New pictures of the updated Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset have leaked. According to Tech Crunch, the new Gear VR headset will be slightly bigger (most likely to accommodate the new Note 7) and have a 110 degree field of view instead of the 96 degree FOV that has been on past Gear VR headsets. This will make a huge difference.
The new Gear VR will support a USB-C connection, which is what the Galaxy Note 7 is rumored to have. It is also said to support some type of Bluetooth controller. However, the new Gear VR needs other improvements in order to be a completely viable device.
For one thing, the fog gathering on the lenses has been a huge problem. There are products you can buy to reduce the amount of fog the lenses acquire, but one shouldn’t have to buy some extra liquid. Whenever using the Gear VR, my eyes see dark shadows by the edges of the lenses — this could have something to do with light leakage, which — to some — doesn’t make that much sense.
What the Gear VR really needs the most is some sort of movement tracking system, like there is on the regular Oculus Rift. Perhaps the new one will include some sort of tracking camera. However, that would be unusual, especially for a portable VR device. As of right now, I still get motion sickness when playing games on the Gear VR — something that never happened when I used the HTC Vive, which has two tracking stations and room-scale VR.
The fact remains that if Samsung (or another company) wants to come up with an adequate mobile VR set, they are going to have to produce one that doesn’t rely on a smartphone. While it’s true that smartphones are now more powerful than ever, they still aren’t powerful enough to provide a completely glitch-free and motion sickness-free mobile VR experience.
Samsung may actually come to the rescue with the “Odyssey” headset, at least according to Wired UK. Trademark filings reveal that Samsung is producing a VR headset that may operate as its own computer — very similar to the Microsoft HoloLens. The day when virtual reality doesn’t require a battery-guzzling smartphone or being tethered with heavy wires to a PC will be the day virtual reality really takes off in the mainstream.