Samsung and Oculus have released their combined effort to bring virtual reality to your face in the Gear VR. The result is an affordable virtual reality headset combined with the accessibility of the Android platform for apps.
Google has already been blazing a VR trail thanks to its Cardboard headset that turns most phones into VR headsets. This has been combined with YouTube 360 to offer plenty of content to experience already.
Gear VR goes beyond this and offers bespoke apps that take advantage of that Oculus sensor hardware. From using head movements for games to watching Netflix in a virtual mansion, there's plenty to experience.
We've been spending time in the virtual world to find the best experiences the Gear VR has to offer. These are the best apps on the Samsung Gear VR right now.
READ: Samsung Gear VR review
Samsung Gear VR apps: Land's End
This game, built by Ustwo which also made Monument Valley, is an accolade to what VR could bring us. Its simplicity translates to minimalism appeal and beauty. The game is totally immersive and original.
We sat down to try this game and ended up playing the whole way through. Granted at five hours it's not a long game, but it's mentally challenging, visually breathtaking and consistently atmospherically moving.
This is everything VR should aspire to be and is almost worth the price of the headset alone.
Samsung Gear VR apps: Netflix
Watching Netflix on your TV, tablet or smartphone is all good and well, but watching it in VR is on another level. The Netflix app takes you into a virtual mansion with floor to ceiling windows, stone walls and a view of the mountains outside that you're sat atop.
While the virtual room, which dims when a show starts, is cool it is also a bit gimmicky. Once underway you're only focused on the virtual screen, which is like watching a 100-inch TV. The only issue is that TV is very slightly granular on wider shots since you're limited by the resolution of the Samsung Galaxy smartphone held right up to your eyes. Even a 2K screen can't quite so it justice unfortunately. But for a soap opera or drama, where it's mainly face focused it works well.
But it's bearable and a fun way to enjoy Netflix for a change. Presuming you don't mind wired headphones as Bluetooth wont work with the app, and you can handle the headset sitting our your face for a long time.
This is an entire platform dedicated to immersive virtual reality content. As a result Jaunt describes this all as "Cinematic VR".
What's on offer is widely varied, from a special funny VR trailer for Zoolander 2 to a moving documentary about aboriginal Australia to a breath-taking climb up Nepal. Jaunt feels polished, the content is well produced and it's all free.
This feels like a place where the future of VR is ready to be experienced now. Prepare to be impressed.
This video-cum-game is an ingenious storytelling innovation that really show what VR can do. The above video alone gives you a taste of the clever way virtual reality freedom is employed to progress the storyline. So rather than trying to keep up with a video it's been rethought to let the VR directly affect the tale.
From the makers of The Walking Dead there is a brilliantly tense and horrific feel to this series. It's a must-have for anyone with a Gear VR, especially as it's free. Get it via Samsung's Milk Store now.
This free game is a lot of fun. It takes you inside a human body as a human-machine team aiming to bring the host back to health. While the humour attempts of the machine aren't quite on a par with Portal, it's entertaining and the gameplay itself is immersive.
Once playing you use head movements to controls the speeding vessel. It's your typical racer with speed-ups, dangers to dodge and items to collect. Except this is on a totally round track, like speed along the outside of a pipe. Plus it has an impressive moving backdrop that may distract you to the point of crashing into dangers.
Now even when locked into the virtual world you can still access the 2D web. Samsung has added a browser capable of taking you anywhere you need to go, as if a window were virtually hovering in front of you.
You can open site using voice controls or type using your Gaze mode, aka moving your head, thanks to an onscreen keyboard. Not bad considering it's gratis.
This is very exciting indeed. It left us feeling the same as the first time we went into an online chat room and made contact with other people. That feeling of the potential of connectedness is taken to another level in this virtual world where you can meet other Gear VR users.
We popped into one room and chatted to another user while watching a giant Nyan Cat, then moved into another room to play air hockey where head movements controlled the mallets. At any time you can bring up a browser to surf the web, making it feel even more like an alternate reality. You can share that browser or a video window with others to enjoy experiences together from afar.
This has huge potential for social virtual reality and is already a lot of fun.
While you will have to pay for this game, it's a cracker. Set in the Eve Universe everything looks amazing with detail that'll really immerse you.
Of course, being on a VR headset the game is fairly simple. Look to aim and shoot everything that moves. But power ups like homing missiles help to mix up the gameplay and with long range graphical abilities it'll keep you busy for your £8 worth.
The latency is so good that you feel comfortable throughout. Just don't expect the battery to last as long as you.
This is an app that offers a platform designed to show off short films specifically created by CG animation and aimed at VR.
Rosebud is the first film and it's well worth checking out. Don't expect it to just be a film though, this is interactive with zoom view and the ability to grab objects too. Thank Penrose Studios for this creation, which was setup by Eugene Chung who use to be the head of Oculus Story Studio.
If you want a mentally challenging game akin to Portal this is the one to go for.
The guide character is witty while the game play is self-explanatory and graded to become more complex as you progress. Very addictive stuff. There's a free demo and the full game is only £8.
This is a really artistic platform that puts virtual reality to good use. This is a place to watch VR videos that were created to help place you in the heart of real life events. Spike Jonze's NYC protest broadcast is on here along with Vice News and the Chris Milk short film that features at Sundance.
This is free and will no doubt become a regularly used app, it even has potential to become the next Vimeo of the virtual world.
One of the great thing about Google Street View is that it's already shot for a 360-degree view of the world. This app uses that to its advantage.
Explore the world in virtual reality through the eyes of Google's Street View cameras. It's a good bit of fun and a nice way to check out an area, say if you're going there and want to see parking options. Or you can explore sites of significance and even pull up information on them to view floating virtually in front of you. Just don't get too addicted or you may start to forget about the real world.
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