Samsung Gear VR Review: It’s Fantastic, But Can Be Improved

With the launch of Samsung Gear VR headset, virtual reality finally became a ‘reality’. It’s no more a future, myth, or part of a folklore. You can experience it today and right now. And do you know its best part—it does not cost you a bomb. It’s much within your reach.

No doubt Samsung VR, Oculus VR and HTC Vive are most promising gear vr headsets in the virtual reality space. Gear VR, thankfully, is much more streamlined device and easier to operate.

Samsung Gear VR headset, powered by Oculus VR team, is not only impressive, but also exciting. It has finally made the virtual reality device accessible for masses.
Samsung’s Gear VR is an astounding technical feat in a sense that it provides an illuminating consumer experience.

It reminds us the power of technology and what can be achieved with it. If you want to experience the power of virtual reality, Samsung Gear VR is for you.

It will further fuel the interest about Oculus Rift VR headset which is scheduled to be launched next year.
Samsung has dubbed this version as an innovators edition. There is not much variety in terms of games of apps. Every other game is like a demo.

It just gives you feeling about what can be the possibility in terms of features in the coming versions. And to be frank, possibilities are just endless.

Nick DiCarlo, VP/GM of immersive products and VR at Samsung, says in a news report , “We think that we’ve hit the formula, but the idea is that we’re able to move the gear VR forward — ‘existence-proof,’ to steal a word from John Carmack. VR exists! Thank goodness it finally exists! We think people are gonna really, really like it, but we know that there’s a lot of room to continue to make it better and we will do that.”

Samsung did not send review units to press this time; the idea was to discourage such hype altogether. They wanted people to talk about it. It has tried to position itself as a demonstrative gear vr device.
Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift came together

The vr headset has been possible with the help of Oculus. Samsung developed its hardware and Oculus developed software that made its interaction possible with the Android ecosystem. Samsung, in return, helped Oculus develop its custom display.

Samsung Gear VR is a piece of plastic headstrap, a couple of lenses, and an onboard sensor. It offers a robust VR technology. But, your joy may be shortlived as it has also set its boundaries.
• First thing, to experience this piece of future, you need to own Samsung Galaxy Note 4 smartphone.
• It should have the latest firmware
• And the last, insert the 16 GB micro SD card which comes with the Gear VR

The basic design and set up process

Once you remove the dark front plastic casting, there is a docking area for the phone. There is a micro-USB plug in the left side. The design is not perfectly sleek, but it’s much better that the existing VR setups. Once you attach the phone with the headset, an audible jingle plays in the phone speaker that informs you that it’s ready for use.

There is a very good tutorial about how to use the headset in the best possible manner. Setup process will seem convoluted for those for the first time users, but it’s simpler than earlier innovators version. It has far less navigation menus than the Note 4 version.

If you want to use this with bluetooth gamepad, you can do it easily—just plug in your cans to the exposed audio jack.

Samsung Gear VR headset, like other vr headsets, does not offer same sufficient functionality like smart phones. The problem is similar to that of smartwatches. You can’t answer a phone call, or do internet surfing or book and online ticket.

As of now you will have to remove phone to receive a call. However, it gives an indication of future, you can see the text and email, only answering is not possible. Onboard sensor track movement has low latency.

The Oculus Cinema app

Videos and home movies are big reason behind the explosion of smartphones, VR headsets will push the experience further. It may allow you, in future, to watch a family vacation photo from 360 degree. Similarly, watching a 360 degree video will also be an unimaginable experience.
It promises a virtual tourism; the feeling of gazing Collossium of Rome or Massaimara will be a treat to watch. You can feel the smell in the air or a gentle wind may blow your hairs. A delightfully overwhelming experience is awaiting to be tapped.

Limitations or shortcomings

It is the demo version and it has lot of shortcomings. You cannot do another thing when you are in Gear VR. The list of apps, games, or other software are limited. But many more are in the coming. It is limited by the phone’s processing power, storage, and display. Wireless headset does not provide a surround sound experience. The complexity levels of games are at the lower side. These shortcomings or limitations may be addressed in the launch of Oculus Rift VR which can debue next year.

Battery drain

In the Gear VR earlier versions, battery consumption rate and phone overheating was a problem—but this has been improved upon in this version.

What’s new?

Infographics: Samsung
Infographics: Samsung

Samsung Electronics has announced to launch an optimized version to experience the VR to the fullest. It enhances the ecosystem of Gear’s VR. You can enjoy content in a more immersive experience.

It provides many additional features, such as in Gaze Mode, users can select menus just by gazing at them, and there is a voice recognition facility. It provides other features such as Quick Access, Bookmarks and Tab Manager.
Geoffrey A.Fowler, in the Wallstreet Journal, writes, “The Gear VR is the first 360-degree entertainment system that feels accessible and slick, rather than awkward and sickening. If you’ve only tried freebie VR experiences like Google Cardboard, it’s worth giving it a second shot with this.”

Comfort factor in use

It is much more improved on this front. The headset is lighter and more comfortable. It’s easier to fit glasses inside. You can make adjustment according to the vision. Some people also complained flicker in the brightest part.

Why you should buy the Samsung Gear VR headset?

If you want to take the experience of virtual reality, it’s for you. For normal consumers, it may feel like eating a half-baked bread. It’s not so polished as consumers would expect. So the decision to spend $99 rests on you. Buying or not buying, but it’s at least worth trying.

It is available on Amazon, T-Mobile and AT&T stores. Spending $99 is nothing if you have Samsung Galaxy Note 6. It gives you a better feel than $300 playstation. You can enjoy with it at least for the year to come.

VIKASH KUMAR

Chief Content Strategist

An active journalist and blogger with more than a decade of experience. He has worked with various national and international publications. Sharing behind the curtain news is his passion.

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