Gear VR Samsung Galaxy S7 Pre Order Hands on

The 2016 Gear VR early release!

So you heard you get a free Gear VR with every Samsung Galaxy S7 Pre-Order, well we just happen to have one to hand. It’s probably identical to the 2015 edition of the Gear VR, but none the less, it’s super exciting to get the Gear VR shipped out early before the big Galaxy S7 launch… (Check back here tomorrow for the smartphone low down!). Now for whatever magical reason (or I just got plain lucky) here in ol’ Blighty the Carphonewarehouse decided to chuck out my new headset a few days before the pre-ordered handset itself, although on reflection this might have just been a giant tease as you can’t do much (or anything at all after reading the side of the box) without the Galaxy phone, well who knew! Anyway so grabbing a Galaxy S6 from the office (I know it’s not the same but it’ll have to do until till 8th) we took it for a whirl..

Gear VR - Galaxy S7

Gear VR – Galaxy S7

First impressions a bit plasticy

I’m not sure what I’m actually comparing it to, but on first handling it out of the box it didn’t really feel like something I’d been totally happy paying full price for the headset, but it’s here, it was included and I will definitely give it a chance. The head straps were easy to fit (I still don’t get why Google Cardboard still insists on leaving these out) and the headset itself was very comfortable to wear and feels quite light weight, however I imagine adding a phone would increase the weight quite a bit, because you know, I hadn’t been the sent it yet!

Gear VR - Galaxy S7

Googly Eyes!

Hooking up to the Galaxy S6

Having to make do with last year’s phone (Geez I know!), I started to make the obvious comparisons to Google Cardboard (actually there’s a whole section dedicated to just this) and how they are totally different experiences, the Gear VR does carry a certain finished polished feel about it, something the hacked together Cardboard is decidedly lacking.

Setting up

Weirdly your first thoughts are how do you switch this on, of course the Galaxy doesn’t come with a magic VR button you’ve somehow managed to miss and the headset doesn’t give any clues either, well just plugging it in did the trick! Now you’re met with a handy notification telling you to download the latest Oculus App software so you can then download loads of goodies, but this is a long process with quite a few other downloads, this is something you will want to be using a wifi connection for.

Gear VR - Galaxy S7

Not meant to be a Storm trooper outfit, promise!

 Cardboard vs Gear VR

Well this is probably the bit you’ve been waiting to read about, the overall experience I came away with was how much slicker the whole thing is. From starting up automatically whenever your phone is plugged in, to the reassuring beep each time it detects you’ve got it ready to begin wearing again after every time you’ve put it down. One of the cleanest approaches is how much thought Samsung put in to making sure your phone returns to normal soon as it’s unplugged without a trace of any apps running or closing, far from the fumbling around that comes with Cardboard. Above all it’s a tailored experience, with more importantly an app store to match, offering a premium experience through out, although a somewhat pricey one, with some games in the $10+ range, far more than the freenium we have all gotten used to.

And it can melt your face!

Well apparently, if you happen to read that far along in the instruction manual and right now I’m a bit apprehensive about anything that can burn, especially after the last time, but seriously for whatever reason you won’t find this in the Safety section, Samsung cautions you that using Gear VR may cause your phone to be warmer than usual and that receiving a phone call during it’s use may burn your face and ear! Lovely, consider yourselves warned 🙂

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