Samsung’s approach with virtual reality may not be the most sophisticated or the most feature-rich, but it is certainly the most accessible. By making its headset an accessory to its flagship phone and putting a $100 price tag on it, Samsung has brought virtual reality to millions, and now Huawei is trying out the same trick with its VR headset.
Called the Huawei VR, the headset will come in three sizes, for the company’s P9, P9 Plus and Mate 8 smartphones. Like the Gear VR, to use this headset, you only need to open the app, pop the front lid open and insert the smartphone inside.
The visual quality isn’t likely to be the best since the phones only have 1080p displays, compared to Samsung’s QHD panels. Huawei does claim to be the first VR headset with 360-degree sound support, provided you bring the content and the headphones. You’ll get 20ms low latency, 95-degree field of view which is comparable to rivals, as well as an anti-blue light filter for lesser strain.
For controls, you get a trackpad on the right side of the headset and custom controls for volume, back button and focusing. It also goes a step ahead of the Gear VR, in that it uses the upcoming USB Type-C for connectivity, albeit, one which is slightly underused right now.
But one place where Huawei does seem to have hit home is the content. Said to launch with over 40 free games, 4000 free videos, 350 panoramic photos and 150 panoramic tours (yes, you read that right), the Huawei VR is perhaps one of the most widely supported VR headsets at launch and should continue to enthrall you for months. Of course, it all depends on the quality too and that isn’t guaranteed until we find out more about it.
With a staunch competitor in place, what remains to be seen is whether Huawei tries to undercut Samsung’s $100 pricing, or prefers to go with a higher asking rate on the back of higher quality and content. We’ll find out soon as it is coming later “this season”.