I tested a cheap Apple Vision Pro knock-off — it’s worse than you can imagine

A $200 Apple Vision Pro alternative tested at Computex
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to being in Taiwan for Computex 2024, one thing I love to do is seek out the cheap knock-offs. You know the ones, right? The companies that work at a lightning pace to put out a dirt-cheap copycat of the new hotness in tech.

Sometimes, you find rare gems like Managing Editor Kate Kozuch did in buying a bunch of knock-off Apple products from Temu. But mostly, you get exactly what you expect — 100% Grade-A bullsh*t like the EmdoorVR AppleCore AX162.

In some ways, you’ve gotta applaud these Chinese knockoff companies for the speed at which they hustle and unleash a hardware clone of the Apple Vision Pro. But as you can tell from the headline, I’m definitely not here to give out any roses.

Apple Vision Pro-foundly bad

EmdoorVR Applecore AX162

(Image credit: Future)

Let’s start with the build quality. Coming in at just over $308 on Aliexpress, I wasn’t expecting the world. A smooth plastic replication of the shell would have sufficed, but while it does indeed give you that Vision Pro look, the choice of materials is worse than cheap and tacky. 

The surfaces feel coarse on the painted plastic, and the shell across the front dents at the slightest of touches — almost feeling as weak as the kind of material used to make soda bottles. And even though it sounds light on paper at 380g, the reality is a weight that really pushes down on your face with little-to-no cushioning to reduce any morsel of pain atop the bridge of your nose.

One thing in the pros column, though, is the ditching of that EyeSight display that I always thought was creepy. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting it at all on a product nearly 1/10th the price, but it’s still worth mentioning.

Something surprisingly adequate

Look, I don’t want to just sit here and roast this thing — even though it totally deserves what’s coming to it in the next section. But in giving you balance, I can say that the 1884x1920-pixel resolution LCD display tech in here is quite good. That’s Meta Quest 2 territory and that’s still a fine (if blurry) screen.

Using Fresnel lenses over the more advanced pancake options in the Vision Pro and Quest 3 does add more thickness to the front of the device, but beggars can’t be choosers with a knock-off headset.

The most confusing interface I’ve ever used

Emdoor VR Applecore

(Image credit: Future)

So where do I even begin? Ever had a friend who does the simplest task in the most complicated way, you’re left bamboozled? That sums up the AX162’s software perfectly.

It all starts with Android 8.1 running on Qualcomm’s low cost SXR1130 chipset. EmdoorVR has done its due diligence to copy the UI of VisionOS, but scratch under the surface and you quickly see what it's truly operating — clicking the Safari icon opens Firefox for example.

Clicking the Safari icon opens Firefox

Then to control it, you use what I can only describe as the joystick controller portion of the Nintendo Switch. To navigate the OS, you press and hold a shoulder button and move your head to move a dot around your surroundings, then release and double tap to select something.

Yes, it’s a mess. And I have no doubt that the 3000mAh battery will last probably until the end of this sentence in terms of longevity.


EmdoorVR Applecore AX162

(Image credit: Future)

Sometimes a cheap knock-off is a smart purchase, and sometimes, it’s just a complete waste of money. In all elements, this particular gadget is a blatantly half-assed cash-in attempt.

Even by the low standards I’m trying to set, EmdoorVR’s clone is a laughing stock with awful passthrough, uncomfortably tacky hardware and bafflingly confusing OS interactions. Best avoided in favor of one of the best Apple Vision Pro alternatives instead. 

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Jason England
Managing Editor — Computing

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He has previously written for Laptop Mag, Tom's Hardware, Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.