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Samsung Gear VR first impressions: VR is finally plug-and-play

Samsung Gear VR first impressions VR is finally plug and play Ars Technica


I also tried watching a couple of film trailers and clips in the Oculus Cinema, which puts a 3D film on a flat screen in a virtual theater (or a virtual moonscape, or a virtual underwater scene, etc.) It was a competent if unexciting experience in VR, made a bit more interesting by a few trailers that extended the scene in a "multiscreen" format, with angled virtual displays extending off the side of the main screen. It's a cute gimmick, but I'm already not sure if I'd want to watch a full movie in this way.

A few other miscellaneous notes from my first couple of hours with the Gear VR:

  • Holding down the back button brings up an always-accessible system menu, where you can activate a halfway decent passthrough camera function that lets you see your surroundings without taking the unit off. You can also turn on a "do not disturb" mode, so notifications about e-mails and texts don't pop up and ruin the VR experience.
  • You really need to keep the handset screen clean. The tiniest bit of dirt or hair is remarkably apparent when it gets in the way of a VR view.
  • The Note 4 automatically goes to sleep when you take the Gear VR off and comes back to life when you put it back on. My best guess is there's a tension sensor in the head strap that figures out when it's on a head.
  • My first two hours of pretty constant and intense VR use took the Note 4's battery down from about 80 percent to about 20 percent.
  • You can plug in headphones even with the front cover on, through convenient slots in the side.

We'll have a much fuller review in the days to come. For now, though, the Gear VR makes a strong first impression that ought to get even virtual reality neophytes into the concept quickly and easily.

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