Chinese chip maker Allwinner recently unveiled a platform for low-cost all-in-one virtual reality headsets called the Allwinner H8vr. While the company admits that its low-cost, low-power solution might not be able to handle heavy-duty VR games, it should be good enough for 360-degree video experiences… and did I mention it’s cheap?
Geekbuying is now selling one of the first headset to use the Allwinner H8vr system-on-a-module. The V3 all-in-one headset costs just $130, although you may be able to get one for as little as $100 if you order by June 15th and request a discount code.
It’s not nearly as powerful as an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but unlike those headsets, the V3 doesn’t need to be plugged into a computer to function. And it’s substantially cheaper than some other Android-powered, all-in-one solutions.
That said, the V3 isn’t the cheapest all-in-one we’ve seen. That honor would go to the $80 Eny EVR01. But that model has a lower-resolution display, a smaller battery, and less RAM than the V3.
Here’s a run-down of the V3 specs:
- 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display with 100 degree field-of view and 43mm lens diameter
- Adjustable headband
- Allwinner H8 ARM Cortex-A7 octa-core processor
- PowerVR SGX544 graphics
- 2GB RAM
- 16GB eMMC storage + microSD card reader
- 4,000 mAh battery (up to 3.5 hours of video playback)
- 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
- 9-axis gyroscrope
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- USB and micro USB ports
I’ve been wondering for a while if there’s a future for this type of all-in-one headset if the hardware costs as much as a normal phone + headset. But it turns out I might have been asking the wrong question, because it looks like some models will be priced competitively with devices like the $99 Samsung Gear VR… which is really little more than a holder for a Samsung smartphone.
At this price point, it’s not hard to imagine that some people will invest in all-in-one headsets as an alternative to a Google Cardboard-style device that relies on your phone. Products like the V3 could be more convenient, and they conveniently have a hardware buttons and touchpads on the side of the headset to help you navigate through Google’s Android operating system.
But they may still be a step in the wrong direction: Google is preparing to launch a series of guidelines for hardware that the company deems compatible with its upcoming Daydream VR platform, and I suspect the inexpensive Allwinner H8vr platform may not make the cut. And that would mean that if Google’s platform takes off and attracts third-party apps and experiences, you may not be able to use them on devices like the V3.
Still, priced at $130 or less, it might be a tempting device just for watching 360-degree YouTube videos or normal HD movies on a virtual movie theater-sized display. It’s a lot cheaper than buying an 80 inch TV for you home.