Yalla has been using the Samsung Gear VR headset for three days now, and we’re finding ourselves amazed every time we fix our Galaxy Note 5 to the lightweight goggles. This is almost total immersion, and with an ever expanding library of apps and games, this Oculus / Samsung partnership has opened up the world of virtual reality to the masses – so long as those masses have access to a Samsung Galaxy S6, S7 or Note 5 smartphone and a spare $100.
The headline features of the Gear VR are the immersive 3D effect games and stunning 360° movies – Samsung has released a 360° movie camera (in truth, two ultra fisheye cameras that work together with the aforementioned Samsung devices), which produces content that can be controlled by looking around with the headset, or by clicking around YouTube uploads.
How does it work? With the phone attached and the lightweight, comfortable headset on your face, you are taken to the Oculus homepage, which is simple to navigate using the touchpad on the right hand side. The touchpad is also used as the control panel for some of the simpler games, although there is a range of compatible controllers starting from around $50. The headphone jack is exposed and plugging in a pair takes you even deeper into the experience.
Yalla played Bait! an alarmingly simple and satisfying fishing game, and Smash Hit VR, which has taken a very good smartphone game and made it stunning in VR. We also took advantage of out Netflix subscription, watching movies as if in a cinema, although we found that we’d spilt our popcorn all over our lap by the time we removed the headset.
The Gear VR is not perfect – it drains the battery and at first can make the user feel a little sick. However, these are small prices to pay for such an incredible experience. It really feels as if the future has arrived in 2016.
If you have the right phone and want to get into VR without breaking the bank, Gear VR is a brilliant piece of hardware to strap to your head.