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Meet Samsung Gear VR (2017) - Oculus VR for the Masses?

Ever since Samsung partnered with Oculus, they have been releasing VR headsets year after year to push VR with Samsung smartphones. Is this year any different?
Meet Samsung Gear VR (2017) - Oculus VR for the Masses?
Robot feels

For several years, Samsung's latest and greatest flagships would always be at the cusp of bleeding edge and therefore capable of demanding tasks like Virtual Reality. And every year Samsung would release the VR Oculus compatible accessories to allow Samsung smartphone users the ability to try the VR technology.

With each year, the VR headset from Samsung would see improvements in build but would also get substantially more affordable. Is this the year that we should get into VR?

Let's find out!

Meet The Samsung Gear VR

Headset, remote, adapters, batteries and extra straps! 

The headset design hasn't changed much from its predecessor. It's more refined in a way. It is made of matte textured high quality polycarbonate. When handheld and when worn, the headset isn't that heavy.
Backside cushions
Backside cushions
Front view
Front view

The remote is made of the same textured polycarbonate material. It is lightweight but solid with each button labeled for ease of pick up and use.

The headset hugs your face easily and it is easy to adjust the straps to fit any head size. There is a soft material that adds comfort when worn.

You will find branding on left side and on the right side are the buttons and a trackpad like area for on-headset controls.

On top is a focusing knob that adjusts the focus of the glass pieces to adjust to your eyesight.


The VR!
The VR!

There are main source of VR content is the Samsung VR - Video app where you can download or stream VR content. In our experience it is best to download them to your phone first.

When you run the app, it will show you a set of instructions to set up and how to use the VR headset and the remote. There is a learning curve but we got through it and got used to it after an hour.

After the tutorial you are brought to the home area. It is a virtual space that can be anything that you select it to be. We chose the living room. From there, we could navigate through the menus with the combination of head movement, the hand movements via the remote control and via the headset alone with the trackpad and buttons on the right side of the VR headset.

Once you get use to it, it is pretty easy to navigate your way around!

The problem is that the content in the Samsung VR - App is pretty limited (It only has 700 apps and games available in the Oculus store). You can watch most of these in a day given that you have high speed internet or you've downloaded them.

We highly recommend downloading the content to have a seamless experience because even with our Fibr connection, the videos and the 360 images would be loading and buffering all the time.

Aside from that, we enjoyed the content especially the roller coaster ride. The visuals and sound would be enough to make us feel that we were there. The only thing about the roller coaster experience that threw us off was the lack of wind in our face when riding the roller coaster.

The rest of the features

The 2017 edition of the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR w/ controller (2017) is designed together with Oculus. It's designed to let you view 360 degrees content easy, comfortable, and in high-quality.

It's lightweight and has soft foam cushions for your comfortable VR experience. Moreover, Samsung has specially crafted the new Gear VR to prevent any edges from digging into your cheeks or nose bridge. It also prevents light from seeping in. It has 101 degrees FOV (Viewing Optics) and accelerometer sensor.

Samsung Gear VR (2017) Specs

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, micro USB, USB Type-C
Sensors: Gyroscope, proximity, accelerometer (Controller only)
Compatible Models: Galaxy Note 8, S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6, S6 edge
Dimensions: 207.1 x 120.7 x 98.6 mm (Headset), 48.1 x 38.2 x 108.1 mm (Controller)
Weight: 345 g (Headset), 64.3 g (Controller)
Price: PHP 5,990

The experience is not the best but it is promising. With the pace of how the experience is improving, it won't be long until it would be good enough to have in your living room. 

For now though, we can't recommend it unless you really want to experience VR in 2017.

What do you guys think?
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