Samsung has officially released the third generation of its Gear VR headset into the Australian market, bringing the world of virtual reality into sharp definition.
Remember, this is an Oculus device with Samsung branding, so you can pick up all the games and programs you might want via the Oculus store. One additional app that comes with the device is beta access to Samsung’s Internet for Gear VR, which “allows users to browse the web in an immersive 360-degree experience, as well as watch 360 degree videos available through websites like YouTube”.
If you tried the hardware out last year, the new Gear VR is an improvement on the Innovator Edition – it features thicker foam cushioning despite being smaller, less bulky, and around 20% lighter. It’s also had a touchpad redesign, and you can now charge the unit even while you’re using it, thanks to microUSB.
While the Gear VR will see a wider retail launch in Australia “sometime in 2016”, the fact that it is available now puts it ahead of hardware like PlayStation VR, the HTC Vive (better known as Valve VR), and Oculus’ own Rift headset. As another bonus, each of these options are expected to be more pricey than the Gear VR, with the third generation available now for just AU$159.
Of course, you will need to have an appropriately compatible phone to make it all work, but that’s a triviality. Any of Samsung’s 2016 premium Galaxy handsets will work with the device – that includes the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+.
Right now, you can pick up your very own third generation Gear VR from the Samsung online store, or from the Samsung Experience stores in Sydney and Melbourne.