I can vividly remember buying Nintendo’s Virtual Boy back in the 90’s. I ran home, un-boxed it with some friends, and started to play. I was immediately disappointed. The tennis game looked horrible. There was some depth, but with the extreme red and white color contrast I got a headache right away. The next day I took it back to the store. If my Super Nintendo games looked so good, why couldn’t virtual reality look good?
It’s been 2o years, and dare I say, quality virtual reality may be just around the corner.
If you already have a compatible Samsung phone, for just 99 bucks you can immerse yourself in virtual reality.
Currently, there are sparse games and 360-degree movies that you can toy with. However, being that it is one of the first systems on the market, it may be your best option to use virtual reality before the holidays.
If you’ve been following the hardware saga, the Gear VR used to be a very bulky headset. Thankfully, with each iteration, it has come down dramatically in size. Simply use the Velcro straps to place it on your head, and it’s ready to go.
There is soft padding around the nose and eyes to make a comfortable fit. If you wear glasses, the head-set actually does as pretty good job at accommodating your eye ware. Contact lenses may be preferred. Also, if you are over 40 years old, you might run into troubles with your prescription due to presbyopia if you are farsighted. Progressive lenses may distort your viewing, so I recommend getting single vision glasses or contact lenses before you start your experience. A great positive aspect is that there is a focus wheel at the top that you can use to adjust the clarity to match your vision.
Of course, when it comes to using the Gear VR, you need the cell phone. It is a lot like using google’s Cardboard, but the Gear VR has more bells and whistles; a gyroscope and proximity sensor.
The following phones currently work with Gear VR: Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and the Note 5. I’m hoping that the Gear VR will have longevity. Hopefully the next phones that they release will still fit.
To get started, just place the phone onto the from of the Gear VR, then plug in the USB.
It makes the most sense to use headphones with the Gear VR to get the full experience. Unfortunately, these aren’t included.
Some games require a controller. Unfortunately, no controller is included with the Gear VR. A separate controller can be added and used with Bluetooth technology.
Using the Gear VR:
Oculus Home launches and you’re ready to go. You can get apps/games and immersive movies. There are already over 100 apps available. If you are a developer, this could be a good time to jump into the wildwest of VR coding. Great time to make money in a new frontier.
Things to watch out for:
Nausea: A lot of people are reporting nausea. This is to be expected with VR.
Battery life: The battery goes pretty quick while using VR, and once it’s dead, you are also out a phone. That makes it a bit inconvenient.
Overheating: While playing, the phone does get pretty hot.
It’s available now. Several other solutions are soon to come out including the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus.
The price tag: At just under a hundred dollars, this is a great way to jump into VR without breaking the bank if you already have a compatible phone.
If you’ve had experience with VR, please let me know in the comments.