What Is Gear VR Service?
Samsung’s flagship contribution to the VR world, the Gear VR, is a virtual reality headset that uses your Samsung smartphone as both the screen and processing unit. First released on December 2014, the Gear VR is exclusive to Samsung devices.
Six versions of the headset have been released since its initial launch to the delight of users, and several apps are used in tandem to make the VR technology work on your device.
The Samsung Gear VR services are a collection of apps, hardware, and software that create a fully immersible VR experience for the user. Services include games, media, and third-party apps such as Netflix.
The Gear VR has had a few iterations in its lifetime, with each one being only slightly different than the last. The hardware used for Gear VR is an Oculus-powered headset, which is placed over your eyes, your smartphone, and a wireless controller.
Key Features of Samsung Gear VR
Gear VR Innovator Edition (SM-R320)
Compatible with: Galaxy Note 4
The very first release of the Gear VR service and system was known as the ‘innovator edition’ as it was developed for developers and hard-line VR enthusiasts. Launched in December 2014, the SM-R320 had a field of view of only 96 degrees and is the only Gear VR that supports the Galaxy Note 4. Movement within the VR system was achieved by using the touchpad on the headset’s side.
Gear VR SM-R321
Compatible with: Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
Released in March 2015, just four months after its innovator edition, the SM-R321 was the first commercial version of Samsung’s VR system. With the same 96-degree field of view and touchpad as on the previous version, the updated model added an internal fan to reduce fogging and micro USB connection to improve connectivity.
Gear VR SM-R322
Compatible with: Galaxy S7 Edge, GalaxyS6 Edge+ and S6 Edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S6
The third iteration of the Gear VR hardware headset was released in November 2015. A 96-degree field of view and USB connection remained the same as with previous models, but several design improvements were made. The unit was made lighter, and the built-in touchpad was improved, so it was easier and more responsive to use.
Gear VR SM-R323
Compatible with: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge and S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6
With an improved field of view of 101 degrees. The fourth release of the Gear VR was launched alongside the new Galaxy Note 7 in August 2016. The headset retained compatibility with all the handsets it was previously compatible with. Changes made to this headset include the removal of the Micro USB connection and the introduction of the USB-C connector. The headset came with a Micro-USB to USB-3 adapter for use with phones with Micro USB connections.
The increased field of view improved the immersion value of the headset, while updates to the aesthetics also added style value. The look of previous headsets was two-tone black and white, while this newer design was all black.
The Galaxy Note 7 is no longer supported as of October 2016, when the devices were recalled due to overheating issues.
Gear VR SM-R324
Compatible with: Samsung S8 and S8+, Note 5, Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge+ and S6, Note 5, Samsung S7 and S7 Edge
In March 2017, an updated version of the Gear VR system was launched to include support for the newer S8 and S8+ devices. While the headset itself remained largely the same, with a similar weight, the same field of view of 101 degrees and USB-C connection, an external controller was also added.
The wireless controller is a handheld device designed to duplicate the built-in touchpad located on the side of the headset. The controller features a trigger and motion tracking, so some games, such as shooting games, are much easier to play.
Samsung Gear VR SM-R325
Compatible with: Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy Note 8, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge+, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge and the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+
The latest of the Gear VR headsets, this model was launched in September 2017 with the Galaxy Note 8. The only real change is the compatibility with the new devices, all of the specifications, design, and controller remained the same.
Software and Apps
The Gear VR service is made possible through the integration of several apps that work in tandem with software, hardware, and the user’s actions. Software is installed onto the Samsung devices prior to purchase, and third-party can be downloaded through the Oculus store to play and watch.
There are also a few apps available to download from the Play Store. These apps, such as Gear VR 360, allow users to experience videos and other media in 360 view without a VR headset.
Gear VR Service
The Gear VR Service app is a pre-installed application that runs in the background of your Samsung device. The app recognizes when your smartphone is connected to the Gear VR headset and switches the operating system, opening Oculus, and beginning your VR experience.
To date, there are hundreds of VR games available to play through the Gear VR. Some of the most popular types of games to play are survival, horror, and shooting games.
Survival games may utilize fantasy creatures such as zombies, which need to be killed before they kill your character. Shooting games can utilize the hand tracking software within the wireless controller, allowing you to take aim with your hand and arm and shoot using the trigger.
Horror VR games were some of the earliest, with plenty available once you enter the VR world (Oculus store). Not much is required for these games, you simply look around as things jump out at you.
Videos and Media
It’s not just games that the Gear VR services can offer, there are also third-party apps such as Netflix that allow you to watch TV and movies in VR.