VR headsets just keep on coming and coming, but it seems that lately, smartphone makers are quickly growing into the fad of all things virtual reality. We’ve seen Samsung make the Gear VR, Google make the Google Cardboard headset for its Galaxy devices, and HTC made the Vive. Virtual reality is mainstream now, when just a couple years back all we heard about was the Oculus Rift and eventually, the Samsung Gear. Speaking of, Chinese electronics company Huawei has stepped up to the VR plate, and it appears to be directly competing with Samsung’s headset. The new Huawei VR, which works with the new Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, and the Mate 8, has a bunch of similarities to Samsung’s version, including size, color, and touchpad location.
Announced just last Friday at the Shanghai launch event for the P9 and P9 Plus smartphones, Huawei’s VR, as put by Engadget, arrived as more of a “me too” piece of news, rather than a “surprise” to anyone. The headset will feature 1080p display, not exactly the best of the best, but that’s what the flagship phones will be providing (as you may have guessed, there is no built-in screen, just the smartphones that slide into the front of the headset). Something that may set it apart is its on-the-go 360-degree sound field, a feature no other VR headset offers right now. It gives you the ability to know where objects are coming from without seeing them; the key is having the sound “consistent with geometry”. Without this kind of brain trick, VR isn’t nearly as immersive as it should be.
So Huawei VR has immersive audio, that’s cool. Besides that, so far it looks like nearly everything else matches up to Samsung’s. Engadget reports, “Just pop the front cover open, then secure the phone (with the VR app running, of course) using the clips inside, and then snap the cover back on”. The touchpad is similar to Gear VR, with the volume and back buttons on the right strap’s panel. Other specs seem to be the general consensus for current VR technology - 20m/s low latency, and a 95-degree field of view (FOV’s typically ranged between 95 and 110m/s in the VR market). Finally, Huawei added in some anti-blue for protecting the eyes.
As far as display, the Huawei VR sits in a nice middle seat between Google Cardboard and the higher-end Oculus. There happens to be something that will set it apart from other headsets, which is great because I’m having a hard time vouching for its greatness quite yet. The device will come out with 4,000 videos and 40 games ready to play, plus hundreds of beautiful panoramic photos and virtual tours to get you into the experience. Another thing that would be great to know is pricing information, however we won’t know this until Huawei’s anticipated launch of the headset this season.
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