Upon first glance, the Samsung Gear VR headset is weird looking. Then, you look at it closer and in more detail. Yep, still Google Glass-level weird looking. But, unlike Google Glass, I can move past the bizarre design, and so can a lot of other people.
The Samsung Gear is one of the first virtual reality headsets to hit the market. Just clip in your phone (the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are the only compatible models), which functions as your computer, sound system, and display, and you’re ready for a virtual reality viewing experience. Even though the screen is just a single inch away from your face, there’s no headache-inducing qualities. Because the compatible phone models have Quad HD screens, they can fit 576 pixels per inch. The headset also has magnifiers and a focus wheel so you can adjust the vision.
What’s particularly incredible about the screen is that you can see things beyond your peripheral vision, thanks to a 96-degree viewing angle. It’s as if you are sitting in front of a mega screen. The headset even has motion sensors to help deter any dizziness you could potentially experience. I, for one, tend to feel uneasy in 3D movies, so I do wonder if this would be fairly similar. Also, if holding your smartphone a foot or two away from your eyes makes it hard for you to sleep at night, you won’t want to use the headset a few hours within your bedtime.
I’ve been reading a few reviews about the headset and it seems many have the same opinion: the headset is fantastic for movie watching, but not so much for video game playing. First off all, most smartphones in general don’t handle games that well. They lag if they are too graphic-intensive and just can’t compete to the visuals of a movie. Until smartphones can handle games better, I wouldn’t run out and purchase the Samsung Gear VR with games in mind.
But watching movies is a whole other story. The viewing quality is so impressive it rivals IMAX films without the smell of buttery popcorn. With this headset, you aren’t watching a movie; it’s more as if you are in the movie with the characters. Is this ideal for certain types of movies and how they are filmed? Probably not. But, for action movies, I can only imagine how exhilarating the experience is.
At just $200, the Gear VR is a must-buy if you have a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, simply because it’s worth the experience. You can watch 2D and 3D films from anywhere without looking at a tiny smartphone screen, or lugging around a laptop. If you don’t have one of these Samsung smartphone models, I wouldn’t consider switching simply to get the Gear VR. I’m sure Samsung will expand its compatible models, though I wouldn’t hold your breathe on an Apple-compatible version.
Photo by: Maurizio Pesce