Ever had one of those days when you just need a break from day to day stress be it an irate boss, traffic jams, internet tolls, unruly commuters or your spouse significant other has gotten on your last nerve?
Well if you can’t afford to pay for a means of escaping your stressful settings, as in a getaway, you’re absolutely fucked! However there is a glimmer of hope. Allow me to introduce the Samsung Gear VR: a mobile virtual reality headset developed by Samsung Electronics in collaboration with Oculus VR. A compatible Samsung Galaxy device (Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6/S6 Edge or Galaxy S7/S7 Edge), sold separately, acts as the headset’s display and processor.
The Occulus software is the main engine behind this apparatus while the Gear VR unit itself contains the high field of view lenses as well as a custom IMU for rotational tracking which connects to the smartphone via micro-USB. The Galaxy S6 compatible headgear has an intuitive plug and play function and once you have the Occulus software installed, get ready to experience a whole new dimension!
When learning about the affordable price compared to other proposed VR units, and the fact that its compatible with my new Galaxy S6 smartphone, I immediately plunked my hard earned dollars on this gadget.
After a few tweaks which mostly consist of adjusting the headset’s focus, I was immediately impressed with the Gear VR. The 360 photos gave me a feeling as if I was on a forest hike and when streaming video, I had to sit down and secure myself when “riding on a Roller-coaster” or “sailing 500 feet on a hot air balloon”.
But that’s just scratching the surface on my new toy. There are a good assortment of immersive third dimensional games-one in particular is Gunjack, a space shooter that puts you in the gunner’s seat while blasting alien fighters.
Among the Occulus apps I have tested, is GrooVR a music driven virtual reality experience that you can enjoy while listening to your very own music library. Or you could stream music from Spotify and Soundcloud.
Samsung Internet allows you to browse the web and even open YouTube videos and speaking of which, there’s the Netflix Living room : Imagine being in some cozy resort while having this huge LED screen right in front of you, ready to play any movie or television show that’s within your Queue. Look to the left, and there’s a snow topped mountain. Turn to the right and you’ll see a few Movie posters one being a certain Red clad Superhero whose 2nd season will premiere shortly on Netflix.
Now for Cinemaphiles who really want to push the VR Gear’s full potential, with the Occulus Cinema, I can watch Movies from my MP4 collection. The screen gives me the impression of watching a film in IMAX and what’s even cooler is being able to watch movies in 3D mode.
One caveat, you have to either grab MP4 3D files or with the help of video conversion software-make your own!
I did a few trial and errors with my Wondershare as it already includes a 3D option to convert 2D video files to 3D. For this test, I tried movies like Star Wars Revenge of the Sith (Fuck you, I actually like this prequel sequel! ) and the results were amazing!
The reason why I had decide to chose ROTS for this test is to simply demonstrate the 2D to 3D capabilities and it worked exceptionally. The opening space battle sequence entailed an in-your-face feeling equivalent to what you see in a 3D Movie Theater and the best thing about it is, no one talking out loud or texting! It’s just you enjoying the show. Other files that were hit or miss were Daredevil Director’s cut which also worked exceptionally well because these Movies weren’t intended to be filmed or shown in 3D.
As for animation, I like Anime with striking visuals ergo, I decided to convert The Soultaker, it’s one of my top favorite series from the Japanese based genre and although the file didn’t have as much depth as a live action video, I can tell which sections had the third dimensional effect.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the Gear VR’s awesome potential and if this device gains more momentum the possibilities are endless! From an interactive social gathering, business conference, or even being interviewed for a job without having to get dressed up and commute.
It seems that the surface has been scratched after all, and there are more layers to be found underneath!
So when life gets you down, just grab a Gear VR Headset and prepare to escape!
Which is what I’m about to do now.