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Pre-orders open for Samsung’s $99 VR headset

Over the past couple of years, we’ve been told time and again that virtual reality hardware for consumer audiences is just on the horizon — and now we’re starting to see the fruits of that labor. Samsung has opened pre-orders for the consumer version of its Gear VR headset.

This new iteration of the device has been designed for use with Samsung’s current crop of smartphones; the Galaxy Note 5, the Galaxy S6 Edge+, the Galaxy S6, and the Galaxy S6 Edge. At a price of $99, it’s one of the most budget-friendly option for anyone looking to dip their toe in the VR pool — as long as you already have the Samsung phone.

The device has been designed in collaboration with Oculus, the company that helped encourage the current wave of VR interest with its groundbreaking work on the Rift. Samsung’s Peter Koo officially announced the headset at the Oculus Connect 2 keynote back in September of this year.

Related: The VR future expands as Netflix and Hulu announce new virtual reality apps

Samsung claims that the consumer version of its Gear VR headset is 19 percent lighter than the Innovator Edition that was distributed in 2014. User comfort can be a make-or-break factor in a device that’s intended to be worn on the user’s head, so keeping the weight light at just 318 grams bodes well for its success in that regard.

However, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that content is the key to many companies’ strategy for cornering the VR market. Samsung recently announced a partnership with WWE to produce experiences for use with VR hardware, adding to a selection of entertainment available to Gear VR users that already includes Netflix and the Oculus Video service.

The Gear VR is now available for pre-order from Amazon, Best Buy, and directly from Samsung. The device costs $99, and hardware is anticipated to start shipping on November 20.

Available at: Samsung Amazon Best Buy