Virtual Reality is one of the final frontiers of consumer tech that is re-envisioning how we play games, watch movies, and even interact with the real world. Luckily for the Absolute Team, we got to try out Samsung’s latest model, the Gear VR, at our company headquarters.
The Gear VR is not to be confused with Oculus Rift, the original Kickstarter project that made virtual reality a household phrase. Oculus Rift requires extensive software, camera rigging, and an external computer to use.
On the other hand, the Samsung Gear VR is activated via apps on a smartphone, which is inserted in the front portion of the device. In this way, your phone’s screen becomes the canvas for virtual reality. It’s only compatible with the Note 4 and the Galaxy S6.
“This was the whole reason why I bought the Note 4,” said Alfred. “So it would work with this when it finally came out!”
Set up was incredibly simple though it did take longer than expected. The Gear comes with a micro SIM card loaded with software, which altogether took about 20 minutes to download, in addition to the app from Google Play. Once it was ready to go, everyone at the office was eager to take a spin.
Upon placing the device on your head, disorientation and nausea set in. This is because the device makes you actually forget how your own body occupies space. Immediately, your entire existence is replaced with a virtual version of yourself, and it is strange to look down and not see your legs.
Testing it Out
We played Temple Run, a well-known favorite. The game allows you to jump, slide, and look around the course while you avoid being hunted by a variety of creatures. Every time your character jumps in the game, your stomach lurches. It’s the most surreal feeling.
“How do I move?” asked Marlena several times before she discovered how to run from monsters. While the headset is equipped with its own built-in navigation, Alfred purchased the controller which adds so much more to the experience.
“This is very, very cool,” said Johnny, while the rest of the room agreed. Everyone had the opportunity to test it out until they had sensed the adventure.
All in all, the Absolute Team was deeply impressed by the Gear, which is the first generation of true consumer virtual reality devices.