Samsung’s Gear VR is developed in cooperation with Oculus. This provides a large selection of apps and content. However, a current Samsung smartphone is required for use. We tested the headset for virtual reality with the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
Design and wearing comfort
Samsung’s VR glasses are visually reminiscent of cyberpunk. It is large and wide and looks quite similar to a spaceship. Samsung uses plastic for the material. It doesn’t feel very good, but it serves its purpose. The headset weighs in at 345 grams, which is more than competing models, but it’s not too heavy. What’s particularly noticeable is that the Gear VR shields the ambient light very well. Without a suitable smartphone from Samsung, the Gear VR is useless.
Samsung’s Gear VR scores big in wearing comfort. Because it is quite wide, even large glasses fit without any problems. Nothing pinches here. Compared to Google’s Daydream View this is a big advantage. In addition, you can adjust the sharpness a little bit with a wheel on the headset. The headset is held in place by two rubber bands that run around and over the head, which are simply tightened with Velcro.
The soft padding in the face around the eyes is very comfortable. Removal is no problem thanks to the Velcro fastener, so you can wash the fabric parts. According to Samsung, the built-in lenses provide a field of vision of about 101 degrees.
Setup and compatible smartphones
The smartphone sits in front of the lenses on the glasses. It snaps into place so stably that it does not slip even during wild VR adventures. In addition to the mechanical connection, there is also an electrical connection via USB-C or Micro-USB to power the buttons mounted directly on the headset.
The Samsung Gear VR is only compatible with the in-house smartphones. At the time of our test, the following devices were on the list: Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus.
If you own one of these smartphones, you can get started with the Gear VR. You have to install the Oculus app and log in either with your Facebook account or an Oculus account.
With the new version of the Gear VR headset, Samsung now also includes a small remote control as a controller, just like Google. It has a large touchpad and a back and home button. In addition, there is a trigger at the front, which is particularly useful for shooter games. Compared to the competition, the controller is a bit better in the hand. This is due to the more ergonomic shape. You intuitively aim at the buttons with the controller and navigate through the menus. Holding down the home button aligns the controller straight again if it has lost focus. Glasses and controller are also available separately.
The only criticism: The buttons for changing the volume are also located on top of the controller and are very difficult to feel. In addition, Samsung doesn’t use a rechargeable battery for its controller, instead two AAA batteries are required. You can store the remote control in a small loop on the headband of the headset.
By working with Oculus and Facebook, Samsung can access a wide range of content. For example, the Oculus app provides a virtual room called “Oculus Rooms” where you can listen to music, watch videos and play games with friends. In this room there is a table for a game of memory, a quiz, chess or other games. Connecting with friends who also have a Gear VR is quick and easy. You can watch interesting documentaries with the app “Samsung VR” or “Arte 360”, and with “Facebook 360” you can take a closer look at the 360-degree photos and videos of your friends.
The operating buttons are easy to reach
The Oculus app also contains many games that have been specially adapted for use with the controller. For example, the Wild West shooter “Dead and Burried” uses the trigger of the controller to shoot the undead enemies. Horror fans should take a trip through the creepy house in Affected: The Manor. Because the adventure with VR is a guarantor of fear. If you don’t really like it that exciting, you can start guided meditations or a relaxation program. The game “Keep talking and nobody explodes” is also a lot of fun, where you try to defuse a bomb together with your friends.
As with other mobile VR glasses, the quality depends on the smartphone used. The higher the display resolution, the better. For our test we used a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with WQHD resolution (1440p). Although pixels are clearly visible here, the graphic quality already reaches a good level. For short excursions into virtual reality, this is not further disturbing.
While the frame remains almost unchanged, the new controller makes the Gear VR even better. Those who don’t use the glasses on hot summer days will have by far the best mobile VR experience here. COMPUTER BILD recommends: If you already own a Gear VR, you don’t need the new model. After all, the mini remote control is also available individually for a good 30 euros.
Pros & Cons
- Great feeling in the middle of the action due to large image
- Good detection of head movement without delay
- Slim form, light weight and well padded
- Fast installation, operation via controller operation very comfortable
- Pixel grid but visible despite QHD resolution
- Waste heat escapes but quite badly
- Controller does not steer so precisely
The next big thing or just hot air? The unlimited Virtual Reality (VR) distances have not yet reached the mass market. The reasons are homemade: No standard, the immature technology is still in its infancy and Oculus Rift, HTC Vive & Co. cost with PC quickly over 2,000 euros. Now Samsung could achieve the VR breakthrough with the successor to the most successful VR glasses to date – thanks to a small remote control.
Technically speaking, little has happened compared to the previous year’s model. The Samsung smartphone inserted in the glasses frame – all S-models from the Galaxy S6 work – is still responsible for the image display. The actual innovation takes place far away from the glasses, but improves the VR experience by worlds. Whereas the cyberglasses could previously only be operated with the side touchpad, the included controller now brings hand movements into play.
In addition to hand movements, navigation is done with the touch surface. The home, back and volume keys are well marked, so a “blind flight” with glasses is easily possible.
