The new Samsung Galaxy Notes were of course the highlight of Samsung’s Berlin unveil but that’s not the only thing that they had up their sleeve. Samsung has also decided to dip its fingers into the virtual reality pot by announcing their new Gear VR.
So what is the Gear VR exactly? It’s not really a VR headset per-se more of a shell headset. Designed in collaboration with Oculus, the guys responsible for the Oculus Rift, you might suspect the Gear VR does share similarities with the Rift. It does of course in the fact that it is a VR headset, but not in the way you might think. Where the Oculus Rift is powered by a PC, the Gear VR is powered entirely by the Galaxy Note 4. And you don’t just plug it in mind you, instead, what you do is slot the Note 4 into the Gear VR’s adjustable lenses. What the Gear VR does then is beam the 5.7in 2K Super AMOLED screen straight into your eyes and then voila, you’ve got yourself a fully functional VR headset. Bonkers isn’t it?
Of course beaming the screen straight to your eyes isn’t the only feature the Gear VR comes with. There’s navigation buttons and a touchpad by its side so you can have some level of control and navigation when you’re playing games. Sounds great doesn’t it, and we see some really great application for this for gaming and movie viewing.
Does that mean that Oculus has shot itself in the foot by partnering with Samsung though? Not really, despite sharing some similarities in terms of the viewing part with Oculus, the Gear VR does lack some key elements that makes the Rift pretty revolutionary. One thing the Gear VR doesn’t have is infra red camera for 3D head tracking so you won’t be able to do cool gaming stuff like peer around objects and corners. Of course don’t discount that the next iteration of the Gear VR might just incorporate that in.
So far only the Galaxy Note 4 is compatible with the Gear VR though we suspect future Samsung smartphones, at least the more suitably specced ones, will also be compatible with it.
Samsung has yet to announce availability and pricing for the Gear VR but they did say that selected carrier will be carrying it by this year. So what do you think? With Samsung getting into the VR game, will the concept finally take off?