Monday, January 18, 2016

Samsung GearVR

So this device caught my eye back a little under a year ago when the Developer Edition was first released for around $200. When they finally decided to go full retail on the technology for only $99, I was all over it.

The GearVR only works with the Galaxy S6/Edge/Note generation of smartphones. It functions by utilizing the phone itself, plugging in through a USB input, and auto-launching an Oculus App. The headset consists of only a few lenses, a touchpad, plastic, pass-throughs, and straps. All of the heavy-duty work is all done by the phone.

So let's get to it. Is the device all that it's cracked up to be? Yes, using it and experiencing where VR technology is right now was a grand experience. A lot of the visuals were hit/miss as some were way too low-res while others were just right. They need to get everything in high-def before people will take it more seriously though. A lot of applications were there to just showcase what the technology could do and that was pretty cool.

I'd define the headset as a neat toy to try out and tinker around with. It would give developers and forward thinkers a lot to ponder about regarding the capabilities of this tech. Everything from games to teaching to communication. There were a lot of possibilities since it was a very immersive experience.

The first negative was that my S6 phone got super hot after only 10-15 min of use and the software would warn you and then shut off. Some people were making heat-sinks out of old CPU copper or tinfoil and such. Kinda ridiculous but not really if you wanted to use the GearVR for longer swaths of time. The second negative was that the applications were way too limited and in its infancy. Do you remember when Smartphone apps first came out and there were just a buttload of random crap everywhere? Picture that but just with a whole lot less content. Different folks have some financial backing and are trying to produce content but it's truly hit/miss. After a few more years somebody is bound to produce an app that people will actually use. It'll need to be on dedicated hardware though since this overheating issue is unacceptable.

For me I never got nauseous, like VR back in the early 90s, but my eyes didn't feel too good and I did start getting a headache. Again...it's a great 30min toy to demo, but there's still a lot that needs to be done before VR goes mainstream.