Review: Samsung Gear VR & Oculus Make Virtual Reality Affordable
The virtual reality headset runs on apps provided by Oculus.
Samsung is early to the virtual reality (VR) party with its Gear VR headset. The device has been made in partnership with VR specialists, Oculus, for consumers at an affordable price point.
The Gear VR is an evolved version of the Google Cardboard series, with improved features and a better viewing experience. But isn’t it too early to pick and choose VR devices based on their price? This year, we’ll get more VR headset options from brands like LG and Sony which will tell us who’s got the VR magic right on the money.
- Affordable for a VR headset in the current market
- Compact and comfortable to wear
- 360-degree viewing experience is worthwhile
- Compatible only with Oculus apps and related content
- Supports high-end Galaxy phones only
Priced at Rs 8,200, the Samsung Gear VR was launched in India earlier this year. This device sells at under $99 in global markets and as per Samsung, is the cheapest VR headset worth the try.
The Gear VR derives major benefits from its Oculus connection, which makes a world of difference to the platform and the hardware. Oculus has been busy working on its Oculus Rift VR headset, however, their inputs in the making of Gear VR is the reason why everyone’s been excited about the product.
It’s easy to set up the Gear VR with your Galaxy phone. Download the Oculus app on the phone to enjoy the best of both worlds. With Oculus app store, you get access to Games, Movies (coming soon), 360-degree Photos, 360-degree video live stream etc.
(Check out our sample Samsung Gear VR content streaming below to know what the VR headset offers.)
The VR headset is equipped with features like focus wheel, soft touch-pad, back button and micro-USB port that lets you connect the phone to Gear VR. Initially, you might frustrated using the controls but once you get used to them, the joy of VR is for everyone to see.
The soft cushion finishing on the viewing side of the Gear VR ensures that you’ll never feel uncomfortable wearing the headset. As you can see above, the 360-degree output screen on the Gear VR is as close to a virtual reality experience as one can expect right now.
Samsung rakes in the credit for being bold and coming out with a VR headset that breaks the threshold of pricing. They’ve made the right choice by opting for Oculus as a partner which has resulted in a win-win situation for both Samsung and Oculus.
Samsung Gear VR works only with high-end Galaxy phones like the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ right now. If you’ve got any of these phones, then trying out the Gear VR is a no-brainer. For others, it’s better to wait for more VR headset options to hit the market, expected to happen this year.
It’s easy to say that the Oculus app store has content that proliferates the value of Gear VR. However, if you compare the amount of content available for Samsung & Apple, the difference is noticeable.
The 360-degree support is limited to the Oculus ecosystem right now. This means you can watch Facebook 360-degree content, but not the ones offered by YouTube.
Why Buy It?
The Samsung Gear VR headset gets us closer to the virtual reality of the future. It’s a definite upgrade on the Google Cardboard without going overboard on price. Gear VR works on the Oculus ecosystem that serves up the 360-degree content treat for the users.
Priced at Rs 8,200 the Gear VR is an affordable option that suffers from its high-end device requirement. If you’ve got the Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 phones, the Gear VR is worth your time and money. For others, it’s a wait-and-watch time for more players to join the virtual reality party.
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