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



    By your logic, a Holden Barina is 'better' than a Ferrari. I think you're trying to say that the Gear VR is 'more accessible' than the other headsets, which is fine, but I don't think that makes it 'better'.

    By this logic, google cardboard is the best

    Samsung gear can run off a PC
    You need trinus VR (formally trinus gyre) and tridef3d

      I tried this and wasn't able to get a very good experience the head tracking in the Gear is still a limitation.

        Setup for a proper viewing experience can be a pain in some games, fallout 3 and NV I got working flawlessly now, can't get fallout 4 to display properly for the life of me, anything in the distance is double visioned while anything close up looks great, haven't been able to remedy it yet.
        As for head tracking, I don't really care for it to begin with, much prefer the mouse.

      Yeah, honestly with any VR experience the content will be heaps limited for the first year or 2.... most of what I'd use it for is playing steam games on VR. If I owned a S6/S7 this would be a no brainer to pay $150 or whatever as a teaser for what's coming.

      I'm still keen to check out the vive/rift IRL but I know what will happen.... it'll be awesome with obvious issues, second renditions will be out in 12ish months with a whole bunch of gen1 problems fixed alongside a fresh wave of content. Happy to wait a year or so and jump on when things have had round 1's teething issues fixed.

      I think it will take 3+ renditions to truly be seamless and slick but I can't wait that long.

    Can't you only run stuff off the Galaxy/Samsung store for Gear VR? So, no porn?


      Can download any VR porn and they will play in the video player native to the gear vr app

        Not video, VR.

          Yes - the video player plays VR videos...

          They are usually 180 degree head tracking vids - you can download shitloads off pornhub now

          At $120 it is the cheapest way to get VR porn mate

          You can also download some through torrents here and there, but there are also sites which offer a fairly cheap subscription to trial like virtualrealporn and you can download all of theirs. And they all play in the gear VR!!!

          They are quite often anywhere between 1.5Gb to 3.5Gb though so you will want to download them on pc and just transfer a few vids at a time onto the phone

            Again, not video, VR. I'm talking about proper interactive applications, not a hyped up version of VLC.

              I'm sorry what world do you live in where VR porn is completely interactive?!

              LMAO - its just 3D 180 or 360 degree videos! That IS VR porn... If you want a game, go to Japan

      This is correct. I found the store to be pretty underwhelming and what was even more annoying was the fact that you can't use VR apps from the play store, so your stuck with like 10* samsung VR only apps.

      I know you can use VR apps from the play store on the Gear VR however the workaround just defeats the purpose of this articles intended message.

        10 samsug VR apps?! Are you kidding me?! Do you even have a gear VR?!

        Its the Oculus store it uses. Its a dumbed down version than the full oculus store but but:

        Dead Secret
        Keep talking and nobody explodes
        Annie Amber
        Vektron Revenge
        Eve Gunjack
        VR Karts
        Deer Hunter
        Ocean Rift
        Escape RoomLands End
        Goosebumps, avengers, and a shitload of other "experiences"
        Escape from Bunker 14
        Captain Clark Adventures
        We come in peace
        Om,ega Agent
        Temple Run
        Smash Hit
        Shooting Showdown
        Into the dead
        Bandit Six
        We come in Peace
        Anshar Wars 2
        Ocean Rift

        I think you get the point... I literally just looked at the home screen of the oculus store on my phone and wrote down MOST of what i could see just in the main categories... Delving further into each category there is a shit ton more...

        Dont shit on something you have no idea about!

          haha oh boy do I know about the Gear VR.

          If you read my comment properly you would have noticed that the 10 figure I used has the "*" symbol, it was sarcasm.

          But the fact that you went out of your way to list all the Apps is pretty funny :P

          Last edited 07/04/16 4:18 pm

            Once again it uses Oculus so your statement of the 10* Samsung apps is just stupid, not sarcastic...

            And it took me two minutes to open the oculus store on my pone and start typing what i saw - lol easy way to prove a point to a hater who doesnt even have one

              lol yep, never said I hate them. I'm pretty sure if you knew what company I worked for you would realise I do know quite a bit about about the Gear VR ;)

              Hint: I don't own any yet I use them on a daily basis for work.

