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Today is the day that essentially the first consumer VR headset launched in the last decade becomes available. That headset is Samsung’s Gear VR, created in collaboration with Oculus. Join us for an unboxing of this impressive device.

See Also: Samsung Gear VR Detailed Review: Part One – Design Comparison to Oculus Rift DK2

After more than three years of tracking the consumer VR industry on Road to VR, it’s my pleasure to share with you an unboxing of the first consumer mobile VR headset. After dealing with prototypes, development kits, alpha, beta, gamma—you name it—here is a VR headset that’s intended for end-users. That said, Samsung does call this the ‘Innovator Edition’ and stresses that it’s not for everyone, it’s meant for early-adopters, VR enthusiasts, and developers too. Still, Gear VR is a huge step up in the user-friendly department, and it makes the consumer release of Oculus’ forthcoming VR headset (known colloquially as the ‘CV1’) even more promising.

The difference between Gear VR and what you might be used to as a user of the Oculus DK1 or DK2 is the end-to-end experience. Oculus Home, the software that encompasses your Gear VR experience, does just that—within it you can browse, install, update, and play games without ever leaving the headset. You can even access the real world without removing your headset thanks to Gear VR’s passthrough camera!

See Also: Gear VR Preview – Installing and Using Apps in Oculus Home with Ritchie Djamhur

This all-in-one environment is critical to widespread appeal. Think of the smartphone market: apps are hardly different than the ‘software’ that came before them, but give developers an easy way to distribute—and consumers and easy way to find, pay, and download—and suddenly you’ve got massive app ecosystems that support a rich development community. That’s where Oculus and Samsung are headed, and Gear VR and Oculus Home are the first, very impressive, steps.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Jacob Pederson

    If this weren’t tied to a phone I’d be all over it. Why not release a wifi version of the s4 for just this purpose?

    • Ben Lang

      Given how successful Apple is with the iPod Touch, I’m surprised we don’t see more wifi-only devices like that!

    • Soggoth

      Couldn’t agree more!
      I’m really thrilled with the whole Gear VR thing (wireless self-contained VR device), but at the same time I’m not a fan of huge phones and definitely don’t want a Note 4 as my everyday phone.

  • seanlumly

    This is great! I will be getting the Note 5 and (presumably) the upcoming GearVR 2. I expect that (at 14 – 20nm) mobile GPUs will be powerful enough to power 4K displays, and I suspect that Samsung will release their 4K Super AMOLED display with the Note 5. I would also other aspects of the hardware to be more suited to VR applications.

    But if I were updating my smartphone, it would be the Galaxy Note — specifically because of VR. Even watching videos in a private, customizable theater is a killer feature that makes it well worth it for me and well worth the cost.

  • homido

    I’ve seen this carry case before !

    Our Homido VR headset comes with one carry case of the same color, same shape, with a logo on top, a zip…

    Samsung: next time please get in touch with us, we’ll give you good price ;)

    Video published a few months ago that shows our carry case: