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A Comprehensive Review on Samsung Gear VR

--Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Speaking of Virtual Reality Headset, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, one of both may probably be the first one that comes across your mind. There is no doubt that the two are the leading ones among VR Headsets. Also, somebody may think of Google Cardboard, which is suitable for the beginner of VR. However, whether you've heard of Samsung Gear VR before, it's the one that I tend to introduce and recommend to you this day. It's awesome!

Part 1: What is Samsung Gear VR?

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive cost a lot, though they are really cool and worthwhile. Moreover, Google Cardboard is really cheap compared to the former two, but it's a bit simple if you want further experiences on virtual reality. So, what do we choose? Here comes the Samsung Gear VR. The accessory built by Samsung with help from VR pioneer Oculus, which costs $99 in the US and £80 in the UK. In Australia you can pick up the Gear VR for AU$159.

Samsung Gear VR turns Samsung's latest Galaxy smartphones into a full-on mobile virtual reality headset. It works seamlessly Compatible with Galaxy S7/S7 edge, Note5, S6, and S6 edge. The affordable, high-quality Gear VR headset is the only accessory you'll need for your Galaxy smartphone - instantly access immersive gaming, movies, series, and apps.

What is Samsung Gear VR?

Part 2: The Significance of Samsung Gear VR

Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require a high-performance computer to immerse into virtual world, which to some extend are tethered you to a PC. However, Samsung Gear VR transforms your Samsung phone into a mobile VR device. All you need to do is plug in your phone and you're able to take over the world and beyond. Though you'll look silly with a headset and smartphone strapped to your face, you can be free from cables all over the floor as opposed to Oculus Rift and the Vive. Meanwhile, Gear VR is more portable and easier to set up. Samsung and Oculus coordinate with one another and show all of us the best side of the virtual reality technology.

Significance of Samsung Gear VR

Part 3: How Does Samsung Gear VR Work?

When you unpack the box, there wasn't much else to find inside the box. Within a thin cardboard, you can find a Gear VR headset, a couple of straps, a bag and an instruction manual. That is much less than items in HTC Vive's packing box.

Samsung Gear VR, to be honest, looks ike a big plastic goggle, but varies from the ordinal earphones. There are two huge camera lenses in front and a couple of button on the top and flanks. It looks much like eyes of an owl, and you looks even sillier if you put this on your head.

Gear VR headset has a built-in Oculus Tracker, Touchpad, Volume Key, and Back key. That means users are able to manipulate the headset even without the support of controller. On the top of the Gear VR, there is a tiny Focus adjustment wheel, which enables users to draw the phone screen forward or backward as to regulate to the best position. I personally think this wheel is much more convenient than that of Oculus Rift.

With the help of an onboard motion sensor, the screen and application will automatically perform when it detects that users is wearing the headset, and vice versa. Plug Samsung phone in the headset and connect phone to Gear VR via micro USB, so Touchpad, Back Key and Volume Key can work.

Unboxing the Gear VR

It cannot be easier to manipulate Gear VR. All you need to do is to put the phone in the headset, and then wear it. That's all it takes. Though the operations are simple. The actual problem is that if it's used for the first time, you will be prompted to download and install plenty of things for applications and the updates. I spent almost an hour to finish all these. Thanks to the pre-installed photos and videos, it may otherwise take another one hour.

When done all the installations, you will enter Oculus Home interface, which is basically a suspended panel. It enables users to switch from applications, tap and view contents. Such simple operations provide an easy and direct way instead of burdensome controllers. If there's a new notifications, a "Card" will pop up and fade soon. Simple pressing the Back Key is able to check it out.

From where I stand, I think Gear VR still has a way to go catch up with those PC-connected in view of game playing. And thus, it is better at viewing photos and videos to some extent.

Gear VR offers great VR experience in terms of photo&video-viewing and small games-playing. Users may be willing to spend tens of minutes on these while a couple of hours may wear out their interest. From this point of view, Gear VR perhaps is not truly a virtual reality device.


Oculus Home Page

There are many pre-installed apps, of which Oculus Cinema is the one I like the most. It offers four Cinema Modes: Home Theater, Cinema Theater, Dark Space and Moon Threat. In fact, whichever mode you choose, nothing will change but the surrounding of the movie screen. There are currently four modes available, but it's undeniable that there will be more coming out.

Gear VR is not supported steaming media right now, let alone apps like Netflix. It sounds nice and easy that users can download anything they want, however, it's in fact really difficult and cumbersome.

It is reported that someone got sick after wearing Oculus Rift for fifteen minutes. Honestly, except the point it making me extraordinarily silly, I've worn Gear VR for one hour and still feel nothing at all. According to experts, it's the blurred motion that makes people sick. The one who wears the Rift will feel uncomfortable when spinning around too quickly. However, the problem may not bother Gear VR users, for Gear VR has a high definition screen and excellent software.

Gear VR Cinema Mode

Part 4: The Advantages of Samsung Gear VR

Honestly, Gear VR looks really cool. It makes me feel thrilled as long as the idea comes across my mind that there is a VR headset at my room. What's more, Gear VR has a favorable design of simplicity, displaying VR tech right to users in a simple and direct way. Last but not lease, there are Touchpad and buttons, and you can even use Samsung Gear VR without any controller. Isn't it awesome!

Part 5: The Disadvantages of Samsung Gear VR

Power consumption must be the biggest bother for Gear VR. It depletes a lot, and you cannot charge it while having a phone on it, because there is barely one USB port. The only choice is whether to charge or to play. Aside of this problem, even you don't have to charge Gear VR. What if your Samsung phone is running out of power? If you happen to own several Samsung phones, just ignore what I said.

Though it feels not too bad wearing Gear VR for a couple of hours, the weight will set the mark on your nose. Moreover, it's a bit expensive, for it has no controllers, so I personally think it is more worthy of about 100 dollars.

Gear VR Pros and Cons

If you really want to have a try on virtual reality, Gear VR would be a good choice. It costs less than those high-end headset while having better virtual experiences than Google Cardboard.

Ivy Bruce

Ivy Bruce is the Founder and Editorial Director at Recovery-Android Studio. You can also find her on Google+ and Twitter.