Tuesday, 15 December 2015 10:32

Samsung launches 3rd-gen Gear VR headset in Australia

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Samsung’s Gear VR headset is in its third generation and is selling today for $159 at Samsung’s retail and e-Store, with a wider release in 2016.

Virtual reality. It has been promised for a couple of decades, and over the last couple of years really seems to have started taking off, thanks to Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Google’s Cardboard and Samsung’s Oculus-inspired Gear VR headset.

This new 3rd-gen headset works with Samsung’s latest four smartphones - the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and the Note 5, with each smartphone serving as the headset’s Super AMOLED display.

Samsung says the vibrant displays on its smartphones ‘provide the colour, clarity and performance needed for an amazing virtual reality experience.’

Prasad Gokhale, VP of IT & Mobile at Samsung Electronics Australia said: “Samsung is firmly committed to driving forward innovation in our wearable offering and we see the Gear VR as a way to open the door of immersive virtual reality for Australians who demand the best mobile experiences.

“We’re very excited to launch this Gear VR model in Australia which will enable Australians consumers to experience incredible content on their compatible Samsung smartphones.”

Samsung boasts its latest Gear VR headset is ‘considerably lighter than the previous Gear VR Innovator Edition (without Galaxy smartphone), and includes new foam cushioning to make the device comfortable to wear. In addition, the Gear VR’s touchpad, provides great control while enjoying the wide selection of film, games, 360 degree video and experiential content available for Gear VR.’

In addition to content available to purchase from Oculus, consumers will also be able to enjoy Samsung Internet for Gear VR beta, an app that allows users to browse the web in an immersive 360-degree experience, as well as watch 360 degree videos available through websites like YouTube*. The Samsung Internet for Gear VR beta app lets consumers enjoy and access compatible content online. It supports both 360-degree and 3D video streaming, as well as compatible HTML5 video from the web.

The last two paragraphs came with some asterisks, which lead us to this statement: ‘* Movies, games, apps and other virtual content may need to be downloaded and purchased from the Oculus Store. Internet connection required. Data, subscription and other charges may apply. Usage may be subject to third party service provider agreements.’

Which is a pretty standard disclaimer.

More below, please read on!

This new Gear VR is available today in ‘Frost White’ for $159 from Samsung’s experience store (there’s one in Sydney and another in Melbourne), as well as Samsung’s e-Store (although at time of publiation I don't see this new model listed there yet), with the company expecting wider availability in 2016.

Samsung’s Internet for Gear VR beta version became available to download in the Oculus Store from December 2.

Samsung Gear VR Product Specifications:

Dimension/Weight:
201.9 x 116.4 x 92.6 mm /318g (without Galaxy smartphone, total weight will vary depending on Galaxy smartphone used.)

Sensor:
Accelerator, Gyrometer, Proximity(Mount/Unmount Detection)

Field of View:
96 degrees

IPD Coverage:
54 ~ 70 mm (Fixed Lenses)

Colour:
Frost White

Connectivity:
microUSB connection to the Galaxy Note 5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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