Samsung's Gear VR Now Available for Sale at Best Buy (Online Only)

dgstorm

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If you have been anxious to get your hands on the Samsung Gear VR headset to try out some Oculus Rift Virtual Reality technology, then now you have another chance. The Gear VR is now officially on sale at Best Buy. Sadly, you can't yet go demo it at a store, as it is only available online. Technically the Gear VR has already been available in a limited capacity. You could purchase it from Samsung's online store last month, but it is already sold out there. The same thing occurred with AT&T's version of it.

Still, if you didn't get one before and want one, the device is only $199.99 at the Best Buy link below. Keep in mind that you must own a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (which is required for the Gear VR to function).

Here's the Best Buy link: Samsung Gear VR for Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Cell Phones 60-3358-05-XP - Best Buy
 

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I wish they would make a mold that will hold any phone. I am not switching to the Note 4 from my Note Edge to use this. Bummer!
 

cr6

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Agreed. That would definitely benefit both the end user and the manufacturer if they made it compatible with all 5+ inch Android devices.
 

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I really wish they didn't want $200 for this. Maybe if I have money left over after paying my car off with my tax return, I'll think about it.

I feel like it's just one more thing that'll be a lot of fun and really cool at first, but will end up collecting dust down the road. At least at this point. Hopefully more devs will do more with it and prove me wrong, but that's still more than I'm willing to pay for a phone accessory.
 

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I could see it being a birthday present next year. I have my doubts about this sticking around.
 

Jonny Kansas

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I could see it being a birthday present next year. I have my doubts about this sticking around.
Yeah. Kind of a cool idea and kind of cool that they came to market with it, but I don't see too much staying power, unless someone else releases one that can be used with other phones, or Samsung and/or other manufacturers start making a different one for each flagship (yeah right...).

The smart company will be the one who makes a universal mount. That way, when I upgrade my phone in a couple years or so, I can still use the device and will theoretically still be spending money in the app market for it and thus be helping to keep the tech alive.

As it stands, part of me wants to early adopt since I already have the phone, but the other part has those feelings above and the feeling I mentioned before about not wanting to spend $200 on an accessory.
 

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I agree, too much money. In fact you can find plenty of aftermarket examples of this exact device, which are then also compatible with other phones besides Samsung all over eBay as well as direct from third-party manufacturers at very deep discounted prices in the range of about 20 to 30 dollars. Samsung blew it in my opinion because they should have released this for mass distribution and made it compatible with all 5+ inch phones as mentioned above, but instead they tried to corner the market for their own phone and in doing so cut off their nose to spite their face. I expect to see these devices on ebay really cheap in as little as perhaps a year.

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Is it the fact that they're drawing on the Oculus Rift name that they think the device is worth that much? I know OR is a big name in VR tech right now, but I just don't see the reason for the price point.

As I said when rumors of the price first came out, how can they expect people to want to pay $200 for something that they also have to have a $700 (give or take) phone to use?
 

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All new tech is expensive when it first comes out. IMO, for the type of technology it is, I think the price is actually reasonable. (IF you have the phone to use with it already)
I'll reserve further comment as to whether this will stick around or not until I actually have some hands on time with one. I don't think we can truly judge this device by watching a YouTube video.
 

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Not intending to sound argumentative but have you looked at what this actually is? It's nothing more than a plastic shell with two 40 millimeter lenses, and a magnet on a slider. For the amount of plastic that it's in this device and the cost of those two lenses and that 1 rare earth magnet, it probably cost about 2 or 3 dollars to manufacture. Selling it for 200 dollars is absolutely outrageous in my humble opinion. All you have to do is look at the competing third-party manufactured devices that are basically identical to this one except for color and style, and see what they're selling for to quickly realize that the profits Samsung is earning on each individual one of these is way beyond reasonable.

In fact, there is virtually no technology in this device at all. Aside from of course the magnet. There's far more technology in the car dock on my windshield right now which also came with a USB power cord and an adapter for my car's accessory outlet for my phone. That car dock cost $39.95.

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df5cc1b0a09f5484ec1ebd52bc3ecdf4.jpg
aafe7b41b147a7406a7c7a479b4da315.jpg


Heck, the adapter even has an LED!
 
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Jonny Kansas

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Maybe it's a matter of perspective. I don't deny the tech involved in a standalone vr unit, but $200 something is about what I'd pay for that, assuming I'd also have to invest in apps, games, & other content in addition.

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Not intending to sound argumentative but have you looked at what this actually is? It's nothing more than a plastic shell with two 40 millimeter lenses, and a magnet on a slider. For the amount of plastic that it's in this device and the cost of those two lenses and that 1 rare earth magnet, it probably cost about 2 or 3 dollars to manufacture. Selling it for 200 dollars is absolutely outrageous in my humble opinion. All you have to do is look at the competing third-party manufactured devices that are basically identical to this one except for color and style, and see what they're selling for to quickly realize that the profits Samsung is earning on each individual one of these is way beyond reasonable.

