- Completely wireless
- Great head tracking
- Solid content library
- Resolution is a little disappointing
- Full game content expensive
- Only compatible with some Galaxy phones
- 96-degree field of view
- geomagnetic sensor
- proximity sensor
- navigational touchpad
- focal adjustment dial
- microSD card with pre-loaded Gear VR content
- Manufacturer: Samsung
- Review Price: £185.00/$277.50
HANDS-ON WITH THE NEW SAMSUNG GEAR VR FOR S8 AND S8+
Please note the current review score relates to the older Gear VR. We’ll be updating this review further after spending more time with the headset.
Samsung has made a habit of giving its Gear VR headset minor updates with every flagship phone launch. And it’s done the same for the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ – although not a whole lot has changed.
It looks almost identical to the version launched with the Note 7, but due to the, er, demise of that particular phablet, the Gear VR didn’t get a whole lot of limelight in that case.
SAMSUNG GEAR VR FOR GALAXY S8 AND S8+ – PRICE AND RELEASE DATE
It should launch in late April with the new phones. No price has been confirmed as yet.
SAMSUNG GEAR VR FOR GALAXY S8 AND S8+ – FEATURES
- New motion controller
- 42mm lenses
- Support for older Samsung phones
- Oculus software
- 101-degree rotation
It’s a sleek, completely black headset made out of sturdy plastic. Samsung made it comfier last year, and the version I tried out here felt pleasant to wear even in a boiling-hot demo room.
There’s plenty of padding where the headset meets your forehead, and the strong selection of straps – one around and one over the top of your head – keeps it firmly in place. It certainly won’t slip off like the Daydream View has a tendency to do, but it’s a lot heavier and not as soft as Google’s attempt.
Along with having a USB-C connection and the right inserts to fit the new duo of phones, the updated Gear VR has a wider field of view – so more content can be seen without running into black bars – thanks to new 42mm lenses and it now supports 101-degree rotation. It’s also backwards-compatible with older Samsung phones, I assume as it will be replacing those models entirely rather than just sitting alongside it.
I tried a couple of demos and, while minor, the difference is noticeable especially if you’re familiar with older Gear VR headsets.
The biggest addition to the whole setup is the wand-like controller, which was actually first shown off at MWC earlier in the year. My biggest dislike about the Gear VR was its frustrating head-mounted touchpad that made playing anything other than basic games a complete chore, but having a physical remote that you can point and twirl remedies this issue completely.
Like the headset, the remote is sleek, black and packs in a decent amount of functionality. There’s a responsive touchpad on the top, along with Home and Back buttons above a volume rocker.
Flip it over and there’s a port for charging and a rear trigger that should come in handy in more action-orientated titles. In my short time with it, it responded accurately to my actions and felt intuitive to use.
The Gear VR still stands as one of the best budget VR options, and the small changes here make it better without reinventing the product. It’s a bit comfier, a bit more immersive and a lot easier to control thanks to the new remote.
If you’re picking up a Galaxy you can do a lot worse than grabbing a Gear VR to go with it.
Hands-on by Max Parker
Check out our review of the 2015 Gear VR below
WHAT IS THE SAMSUNG GEAR VR?
The Samsung Gear VR is about to get a whole load of new fans. That’s because Samsung is giving it away with all preorders of the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge phones. It’s a decent gift too, a glimpse into the wondorous world of virtual reality that high-end devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are bringing to the the world this year.
It’s a lot better than similar products on the market, it’s streets ahead of the disappointing Homido and NoonVR mobile phone-docked headsets that filled plenty of stockings last Christmas.