Hmm. Was there enough wrong with Samsung’s original Gear VR headset, which first arrived alongside the Galaxy Note 4 in 2014 and eventually partnered with the Oculus Rift, that the company decided to do an entire reboot of the device last year? More like a follow up “innovator edition”, there was plenty of improvement over the debut item. Now comes in a new Gear VR model, meant to coincide with the Galaxy Note 7, and it’s seemingly a bit more than just a joy to wear.
Said to be more immersive than ever, more comfortable, with a larger field of view, and more content than ever, here we shall gather the ups and downs of Samsung’s latest Gear VR headset. The most obvious difference is the color swap, which apparently has a purpose. Blue, in comparison to white, keeps images from reflecting off the screen of your smartphone. A change in color has also been helpful for users to finally differentiate between past models, which were all white in color.
Subtle changes are as follows: the updated headset weighs .28 ounces lighter, with a larger padding surface area for comfort. It could feel a little “scuba divey” (meaning too much) to some, but at least the strap is longer for those with bigger heads. Samsung made a slight increase in the field of view over its previous iterations, increasing the 96 degrees to 101 degrees. The “home” for the home button is now on the right side of the headset, next to the back button, and pressing it takes you straight to the Oculus Home interface. One noticeable difference is also a handy improvement - as folks didn’t exactly have an easy time with the cross-beveled touchpad. So, Samsung took that away and made the touchpad wider. There’s now more room to swipe around, and less worry about exact accuracy.
Onto the biggest and best improvement to the Gear VR. It is now compatible with the new USB Type-C (by default, actually, for the Galaxy Note 7), which can easily be swapped for the micro USB that automatically comes with the set. In addition to stretching back and forth to previous and current models of the Samsung phones (including the Galaxy Note 5, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, S7, and S7 Edge), it appears as if you can even pair Gear up with other phablets and Samsung smartphone models.
It’s not like looking through a pair of binocular-type glasses will fully make you feel immersed in another reality, but it beats past Gear VR models (plus, it sure runs with the competition well). With the low resolution of 360 degree video, however, it’s going to be hard to enjoy many movies. Games, though, will be easier to maneuver with the larger touchpad, even easier to play with brightness and volume with that back button, instead of trying to hit the manipulate such things on your smartphone.
Many agree, and multiple signs show, mobile VR shows no better feat than the Oculus-powered Gear VR, as it’s the best iteration we’ve found. At least that’s how it stands now, and shall remain that way until something else comes around. For the fourth version to date, enough subtle changes are put in all the right places. Noted as the most comfortable, with just the right level of changes here and there, the Gear VR should be recommended to Samsung device owners. Heck, it should be recommended to VR enthusiasts who are in the market for a new phone as well.
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