Shooting duels in the “Dead and Burried” shooting game or virtual excursions through New York in Google Street View feel much more authentic. The handy but somewhat small remote control can be connected to the S-Class via Bluetooth in no time at all. Thanks to numerous sensors, movements are quickly detected. However, Samsung and the app developers should still be working on the precision: In “Paint VR”, fine drawings are difficult to make due to the low delay and slight jerking.
Sharp views even without glasses
The impressive VR pictures compensate for this. The high-contrast and colour-intensive screen of the S8 series with its sharp QHD resolution (2960×1440 pixels) provides a particularly intense feeling in the middle. However, this is occasionally clouded by a visible pixel grid, especially with little action on the VR matt screen. One advantage of the mobile technology: The cable tangle familiar from high-end glasses is eliminated, the battery of the smart “phone” takes over the power supply.
Open up, S-Class in and off you go into virtual reality. The often arduous departure is particularly easy with the Gear VR from Samsung. The mobile phone sometimes gets quite warm, the waste heat, which escapes badly due to too few ventilation slots, clouds a longer film or gaming pleasure. The wearing comfort is especially good because of the slim design and the low weight (519 grams with Galaxy S8+). Talking of good: spectacle wearers can be on their toes. A dioptric rotating wheel compensates for visual impairments. Fast fogging of glasses under VR glasses is history.
The new Gear VR is now available. If you want to escape from everyday life, you have to pay 129 Euro. If you already own a previous generation, you can also purchase the individually available remote control for a good 30 euros. Don’t buy the new bundle, but the Gear VR and the controller, which are actually intended for the grade 7. The individual package currently costs less than 75 euros at Amazon (as of 2 June 2017) – a price saving of over 50 euros!
Samsungs Gear VR offers a lot of very well adapted content, sits comfortably and does not cause any problems for spectacle wearers. In addition, sharpness is adjustable on the headset and there is a good controller. The headset costs 129 Euro more than the competition, but convinces thanks to its advantages. The only disadvantage is that it only works with a Samsung smartphone. But if you already have a compatible Samsung smartphone and also want to use the Gear 360 camera for photos and videos, the Gear VR is currently the only mobile VR glasses you should consider for trips into virtual reality.
The new Samsung Gear VR has a controller. Is the platform really getting going now? Is the breakthrough of virtual reality imminent? It’s not that far yet, because the technology still needs a few improvements. But there are good approaches. Our test also shows that.
To use the new Gear VR, you need a compatible smartphone. This is only the case with the Galaxy S8 / S8+, S7 / S7 Edge, S6 / S6 Edge / S6 Edge+ and the Note 5. For our test we used an S7 and an S8.
A special feature of the Gear VR is that it is not only a simple VR-glasses. Rather, it has acceleration and position sensors. Therefore, the Gear VR also needs a connection to the smartphone. But because the smartphones use USB C or MicroUSB, Samsung has provided an exchangeable part that has to be changed depending on the smartphone.
The necessary Oculus software is installed the first time the smartphone is plugged into the Gear VR. You will need to remove it again and download over 100 MB of Oculus apps, including system drivers and the Oculus Store. Without it nothing works: Only here you get access to Gear-VR compatible apps and games.
Now the controller has to be paired with the smartphone. This is done via Bluetooth and is quickly done via an assistant in the Oculus software. In the case of a Gear VR I had to calibrate the controller first. With a second one this was not necessary.
Gear VR in operation
The good wearing comfort of the overall well processed Gear VR is conspicuous. The textile padding is pleasantly soft and changeable. Including the smartphone, the Gear VR weighs slightly more than 500 grams, which is not unpleasant even during longer VR sessions. At the beginning, the sharpness of the display can be adjusted with a small wheel on the Gear VR. It is important to clean both the display and the lenses before every VR session.
Due to the lack of cover at the edges of the smartphone, a little light shines into the eye chamber, which is sometimes not very beneficial for the VR experience. Some light can also penetrate from behind – at least it helps to tighten the headband a bit.
No one should expect excessive graphics quality from the current generation of gear VR: Because of the high magnification, the subpixel matrix of the smartphone display can be seen – everywhere the so-called fly screen effect is perceptible. This is also the case with expensive VR systems such as the Vive, but not quite as clearly. For a completely captivating image impression, the pixel density would have to be considerably higher. At the moment, however, this is utopian for mobile graphics chips.
Samsung Gear VR with controller in gaming check
For this test I threw myself into several VR games and apps. For historical reasons I started with Hitman GO in the VR-Edition. In my test about a year ago I criticized that the control with the touchpad on the VR glasses is very annoying. Now there is the controller, is everything going to be better? Clear answer: Yes. The VR version of Hitman GO is not designed for the controller, but now I look at the desired field, press the trigger button and my Agent 47 moves one field forward. Much more comfortable.
Some games are already adapted for the controller – for example Wands. This game takes you to a fictional London of the 1880s, where wizards fight each other. Thanks to the controller, the controls are very intuitive. Because the controller can be seen in the field of vision and it is possible to aim with it. Compared to the controller for Google’s Daydream View, Samsung has also come up with some improvements: The shape adapts to the natural hand position and the trigger button is useful for many games. In addition, home and back buttons are side by side, making them easier to reach.
