Gadgets Samsung Gear VR headset

Published on March 7th, 2016 | by Yasser Masood

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Samsung Gear VR hits the retail shelves

Samsung has been making a big push on virtual reality after their Unpacked event in Barcelona – creating your own custom 360 VR experience with the Gear 360 camera, Gear VR helmet, and a Galaxy S7/S7 Edge smartphone. It’s all part of a family of products in this ecosystem. When another product that is part of this family starts to hit retail shelves without any media announcement, you could assume that something bigger is looming on the horizon.

That’s what Samsung Gulf have done, as I spotted the Gear VR headset at some of the major retail outlets in Qatar (i.e. Lulu Hypermarket) and even online stores by network providers (e.g. Ooredoo Qatar). In addition, they’re all selling at the same price of QAR 399 and comes in a small box packaging. We’ve unboxed one unit as well, to see just how easy it is to get our VR experience up and running.

 

The Gear VR headset serves as the gateway to virtual reality (VR), using the power of the Samsung Galaxy range of smartphone and the Oculus software (owned by Facebook). As the revised one was unveiled in Late 2015, they could now support the current Galaxy S6/ S6 Edge (+) and the Note 5. These 2 items are all that you need to get started with VR, and the price barrier is almost the same (maybe even lower?!) compared to buying dedicated VR headsets from other brands.

When compared to other VR headsets, there is no tethering at all. The Gear VR uses the power of the Galaxy S smartphone for all the processing work. You can even charge your Samsung Galaxy smartphone using the pass-through microUSB port tucked away nicely on the Gear VR headset. The Gear VR can be used with the following Samsung smartphones without any issues

  • Samsung Note 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge and S6 Edge+
  • Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge (release date TBC)

The timing of the Gear VR release can’t be a coincidence, as the Middle East retail launch of the new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge is approaching fast. So far, the UAE has had pre-orders up and running but Qatar may not be far.

One other piece of missing hardware? The new Gear 360 camera we saw at MWC 2016. There is still no word on the pricing, but it may hit retail sometime in mid-2016. That would definitely complete the VR experience with Samsung’s family of mobile products.

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About the Author

Who am I? Some say I’m a walking breathing Wikipedia in Qatar, knowing anything from the obscure to the mainstream. I’m just a tech-savvy gadget loving and dissecting geek, juggling a day job with some community passion work. You can follow me on Twitter: @YasserM86



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