Virtual reality technology has been met with quite a handful of complaints. It is expensive, not comfortable, and can be a pain to set up. At the forefront of this technology is the Oculus Rift, which was launched in 2016 after years of development and hype.
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The Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift brings virtual reality to its users. You just put it on and you get immersed in a world that is not entirely real, but for you, as a user, is very much as real as experiencing it firsthand. Imagine this, you are strapped to a car seat and somebody’s driving.
Then suddenly, the car starts moving at very dangerous speeds, and the world is going past your window in a blur. You feel your heart racing and your body is responding by releasing adrenaline.
In reality, however, you are simply sitting in your chair, wearing the Oculus Rift. You are not really inside a car, but all your senses are reacting as if you are.
The Oculus Rift has had some design changes since it first came out. The current version that is available looks sleek and very elegant. The headset is made of high-quality materials and it has a simple black rectangular eyepiece with rounded edges.
The understated visor does not have any decorative touches except for the Oculus Rift logo.
The visor has two AMOLED screens measuring 3.51 inches diagonally inside and each screen gives you 1080 pixels by 1200 pixels of resolution for each eye, or 2160 pixels by 1200 pixels for both. It also uses 44 infrared emitter sensors, a gyroscope, and a built-in mic.
When you pick it up, the VR headset would feel really light, and you would also see how the design looks like there was a lot of time and thought poured into it. There are also straps that hold the Oculus Rift in place and for the eyepiece, the straps are cushioned with a thick foam.
The headset also includes the ear pads, which you can adjust to cover your ears comfortably. These ear pads can also be flipped up so that you can hear the real world when you need to.
With 3D surround sounds, these earphones work really well and make it easy for you to hear everything that is happening in the game. If you have a favorite set of headphones, you can also use that instead of the ones provided with the Oculus Rift.
There are several ways to control your Oculus Rift. First is through the Oculus Remote, which has a candy bar-like form factor that has several buttons to help you move around in the virtual world.
You also get the Oculus Touch, which gives your virtual hands a more realistic movement. Then you also have the Xbox One wireless controller as well as a Wireless Adapter for Windows. These help you move around games that are not motion-based.
At first, the Oculus Rift costs a hefty for the headset alone. But after a series of price cuts, the Oculus Rift AND the Oculus Touch is now available as a bundle.
You should keep in mind, though, that getting the Oculus Rift and the Oculus Touch is not all there is to it. You would need a pretty powerful computer to run the Oculus Rift.
The recommended specifications for your PC means that it should have a NVIDIA GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card, an Intel i5-4590 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, 8 GB of RAM, a compatible HDMI 1.3 video output, three USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port, and a Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or a newer operating system.
While those are the recommended specifications, you might be able to get away with the minimum specs:
- Graphics Card: AMD Radeon RX 470 or NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti or greater
- Alternative Graphics Card: AMD Radeon R9 290 or NVIDIA GTX 960 or greater
- Memory: At least 8GB RAM
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350, Intel i3-6100 or greater
- Video Output: HDMI 1.3
- USB Ports: One USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports
- OS: Windows 8.1 or newer
If you have been gaming for quite some time now, you might not have a problem having a computer with these specs. But for most people, esp. the casual users, they might need to upgrade. Or if you prefer, you might want to buy a new computer to meet the minimum specs.
The performance of the Oculus Rift depends on the PC that you use. If you have a powerful PC, then you should get flawless graphics and VR experience.
With a lesser computer, however, you might experience dropped frames or screen tears.
The thing with Oculus Rift is that there are a lot of titles that you can choose from. Quite a number of games can be described as somewhat gimmicky, but there are several that are really interesting. You can choose a game based on how much motion is involved and how nauseating it can get.
So if you are a beginner with VR, you might want to choose a somewhat safe and comfortable game. Furthermore, the Oculus Rift comes with around 100 games, and these games are fun and well-made.
What could be better
The Oculus Rift allows you to be in a virtual world, but you can only stand or sit while you wear it. There is no way for you to move around, which would have made the virtual world experience a lot more immersive.
Also, the headset might be eye-catching and a joy to look at, but it still looks silly when you wear it because of the strap that goes over your head. After a while, the VR headset can really feel uncomfortable and wearing it can put a serious strain on your neck.
The apps and games can be somewhat expensive, and there is no way for you to try it out before buying. That means you run the risk of paying for a game and then get disappointed by it.
