Samsung Gear VR 2016 – The New Gear VR – First Impressions

I had the original Gear VR which I used with my Samsung S7 Edge. So last week, I got my first attempt at setting up and using the new Gear VR which is designed to work with the new Samsung Note 7 and also be backward compatible with older phones. (If you haven’t exchanged your Note 7 yet, don’t use the Gear VR as its dangerous).

First up the new Gear VR is lighter on the head. It only needs one strap, the second strap is optional. The new Gear VR feels slightly smaller too. The field of view has been widened too and the clarity is that little bit better too. This all adds up to an improved view of VR and 360 media. Footage is slightly clearer and the overall experience is improved.

The software is vastly improved and it is looking really polished and one of the best low cost VR experiences I have witnessed. Unlike the previous Gear VR, you connect your Note 7 case less to the device and then put the dust cover to one side. This does not cover up or connect whilst the phone is in position.

When you first clip your phone into the Gear VR, you see a message inside that says to remove the Gear VR and install all the software required and setup your Oculus account. Once you have done this, put the headset back on. Make sure you install Samsung Internet and Samsung Gallery. Samsung Internet gives you access to YouTube and YouTube 360 degree videos. Samsung Gallery is the app you need to access your own 360 content. When accessing YouTube via Samsung Internet, when a 360 video starts playing, tilt you head to reveal the Samsung Assistant, select this and then you can select the view in 360. It really is simple to do.

I have watched many films and YouTube videos of Mount Everest and other similar mountains, but to witness the peak being climbed in 360 degrees is truly fantastic. There are plenty of other games and apps to explore as well. Don’t play Temple Run unless you are using a bluetooth game controller, otherwise you will feel sick very quickly.

If you want to be transported into a virtual world, the Samsung Gear VR is a great way to start enjoying the experience.

So my next test was to ask my wife to try it. She uses an iPhone is hardly ever upgrades her phone so it not that interested in the latest phone technology. First, I got her to experience the Mount Everest 360 VR video, then some 360 photos and then she asked me what the Netflix app did. So I got her to launch it, and then she started watching one of her TV programmes. After that, I wanted my Note 7 back, and went off to test a few gadgets.

About an hour later, my wife says, I want a pink Samsung Galaxy S7 with a Gear VR. Not only had she researched the pricing, colours and all the options, she even worked out how much her iPhone would sell for second hand. So why did she want to swap her iPhone to the S7? Just to use the Gear VR because she realised it only worked with a Samsung S7!

That’s how much of a positive impact the Gear VR is, and the new version is more comfortable, slightly ligher and provides a marginally increase in quality and a field of view.

Just a shame the Note 7 is too hot to handle at the moment.


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