Gadgets for humans

Hands-on: Samsung’s Note 7 Gear VR comes with better optics and backwards compatibility

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Note7

At its unpacked event in New York today Samsung, Samsung unveiled a certain new phone. Oh, and a VR headset too.

It’s pretty much exactly what the leaks indicated. The main changes in the new Gear VR (that’s the official name) are the wider 101-degree field of view(instead of 96) and a smoother, more minimal touchpad.

There’s now a dedicated button to get back to the Oculus home instead of long-pressing the back button – thank goodness – and, well, the headset is black now. Besides looking cooler, it also helps with reflections.

I was able to try it out with a virtual skateboard ride, and though it’s not anything revolutionary, it’s certainly an improvement. The wider field of view is a bit more immersive, the optics have a less aberrations towards the edges, and the smooth touchpad definitely makes more sense than the old ridged one.

My favorite change is simply the softer padding though.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Note7

For new VR customers, it’s also backwards compatible all the way back to the S6 via a swappable connector – it comes with both USB-C and Micro USB. The OTG port is only USB-C, however.

The new Gear VR goes on sale on August 19, along with the Note 7. It will cost $99 – same as the old headset, which is now being discontinued.

Published August 2, 2016 — 15:42 UTC