              Last edited 12/04/16 2:29 pm

                eeew dont tell me you work for Samsung?! Lol

                Long time samsung fanboy here but a bit butthurt from them the past couple of months!

                My gear s2 strap broke and they dont wanna replace it and my S pen for my note 5 sprung itself out

                What on earth would you do using one of them every day for work?! Let me guess - you operate one of those rollercoasters?! lol

                Sorry to call you a hater - there have been a lot of them with the oculus and vive coming out but ive found the gear vr to be a nice fresh dip in the water - it will still be a nice leap when i get hold of a PSVR

        There are also experimental categories, you have a bunch of different video players, image viewers, browser, Netflix etc...

        When did you find the store underwhelming again??

    Me personally, I don't count the Samsung gear in the same group as vive or rift. I compare it more to a google cardboard.
    Yes they are fundamentally the same but have a very very different end game.

    "It’s 85-per cent of the same experience for 50-per cent of the price."
    I think its more 50% experience for 50% of the cost

    Last edited 07/04/16 8:27 am

      Nah ive had both gear vr and cardboard. Gear vr shits all over cardboard - makes it an actual experience.

        well obviously the gear is going to be better than the google cardboard. The cardboard was a proof of concept thing.
        Honestly id hope 10x the cost would make a better experience lol

      Objectively looking at your logic it might be 50% of the experience, but those % figures for cost need to be elaborated:
      ** Rift / Vive **
      920 / 1183
      ** Rift + System / Vive + System **
      1920 / 2183
      ** GearVR / GearVR + S6 **
      160 / 940

      Rift to GearVR = 17%
      Vive to GearVR = 14%
      Rift+System to GearVR = 8%
      Vive+System to GearVR = 7%

      Rift to GearVR+S6 = 102%
      Vive to GearVR+S6 = 79%
      Rift+System to GearVR+S6 = 49%
      Vive+System to GearVR+S6 = 43%

      If you already own the phone, it's a done deal in my books. If you don't own the phone then wouldn't bother seeking it as an option. Would get a cardboard or Rift.... or in my case, wait.

        I think your reading too much into it.
        It wasnt a 'This is exactly and statistically accurate 50% and here are the stats to prove it' it was more of a laxed / casual statement.
        The correct product is going to depend on your needs (lifestyle), budget and current equipment and convenience. not many people would buy the samsung device as a PC headset because its not plug and play for that, 3rd party stuff is required. vive/rift on the other hand would be more suited for that scenario situation.
        This article was purely bias based off his needs not your own so OP's reflection of the devices can be rather accurate.

          I don't see it as being 50% the price for 50% the experience which is why I pulled those numbers. The experience can be argued but the price is straight up math.

          Based on everything I've seen first hand, read about, what is out right now in April 2016, and also my predictions.... My summary statement would be that the GearVR is 70% the experience, 60% the quality for 20% the price (because you basically shouldn't consider GearVR an option unless you currently own an S6/S7 already.... or you were already willing to make the jump and this is just one more minor reason to get one).

          Of course its a trimmed down experience, but the fact you can pair it with a PC means it goes from a novelty to something you can passively use. It's definitely not Rift/Vive compatible, but considering how limited these fully fledged experiences are.... and considering their limitations/issues right now because of first gen hardware/software integration, all of that boils down to people using the fully fledged VR kits for a handful of games/desktop content.

          If you can get desktop content on the GearVR then you're most of the way there.... even if it is shabbier than the big boys, it's still a big chunk of what people will realistically be using VR for in 2016.

            If you want to add up costs to get an accurate image you need to add up all the costs not some.
            TBH i will take a fully functional device over a 'shabbier' experience any day even if it costs more because thats what im buying, a 'premium experience'.

            Me personally to get setup on the gear will cost about the same as a rift / vive setup because i already have the hardware to back it up however i dont have the hardware to use the Gear and dont really want to buy a second phone just for this purpose.

            The point im trying to make is everyone has different requirements so that cost analysis you did doesnt apply to me at all

              I get your point, which is why I included all of the breakdowns because saying "Gear is 20% cheaper" is as much of a brush statement as saying "it's 50% cheaper".

