Tech Report

By: Nick Gambino

Mega company, Huawei, has announced their new virtual reality headset to accompany the new P9 and P9 Plus smartphones. They went with a rather complex name for their
new VR product. They’re calling it “Huawei VR.” Intense, right?

The Huawei VR will be a direct competitor with Samsung’s Gear VR powered by Oculus. That headset works with Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

With the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR racking up killer sales it’s no surprise that anyone who’s anyone wants to get in on the Virtual Reality game. And with Huawei’s success in the handset and mobile market, why not take a page right out of Samsung’s playbook.

(Photo: Huawei)
(Photo: Huawei)

They unveiled the Huawei VR at a Shanghai launch event for the soon to be popular P9 and P9 Plus smartphones. What was noticeable pretty much right off the bat, is its
similarity to the Samsung Gear VR.

Like the Gear VR you slip your smartphone into the front by popping off the cover. You can interact with whatever VR app you have pulled up by way of a touch panel on the right side complete with volume keys and a back button. You can even adjust the lens, all just like the Gear VR.

So what makes it different than its competitor? Well for one it only has 1080p screen resolution compared to Samsung’s quad HD screen. This is kind of a big deal. VR is about immersion. The lower the resolution, the less immersed you feel.

Now Huawei is trying to combat that bummer of a feature by promoting the headset’s 360-degree sound field. The china-based company claims it’s the first of its kind to offer this feature.

(Photo: Huawei)
(Photo: Huawei)

Basically, the experience is supposed to be better than surround sound. Imagine hearing sounds all around you with cars whizzing by and directional sound emitting from everywhere just as it would in real life.

I’ll admit this is a cool feature but wouldn’t it be great with fantastic visuals? Instead of forfeiting visual for audio why not make both of them stellar?

Again it is a cool feature but there’s still a catch. It’ll only work if the content itself has binaural audio which few apps or software are using these days. So, basically it’s another VR headset with a less impressive visual experience than the Samsung Gear VR but with the potential of better sound.

Now, I’m not totally dogging on Huawei. At launch they will make available over 4,000 movies for free as well as over 40 free games. They’ll also throw in a few hundred panoramic images and tours.

Huawei has not yet revealed information on price or release date so I guess it’s all still in the early stages of production which will at least allow for more kinks to be worked out before it’s released.

What do you think about this new VR revolution that we’re experiencing with every company and their mother jumping on the bandwagon?


Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch.  He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.


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