When Samsung's much-anticipated Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge launch later this year, they'll be accompanied by a brand new version of the company's Gear VR headset. Designed for both the S6 and the S6 Edge, the latest Gear VR Innovator Edition retains the same immersive virtual reality experience as its Note 4-based counterpart, while introducing some handy upgrades in both comfort and performance.
Like its predecessor, this latest version of Gear VR is a virtual reality headset that uses a smartphone as its display; in this case, the Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. The peripheral has the same white-and-black aesthetic as the Note 4 model, though it is 15 percent smaller to account for the not-as-massive footprints of the new Galaxy S6 devices.
In my brief time with the updated Gear VR, I enjoyed the same rich VR experience that we praised in our review. I viewed a virtual Cirque du Soilel performance on the device, and was able to get a full 360-degree view of the performers around me by simply moving my head and body around.
The headset responded to my head movements instantly, and, despite the Galaxy S6 having a smaller display than the Note 4 (5.1 inches versus 5.7 inches), I still found myself thoroughly immersed in the device's 96-degree field of view. Now that the Galaxy S6 has caught up to the Note 4's quad HD resolution, you should be able to enjoy the same picture quality on either version of the headset.
I found the new Gear VR comfortable to wear, and snug enough to keep the real world out of sight. While the original model certainly isn't uncomfortable, Samsung has redesigned the device's straps to provide a more cozy fit.
The Galaxy S6-based Gear VR Innovator Edition also offers tech-based improvements over its predecessor; the headset can now be powered via its USB port for extra juice, and packs beefed-up processing power within.
While it's exciting to see Samsung's impressive Gear VR come to more handsets, two major issues remain: content and compatibility. There aren't a ton of virtual reality apps and games currently available for the device, and the fact that each version of the headset is tied to a specific phone means that users are stuck with their handsets if they want to keep enjoying it.
Still, whether or not Samsung opts to eventually make a VR headset that works with a wide range of phones, Gear VR packs a ton of potential that we're excited to see grow. Samsung hasn't announced pricing or availability for the latest headset, but we expect to see it around the time of the Galaxy S6's April launch for a price similar to the original's $199.
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