Samsung held it’s big launch event on Feb 21. I was watching it live through my Gear VR.
It was HUGELY focused on the Gear VR and the future of virtual reality.
Samsung actually made the official announcement for the new Galaxy phones in VR! After their introductory talk, they asked all 5000+ members in the audience to put on the Gear VRs found under their seats. This was the point when Samsung officially unveiled the S7 and S7 Edge in a computer generated virtual reality experience.
The S7 and S7 Edge are amazing new smartphones. Their graphic hardware is 60% faster than the previous generation, the CPU is 30% faster, they have a built in cooling system(!), they take memory cards, and much more.
Preorders run from February 23rd to March 10 and include a free Gear VR. If you preorder from Best Buy, you also get an additional free 64 gb SD card.
Should you get the S7 or the S7 Edge? You should get whichever phone you like best because they will be pretty similar for Gear VR. However, I have already preordered the S7 Edge for these reasons:
- Larger screen so larger field of view
- Larger phone area should help with heat dissipation
- Larger battery: 3,600 mAh vs 3,000 mAh
the s7 edge is a bigger phone, like the s6 edge plus, so it does have a small FOV increase.
[Original article below]
The Note 4 is Dying Out
I got my Note 4 and Gear VR Innovator Edition soon after they came out in 2014. It’s been fun watching the evolution of the Gear VR from the very beginning.
But the Note 4 is starting to show its age. More and more apps are not supporting it.
I was excited about participating in the AltspaceVR Gear VR launch. But I looked around in the Oculus Store and couldn’t find it anywhere. It turns out that AltspaceVR is not supporting the Note 4 at all.
It’s hard to blame them. There has been a huge influx of new Gear VR users since the consumer edition launched. And the Note 4 users, once the proud pioneers, are now vastly outnumbered by the newcomers.
Further, the Note 4 significantly lags behind the new generation in hardware capabilities. It’s hard enough developing high quality VR content for the fastest phones, let alone the older generations.
Still, Note 4 support is appreciated. And we have to give much love to VTime who made sure their incredible social app works for all users.
Time To Get A New Gear VR
So, this means it’s time to upgrade the Gear VR. This is something that we will all have to get used to. VR Headsets will be seeing massive improvements every 1-2 years for the foreseeable future.
It will be like how we need to upgrade our smartphones periodically.
But improvements in the traditional smartphone experience have become largely marginal. More detailed screens aren’t really needed when the resolution is already near what your eyes can perceive. Faster processors don’t make a huge difference when all your apps run quickly enough already.
But for VR, there are still orders of magnitude of improvements to go. Mobile VR will go through many more exponential technological increases that will bring significant benefits to the user experience.
Anyway, I’m really happy to be upgrading my Gear VR. I love my Gear VR and it will be awesome having the latest and greatest. Which brings me to the next question.
What’s the Best Samsung Phone for Gear VR?
It’s easy to choose your Gear VR. There is only one available. However, it works with multiple phones. So which one do you choose?
The newest Gear VR works with all four of the flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphones: Note 5, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+. All of these phone give you a similar Gear VR experience.
The main trade-off is that the larger phones give you a slightly bigger FOV, whereas the smaller phones have higher pixel density and can offer a slightly reduced screen-door-effect.
Another trade-off is related to overheating. The larger phones seem to have less overheating issues since they have more area to dissipate the heat. However, the problem is largely resolved by taking simple measures, such as turning on airplane mode and reducing screen brightness.
To be honest, the tradeoffs are not huge either way. As the S line has gotten bigger and the Note has remained roughly where it is, the difference in display size is not huge, and in one you get a few more degrees and the other you’re going to get a slightly higher pixel density. It’s actually not a huge difference in experience between the two.
– Palmer Luckey
There are other considerations as well, such as the S6 Edge+ offering memory options up to 128gb, which is important since VR content files can get quite large and eat a lot of space. I found a good overview comparing these 4 phones on RiftInfo.
But none of that really matters because the next generation of Samsung Galaxy is coming soon.
The S7 Is Coming
The S7 Is the Best
Details have not been released yet, but the S7 will surely be faster and more refined than its S6 predecessor.
And it will likely have more design features with virtual reality in mind. The S7 product development cycle occurred alongside the release of the consumer Gear VR. And the Gear VR has been selling much better than expected, which means that Samsung is taking it very seriously.
Samsung Heavy Focus on Gear VR with the S7
And if there were any doubt about Samsung’s Gear VR plans with the S7, then just watch the teaser promotional video that Samsung released, embedded below.
It is the only official word that we have heard from Samsung about its future Galaxy phones. It goes by the hashtag #TheNextGalaxy. The box in the video has a “7” on it, alluding to the S7.
And it’s all about Gear VR.
Let me repeat that. It’s all about Gear VR.
I’m really looking forward to getting a new Gear VR. But that may still be a month away. So I will enjoy my Note 4 Innovator Edition in the meantime. It still works well with most apps. And as long as Vtime maintains its Note 4 support, I’ll survive.