rSamsung was bold to pitch the Samsung Gear VR Headset to an untested market segment – going for mass market appeal at around £70 a pop instead of high-end at £350+ like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The big difference is, of course, the fact that the Samsung Gear VR is designed to pair with Samsung smartphones, rather than PCs. Therefore offer an alternative, lighter and more convenient VR experience.
The Samsung Gear VR is compatible with: the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, S7, S7 Edge and S8. The original model is black and white. Although now there is a newer version, dark blue, which will support upcoming Samsung devices.
Setting Up The Samsung Gear VR
You’ll notice that the headset is quite heavy. 318g to be exact when you take it out of the box. To this, you can add the weight of your phone (the S7 Edge weighs 157g). So the headset will weigh just about 500g when in use.
The screen is removable allowing you to simply pop your Samsung smartphone in and out of the slots.
Before you attach your phone to the headset, you’ll need to tie the Velcro straps around the headset. These can be easily tightened or loosened according to your preference.
With the strap firmly attached, the next thing to do is remove the screen protectors. Both from the main screen and the two lenses.
Connecting the phone couldn’t be easier. Just slot the headset’s connection into the phone’s micro USB port and pull the clip away so your phone can tuck in nicely. Then secure with both clips either side of the phone.
Using The Samsung Gear VR Headset
You won’t be immersed in virtual reality immediately after putting on the headset. First, you have to install the Oculus app and download some extra settings and software.
When you remove your phone, you’ll notice that the Samsung Gear VR app has automatically opened, allowing you to begin the installation process. It’s worth reading through the terms and conditions as there are some health issues with VR that you should be aware of.
Next, the app will start to download various videos, settings and software updates, which may take a while. But be patient – you won’t have to wait long!
Once the setup is complete, you can choose your language. Then open an Oculus account to begin using your Samsung Gear VR headset. It is standard procedure; just enter an email and password. Then you’ll receive prompt to install some more apps. Including Oculus 360 photos and some basic introductory videos. Then you’re ready to go.
Before you reconnect your phone to your headset, you may want to download yet more apps from the Oculus store which include games like Gunjack or Hitman Go, and other 3D immersive experiences.
After connecting your phone, remember to re-attach the protective cover which slots into the headset easily. Although this isn’t strictly necessary, it does help to block out interfering light and keep your phone better protected. It also looks more futuristic and makes you feel like an X-man. However, when the cover is on you won’t be able to use the pass-through camera feature.
Once the headset is on your head, the next thing you’ll want to do is adjust the focus, which you can do using the focus adjustment wheel on the topside of the headset.
Finally, you’re ready to enjoy some awesome, highly realistic – but most definitely virtual – reality. From swimming with sharks and chasing aliens in outer space to escaping zombies or even defusing bombs, there are plenty of games to play to get your heart racing like never before.
During the virtual experience, you can use the touchpad on the right of the headset to swipe up and down, left and right and touch. And remember, if it all gets too much, you can always just press the back button to revert to reality.