It was only a matter of time before the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR got some real competition. Huawei has announced that it will release a virtual reality headset that will accommodate its P9 and P9 Plus smartphones, as well as the larger Mate 8. According to Engadget, the yet-to-be-priced headset will be called the Huawei VR.
In order to stand out from the popular Gear VR, Huawei is claiming that its headset will be the first to offer 3D audio, providing you're using specific content and you bring your own headphones. To date, VR headsets have been pairing their content with traditional audio, which bombards both ears with the same sound no matter where your head is facing. It's a passable solution, but it weakens the immersive environment VR content makers are working so hard to create.
One can make an educated guess that Huawei will be utilizing some form of software to sync with your head's movements to accomplish this feat, but the company hasn't disclosed its methods. But if Huawei's claims are up to snuff, people wearing the device will have an accurate 360-degree soundscape to compliment the 360 visuals.
The Huawei VR's other big draw is the amount of launch content, including over 4,000 movies, 40 games, 350 panoramic stills and over 150 360-degree tours. All of this content will be available for the low, low price of free. It's safe to assume that most of the movies won't be in VR, but still that's a lot of content.
Outside of the 3D audio and bounty of content, Hauwei VR will operate similarly to the Gear VR. You'll place the phone in the device by removing the faceplate. You can navigate using a side-mounted touchpanel, and there are back and volume buttons -- similar to the Gear VR. Huawei's headset is also using a white-and-black motif like Samsung.
Unfortunately, it appears that spec-wise, Huawei has dropped the ball a little. The 95-degree field of view (FOV) is slighter lower than the Gear VR (96 degrees). In terms of latency, you can expect about 20 milliseconds, which is in the acceptable range. The headset will also offer an anti-blue light filter in an effort to protect your eyes.
All of this sounds great, but I am worried about the VR experience. Each of the headset's compatible phones only have a resolution of 1920 x 1080, which doesn't bode well for the overall visual quality of the VR. However we'll have to hold our final judgement until we get our hands on the Huawei VRl for review.