With Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift still awaited, Samsung has already hinted the launch of its virtual reality wearable, Samsung Gear VR.
The Samsung Gear VR was unveiled back in September. However, the product is reported to hit the shelves in December this year.
The Oculus-powered Samsung device is not a standalone device unlike the devices by big players of the industry. The virtual reality headset is designed to be used as an accessory with the company’s Galaxy Note 4 as its main display.
I had a chance to try out this innovative piece back in September. In many ways, it feels just as good as Project Morpheus or Oculus Rift.
The Gear VR Innovator Edition will be available in two versions: standalone for $199 and bundled with Bluetooth controller for $249. The price of the device has been revealed via a blog post by Oculus following the news of the launch at recent Samsung Developer Conference.
Samsung Gear VR Design
The innovative product is assumed to have a futuristic design and the Samsung Gear lives up to that expectation. The design of the product reflects the specialized skill of the VR specialist Oculus.
The bright white finish of the globular eyepiece gives the advanced look to the device. However, the dark removable front looks slightly unattractive and spoils the overall aesthetic.
With a well-built dock, the Note 4 is easy to slot in. The front can be easily unhooked and the docking port takes the headset in conveniently. Once your Note 4 is mounted, the headset automatically enters the Gear VR mode.
The elastic strap allows for easy adjustment of headset even while wearing the device. Although the frame of foam cushion keeps the device soft on the face, it feels a little heavy on the nose.
Features and Performance
The Samsung Gear VR features three content options – VR gameplay, video viewing, and a 360 degree virtual experience.
The 360 degree virtual experience is impressive. Upon turning the head left and right, you can view the different parts of the content. The device is responsive to the movement of head however; the content is slightly affected by motion blur.
The gaming is far more engaging and interesting in this device. The small touch pad, navigation panel on the right side of the device lets you control the game. The navigation panel is highly responsive and pleasurable to use.
In the video mode, the image quality seems a little compromised. Despite the high quality imaging of Samsung Note 4, you might have to look intently to pick out the pixels. It not only affects the experience but also lowers the engagement.
The Gear VR Innovator Edition appears to be more focused on panoramic 3D VR video instead of games, as the device is more entertainment laden. Some 360 degree videos and movies are pre-installed in the included 16 GB microSD card.
Moreover, the device includes volume control and an optical adjustment dial that allows people with far and short sightedness to adjust the lenses.
Although the Gear VR runs on an Android handset, Samsung has promised to make the Oculus games easy to run over the device. The development raises further questions if we would need a new class of games designed for the Gear VR specifically.