Xiaomi on August 4 launched its first virtual reality headset called Mi VR Play. Currently the headset can be bought in China at a price of RMB 1, which is equal to around Rs 10.This is the introductory price, aimed at enticing enough people to get the VR headset and gauge the interest. It is possible that by selling the VR Play for cheap, Xiaomi is also hoping to see how a wide number of users utilise the VR headset and the kind of usage they get get from it.
The headset requires a compatible phone to work. This is similar to how Samsung’s Gear VR or Lenovo’s TheatreMax works. As a product, the Mi VR Play headset looks closer to the Lenovo’s VR headset instead of Samsung’s Gear VR or Oculus Rift. It is simple in its functionality and seems to be based on the tried and tested as well as cheap platform pioneered by Google Cardboard. The focus of the Xiaomi VR primarily seems to be movies and the video content, similar to Lenovo’s TheatreMax technology.
Although this doesn’t mean Xiaomi hasn’t differentiated it enough. The company has made a few design tweaks so that the experience is better. The whole product has a layer of Lycra that, according to Xiaomi, makes it more comfortable to wear. It will work with smartphones with screen size of 4.7-inch to 5.7-inch. It also has a zipper on the front, which will ensure that once the phone has been slotted inside the VR heasdet, it won’t fall out.
The details about the hardware inside the VR headset are scarce. But as, noted earlier, it uses simple components, similar to what you find in a Google Cardboard, but with inside a more beefed up design. Earlier, there was a talk that Xiaomi’s first VR headset may support Google’s Daydream platform. But from the information available so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
For now, the Xiaomi VR is going to be available only in China. There is no word yet on India launch or availability, or even the price of the device, although it won’t be very expensive going by the the way Xiaomi has priced it in China, that is if it comes to India.