Open up a whole new (virtual) world with Samsung’s $200 Gear VR headset

Samsung Gear VR
Updated on 05-08-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added availability and app info. 

New Gear VR model: Pricing and availability

Looking for a headset accoutrement to complement your new Galaxy? Samsung’s second Gear VR, which is made to fit the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and only the S6 and S6 Edge, is now officially on sale at brick-and-mortar locations like Best Buy and Samsung’s online store. Like the Innovator Edition, it’s priced at $200.

So what’s the difference between the new Gear VR and Samsung’s soon-to-be-outmoded Innovator Edition? Not much, truly. It’s about 15 percent smaller and a tad bit lighter, and has a redesigned weight distribution with better counterbalance. The new Gear VR has a USB port for charging any slotted-in S6, plus a more comfortable head strap with thicker padding, granular focus adjustment, and a mechanical cooling fan. Basically, it should be a lot easier on the eyes and face for those longer viewing/play sessions.

But what’s great hardware without apps? The improved Gear VR ships with the Oculus VR Store, a digital catalog of virtual reality applications and games. The store gained support for paid apps in March, and will soon extend that to other forms of media — Oculus’s video platform, Oculus Cinema, has begun offering a rotating selection of streaming short films.

Samsung’s first stab at VR: the Innovator Edition

Samsung’s first stab at virtual reality entertainment is here. The Innovator Edition Gear VR headset can be purchased for $200 through Samsung or AT&T. It’s ready to wow friends and family this holiday season. Well, we say it’s $200, but because the headset only works when a Galaxy Note 4 is plugged in, you’ll need one of the $800 smartphones too. Otherwise, it’s a useless, vision-obscuring face mask.

If you own the Note 4, or plan on picking one up at the same time, the Gear VR opens up an entire new world in front of your eyes. The smartphone slots into the visor, where it becomes the heart of the Gear VR — offering up its Quad HD, 5.7-inch screen, Snapdragon 805 processor, and many different sensors to bring a 360-degree, virtual reality entertainment world to life.

The Gear VR is closely related to the Oculus Rift, and also should be regarded as a piece of tech for early adopters. This means there isn’t a huge selection of software or movies created specifically for it just yet. It does come with HeroBound, a dungeon-based platform game we tried out at the IFA show back in September, plus the underwater demo called theBlu, and a selection of other games.

Some will require the use of Samsung’s Gear VR controller accessory, while others — such as nDreams’ Gunner shoot-em-up, which you can see in action above — make use of the Gear VR’s head tracking abilities instead. Samsung says a variety of 3D content, including a specially filmed sequence made by Cirque du Soleil, will be available for download too. If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Gear VR and the Oculus Rift, it’s mainly that it doesn’t need to be hooked up to a computer to operate.

According to AT&T’s website, the Gear VR should be in stock from December 8, but don’t go looking for it in one of the network’s retail stores, because it’s currently an online-only purchase.

Previous updates:

Updated on 04-23-2015 by Kyle Wiggers: Added details and pricing of Samsung’s new and improved Gear VR model.

Mobile

5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Mobile

You can now pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus, or S10e

The Samsung Galaxy S10 is one of the most-anticipated phones of the year, offering a new chipset, beautiful display, and more. Now that the phone has been announced you might be wondering where you can get it for yourself.
Virtual Reality

Getting into VR is spendy. Which headset is truly worth your hard-earned cash?

Virtual reality has finally gone mainstream, but how do you find the best VR headset for you? Check out a few of our favorites, whether you want the best of the best or a budget alternative for your mobile device.
Gaming

Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.
Gaming

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.
Gaming

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.
Gaming

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?
Gaming

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.
Gaming

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in Destiny 2? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.
Gaming

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options. Fan-favorite third-party and exclusive games are also included.
Gaming

Fortnite squads up with Ninja, Chan, and Samsung for exclusive K-pop skin

The Galaxy S10 Plus has features that make it great for mobile gaming and just like last year, Fortnite and Samsung have joined forces to bring an exclusive K-pop skin to the phone. Here's how you can get it.
Computing

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.