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Gear VR Hits Best Buy, Health Disclaimers Abound

The current iteration of Samsung's Gear VR was made with developers and early adopters in mind, but that hasn't discouraged Best Buy from selling it to everyday consumers. Previously exclusive to AT&T and Samsung, the $199 mobile virtual reality headset is now available on the superstore's website, complete with some pretty off-the-wall health disclaimers. 

(Editors' Note: This article was updated at 7:01 pm ET with a statement from Samsung.)

Ironically, our review of the Gear VR states that the device is "not for Bob and Betty Best Buy - yet," even though the developing wearable has just been thrust into the masses. While we found that Gear VR provides fun, immersive virtual reality experiences, the headset's currently thin roster of games and apps suggests that it needs some time to grow into a fully-baked entertainment device.

Curious, we asked Samsung about this seeming about-face, and the company doesn't agree that it's a change in strategy. "We have had extremely positive reception to Gear VR over the past couple months, and we are excited to work with Best Buy to make the Gear VR available online through its website," said a company spokesperson. "We are also working closely with Best Buy to provide in-store demonstrations at select locations soon, so more people can experience Gear VR."

MORE: Samsung Gear VR Review

Keep in mind that the Gear VR only works with the Galaxy Note 4 device, so if you own a Galaxy S5 or other device you'll be out of luck. Despite that limitation, we had a blast with the virtual reality headset, especially when watching Cirque du Soleil 360-degree videos and playing space shooting games like Anshar Wars.

As for the disclaimers, some warnings make sense -- "Don't use the device if you've had a seizure," "Don't play with it in a moving vehicle," "Take frequent breaks" -- and others are disturbing.

Apparently, if you're sleepy, drunk, have a stomach ache or are hungover, Gear VR is going to make things way worse for you. The disclaimers also suggest that Gear VR will put you in such an immersive trance that you shouldn't drive or operate machinery until way after you've used one. Those allergic to the headset's paint or metals should be wary of itching, eczema and skin swelling, and, even though using Gear VR isn't very straining physically, the disclaimers warn pregnant women against using one.

Assuming none of that has deterred you, you can buy a Gear VR for $199 on Best Buy's website.

Associate editor Mike Andronico is excited about and a little scared of Gear VR. Follow Mike @MikeAndronico and on Google+. Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Sakkura
    Hey, VR can make people vomit, and we certainly can't have pregnant women vomiting. :P
    Reply
  • bit_user
    I think pregnancy is something most early adopters of this product probably needn't worry about.
    Reply
  • fuzzion
    Apple has a patent on this.
    Reply
  • hr_sto
    Works only with Galaxy Note 4? No open API for migration to other devidec, desktop, smart tv? Good, shoot yourselves in the foot, idiots. Market will be dominated by someone else while you watch from the outside.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    Works only with Galaxy Note 4? No open API for migration to other devidec, desktop, smart tv? Good, shoot yourselves in the foot, idiots. Market will be dominated by someone else while you watch from the outside.
    Maybe you should try to think on why this limit is there? How many other QHD phones has Samsung released? Using this with a standard HD or Full HD display really wouldn't be the same.
    Reply
  • hr_sto
    Maybe, just maybe, let the consumer decide? Hmm? Makes sense? Market intelligence ring any bells? Becuz, if it wouldn't work like you predict it wouldn't, nobody will bother to do it, then Samsung wouldn't worry about it, would it? Market it as a "best with G. Note 4". So, why the limits? Not everyone has a goddamn Note 4, but A LOT would want an affordable VR glasses. Dunno, maybe Samsung doesn't like profit and maximum market exposure... or maybe they're just dumb?

    Try and keep that in mind for yourself. In the future when other big players enter this market, you'll see how possible it would be for Samsung to open the devkit to the wild. Royalty free.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    15176194 said:
    Maybe, just maybe, let the consumer decide? Hmm? Makes sense? Market intelligence ring any bells? Becuz, if it wouldn't work like you predict it wouldn't, nobody will bother to do it, then Samsung wouldn't worry about it, would it? Market it as a "best with G. Note 4". So, why the limits? Not everyone has a goddamn Note 4, but A LOT would want an affordable VR glasses. Dunno, maybe Samsung doesn't like profit and maximum market exposure... or maybe they're just dumb?

    Try and keep that in mind for yourself. In the future when other big players enter this market, you'll see how possible it would be for Samsung to open the devkit to the wild. Royalty free.

    If they don't ensure the best quality on their products trolls complain about that. If they do ensure the best quality on their products trolls will still complain. The thing you're looking for is called Google Cardboard, and it's honestly not very good.

    The GS6 will also support Gear VR. Again, using a (half) HD display 1½ inches from your face is not a very pleasant experience.
    Reply
  • surphninja
    Someone should make an app that purposely makes you sick and encourages you to throw up, rather than avoiding it. I could use that during some hangovers. I could never get the finger down the throat to work.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    15177520 said:
    Someone should make an app that purposely makes you sick and encourages you to throw up, rather than avoiding it. I could use that during some hangovers. I could never get the finger down the throat to work.
    There are non-prescription drugs designed to induce vomiting (intended for use on small children who eat/drink something toxic).

    But perhaps you just need to use more fingers and go deeper. It has worked for me, when I've been sick and just wanted to get it over with.

    Of course, moderation is going to be your best option. Alcohol consumption causes brain shrinkage, in addition to all the other damage and consequences I'm sure you already know.
    Reply
  • surphninja
    15388747 said:
    There are non-prescription drugs designed to induce vomiting (intended for use on small children who eat/drink something toxic).

    But perhaps you just need to use more fingers and go deeper. It has worked for me, when I've been sick and just wanted to get it over with.

    Of course, moderation is going to be your best option. Alcohol consumption causes brain shrinkage, in addition to all the other damage and consequences I'm sure you already know.

    I was just joking around.

    Considering how much research is going into how not to make users puke, it could potentially give someone the tools to intentionally cause their audience to puke. Pretty crazy. Though I'm not sure there would be much of an audience for such a game, it would be an interesting way to invoke real world consequences for in-game actions. Maybe a trivia game that starts making you more and more nauseous if you give the wrong answers, or a multiplayer game that starts inducing more nausea the more you get hit.

    Or maybe a malicious hacker could mess with your Gear VR and get you to puke.

    Reply