In fact, there is virtually no technology in this device at all. Aside from of course the magnet. There's far more technology in the car dock on my windshield right now which also came with a USB power cord and an adapter for my car's accessory outlet for my phone. That car dock cost $39.95.

While I completely agree that this is overpriced, there is a little more to the hardware of the headset than what you're listing. It also has a touchpad along with back and volume buttons. Do those few pieces of hardware warrant the price? No, but it costs them a little more than $2 or $3 to manufacture. I'd be curious to see an actual price breakdown of the components.

That said, a large part of the cost of the Gear VR isn't the hardware, but is in the software and development. The type of VR in the Gear VR is still relatively knew on the consumer front, and the Gear VR is a first generation device, so development costs are higher. Higher development costs results in higher retail costs. I also guarantee you that a decent amount of all sales are going to Oculus. By partnering with Oculus, Samsung not only gets to tack on the name of the most well known VR company today, but they also have access to software and development from Oculus. Could Samsung have done their own VR headset completely in house and have a cheaper retail price? Absolutely. But odds are that it wouldn't work as well and wouldn't be receiving the stellar reviews that the Gear VR is getting.

If I didn't own a Note 4, I wouldn't be interested in the Gear VR. The price of the phone plus the price of the headset puts it much too far out of reach for most people. But as someone who already owns a Note 4, $200 is high but not outrageous. As Jonny Kansas said, that's about what I'd be willing to pay for a first generation product like this that's been reviewed as well as the Gear VR has.
 

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While I completely agree that this is overpriced, there is a little more to the hardware of the headset than what you're listing. It also has a touchpad along with back and volume buttons. Do those few pieces of hardware warrant the price? No, but it costs them a little more than $2 or $3 to manufacture. I'd be curious to see an actual price breakdown of the components.

That said, a large part of the cost of the Gear VR isn't the hardware, but is in the software and development. The type of VR in the Gear VR is still relatively knew on the consumer front, and the Gear VR is a first generation device, so development costs are higher. Higher development costs results in higher retail costs. I also guarantee you that a decent amount of all sales are going to Oculus. By partnering with Oculus, Samsung not only gets to tack on the name of the most well known VR company today, but they also have access to software and development from Oculus. Could Samsung have done their own VR headset completely in house and have a cheaper retail price? Absolutely. But odds are that it wouldn't work as well and wouldn't be receiving the stellar reviews that the Gear VR is getting.

If I didn't own a Note 4, I wouldn't be interested in the Gear VR. The price of the phone plus the price of the headset puts it much too far out of reach for most people. But as someone who already owns a Note 4, $200 is high but not outrageous. As Jonny Kansas said, that's about what I'd be willing to pay for a first generation product like this that's been reviewed as well as the Gear VR has.


Ok, I stand corrected...so it has volume up and down and a "touchpad". Still, it's extremely overpriced. It could have easily been replicated for far less, Oculus branding or not. I have to respectfully disagree about how well it works versus how well it would work without Oculus involved and/or the volume buttons and touch pad.

There are complete kits with 40mm lenses on eBay for very cheap that let you build your own, and there are also complete head gear (like the VR), that are already built and do virtually the same thing, yes, minus the touch pad and volume controls, but still... In fact, the original Google Cardboard does this, and is surprisingly extremely effective.

Even PC Magazine just yesterday published an article written by Eban Dashevsky, where Dashevsky claims "most people will find that Cardboard offers an experience on par with that of Oculus. And I'm not alone in that opinion.".

Why Google Cardboard Is the Only VR Headset You Need Evan Dashevsky PCMag.com

The basis of this device is a simple matter of taking two images which are side-by-side in a screen and tricking the eyes to focus straight ahead at each individual image directly in front of that eye rather than trying to converge and focus using the normal brain's expected behavior of determining distance from the eyes using 3d perspective which would result in seeing the screen as one with two images side by side instead of one. It's no different in theory than the item below, created some 175 years ago... Stereoscope - Wikipedia the free encyclopedia In that page, you see Zeiss was in the game very early on. And of course, there was the "Viewmaster", a toy with 3D images on a circular card.

I have done this already with my phone (WITHOUT ANY GEAR OF ANY KIND), and have played games with it and watched movies and such. It can be done with the naked eye by simply training it to focus on a point in the distance and then bringing the phone into view from underneath, or even with a couple pairs of reading glasses overlayed on each other. In the first example, you see three images but you train your focus on the middle one which is the 3D image. In the second example you place the phone close to your face (similar to how the Gear VR does), and the lenses do the rest.

Here's a very inexpensive version ($33.24) with Bluetooth wireless remote to do the same thing.
Android 4 6 Virtual Reality VR Headset 3D IMAX Video Glasses Blueooth Remote eBay

Here's one for only $4.95, including the NFC tag to make it interactive.

