Facebook’s Oculus VR is creating the Rift. Sony’s PlayStation is creating Project Morpheus. Google is… well, Cardboard exists. And now Samsung’s getting in on the virtual reality action, announcing Gear VR at IFA 2014 today in Berlin, Germany. Gear VR is a virtual reality headset with a removable front cover where Samsung’s newly announced Note 4 slips in, acting as the screen. Paired with adjustable lenses built into the headset and a comfy strap, Gear VR turns Samsung’s next Note into a virtual reality machine. And what’s the first thing you’ll see when you strap on Gear VR? Oculus VR’s handiwork. The company behind the re-birth of virtual reality is partnering with Samsung on Gear VR: Samsung handles the hardware, Oculus offers up its software prowess.
Unlike Sony, Oculus and Google’s VR projects, though, Samsung’s delivering a consumer product this year with Gear VR. But is it too early?
First things first, let’s answer that question: no, it’s not too early. While there are major technological limitations with mobile VR — horsepower, among many other issues — Samsung’s Note 4 is a shockingly capable device for virtual reality experiences. In our time with it, video looked sharp, there was no perceptible lag between turning my head and what I saw on screen, and navigating the UI was a snap. Is it hot? Yes. Are the graphics less impressive on Gear VR than on, say, Sony’s Project Morpheus or Oculus VR’s latest dev kit? Absolutely, no question about it. But is it capable of providing a great virtual reality experience, regardless of those handicaps? I believe it is. by engadget