Samsung announces Gear VR, a new mobile virtual reality headset
Samsung has announced Gear VR at IFA 2014, a new type of virtual reality headset that works with the Galaxy Note 4. Instead of using a display, Samsung will employ the Galaxy Note 4 as the display and main processing unit for all of the VR.
The Galaxy Note 4 can be inserted into the Gear VR, simply by taking off the front panel. The Galaxy Note 4 display is not bad either, at 5.7-inch it takes up all of the room and it has a QHD display, making it as good as the virtual reality displays.
Having a smartphone inside the Gear VR allows something called video passthrough, allowing the user to switch the rear camera and look at what is happening outside the virtual reality headset, without having to take off the device.
This should be a new standard and is one of the best things added to Gear VR. Other than that, the software developed by Oculus is remarkably basic, the touch-controls feels a little weird and apps like Oculus Cinema don’t offer a great experience.
Sure, the few apps on the Gear VR show off some cool effects, but this feels more like Oculus demonstrating the potential of the platform, rather than actually having video games and experiences worth the user’s time.
The most important thing about Gear VR is it will be coming this year. Compare this to Sony, Valve and Oculus, they all have no real date for their finished consumer product, Oculus is fine with launch beta products, Sony is still testing Project Morpheus and Valve is completely hiding all form of virtual reality testing from the public.
Samsung wants to be the first out of the gate and Oculus will gladly push them forward, even if it means sending Gear VR to an early grave. 2014 might embrace virtual reality, but given the basic state it is in, they will more than likely push it into the bin.