September 3rd 2014 9:20 am

Heads up! A newer version of this product has been announced!

77

A glimpse at the future of virtual reality

77

Gear VR is a device full of potential. It works! The screen resolution is almost good enough that you don't constantly think about the headset you're wearing! It's light and easy to keep on for long periods! It's not $10,000! The battery life is pretty okay (seriously, if you're burning out your Note 4 from Gear VR use, you need to take more frequent breaks)!

It's also a device still full of limitations. When you're in Gear VR, you're in Gear VR -- no answering phone calls or looking at the internet or anything else you do with your phone. The list of software -- right now -- is insanely short. It only works with a single phone, and that phone is incredibly expensive off-contract. And it's not exactly tiny: Gear VR comes with its own carrying case that doesn't fit into any normal-sized bags. The Back to the Future 2 glasses these are not.

But should you buy it?

Whether or not you should buy Gear VR is difficult to answer at the moment. For those of us already drinking the Kool-Aid of virtual reality as a medium, it's by far the most impressive consumer experience and every bit worth owning. We'd even venture as far as to say it's worth owning a Note 4 so that VR enthusiasts can own Gear VR.

But for the average consumer, Gear VR will feel half-done, or like a tech demo. It's a great jumping-off point for VR nutcases like myself to easily evangelize and demonstrate the promise of virtual reality. But Gear VR is still several steps removed from the level of polish and functionality consumers expect.

So, should you buy it? Like so many things, it depends on you. What I can say definitively is that Gear VR offers a unique, amazingly demonstrative experience of what virtual reality headsets can be. Whether or not you buy one doesn't really matter -- you must try one.

Critic reviews

8.0
3 reviews
  • Design and form factor
    7.3
  • Ease of use
    8.7

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User reviews

9.5
4 reviews
8.0
Engadget Dec 17, 2014

At the same time, an extremely limited selection of software and functionality makes Gear VR live up to its "Innovator Edition" alias: It's a device intended for early adopters and virtual reality enthusiasts, not the mainstream. At least for now.

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8.0
Gizmodo Dec 12, 2014

The Gear VR feels like proof that VR headsets aren't a dead-end this time around, and that you probably won't have to go out of your way to get one three or four or five years from now. No, you probably shouldn't buy it right now, but you should be very glad it exists.

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8.0
CNET Dec 17, 2014

The Gear VR Innovator Edition is a cool -- and very promising -- entry ticket for early adopters looking for an affordable taste of virtual reality.

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9.0
Tommart Tommart

Good variety of free software to show potential. However there is no software that is a killer game or app - yet. The games are too childish. I like the concert videos but hope the video and audio quality are improved. Like that I can view photos and videos from my phone. Hope it later supports...

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10
hagg87 hagg87

The Virtual Reality experience on this is amazing, just needs positional tracking (and more content). It's amazing what Samsung and Oculus have accomplished using a mobile phone in such a short time period.

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10
LRGDNA LRGDNA

This is my first venture into VR and I am in awe of how great it works. I've had countless coworkers, friends and family try it with everyone loving it. Can't wait for more software.

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9.0
ericfassbender ericfassbender

This is the first true VR headset for the consumer market. Extremely low latency and very good menu system. Build quality is great. Only downsides are that you can only use it with the Note 4 and that no content is available. Saying that, some great relaxation content is available at...

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