Virtual reality was once just a nerdy fever dream powered though the realms of science fiction. But like much of consumer tech, that dream is now a reality.
Samsung has made VR available for use with their mobile platform with their latest headset: The Gear VR, and despite the boring name, it really is quite fun to use.
At 379 grams, it feels quite light on the head but also sturdy enough to trust it will stay in place. With a 96 degrees field of view, the VR entertainment looks pretty incredible for a mobile powered VR experience.
This means that viewing angles are wide, accurate and with the sensors on board users will see the entertainment adjust alongside their head movements. It’s all very immersive - kind of like you’re looking at a huge IMAX screen that re-positions with you.
The headset has a removable strap so there’s no need to worry about your hair getting ruffled up during each use, and with comfortable cushioning around the frame it rests nicely against the forehead and surrounding areas.
Overall the build is just right.
It also looks pretty fresh and modern. However, there’s no denying that you are going to look a little odd wearing it – especially if you’re insane enough to use it on public transport. My guess is that usage is best kept behind closed doors.
This version works alongside several Samsung handsets: The Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Note 5 and the S6 Edge Plus and each phone can easily slot into the back of the headset to become the display for the VR fun.
The Occulas store is where you’ll find an array of games and videos to use alongside the headset and for simple navigation Samsung added an easy to find back button and touch pad along the right side of the Gear VR to easily work around basic operations.
It’s simple to use because of the unique grooves made to find the track pad easily without vision. One of the best apps to use is Street View where you can be transported to major landmarks like the city streets of Paris and walk around exploring the wonderful surroundings almost as if you are really there.
Netlix is also on board for a very cinematic experience and the range of uses will only improve within the next couple of years.
Obviously Samsung want to make this part of their Galaxy range, but I’m wondering why they didn’t make a device that can work alongside other Android phones too. It would fit a huge gap in the market, because let’s face it, not everyone wants a Samsung phone – yet again not everybody wants to use their phone to experience virtual reality either.
That being said, it’s a huge shame that it won’t work with, say, a Nexus or other high end devices.
On the plus side the Samsung VR only costs £80 from o2 stores which for what it does is an absolute bargain.