Samsung’s newest iteration of the Gear VR headset, made to work with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus and come with a controller, has been revealed as costing $129 and being prepared for an April 21 shipping date. The news comes directly from Oculus, whose powerful VR technology goes into the Gear VR’s software, making it compatible with certain Oculus content and providing various enhancements for mobile VR, web VR, and other content that may be viewed on it. The newest Gear VR and its Daydream-esque controller made their debut at Mobile World Congress, but this is the first anybody has heard of how much the new headset will cost and when it will be available for purchase.
To recap, this new headset is quite similar to the ones before it, except that it comes in a new gray color option. Pretty much everything else is the same as previous headsets in the Gear VR lineup; what sets this one apart is the controller. The same type of circular touchpad found on Google’s Daydream View controller and Valve’s Steam Controller is front and center, flanked by a back button, home button, and volume rocker. To be sure, it’s a simplistic setup, but the built-in motion tracking can make it serve in VR applications just as well as any Bluetooth game controller, and in many instances, even better.
For those who already have a Gear VR of some sort and a compatible Samsung phone, the controller can be bought separately for $39, and is compatible with older headsets with no hiccups. The controller is compatible with a vast array of VR apps and games so far, and that list is poised to only grow as Samsung and Oculus attract more and more developers into the Gear VR fold. Naturally, Cardboard content is also compatible with the Gear VR, and that could mean that this new controller can be used with Cardboard games and apps that call for a controller. Likewise, those who have a Gear VR and use it with their Daydream-compatible device may be able to use the new Samsung controller instead of the Daydream View controller, but there is no guarantee on that, and no way to test either possibility until the controller officially hits the streets on April 21.