“Samsung has been at the forefront of delivering mobile experiences and ‘Gear VR Innovator Edition’ launched last year was no exception. We see virtual reality as the next computing platform, and we are thrilled to partner with Oculus on Gear VR to set the standard for mobile VR and bring this revolutionary product to consumers.”
CEO and President of IT & Mobile Division, Samsung Electronics, JK Shin, of the introduction of the first Consumer Version of the Samsung Gear VR
Samsung and Oculus have decided that 2016 was just too late to introduce their Samsung Gear VR Headset.
They’d already released a Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition back in March 2015. At the time it was powered by the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 as noted in my review Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition expands your Galaxy and would have set you back US$200.
Throw in the cost of getting a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the only smartphones that works with the Gear VR and VR (Virtual Reality) was basically for Samsung fanboys and techies with deep pockets!
Fast forward to Thursday September 24th 2015 and the price has come down to a very affordable US$99. It also works with all of the Samsung Galaxy smartphones launched in 2015, namely:
- Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus
The Samsung Galaxy Gear VR launches in November 2015 in only one colour, Frost White. Apparently Samsung want you to purchase this as a Christmas gift to go with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus which had launched earlier in August 2015 as per my article How Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus Keyboard Cover Nostalgia wins Applause.
The ability to work with any of Samsung’s just-released smartphones means that this is a match made in heaven for any Samsung Fanboy as well as VR enthusiast.
So why should you buy this thing?
Samsung Galaxy Gear VR much improved – US$99 is a sweet price for limited VR Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch
Well aside from the stomach-wrenching experience of VR, of which I’d spoken with much glee, there are the new features that the consumer version of the product brings. It’s not as heavy on the head with a 22% decrease in the weight to 310g thanks to some improve optics and lighter electronics package.
It’s also a bit smaller with dimension of 201.9 x 116.4 x 92.6 mm and body profile due to a serious redesign. It’s also sports and improved touchpad so as to make that feeling of vertigo a little less nauseating but still very real.
The 54 ~ 70 mm Fixed Lenses have a FOV (Field of View) 96 degrees making this fairly decent at seeing around corners in a first-person shooter. Personally, a level of immersion approaching 180 degrees or wider would make this a lot more interesting, but this is a decent spec for a consumer version product!
Content now comes with the Gear VR mainly from Netflix, Hulu, and Twitch with more Games and other Video content in the works as promised by Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, quote: “Together with Samsung, we’ve redefined virtual reality and created the best mobile VR experience available today. On Gear VR, people are playing immersive VR games with friends, sharing 360 video experiences, and teleporting around the world with photos and videos – and it’s only the beginning for what’s possible with mobile VR”.
Jamaicans who scoped out the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge in April 2015 and now the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus as noted in How Next is Now for launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus in Jamaica might consider this a value buy.
After all, for US$100, you’re basically getting a mini-Virtual reality TV Screen for your smartphone. Still, I’d wait for Netflix and Hulu to bulk up on VR content and not just shows that display inside of an immersive VR headset. The Samsung Galaxy Gear VR will appeal to many at that magical US$99 price, but the content has to be compelling enough for me to walk around with my smartphone strapped to my face.
November is coming folks. If VR is your thing, then set aside US$99 to get the Samsung Gear VR coming November 2015.
Here’s the link:
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