              So yeah in my breakdown if you have a PC ready to go and don't have an S6, it's the same cost to buy a Rift vs GearVR+S6.... no brainer for the Rift (or vive).

              I'm pretty keen for the Rift, the DK2 was decent so im sure the CV1 will be as good as reports say. I'm still happy to wait for my mates to get theirs so I can try it out firsthand and hear their gripes.... honestly, it's not even about the money. I've spent 1k on as dumb(/amazing) early adopter technology. It's more that if they have some gripes that I know would annoy me, I just wouldn't use it.... and that's a fail. Hopefully it's good and seamless enough from day one and the content starts to flow, then i'll be picking one up asap :)

                The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
                Not a footprint to be seen
                A kingdom of isolation,
                And it looks like I'm the queen.

                The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
                Couldn't keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

                Don't let them in, don't let them see
                Be the good girl you always have to be
                Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
                Well, now they know!

                Let it go, let it go
                Can't hold it back anymore
                Let it go, let it go
                Turn away and slam the door!

                I don't care
                What they're going to say
                Let the storm rage on,
                The cold never bothered me anyway!

                It's funny how some distance
                Makes everything seem small
                And the fears that once controlled me
                Can't get to me at all!

                It's time to see what I can do
                To test the limits and break through
                No right, no wrong, no rules for me I'm free!

                Let it go, let it go
                I am one with the wind and sky
                Let it go, let it go
                You'll never see me cry!

                Here I stand
                And here I'll stay
                Let the storm rage on!

                My power flurries through the air into the ground
                My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
                And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
                I'm never going back,
                The past is in the past!

                Let it go, let it go
                And I'll rise like the break of dawn
                Let it go, let it go
                That perfect girl is gone!

                Here I stand
                In the light of day
                Let the storm rage on,
                The cold never bothered me anyway!

    Frankly, this comes across as a very poor attack ad. The Gear VR comes across as a weaker younger sibling to Occulous.

    " It’s got to have a dope video card that costs at least"
    At least WHAT? Tell me what dammit !

    So many missing the point in the comments here. a Barina isnt 85% a Ferrari....

      It's got four wheels and an engine, it drives. Same thing.
      A Farrari runs faster and better and looks cooler than a Barina, but it's a lot more expensive.
      The Rift/Vive run much better graphics with better head tracking than the GearVR, but they're a lot more expensive.
      The comparison works fine. I can't afford a Farrari, but I'd like to drive around. May as well get a Barina. Doesn't make the Barina better.

        and they both need to stick to the speed limit anyway.

          irreverent in this case. Though you can argue that one would get to the "speed limit" quicker.

        I haven't tried GearVR or Rift but if the former is really 85% of the Rift experience then it's more like comparing a Porsche Cayman to a Ferrari 458 or something. In terms of driving experience the Cayman is a highly respected vehicle that will give you 85%+ of the Ferrari at less than 50% of the cost.

        The Barina on the other hand can get you A-B just that same as any car but it is going to fall well short of the Ferrari driving experience.

    Everyone needs a phone, so it seems like a bit of a no-brainer really.

    I'll be getting one at upgrade time, which is december. Should be lots of content by then too.

    But this isn't a Zero Sum game. I'll be buying the PSVR as well.

    Agree with @scarnon have used both cardboard and VR and VR is far superior.

    As someone who has spent $125 to get into VR I think the Samsung solution is fantastic.....very happy with my Barina!

      I need to work out to remap my controller. I paired my DS4 with my phone really easily but the controls dont make sense on any game and even some would just keep turning to the left etc...

      If i can play some of the controller required games that will be it for me!!! I like the point and click stuff like dead secret but that gets a bit tiring with your hand up to your head non stop!

    Gear VR is one of the worst set's I have ever used.

    Hell, I even found google cardboard an overall better experience than Gear VR.

    Last edited 07/04/16 10:27 am

    wow alot of misguided 'information' in this article.
    Oculus is only seated? have you seen all the roomscale tests videos?
    Gear vr is best? what if you dont have a samsung phone?

    So, how much did they pay you for this promotion?

    Fair and reasonable run down of VR I would say. There's no content worthy of putting down hundreds of dollars that the oculus rift or htc vive deserve yet and I suspect playstation 4 won't offer anything worthwhile for some time either.

