Hands on: ZTE VR headset

ZTE's VR headset is ready for prime time as soon as the Axon 7 gets Android N

ZTE isn’t letting Samsung, LG, and Huawei run away with the mobile virtual reality game. The Chinese company is preparing its own VR headset for launch internationally later this year. The headset will operate with the new Axon 7 smartphone, which is itself one of the first to be officially announced with support for Google’s Daydream VR system.

The unnamed ZTE VR headset looks like a smaller, chunkier version of the Gear VR.

It operates in a similar way to the Samsung Gear VR, where the Axon 7 plugs into the front of the headset to function as the screen, but it’s notable for having its own 9-axis gyroscope built in. ZTE says the sensors will minimize dizziness and cut down on VR-induced sickness. Additionally, the Axon 7’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor helps push the ZTE VR experience along swiftly, and the company says there’s only a 16.7ms delay time.

Made with a 5-piece optic set, the unnamed ZTE VR headset looks like a smaller, chunkier version of the Gear VR, but with a wider viewing aperture so anyone with glasses won’t always need to remove them to use it. There’s a focus wheel on top if that’s not the case. A set of controls are on the side, just like Gear VR, with a back button, a touchpad for navigation, and a volume control rocker. You can hold the headset in your hands — it’s actually very light — or wear it with straps around your head.

The device is already on sale in China, but ZTE intends to sell it internationally later this year, with a planned release date around the same time as Android N — the software version that will introduce Daydream to Android phones. The Axon 7 will also need Android N before it’ll be ready to use with the VR headset, but ZTE told Digital Trends that it intends to update the phone’s software as soon as possible once the operating system has been officially released.

Because the headset is designed for use with the Axon 7, it has a USB Type-C connector, which means it won’t be backwards compatible with older Axon phones, regardless of whether they receive an Android N update or not. That said, the Axon 7 lends itself to immersive VR more than older phones anyway, thanks to the impressive audio performance, including Dolby Atmos support, and the super bright, 2,560 x 1,440 pixel AMOLED screen.

We tried out the headset in a very noisy, busy event environment, and the demo we saw was suitably impressive, but at this stage, it’s impossible to compare it to the Gear VR’s performance. However, it was beyond Google Cardboard in terms of comfort, and the Axon 7’s display looked brilliant. It’s possible ZTE will have more to say about the VR headset, and other supporting devices at the IFA technology show in September. We’ll keep you updated.

Product Review

Mediocre battery and a big notch slight Google's otherwise perfect Pixel phone

Google’s Pixel 3 XL has two big flaws: The gigantic notch on the front, and mediocre battery life. That being said, this is the best Android experience you can find in a smartphone today.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.

Samsung will reportedly announce its folding smartphone at MWC in February

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Product Review

It's so fast it has a clip-on fan. But the Asus ROG phone isn't just for gamers

Is a gaming smartphone only something a mobile gamer should consider buying? In the case of the Asus ROG Phone, the good news is the device is so capable, and a genuinely impressive all-rounder, that everyone should take a closer look…

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.

Motorola Moto G7: Here’s everything we know

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.

T-Mobile's new Revvl 2, Revvl 2 Plus are now available for purchase

Last year, T-Mobile launched its own line of branded smartphones. As a follow-up to their predecessors, the carrier has unveiled the Revvl 2 and Revvl 2 Plus -- complete with a sleeker design. Here's everything you need to know.

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…