Samsung turned heads today when it unveiled two new flagships and a mobile payments platform, but it also announced something else: a new version of its Samsung Gear VR headset.
The new Innovator Edition is optimised and compatible with Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S6 edge smartphones, which were announced this morning, though it's still powered by Oculus and capable of delivering a fully-immersive virtual reality experience. The standout change is that it no longer just works with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, which is what the original headset used for display and power purposes.
The Note 4 slid into the Gear VR's Micro USB dock and essentially served up a virtual reality experience on its 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED display, delivering a 60Hz refresh rate and a 96-degree field of view, but now the headset is optimised for the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED display on both the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge. The Innovator Edition will therefore have access to greater computing power and improved graphics.
Samsung updated its VR headset with some other noteworthy changes too, such as improved comfort, thanks to a 15 per cent reduction in size and ergonomically-redesigned straps. The Innovator Edition has the following dimensions: 196 x 107.9 x 82.9mm. The new headset can even be powered with its USB port for extended usage time.
And finally, Gear VR content is available for download via the Oculus Store. It was previously limited to the Milk VR marketplace.
Hands-on with the device and really its the same as the model that was launched for the Note 4 in 2014, just a little bit lighter and designed to fit the new handsets announced at the show.
In our 360 degree demo we saw what it would be like to be dangling from a helicopter above the World Trade Centre in New York City.
As a £150 accessory it might be a bit too much for most people considering there is still a lack of content available, however we can see as the category expands, HTC and Steam are now involved, VR is certainly here to stay for the short term - in the same way 3D was a couple of years ago.
If you've got the cash and are looking to expand on what your smartphone can do, it's certainly interesting stuff, and will save you having to wait for an Oculus Rift, however we suspect in the short term it will only really appeal to a select few, unless the operators are going be bundle it in to convince you you'll want the S6 or S6 edge over the HTC One M9.