    My only problem with your conclusion was based on my own experience with gear VR, I have to place an icepack on the galaxy s6 edge otherwise it overheats within 15 minutes. Even then, the battery life is fairly pathetic probably giving me an hour and 20 minutes at best. Then you have a problem of fogging up the lenses...

    The library was much larger than I expected, you have to use various apps to access more and more content but it's all there if you're willing to search for it.

    For those wanting to disable oculus gear vr app then download 'package disabler pro' disable 'gear vr service' use google cardboard app as well

    Last edited 07/04/16 5:23 pm

    Dear Author... please tell me how i can use this to play my PC.. yeah thats right, the closest you can do is stream games via nvidia shield (if you have an nvidia card) to it and use it as just a big screen, thats it.. Galaxy VR is great and all and to me is more a proof of concept. I want Virtual Dekstop! haha. Why is it so hard for them to make an adapter to plug into your pc? Oculus probably teamed up with them just so they could put a stop on any such adapter existing.

    It is not 85% of the experience. Don't get me wrong, I love Gear VR, its a great gadget, and a great idea of occulus and Samsung to include it with Galaxy S7 preorders. But it gives a taste of VR, not at all what VR can really do. You won't ever see a AAA gaming experience on Gear VR. You won't ever see the Vive type whole room experiences on it. It's VR for toying around with, not serious use.

    So Gizmodo I watched your moronic "which vr unit is sexier" video. And now I read this stupid article recommending a mobile phone versus a fully realised VR unit with motion controllers and backed by Valve. Had you have gone with a more sensible headline and approach to the article like recommending the Gear based on its own merits then you would come off less wakka wakka.
    So all that and along with other quality posts like the ones that are just comprised of a GIF image and one sentence, I've decided you need better editors or someone who can help decide when to not post snarfing garbage. And believe me you post a lot of poopiekins.

    You're right. It's basically an Occulus Jr. but that's not a bad thing.

    I realise that most comments here have been posted by gamers with the gaming community in mind, but when it comes to display short movies and feature movie what would be the best choice?

    Especially if I want to provide this service in a public venue, there are other considerations such as:
    - battery life
    - heating of the device during prolonged usage
    - need for cables and beefed up PC (HTC Vive and the Rift)
    - quality content availability and cost
    - compatibility with glasses and fogging up issue
    - sanitisation of the headset

    well that's all I could thin of. I'm no expert, so thanks in advance for your contribution.

      Riftcat already gets you well towards the experience of a rift. Gear VR version is on the horizon which will utilize the gear VR tech, which will make it very close to what a rift is... but only with better resolution. 2160x1200 vs. 2560x1440. Yes, I use my Gear VR with Steam VR, and play both HTC vive games AND Rift games. For beta software and hacked head/hand tracking, it's shocking how well it works.

      The rift and vive are fantastic devices, but unfortunately they will not last. All next gen phones will be designed with VR in mind meaning they will be coming out with 4k displays, higher than 60hz refresh rate screen, low persistence displays, and multiple cameras for external 3d tracking. Everyone gets a phone, and always some plan to get it for $x per month. Why tie up the same amount of money on a gaming headset that you will never move more than 10 feet from your PC?

    Valuable discussion . I was enlightened by the details . Does anyone know where my assistant might locate a sample MD MVA VR-102 document to complete ?

    Sorry, but I like VR but refuse to buy the expense.. Gear VR is the more realistic choice.. and btw google cardboard is a joke,.. a freind has it and regrets it.. and per playing with hers.. I have no intention of making my gearvr work googlecardboard stuff at all.

    Time eventually may change that.. but it all depends.

    I know this is old but honestly, this is not VR is more AR or something along those lines. Depicting this as VR is ridiculous. The vive is clearly the superior product and overall overs more bang for the buck when you get into it.

    Is oculus rift worth getting? Have a amazing variety and lots of games?

    Theres no comparison between a headset designed for VR specifically, and one that uses a mobile phone strapped into a holder as another thing the phone can do.
    Phones are designed to be phones, VR headsets are designed to show VR. It`s really that simple.

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