Forget Oculus, Gear VR Is The Only Headset Worth Buying

Forget Oculus, Gear VR is the Only Headset Worth Buying

After years of stomach-churning anticipation, it's all over — the VR headsets of the future are here. The Rift gives you an engaging experience with a handful of excellent games. Meanwhile, the Vive gives you unprecedented control of your virtual surroundings. But as extraordinary as both devices are, they're absolute bunk compared to the best VR headset of this generation: the Samsung Gear VR.

Yeah. I said it. The Samsung Gear VR is the best VR headset available.

It's not the most technologically advanced headset out there. That's the HTC Vive. Plug in the plethora of required peripherals, throw on the headset, and suddenly, you're transported to a holodeck space straight out of Star Trek. The only thing missing is Wesley being a schmuck. The Vive's controllers give subtle haptic feedback that meshes seamlessly with your visual experience. You tap a balloon in a game, and you can feel it skip off the end of your controller. If you see a mountain in the distance, you can hike there — only you won't have to worry about breaking your neck on a fallen tree limb or stubbing your toe on a rock. (Though, you should be wary of objects in the space you've ID'd as your VR space.)

But the Vive takes hours to set up initially and the choice of games is pretty pathetic.

The Rift, on the other hand, has better games than the Vive, it's $US200 ($263) cheaper, and it requires significantly fewer cords. Yet these advantages come with the drawback that you're confined to one spot — one chair — for your entire experience. It's an entertaining experience, but hardly as awe inspiring as the Vive.

And both devices still require a huge investment on top of your $US700 ($920)-$US900 ($1,183). That is, you need a computer. A nice computer. It's got to have a dope video card that costs at least. You can jam that into a PC you already own and save some cash, or you're going to have to build out or buy your own affordable PC, and that's a $US500 ($657) investment. Minimum. Which means you've plunked more that a grand down on a system that's still in its infancy.

Here we come to the part in which the Gear VR shines. It lets early adopters scratch that VR itch without have to drain the kid's college fund.

If you already own a Samsung Galaxy S6 or better, then the cost of experiencing the amazing world of virtual reality is precisely $US120 (in Australia, $158.99). That's it.

If you don't own a Samsung phone then the price jumps up to a little less than $US600 ($788) (the Gear VR plus a Samsung Galaxy S6). That's still half the financial commitment of the Vive or Rift. Plus 100-per cent fewer cords to deal with.

There are a compromises, of course. The graphics in the Gear VR aren't as good — what with being powered by a tiny phone instead of a beastly desktop PC. And folks in glasses will experience some issues focusing the lenses in the cheaper headset.

The Gear VR also doesn't have loads of content. But what content exists is so damn simple to navigate. Pop the phone into the headset, follow the instructions, and go. My technologically-challenged roommate regularly calls her computer's hard drive "memory," and she can still operate the Gear VR without asking questions.

So instead of spending all your cash on the stunning and stunted Vive or the innovative and insufficient Rift, go blow a chunk of paycheck on the Samsung Gear VR. It's 85-per cent of the same experience for 50-per cent of the price.

Forget Oculus, Gear VR is the Only Headset Worth Buying

This post originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia


Comments

    And both devices still require a huge investment on top of your $US700 ($920)-$US900 ($1,183). That is, you need a computer. A nice computer. It’s got to have a dope video card that costs at least.

    This paragraph is kind of broken and I'm not quite sure what it's trying to say other than you have to spend a lot of money on a fancy PC D:

    Thankfully I already have a fancy PC but I'm still not willing to shell out $1200 for VR. My next phone is most likely going to be a Samsung though so I'm quite interested in the Gear.

    So Gear VR is best cause it has limited, simplistic games, can't really be used if you wear glasses and requires only an expensive phone you may or may not have?
    I see.

      Why buy a Wii U/Xbone/PS4 when you could have this nice Game & Watch instead?

        Better yet, why not just strap your regular mobile phone to your head using a large rubber band? Much cheaper than any other option on the market, and so simple!

    Not sure this article paints the most convincing picture for Gear VR. I'd be curious to know a bit more about how the experiences between Gear and others compare in more detail. It's quite the achievement if it really does stack up against the others considering it's running off a phone as opposed to a full desktop powerhouse.

      Personally I'd consider the lack of any positional tracking to be a huge gigantic drawback.

    The computer hard drive is memory. Also known as "secondary" or non-volatile memory.

    i got a gear vr "free" with my s7 and for that price it is unreal but i doubt it holds a candle to the big boys, i do have a preorder down for psvr though and think for price itll rival the others

    Ive got a note 5 and i really want the GearVR. Ill likely pick it up in the next few weeks. At teh end of this year (aug/sep) ill be picking up the HTC Vive after i upgrade my GFX to the 980ti.

      Honestly, save your money for the Vive. I did exactly the same thing as you (bought the Gear VR in January and my Vive arrived earlier this week), and I regret even purchasing the Gear VR. The Vive is so much more exciting to me and I think the proof is that the Vive had me giggling like a child whereas the Gear VR just had me saying "Huh, that's neat."

      The perfect tracking and the controllers make a really big difference which I feel as though the author of this article has brushed over.

    One of the 'problems' with this, is that it pretty much ties you into a specific phone brand, and quite possibly a limited range of phones. Not all of them will have a VR, and not all of them will fit into it either, so what do you do in 3 years if the Samsung Galaxy S9 (or whatever it will be) goes a different path that really isnt compatible with the VR experience?

    You're either stuck with an outdated phone, or sucking up the need to buy a new thingy. I for one would want something costing $600 to last more than a couple of years, or not force me into a specific ecosystem. Thats one of the reasons people use Android.

