Last night at a typically completely-over-the-top Samsung launch party, I tried the Gear VR.
As one who has some capital and a great deal of emotion invested in Oculus – specifically my DK1, and now, a DK2 which I ordered in goddam July and which still hasn’t dear-god-please-end-this-torture arrived yet, I was keen to give it a whirl.
It’s nuts cool. It’s better than DK1 or DK2. Yep. Said it.
Because, the display is a Galaxy Note 4 (which was also launched last night), and with that, comes a resolution of 2560x1440 on a bloody fantastic 5.7inch Super AMOLED screen.
So, the worlds I was in – and I do mean IN – were crisp. Objects were solid. Distant things were sharply defined. That makes the biggest difference, and highlights that yes, latency and 3D are very important, but resolution is the deal-maker. The actual latency in the Gear VR is not detectable, anyway, at least in terms of perception. I just couldn’t imagine it being improved upon what was experienced last night, so any incremental latency tweaks are mathematical and academic, as far as that’s concerned it’s totally good enough right now.
Frame rates were perfect, also amazing, considering how we’ve been educated to equip a VR PC with a mighty video card for Oculus, and the Gear VR is powered by the Note 4.
Incidentally, I also attended an Nvidia Editor’s briefing yesterday for the new 900-series cards, and with that comes a few interesting tweaks for VR support, the funkiest being that in an SLI rig each card renders each half of the view.
The 96 degree FOV was just enough. Peripheral vision was almost nothing but screen, but there were still black edges if you chose to direct your eyes outwards. Keep looking straight ahead, though, and it’s all fine.
There’s a touch pad on one side, too, handy dandy and a great idea.
I was also expecting the unit to be a bit forward-heavy, but it was all very comfortable and no real sense of lopsided weight distribution interrupting the virtual experience.
When this thing comes onsale “within months” it’ll sell as many as Samsung can make. This is no ‘mainstream’ alternative to Oculus, it’s a better experience than either dev kit, as a real consumer product, available, probably, well before the first consumer Rift.
And because it’s a Samsung, the great unwashed will hear of this first, and loudest, and probably think that Samsung ‘invented VR’. Oh well, cookies a crumbling.
Samsung has some kind of business relationship with Oculus, but nobody from Samsung last night was able to give me specifics, apart from its compatibility with all Oculus apps.
I want one badly. SAMSUNG GIVE TO ME!
Read stuff about it here.