I received my Samsung Gear VR set for use with the Galaxy Note 4 and have been blown away by a product in a way I haven’t been since the original iPod in 2001. I had the Oculus Rift DK2 for a couple weeks and even though I found it fascinating, it wasn’t hard to get rid of.
The Oculus Rift was well designed, but had wires tangling from every direction possible. My virtual reality experience would be interrupted several times due to a wire coming loose. The Gear VR is virtual reality on the go, where you don’t have to worry about owning a high-powered PC in order to get your virtual reality fix.
The Note 4 screen provides a Quad HD viewing experience. Of course, it sounds great until you put the Quad HD screen right up to your face. It produces a somewhat pixelated experience with what is known as a screen door effect. Still, the screen is still definitely good and the screen door effect only takes a little away from a full-blown virtual reality viewing experience.
On the other hand, the latest version of the Oculus Rift has a 1080p screen and the screen door effect is more pronounced—at least enough to take away a significant amount of joy from the virtual reality experience. The final consumer version of the Oculus Rift should see an improved screen. But for now, it is sub-par.
Less Motion Sickness
Both the Gear VR and the Oculus Rift can produce motion sickness, but the Rift does so more significantly. I watched Gravity 3D on both devices and although neither gave me significant motion sickness, I had to take a break after 45 minutes with the Rift. Even twenty minutes later, I had some minor dizziness. This is hardly the case with the Gear VR.
Yes, the Gear VR costs $200. The Galaxy Note 4 costs about $700, even though you can get it cheaper with two-year plans from wireless carriers. Spending $900 to get a full virtual reality experience is a lot of money, but less than you will spend with the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift DK2 currently costs $350. However, you need a powerful PC in order to get the full experience—one which probably costs about $800. A MacBook Pro won’t do; you need a real powerful gaming PC. You will spend at least $1150 for the desktop virtual reality experience and—even then—you will be tangled up with wires.
While the Oculus Rift provided a glimpse into the virtual reality world, the Gear VR is the real thing. Samsung has created the most significant mobile device since the iPod. Now, it’s your turn, Apple!