Samsung today became the first company to market with a consumer oriented virtual reality headset in decades as its Samsung Galaxy mobile phone powered Gear VR launched in the US today.

It’s unlikely that many people, even post Oculus Rift Kickstarter, would have predicted that at the close of 2015, we’d be expecting the first consumer targeted VR headset to be powered by a mobile phone. I admit to being more than a touch sceptical on learning last year that mobile phone giant Samsung were collaborating with Oculus to bring a fully-fledged virtual reality to the mass market, powered by mobile technology. But, as with many things VR related, once I’d seen it, I was sold.

samsung gear vr consumer version (1)

Oculus believes that mobile virtual reality is ultimately the future and, their first collaboration is a deliberate attempt to begin charting a roadmap away from cumbersome PCs and troublesome wires, to a device that will transport your mind and once you’re done pass it around to your friends wherever you might be.

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

Today’s release is actually the third iteration of the Gear VR. Released initially last year, powered exclusively by the Note 4 phablet, the first iteration was labelled ‘Innovator Edition’ – ostensibly a cleverly marketed beta product. It was beautifully designed, incorporating a side-mounted touchpad for control, and the option to use a Bluetooth gamepad. This first release was quickly followed a little later with a refresh, this time designed to work with Samsung’s new S6 line of mobile phones. The S6 Gear VR tweaked the design a little, adding a sculpted touchpad and a USB slot, to power your phone whilst in use as a headset.

samsung gear vr consumer version (4)

Today, the consumer Gear VR is barely different from the earlier models. It’s slightly lighter at 3xx grams, and it’s certainly cheaper, on sale today for $99 – obviously sans obligatory mobile phone. The new headset is designed to work with all 2015 model Samsung mobile phones.

See Also: First Look at Samsung’s Consumer Gear VR Headset

As we write this, online availability is limited to the below outlets in the US at present – with Amazon already reported stocks sold out.

Get Gear VR at Best Buy   Get Gear VR at Amazon

If you’re after bricks and mortar stores, Gear VR should be available at ‘select’ Best Buy, T-Mobile and AT&T stores ‘soon’.

Of course, this is all in the United States. Outside the US, things are (as is almost always the case) a little more unclear. Oculus states the device will be available for pre-order ‘soon’ and the headset has appeared at various official European Samsung sub-sites already. Price in the EU looks to be set at 99EUR.

Update: The consumer Gear VR has been on sale since Wednesday in Germany and the Netherlands.

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Based in the UK, Paul has been immersed in interactive entertainment for the best part of 27 years and has followed advances in gaming with a passionate fervour. His obsession with graphical fidelity over the years has had him branded a ‘graphics whore’ (which he views as the highest compliment) more than once and he holds a particular candle for the dream of the ultimate immersive gaming experience. Having followed and been disappointed by the original VR explosion of the 90s, he then founded to follow the new and exciting prospect of the rebirth of VR in products like the Oculus Rift. Paul joined forces with Ben to help build the new Road to VR in preparation for what he sees as VR’s coming of age over the next few years.
  • MasterElwood

    Pre-orders for germany are online since wednesday. Estimated delivery date is december 1st…

  • DoctorBambi

    Great state of the Gear VR, Paul.
    Maybe I just don’t watch enough TV, but does anyone else find Samsung’s marketing for the Gear VR… practically none existent? I was thinking they’d have some kind of ‘release trailer’ up when they officially released the Gear VR. Something that they could use for commercials and get everyone pumped up.
    I’m sure a few years of word of mouth has drawn the attention of thousands and sounds like it’s selling fine, but just seems odd to me that we haven’t seen much of a marketing campaign.

  • arnoud

    FYI: orders for the Gear VR in The Netherlands were shipped out yesterday and first deliveries were made today.

  • Lyonheart

    Sold out at BB and AMZ. What Galaxy phone is bets for this, Note5?