this isn’t just a gadget that consumers are going to walk into the store and compulsively buy. They’re going to be actively seeking this product out. And, again at $800, the consumer who actively seeks out a product like this isn’t going to be an average consumer. The Royole Moon—like others in this space—is a luxury, high-end product.
Beyond that, the use cases for the Moon are fairly limited. This is a product designed to isolate the user in their entertainment experience. It’s ideal for travel. And that’s about it. Royole suggests this could be a product that helps users get some shuteye because of the noise-cancelling headphones and the blackness of the headset, but sleeping with this thing strapped to your head doesn’t really seem like a comfortable scenario. You could use this at home, especially if you want to experience an isolated video game experience. But, as we saw with other similar products, it’s rather cumbersome to readjust all those wires and accessories for the purposes of attaching everything to this product.
One other note to the negative is the fact that Royole opted to make the Moon’s Box a proprietary piece of equipment despite the USB Type-C connection. They did this by adding a tiny piece of plastic to the bottom (or top, because, you know, type-C was supposed to be reversible) of the connector so it would only plug in one way and only on this device.
One Giant Leap for the Moon
All of that said, for the consumer out there who’s willing and able to add the Moon to their personal entertainment portfolio, they’re getting a product that is fun to use and very comfortable to wear. The five-hour battery life does make this the perfect companion for cross-country flights. Two movies loaded onto the Box and you’re good to go.
You can stream through various services and attach yourself to a gaming console or other external video source, but the simplest way to enjoy is by having movies (2D or 3D versions) already loaded onto the device.
So, despite the inherent uphill battle that the personal theater headset market faces, I think the Moon is by far the best attempt at creating that ideal experience.