MWC 2017: Hands-On With Samsung's Gear VR with Controller

Among other things, Samsung announced a new Gear VR headset at MWC 2017. Although, in reality the actual headset is not the real news. Instead, it is the controller that comes with the new headset that matters and what differentiates this headset from the previous model(s). Needless to say, thanks to the inclusion of a handheld controller, the Gear VR headset wearer will be able to engage in an even more immersive and user-defined virtual reality experience.

In terms of the controller, in many ways Samsung’s controller seems to be a sort of cross between Google’s Daydream View controller and the controller which comes packaged with the HTC Vive. For instance, the Gear VR controller look very similar to the HTC Vive controller, but comes in a smaller form factor, and about the same size as the the Daydream View’s controller. At the top of the controller you will find the round touchpad which is clickable, again like the Daydream View. Although, Samsung has looked to include a greater degree of functionality to their controller (certainly more than what is offered with the Daydream View’s equivalent) by adding more buttons, including a trigger underneath the controller. So this does seem to be a controller which will appeal to different VR use cases, including more drag and drop based content, as well as first-person shooters. The controller is powered by two AAA batteries and according to Samsung, each pair of batteries will offer up to eighty hours of usage. Although, Samsung has preferred to describe the usage as 'two hours per day for forty days'. Which is probably more of a realistic description, based on the way in which people tend to engage with VR.

In terms of availability, that is still largely unknown. As is the price. As Samsung has yet to offer any formal confirmation of when the new “Gear VR with Controller” will go on sale. Regadless of the price, this Gear VR model will follow in the footsteps of previous Gear VRs, as it will only be compatible with a select number of Galaxy smartphones. Speaking of which, it stands to reason that the upcoming Galaxy S8 will be one of those supported smartphones and in reality, the Galaxy S8 launch will likely be when and where the Gear VR with Controller becomes available.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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