Until the advent of the Google Daydream, the Samsung Gear VR didn’t really have any strong competition in the realm of smartphone-powered VR.
Samsung have taken mobile VR seriously and have worked on improving their headset since its release in 2015. In summer 2016 a new and improved Gear VR was launched with increased field of view, bigger optical lenses, new color, new Home key, and Micro-USB and USB C.
The latest news is the unveiling of a new 2017 Samsung Gear VR along with a touchpad controller powered by Oculus. Similar in shape to the HTC Vive controller, it’s designed to be used with one hand and provides more efficient interaction with VR apps with various forms of motion, such as shooting, pointing, tilting, drag and drop among others.
The touchpad controller offers Home, Back, and Volume buttons so you won’t be tapping the side of your head so often – something that definitely needed solving – even though you can already use an Xbox One controller or choose from plenty of third-party Bluetooth controllers. The new Gear VR touchpad weighs just over 64 grams. It has a gyroscope and accelerometer on board and is powered by two AAA batteries.
The 2017 Gear VR is being coined as “new” in Sam’s press release but in terms of specs the headset doesn’t look too different from the 2016 version. It has the same size 42mm optical lenses and 101° field of view.
We’re sure not whether the 2017 Gear VR will ship bundled with the touchpad controller, and no price or release date has been confirmed.
Samsung Gear VR is compatible with Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge, Note 5.