Since first-generation VR headset was released as a glorified developer kit called the Innovator Edition in 2014, Samsung Corporation never stop making efforts on virtual reality devices. Recently, it released the forth version of Gear VR headset alongside with Galaxy S8 at the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona. The latest version is turns various Samsung Galaxy phones into a virtual reality helmet — now includes a dedicated controller, too. Let’s see the differences!
The idea of essentially strapping a phone to your face to experience virtual reality may seem a little odd, but 2017’s Gear VR does feel comfortable even on my freakishly oversized head and large glasses. As well as tweaking the design to allow the S8 or S8 Plus to fit inside, Samsung’s designers have made it fit to your head more snugly without feeling too tight.
Adjusting it to your head size is easier than with the HTC Vive, and the Gear VR is noticeably lighter too – so you can use it for longer without getting neck ache.
An excellent controller
The new Gear VR isn’t much different from the previous model – but there’s now a separate controller that does make a radical difference to both to how you use it, and what experiences you can have with it.
The black plastic controller looks a bit like a remote control with a small, slightly skewed paddle affixed to its top. That paddle is both a touchpad and giant button. Underneath the button are smaller “back” and “home” buttons, as well as a volume control.
Around back there’s a single trigger. Samsung includes a simple elastic strap that’s meant to tuck the controller into the Gear VR’s headband when not in use. Also, the controller lets you select left or right hands, which gives it a satisfyingly realistic position at your side.
The best VR headset up to now
Gear VR keeps up with what Google has done with Daydream VR last year by its new controller, so it isn’t the bleeding edge anymore. The total expansive package of Gear VR apps, and the growing Facebook-supported functions in Oculus’ apps, makes it a better package than before.
Oculus and Facebook have plans that go way beyond what Gear VR can do right now and newer VR hardware coming sometime down the road, though, the Samsung Gear VR is the most polished way of trying 360 videos and basic VR right now. For that, it’s worth the expense. And at the moment, Gear VR remains every Samsung phone owner’s greatest fringe benefit.
Samsung has walked a pretty smart path with the Gear VR, a snap-on, wireless affordable way to turn your Samsung Galaxy S8 into a surprisingly capable basic virtual reality headset. It’s too early to pass judgment on the new device, but if you’re seriously into VR and you’re buying a Galaxy S8 or S8 Plus, Samsung Gear VR will be an unmissable choice.