Samsung’s Gear VR priced at $199, but don’t get too excited

Samsung's Gear VR priced at $199, but don't get too excitedSamsung released a number of new devices at IFA Berlin this year, which includes a new Virtual Reality headset called as the Gear VR. We had seen plenty of rumors about this device in the last few weeks, including a trademark filing for the name, Gear VR, so we already knew what to expect from last week’s launch.

Just like predicted, Samsung would be partnering up with Oculus for Gear VR’s software. Also, the company plans to use the recently launched phablet, Galaxy Note 4 as its display, which frankly is not a bad idea.

This brings smartphones to a whole new category and given its large and brilliant display, Note 4 can actually turn out to be a great screen for the Gear VR.

The front of the device opens up to fit in the phablet. Once in, users can enjoy a true virtual reality experience. However, unsurprisingly, you cannot open up apps or access any other features of the phone while it’s inside the headset. Some reports even claim that the phone freezes if any apps open up while it’s acting as the headset’s screen.

You’ll find a few buttons and a trackpad to control the device. There’s a touch pad to select, a back button as well as a volume rocker key on the headset. Samsung has also included an accelerometer and a gyrometer to track the left and right movements of the user.

Gear VR can also stream feed from the outside world thanks to Note 4’s 16MP rear camera. This will enable headsets users to play augmented reality games.

While the company did not announce the pricing or availability of the device on the launch day, a few days later, a Samsung spokesperson at the New York Fashion show revealed the price of the headset as $199. This is actually a great price if you already have the phablet or if you are planning to purchase one.

However, if you have a different device, then Gear VR is of no use to you. According to Samsung, Note 4’s QHD display makes it the only device capable of acting as a screen to Gear VR. As a result, if you are not planning to purchase this new Note flagship, you won’t be able to use the device at all. In short, you’ll have to shell out $199 + $799 (for the Note 4) to enjoy a true virtual reality experience.

So, even though Gear VR is well built and cheap, its exclusive compatibility with Note 4 will surely be a big drawback of the device. On the other hand, Google’s Cardboard VR headset was compatible with a lot of Android smartphones.

Anyways, we hope that the company expands its compatibility with a number of new smartphones in the coming months in order for us to truly take advantage of this decently priced VR headset.

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About the author

Joel is an experienced blogger who covers all kinds of news relating to tech. He is a huge fan of Android and can be seen playing around with his phone in his spare time.