Sign up FAST! Login

Gear VR: For today’s best virtual reality, strap a phone to your face

Gear VR For today s best virtual reality strap a phone to your face Ars Technica


All told, the most awe-inspiring and impressive moments with the Gear VR thus far have all come from outside of games. Simple, minimally interactive virtual reality experiences like The Deep, BluVR, andTitans of Space have become go-to apps when passing the Gear VR around a party for friends to check out. It's incredible just sitting in place and following along with your gaze as sea life or entire planets fly by in sharp, well-rendered, 360-degree glory. Without the power of a high-end gaming rig, the 3D graphics are just passable, but the sense of being surrounded by a complete, stereoscopic 3D world just can't be matched by a flat monitor, no matter how powerful the hardware.

The handful of live-action 360 degree videos are more of a mixed bag. Some, like a panoramic tour through the interior of a NASA space shuttle, are crisp, well-shot experiences that make you feel like you're actually in another place. The majority of these videos, though, are taken at a lower resolution that makes things feel muddy and distorted, especially if you try to focus on far off objects in the stereoscopic distance. It's as if you've been transported to inside an old cathode ray tube standard definition television set: it's impressive that you can look around what was previously a flat world, but it still feels like a step back to a much murkier past.

Yet even these low-resolution videos deliver a sense of presence that really shows off the value of VR. Watching a Cirque du Soleil performance high above you from the equivalent of the stage floor or looking around a Paul McCartney concert from a vantage point on top of his piano is impressive even if the figures look a bit out of focus at the current resolutions. Similarly, doing a slow fly-by of the skyscrapers in Manhattan or the glaciers off Iceland is an experience that's hard to replicate in real life, even if the videos are a lot fuzzier at the moment.

Stashed in: Virtual Reality!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

These sound cool but I'm not strapping a phone to my face, man. 

You May Also Like: