Samsung’s Gear VR officially arrives in Australia

It’s a little late, but Samsung’s early entrant into the world that is virtual reality is here, and if you have a Galaxy Note 4, it’s game on from this week.

Fresh from its use in Qantas first class cabins and Sydney and Melbourne airports, the restart of the virtual reality revolution begins this week in Australia as a modern VR product makes its way to stores

The product that will kick this off is the Samsung Gear VR, a gadget Samsung has collaborated with Oculus on, one of the very companies leading the virtual reality revolution with its own “Rift” hardware, a headset made for computers to let you interact with applications and play games in ways not really experienced before.

Samsung’s option doesn’t really require a computer, though it does need a phone, with the Gear VR relying on a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for the screen and computer, while the Gear VR brings the lenses and head mount in a way that makes it a more complicated and better built version of Google Cardboard.

When the two are connected, Gear VR can provide games, movie experiences, and apps that let people be engaged with what they’re seeing, rather than viewing from afar like they would with a smartphone screen or computer monitor.

The writer of this article testing the Samsung Gear VR, as photographed by Alex Kidman

“The Samsung Gear VR in Australia is the most exciting piece of technology to enter our mobile device portfolio and represents our relentless focus on delivering products that have the ability to change mobile experiences for our customers,” said Arno Lenior, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Electronics Australia.

“The Gear VR will offer Australians the ability to experience content on their Galaxy Note 4 screen using an immersive headset we have developed with the amazing Oculus platform for virtual reality technology.”

We do need to note that you need a Note 4 to make the Gear VR work, and even the Note Edge is not compatible due to the design of the handset. That said, connecting the Note 4 with the Gear VR is easy, and merely requires taking the back of the Gear VR off and connecting the phone to the micros port on the headset.

Once that’s done (and the apps needed to make it work are installed), the headset will let you see movies, move your head around environments, and even control some of the what you’re seeing with the control pad on the side of the head mount.

“With the Note 4 and Gear VR, users can literally enter into a whole new and immersive virtual world seamlessly, having amazing experiences from any location,” said Lenoir. “This is how we have redefined a smartphone.”

Samsung’s Gear VR is available now online and from Samsung’s retail stores, with a recommended retail price of $249.