Universal 3D Video Google Cardboard VR Virtual Reality Glasses Headset NFC 1382 eBay

Even Archos got into the game last year with a $30 pair...

Archos unveils VR Glasses inexpensive virtual reality headset Digital Trends

If you want Carl Zeiss' lens technology you could have gotten it then for only $135 on pre-order.

VR-One headset uses your phone to create virtual reality worlds Digital Trends
 
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Ok, so it has volume up and down and a "touchpad". Still, it's extremely overpriced. It could have easily been replicated for far less, Oculus branding or not. I have to respectfully disagree about how well it works versus how well it would work without Oculus involved and/or the volume buttons and touch pad.

There are complete kits with 40mm lenses on eBay for very cheap that let you build your own, and there are also complete head gear (like the VR), that are already built and do virtually the same thing, yes, minus the touch pad and volume controls, but still... In fact, the original Google Cardboard does this, and is surprisingly extremely effective.

Even PC Magazine just yesterday published an article written by Eban Dashevsky, where Dashevsky claims "most people will find that Cardboard offers an experience on par with that of Oculus. And I'm not alone in that opinion.".

Why Google Cardboard Is the Only VR Headset You Need Evan Dashevsky PCMag.com

The basis of this device is a simple matter of taking two images which are side-by-side in a screen and tricking the eyes to focus straight ahead at each individual image directly in front of that eye rather than trying to converge and focus using the normal brain's expected behavior of determining distance from the eyes using 3d perspective which would result in seeing the screen as one with two images side by side instead of one. It's no different in theory than the item below, created some 175 years ago... Stereoscope - Wikipedia the free encyclopedia In that page, you see Zeiss was in the game very early on. And of course, there was the "Viewmaster", a toy with 3D images on a circular card.

I have done this already with my phone (WITHOUT ANY GEAR OF ANY KIND), and have played games with it and watched movies and such. It can be done with the naked eye by simply training it to focus on a point in the distance and then bringing the phone into view from underneath, or even with a couple pairs of reading glasses overlayed on each other. In the first example, you see three images but you train your focus on the middle one which is the 3D image. In the second example you place the phone close to your face (similar to how the Gear VR does), and the lenses do the rest.

Here's a very inexpensive version ($33.24) with Bluetooth wireless remote to do the same thing.
Android 4 6 Virtual Reality VR Headset 3D IMAX Video Glasses Blueooth Remote eBay

Here's one for only $4.95, including the NFC tag to make it interactive.

Universal 3D Video Google Cardboard VR Virtual Reality Glasses Headset NFC 1382 eBay

Even Archos got into the game last year with a $30 pair...

Archos unveils VR Glasses inexpensive virtual reality headset Digital Trends

If you want Carl Zeiss' lens technology you could have gotten it then for only $135 on pre-order.

VR-One headset uses your phone to create virtual reality worlds Digital Trends

We'll have to agree to respectfully disagree then. :)

I've tried several of the cheaper VR headsets/solutions (in fact I own two - a cardboard unit and a plastic unit), and while they work fairly well, there's a high level of polish and a premium user experience with the Gear VR that the cheaper options are missing. I've tried the Gear VR out a couple times at length (a friend owns one), and when it comes to VR that utilizes a smartphone, the experience with the Gear VR is head and shoulders above the rest. That difference comes down to the research, development, and software that the Gear VR has that most others don't. In my opinion, that's worth a higher price tag. Sure the basic tech behind current VR has been around for a long time, but taking that technology and crafting it into something that that works well does take time and development. And there's no doubt in my mind that a Gear VR developed solely by Samsung would be inferior to this one that's made with Oculus. That certainly will change over time, but at this point, Samsung made the right move by bringing the current market leader on board.

For many, other solutions might provide an experience that they find satisfactory at a substantially lower price. That's great. Choice is an awesome thing. But I feel that while the Gear VR is a bit overpriced right now, the experience it provides makes that cost reasonable.
 

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Well I don't think we're that far part in the agree versus disagree arena. In fact I agree with you that there is a likely possibility that the gear device provides the better experience than the others as mentioned. I actually haven't experienced any of them personally so therefore I don't really have a basis for which to draw an opinion regarding quality or performance or any of that. Where I tend to be in disagreement with you is in the justification for the higher cost. In other words, does it demand a price that's four five six or more times as expensive as 1 that performs fairly well?

And again, I have to take the stand that Samsung could easily have made this compatible with other phones and if nothing else even at the same price would have had a greater market share and probably would have made a bigger dent in the potential customer base going forward. As it is, I don't have $200 to drop on a piece of plastic with a couple of lenses and maybe a touch pad and volume control. I do however have maybe 20 or 30 bucks that I could drop on one that gets me near to the experience of what the gear might.

Also of course even if I wanted to get the gear experience I can't have it because I don't own the Note 4. So back to my original point, they blew it IMHO.

In fact they did the same thing with their watches, another bumbling decision IMHO. They're tiring to be another Apple and I believe that they are starting to turn brown in spots.

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