Chinese company makes VR headset with similar OLED screens as Oculus Rift

A Chinese manufacturer comes with the Pico Neo. The VR headset would use OLED screens with the same specifications as those of the Oculus Rift, with a resolution of 1080×1200 pixels per eye and a refresh rate of 90Hz. The headset costs converted 313 euros including VAT.

In terms of appearance, the Pico Neo resembles Samsung’s Gear VR, but no smartphone needs to be placed in the Chinese VR headset. The device contains two OLED screens with a diagonal of 3.81 “each. Both the size, resolution and refresh rate of the panels correspond to that of the Rift, so the Chinese manufacturer GoerTek Inc. may be using the same screens.

The Pico Neo can be used without a computer if the headset is connected to the corresponding controller. That controller contains a Snapdragon 820-soc, 4GB lpddr4 ram, 32GB emmc storage memory and a 5000mAh battery. The back of the controller serves as a touchpad and there is a six-axis motion sensor. The mini computer also has WiFi and runs on Android 6.0 with adjustments for VR display. The operating system could be set in both Chinese and English.

According to the makers, the Pico Neo can also be used separately from the optional controller, in combination with a PC. It is not known to what extent it is then possible to run VR games and applications, as is possible with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. However, the company also shows a set of motion controllers, reminiscent of the PlayStation Move, and cameras for position tracking. It is not clear whether they work with applications other than the Chinese manufacturer’s own Android software.

The headset contains sensors that determine the position of the wearer. The latency would be less than 20 ms and the manufacturer compares the chips used with those in the Samsung Gear VR. The Pico Neo is connected with a USB-C cable of 110cm and also has a micro-USB port, 3.5mm jack plug and a built-in microphone.

Even if the Pico Neo uses the same OLED screens as the Oculus Rift, that is no guarantee that the cheaper headset can offer the same image quality. That partly depends on the lenses used. Oculus uses hybrid Fresnel lenses, which make it easier to focus by positioning the headset higher or lower on the head. According to the manufacturer, the Pico Neo contains aspherical lenses and the field of view is said to be 102 degrees. That’s less than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which display 110 degrees.

In China, the Pico Neo including Android controller will cost 3399 yuan. The separate headset costs 1899 yuan. Converted including VAT, that is about 560 and 313 euros. The prices of the motion controllers and cameras for positioning are not yet known. The Pico Neo will be released in China in June. Whether the headset will also find its way to other parts of the world via retailers is not yet known.