We really liked the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, the beta-model virtual reality headset that Samsung cobbled together for last year’s Galaxy Note 4 — it was a fantastic, if compromised, experience. The immersion was excellent, but it was heavy and quickly got uncomfortably hot. Now there’s a new and improved one for you to buy — the latest Gear VR, finally compatible with the larger Galaxy Note 5 (and S6 Edge+) smartphone family, is out in Australia right now.
The Samsung Gear VR — it’s just called the Gear VR, distinguishable from the earlier Innovator Edition — is about 20 per cent lighter than the previous model, and has thicker foam cushioning that promises better comfort. It’s simpler, smaller, and less bulky than last year’s, as well as less expensive. The touchpad has been redesigned with a four-way directional cut-out that makes navigating by feel alone slightly easier. Crucially, you can now charge the Gear VR while you’re using it, through a microUSB port in the base.
As well as the existing suite of Oculus VR apps and games for the Gear VR, the new model also includes access to Samsung’s Internet for Gear VR beta, “an app that allows users to browse the web in an immersive 360-degree experience, as well as watch 360 degree videos available through websites like YouTube”. Sounds nifty. It’s on sale right now, in Samsung’s Experience Store and online store, in Frost White colouring for $159. [Samsung]