A few months ago, my old Galaxy S5 finally decided it had had enough of my abuse and decided to get its revenge… I’m talking, random reboots and dropped calls every hour on the hour, so after the umpteenth reboot I decided it was time to get a new phone. I typically stick to the Galaxy line of Samsung phones, because they’ve served me well in the past and I’d had my previous phone for quite some time before it started wigging out. They’re solid phones so I figured I’d just get another Galaxy. At the time, every mobile service provider was advertising pre-orders for the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge. I was already a fan of the line so it wasn’t really a hard sell, but T-mobile decided to sweeten the deal by offering a couple of extra perks. At the time, every pre-order came with a free Netflix subscription for one year and a free Samsung Gear VR… I almost broke my laptop in my excitement!
Mobile virtual reality is finally here. With the Samsung Gear VR, you can play amazing games, watch Hollywood’s best movies in your own private cinema (or even on the moon!), socialize with friends new and old, be at the center of a suspense thriller, and so much more. The Gear VR drops you right into the action – and it’s only from Samsung & Oculus.
After a few weeks of waiting, the Gear VR headset finally came in the mail, but I couldn’t test it out because I had to go out of town for my younger brother’s high school graduation. So, the Gear VR sat in a box collecting dust while participated in various family activities, but once my familial obligations were done, all bets were off! I immediately ripped open the box, assembled the headset, and downloaded the Oculus app on my phone… I was finally ready to start my next generation gaming experience!
The box contained the Gear VR headset, two adjustable straps (one that fitted around the head, the other over the top of the head), a front cover, and two instruction booklets. The headset has a focus adjusting wheel located at the top of the device and a touchpad located on the right side. There are also volume adjusting keys and a back button also located on the side of the device. To use the Gear VR, I had to remove the cover and place my phone (minus my OtterBox Defender case) in front of the lenses. The phone fits snugly between two Device Holder clips.
Once the phone was securely in place, I replaced the cover and jammed the headset into place over my head. The welcome screen booted up and I was immediately asked to set up an account.
While using the Gear VR, the homepage/ main menu appears as a series of floating screens in a virtual living room space. The virtual space is realistic enough, with a ton of small design details that really make you feel like you are standing in someone’s home. Despite being stationary, users have 360 degree visibility, but you can’t interact with any of the items in the room. The menu, which requires the use of the touchpad, is pretty standard and easy to figure out. So nothing to write home about there, the VR apps and features are displayed right on the home screen and can be loaded pretty easily.
Since I received my Gear VR as a promotion, it also came with a free six game bundle from Oculus. The game bundle varies depending on your service provider, but since I use T-mobile I wound up getting:
Of the game titles I downloaded, I’ve only played Star Chart and OMG was I impressed! Star Chart is not so much a game as it is an interactive star chart! As someone who loves astronomy and anything to do with space, I really enjoyed being able to whiz around the galaxy exploring the planets and stars at my leisure. It was like having my own personal planetarium and it was easy to get caught up in the vastness of space! However, I had to cut my space exploration short, because after 30 minutes of use, motion sickness kicked in and I had to take the damn thing off!
I had read the warning from the health and safety manual before putting the headset on my face, but I was not prepared for the intense nausea. I had to literally sit still with my eyes closed for an hour before I could even think about giving Gear VR another try! My second attempt went over a little better and I even managed to watch Netflix on the Gear VR for about an hour. But, as soon as I hit the hour mark, the motion sickness was back and I had to put the headset back in the box… where it has been for the past couple of months….
When I got the Samsung Gear VR the retail price was $99.99, which for many is ridiculous when you account for the $799 price tag of the Galaxy S7 phone. On top of that, I can’t use the device for more than an hour without getting hit with an overwhelming bout of motion sickness. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t gotten the headset for free, I probably wouldn’t have given the silly thing a second glance.
Now, when I wasn’t bent over breathing through my nose with my head between my legs, I will admit that I had a lot of fun playing around with the Gear VR. The interface is clean and easy to use, and I didn’t notice any bugs or glitches. The apps (from what I saw of them) were engaging and I really enjoyed the immersive quality of the games.
In the end, VR technology is a huge step for the gaming community! Now a days it seems like everyone is jumping on the VR bandwagon, and with the Playstation VR coming out on October 13th, it’s clear to see that VR tech is here to stay! So, I’m hopeful that future VR tech will light years ahead of the current nausea inducing Gear VR… for now, I’ll use VR technology in moderation.
So, what do you all think of VR technology in gaming? Is it as great as everyone says or do you think it’s a passing fad? Have you used any VR devices? What did you think of them? Let me know what you think in the comments section and as always, THANK YOU for reading!!!