Some users are reporting motion sickness and a feeling of being disoriented when they come back to the real world. This is normal with VR and you would be able to build up a tolerance for it the more you use it.
Samsung Gear VR
The Samsung Gear VR is more of a phone accessory than a separate device that you could use for VR. It can connect Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+, and Note 8 using the included USB-C connector.
The new Samsung Gear VR headset measures 8.15 inches wide by 3.88 inches high by 4.75 inches deep. It weighs 345 grams. You can use the dial on the top of the headset to adjust the optics so that you could see your virtual world better.
What you get is a headset that is very comfortable to wear, with a snug fit that also keeps the light out.
Samsung has added some vents that would get the warm air out of the headset when you wear it, solving the previous fogging problem.
The Samsung Gear VR has a motion controller with a touchpad and four physical keys that allow you to navigate. It also has a trigger key that will execute the action you want. The controller fits in your hands and controlling your virtual environment feels very natural. The controller needs two AAA batteries to run.
The Samsung Gear VR with the controller already bundled (For the latest prices and discounts, check here). However, you might need to spend more when you buy a compatible Samsung smartphone.
You would certainly love the Samsung Gear VR’s compatibility with earlier Samsung phones. In fact, you can use a Galaxy S6 or a Samsung Note 5.
Plus, the Samsung Gear VR works with earlier games, even those created for its first generation version released in 2015. You can also get new games from Samsung’s developer community.
The performance of the Samsung Gear VR would depend on the smartphone you use. If you have a Samsung Galaxy S8, then you can enjoy flawless VR games and applications because of the phone’s fast processor.
If you have an older phone, performance will vary mildly, but you will probably have the same pixel density because Samsung phones from 2015 already have high-resolution displays.
Overall, you would love the lighter Samsung Gear VR, compared to its earlier versions. And because it is backward compatible, you can use any high-end Samsung smartphone going back to 2015.
The controller makes your VR experience easier and more natural. If Samsung could include rechargeable batteries for its controller, then this gadget will just be perfect.
Samsung Gear VR vs Oculus Rift: The Final Say
Both the Samsung Gear VR and the Oculus Rift offer you an immersive experience in a virtual world, and both gears are very well-designed. But when it comes to the headset and controller bundles, the Samsung Gear VR offers the more affordable choice.
If you already have a Samsung smartphone, then go for the Samsung Gear VR. But if you have a powerful computer, then you should consider the Oculus Rift. Otherwise, be prepared to spend more either way.
There is probably not much difference in each gadget’s performance. If you have the latest Samsung smartphones, you would have a great experience in the virtual world.
But if you have one of the older compatible phones, you would probably be a little disappointed. The same thing could be said about the Oculus Rift, wherein a crappy computer would mean a bad experience with it.
As for the available games and videos, you would probably have more choices with the Samsung Gear VR. Not only has Samsung worked on building games since 2015, but you also have a lot more choices from the developers who are creating more and more games and content for the Samsung Gear VR.
|Oculus Rift||Samsung Gear VR|
|Dimensions (wxhxd, inches)||7.24 x 4.49 x 3.50||8.15 x 3.88 x 4.75|
|Resolution||1200 x 1080||1440 x 1280|
|Field of view||110 degrees||101 degrees|
|Refresh rate||90 Hz||60 Hz|
|Works with||Windows PC||Samsung Smartphones|
|Can wear eyeglasses while wearing the headset||Yes||Yes|
|Price||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)||(For the latest prices and discounts, check here)|
There are a few differences between the Oculus Rift and the Samsung Gear VR. For instance, the Oculus Rift is not wireless as you have a cable coming from your headset going to your PC, while the Samsung Gear VR does not tether you like that.
The Gear VR also has a higher resolution per eye, and it uses a super AMOLED optics compared to the Oculus Rift’s AMOLED displays. Furthermore, the Oculus Rift has a higher field of view and faster refresh rates.
When you look down, you see the virtual floor, when you walk around, you would feel like walking around the virtual world, and when you stand, you will have a change of perspective from when you were sitting down.
The Samsung Gear VR does not do that; when you look down, you will see the same thing as when you look up. You can sit or stand and it would not make a difference, you’d see the same perspective.
Also, you do not get motion controls on the Samsung Gear VR, not the same way as the Oculus Touch, which is tantamount to having hand in the virtual world.
The Samsung Gear VR also does not have built-in headphones and an included gamepad.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!