However, the controller can’t detect the exact position in space – not even in relation to the gear VR headset. This would require complete tracking, which can only be found on expensive systems like the Vive. So it happens that the controller has to be readjusted during a game – this can be done at any time with a long press on the home button.
Land’s End is a game that works without the controller. The makers of Monument Valley have presented a game here that is supposed to explore the possibilities of VR conceptually. The graphics are top, and the landscape is overwhelming. The game can even recreate altitude effects: At a cliff it goes down 50 meters – frightening.
About 600 Gear VR apps are available through the Oculus Store. Some are free, but games are often not free. Besides games there are also apps like Netflix or Paint VR. In addition, there are possibilities to view 360-degree content. On the one hand via special apps (e.g. the film Invasion also available for Daydream) or via Facebook and other services.
Netflix subscribers can thus sit in the VR cinema. Here too, however, the display’s lack of sharpness of detail becomes apparent: although the films and series appear as large on the virtual screen as in the cinema, they do not come close to Full HD quality.
Paint VR, on the other hand, allows drawing with a virtual brush. The main limitation, however, is that the Gear VR platform does not know any spatial information. So you always paint in a sphere around you and have to change your position with the arrow keys of the controller to create three-dimensional works of art.
Gear VR: It depends on your expectations
One thing is clear: It depends on the expectations whether the Gear VR is an interesting VR platform or not. Those who expect a completely realistic impression are more likely to be disappointed by current VR platforms. Even PC-based platforms do not display the VR environment perfectly. Despite this limitation, the experience with the Gear VR is quite impressive: If suddenly a shark appears in front of you or it goes next to a 50 meters into the depth, then no longer the detail resolution counts, but the experience at the moment. The Gear VR easily manages to create these wow moments again and again.
Gear VR: old vs. new
To the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge there was last year for pre-order a free Gear VR as an encore. This was the model R322, the new one has the number R324. Does it make sense to upgrade to the new version?
The new Gear VR has a decisive design flaw: The lens protector could always be put on the old model. With the new Gear VR, on the other hand, the VR glasses must be set for the large Samsung smartphones. So if you use an S7 or S8, you have to change the glasses after every session so that the lens protection fits on it.
The slightly wider field of view is nice: instead of 96 degrees, it’s now 101 degrees. It doesn’t really make a big difference, but it’s a good thing for VR junkies. If you have a Gear VR, which Samsung brought onto the market together with the Note 7, you will get around an upgrade: All technical innovations are already in this Gear VR with the designation R323, only the controller is still missing. But it will soon be available separately.
Samsung Gear VR with Controller: Performance
No matter if with the Galaxy S7 or the Galaxy S8: The performance was always perfect. Both smartphones are easily able to conjure the graphics of the tested games onto the display without a hitch. The VR effect, i.e. the life-size perception of the environment, is clear and impressive. Because specialized sensors are built into the Gear VR, the latency between movement and image is also very short – there were no delays.
The Gear-VR-Controller makes the difference: After a few seconds I don’t want to miss it anymore. Finally no more annoying fiddling with the touchpad, instead there is a comfortable operation with a controller that can even be seen in the virtual environment (if the app can do that). The Gear VR controller is superior to its Daydream counterpart in terms of feel and processing.
Why didn’t Samsung launch the Gear VR platform with this controller? It’s hard to say, but now it’s here and it knows how to please. Despite all the limitations of mobile VR, the Gear VR platform is now quite mature. Maybe there is still no killer application for VR in general. But the platform is developing and now has a lot of impressive apps. Owners of a supported Samsung smartphone with an interest in VR can dare a good start with this new Gear VR (including controller). An upgrade from the old Gear VR doesn’t make much sense, at best for VR junkies this is worth considering. But even for part-time VR users the controller is recommendable, which can also be used with the old Gear VR.
In the segment of mobile VR platforms there will be a battle between Daydream and Gear VR this year. Samsung has presented and eliminated a big minus point. Daydream could already get an update for the Google I/O. Currently Samsung is ahead.
VR Porn Setup Guide For Gear VR
This is how you setip Samsung Gear VR for VR Porn:
- Charge your Samsung Galaxy completely to
- Use the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the mount of the Samsung Galaxy VR
- Now start the setup wizard on the Samsung Galaxy S7, take the smartphone out of the mount of the Virtual Reality glasses
- Now use the Samsung Galaxy S7 to set up your account with Ocolus. All you need is your e-mail address
- After you have installed the Ocolus App on the Samsung Galaxy S7, you are ready to go.
- Open the app and follow the instructions on the screen. A message will appear saying that the smartphone can now be reinstalled in the Samsung Galaxy VR. Now put the Samsung Galaxy S7 back into the Samsung Galaxy VR
- Put on the glasses and adjust the focus with the help of the wheel above
- Now start the tutorial of the Samsung Galaxy VR, in which the navigation in the menu is explained
- Have fun in Virtual Reality!