Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset

About a month ago I upgraded my phone to the new Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. At the time Verizon had a special deal with Samsung to get a free Samsung Gear VR once you receive your phone. About 2 weeks ago (after I had already dropped and cracked the edges of the screen on my S7 Edge, but that is another story for another time) the GearVR arrived.

Opening it reminded me of Christmas as a child – the one where I got a Super Nintendo. New technology that I hadn’t had my hands on before and had no idea where to start, but threw myself into anyways.

Setup is pretty simple. Download the Oculus app, set up a profile, and get your free games that came with the bundle. Once you’ve threaded the head straps through the loops on the GearVR and plugged your phone into the eye-hole you’re ready to go!

The “landing page” is a huge room in a beautiful home/office place. Prior to getting here you do go through a tutorial. The controls for the gear are your face and a touch pad on the right side of your head. There is an option to buy a controller, but since it wasn’t free and didn’t come with the package I didn’t have a controller. Most games that aren’t just run-through games require a controller. This is not the type of VR set that can figure out where your arms are or anything like that.

Watching Netflix was kind of a pain. Attempting to get the VR to re-align when laying at an angle doesn’t work very well, and you find your eyes strained trying to look a bit downwards at the screen. Oddly enough, it worked pretty well when I laid on my side. The alignment still is a bit odd though, as it looks like you’re floating about a foot off the couch instead of sitting/laying on it.
I attempted to wear a larger, padded bluetooth headset w/the VR. This did not work very well. Even putting it over the VR straps proved to be very uncomfortable. The bluetooth also seems to have some alignment problems. Using a wired headset proved much more useful – though still uncomfortable. I did not try earbuds, but they would probably work best.
All of my complaints about the Gear VR are comfort related. By itself it is very light, but once you put your phone it it becomes a somewhat heavy device. After about 30 minutes of use it really starts to weigh on your nose, pressing down on your sinuses and making it a little hard to breathe. I found myself continually having to readjust for comfort.

Aside from the comfort issues it is a pretty amazing piece of technology, especially for the price ($99 if I had bought it outright). The few games I have played have been an absolute visual joy, and I’ve begun looking into getting a compatible controller. Recently a Gear VR version of Minecraft came out and I’m really looking forward to checking out!