The world of virtual reality is getting closer to the eyes of regular people now that Samsung’s Gear VR gadget has left its early adopter “innovator edition”, with a regular model that won’t cost you too much.
It’s been an interesting year for virtual reality or “VR” as it is commonly known. We’ve seen a few companies demonstrate what the next level of entertainment will be like, with Oculus, Sony, and HTC all putting their hands up to make products for this brave new virtual world, and Samsung looks to be getting into consumer’s hands first, leveraging its partnership with Oculus to reveal the third generation Gear VR, and the first one ready for mass adoption.
First shown earlier in the year in Australia (and a little late to our country), the previous editions of the Gear VR have basically been trial programs, usually only working for one handset as a way to test the hardware and nail out problems, affording developers an opportunity to get in on the ground and build games, apps, and experiences for this system ahead of time.
But now the testing is complete and Samsung Gear VR is ready, without the term “innovator” seen anywhere on the box.
The new model is just the “Gear VR”, and after design changes and tweaks from the previous two models, Samsung has a model that works with every major smartphone released this year from its Galaxy S series.
That means the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Galaxy Note 5 all work with this piece of hardware, making every flagship pretty much catered for with this edition of Samsung’s virtual reality headset.
Like the prior models, the concept is still the same, with the headset connecting to the phone by way of a microUSB port to provide headset controls, while the headset’s two lenses separate the 2560×1440 screen into two sides, letting your eyes and brain do the math to put this information together.
The compass and accelerometer in the phone will let you move about and change your position, making video watching more like sitting inside the video rather than watching passively.
“Samsung is firmly committed to driving forward innovation in our wearable offering and we see the Gear VR as a way to open the door of immersive virtual reality for Australians who demand the best mobile experiences,” said Prasad Gokhale, Vice President of IT and Mobile at Samsung Electronics Australia.
“We’re very excited to launch this Gear VR model in Australia which will enable Australians consumers to experience incredible content on their compatible Samsung smartphones.”
In time for the launch, Samsung’s Oculus Store has a few new games and apps, and the system appears to be really shaping up from the bare bones platform we saw earlier in the year.
But what grabs us most is the price, with Samsung dropping the cost of entry barrier to VR and bringing the Gear VR to Aussie hands for $159. You will need a Samsung S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, or Note 5 to play, but if you already use one as a phone, you’re already there and can just slot your phone right in.
The good news on this one is that it is available now, with the Gear VR hitting Samsung’s Experience Stores and the company’s online presence now for $159, with more stores expected to get the Gear VR sometime in the new year.