      I thought Android ran on the Google ecosystem?

        Not quite.

        Google build Android, an open source mobile phone OS, which itself is based off of Linux. They also build and sell their own Android phones with their own pure (unmodified) version of Android. When they do this, they also pre-install their Google applications on the phone.

        But that doesn't mean you need Google in order to have Android. Samsung has their own version of Android, with their own interface (If you look at Android on a Nexus and on a Samsung, they look very very different), their own applications and their own tweaks. They have extra things they built on top of Android that will work only for Samsung phones.

        Likewise, there are version of Android that aren't built by a phone manafacturer, but by other people. Like "Cyanogen". Basically they take Android code, copy it, tweak it, make improvements, build extra apps and try to make them work on different phones. if you've got an old phone that's not getting any updates any more, this is a great way to stay a bit more up to date. These show that Android doesn't run on the Google ecosystem, because they're not allowed to bundle the Google apps with the Cyanogen OS (Copyrights and licencing deals. Google doesn't feel like giving them permission to bundle). So when you install Cyanogen, you have no Hangouts, Gmail, YouTube and so on. No Google Play Store either. But it's one zip file to install all of those any way, so no worries.

        So, getting to the main point. The pure, untouched Android runs well with Google. You can run Android without Google. You can make your own versions of Android. Samsung often make Samsung only features that won't run on other phones. This is likely one of those

          Ah, ok. I still live in Symbian land so I don't know much about these other guys :P Cheers for the info.

            No problem. My first phone was a blackberry and I immediately swapped to an android 6 months later (The first nexus). I've moved from Nexus to Samsung back to Nexus, so I've had my share of Android fork experiences. If you consider moving to an Android, I cannot overstate how much better pure Android is. I will always recommend grabbing a Nexus device straight from Google Play Store over any other device every time.

    I totally disagree with this article. I own both the Gear VR and the HTC Vive. In terms of a visceral VR experience the Gear VR doesn't even come close to the Vive. The field of view is far more limited, the lack of translational tracking makes for a very stunted experience and the absence of tracked controllers makes any engagement with the content short lived. The Gear VR is a novelty at best and whenever I've shown it to people, the first thing they want to do is walk around, which their disappointment they can't do.

    I take your point about it being a cheaper option, but I think it's very misleading to suppose that these two products are remotely in the same league. I would say the Gear VR is 40% of the experience at 50% of the cost.

      It's like the NBN vs the mess that the Liberals promised. Sure it's cheaper (not really, but that's what they said) but at what cost?

    Aren't you supposed to disclose the fact when you do a paid endorsement?

    The gear VR looks interesting but with one major issue. I got burnt when I swapped out to an android phone, I picked up a Galaxy S5 not long after they launched because it had some features I was interested in.
    I was happy for about 2 weeks then things started to annoy me. The apps I liked to use were far from stable when compared to what I was used to on an iPhone, then the random slow downs and crashes when I tried to open messages. I removed the bloat ware that it came with, and installed the OS fresh, and still had similar issues. After 3 months of ownership I got sick of it, sold it and went back to an iphone.
    I know people love their android phones, and others love their iphones and some even love their windows phones, but for me I'm stuck in the iphone ecosystem for now atleast, as my family is linked into a shared image folder so they can see pictures of my son. Swapping out to an android phone again for VR isnt worth it for what I would lose.

    Get a clue, it can only do the basics of vr, its a phone strapped to your head, I should know I have all three headsets.

    Hmm, after spending extensive time with all three, I have to disagree with this article - in fact, I did back to back testing of the Gear VR and Rift CV1 today in the game Gunjack, and tore off the Gear VR in disgust after just a few minutes. If all you want to do is a few minutes of VR demos for friends and family, then the Gear VR will do fine. Heck, even a Google Cardboard would do the trick. But for serious gamers who want to pump long hours into VR, the Rift CV1 or HTC Vive are the only options for the time being.

    lmao @ any of these gimmick devices being 'worth' a buy.
    Unless they hit the $200 mark (make them somewhat more attainable for the common person) they'll just fade away into obscurity like they deserve.

    Last edited 07/04/16 5:39 pm

      ...you're kidding right?

      All in good time. Computers weren't anywhere near affordable enough to become commonplace for a long time either, but look where we are now.

    Nice ad that looks like an opinion.

    I recommend "normal" people without a beast PC get GearVR for their VR systems, most just want to watch 360 video with it... and its the obvious choice for first VR or someone that has a galaxy

    I have Gear VR and its a really really good entry to the VR, immersive games and videos, but I would sell my body for an HTC Vive

    Im lost on this article.
    it cant even be compared to the oculus or vive.
    the big elephant in the room is the GearVr is for a phone.

    The other 2 are not.
    I couldn't give a rats ass about phone games.
    As far as im concerned its a glorified google cardboard.
    the whole basis of this article is redundant.

      I'm not sure what GearVR can do that Cardboard can't. You can pick up 3rd party plastic "Cardboards" pretty cheap on eBay and get pretty good experiences.

    i tried the gear vr, some space shooter game - thought it was crap

    Last edited 08/04/16 8:59 am

    Gear VR is probably the least comfortable as well. You have a huge battery stuck out as far away from your face as possible. Actually, all the tech is. With the others it's just a display.

    I feel like this article was hastily written as it doesn't appear to communicate what the author intended.

    Last edited 08/04/16 12:20 pm

    Yeah, sorry, but this doesn't look like a good article...

    "It's worse in every way, but if you happen to have a Samsung phone, like me, it's cheaper! Yay!"

    Even if you did have a Samsung phone, the VR experience on the Gear is worse than both the other contenders.

    And I have an iPhone lol

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