Ever since I started testing the Samsung Galaxy S8 in late April, I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the associated Samsung Gear VR headset that was being made available at no cost to those who pre-ordered the phone before it was available at retail.
Of course, I have had the opportunity over the last few years to try out Microsoft's HoloLens, the new Acer Mixed Reality Headset, and yes even Google Cardboard so I am really looking forward to expanding on those experiences with Samsung Gear VR.
Setup out of the box was very easy because once I plugged the phone into the headset it started the setup, install, and configuration automatically. I was then prompted to remove the phone so setup could continue.
After all of the updates were installed for the Occulus App I was asked to create my account on the Occulus service and then it provided me a summary of the system update and its new features. Next up was establishing a payment method for any content I might purchase from the store. There were a couple of permissions to be sorted out and then I was prompted to pair and calibrate the Gear VR Controller. That process included moving it in some figure eight shapes in front of me and then setting its level position. Lastly you select which hand you will use for the controller and you are done.
The final step of setup was customizing your profile for VR and establish your privacy related settings on the service.
I then quickly jumped into the headset and poked around the interface, experienced a little motion sickness when trying a VR roller coaster and then watched a view VR videos. I found the interface easy to use with the included controller but reaching up and finding my bearing on the touchpad on the headsets right side is a bit hit and miss for accuracy.
My wife, who is a huge dolphin fan, got to sit down and experience both a VR animated swim with dolphins and a 360 degree video. Her preference was the video but both experiences with ear buds in was a very intimate experience. She has tried Google Cardboard before and also liked that experience but being able to go hands free with the Samsung Gear VR made a huge difference in the experience.
I could not agree more.
In fact, this headset has me even more excited for the arrival of Microsoft's Mixed Reality Headsets, specifically the Acer that we have pre-ordered, because I want to interface with my Windows 10 desktop through one of these devices and see what that is going to be like.
Have you experienced the Samsung Gear VR? What is your favorite feature, video, or app for the headset?