Samsung Enters the World of Virtual Reality

Published On October 2, 2014 | Gaming

Thanks to rapid advancement in computer technology and Internet connectivity, virtual reality has become wildly popular, so much so that the market for augmented and virtual reality is expected to reach $1.06 billion by 2018. The time has come for one of the world’s largest tech leaders, Samsung, to join the party.

With its recent announcement of the Samsung Gear VR, the first mobile virtual reality headset that pairs with the Galaxy Note 4 and is powered by Oculus, a major developer in VR technology, Samsung has entered the virtual reality world.

The product launch date is yet to be released but speculation points to sometime this fall. In the meantime, here’s the lowdown on pros, cons and how the Samsung Gear VR, housing a mega-sized screen with a 96 degree viewing angle, matches up in the virtual reality playing field.

The Pros

  • Easy set up: Clip a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 into the plastic goggle at the front of the Gear VR headset and it’s ready to strap onto your head for the ultimate viewing experience.
  • Mobile to the max: There’s no need to attach this device to a PC or gaming console, because all you need is a lightweight Note 4 to connect. Letting you virtually take VR with you anywhere you go.
  • Expands VR beyond just gaming: The Samsung Gear VR not only offers gaming, but also explores the non-gaming side of virtual reality, providing virtual IMAX presentations, a 3D Cirque du Soleil collaboration, Dreamworks VR and a Vevo music video app. With this expansion of possibilities, a broader audience can enjoy the wonders of virtual reality.
  • Backed by powerhouses: The partnership with Oculus gives Samsung the credentials to guarantee that this is probably the best virtual reality technology out there in the mobile arena. Plus, the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in which the Note 4 runs on ensures smooth processing and extremely hi-res visuals.

The Cons

  • Can’t function without Samsung Galaxy Note 4: The price of the actual Samsung Gear VR headset is only projected to be $199, however, this does not include the cost of the accompanying Note 4 “phablet” which will retail at as much as $799 without contract. This poses limitations for consumers and seems to be a hefty investment if you’re just interested in the VR component.
  • Virtual experience is only as good as mobile can get: Compared to the processing power of niche consoles like Project Morpheus, the Samsung Gear VR does not immerse you quite like devices made exclusively for virtual gaming. It can feel more like an accessory to your smartphone.
  • Lacks positional accuracy: The Gear VR doesn’t have the same camera-tracked additional positioning aspect that the latest Oculus and Project Morpheus headsets offer, thus when you maneuver that noggin around, movement is limited to tilting and turning.

Now that you have the 411, make an informed buying decision once the Samsung Gear VR hits stores. It seems to be an easy sell if you’re looking for both mobility and a virtual reality experience all in one device, and as it is backed by leading developers in the game, the immersive experience should definitely serve its purpose.

– By Jennifer Thayer

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