Samsung announced its new $99 Gear VR portable virtual reality viewer back in September and is now ready to start shipping it to consumers. Pre-orders are open in the United States on Amazon, Best Buy, and Samsung's sites, with orders ready to ship on November 20. Units will also be available for sale in Best Buy's retail locations. A week later on November 27, T-Mobile will also offer the Gear VR for sale online and in its stores, and AT&T is supposed to join the list but no specific date has been set yet.
The new Gear VR is lighter and more comfortable to wear compared to the previous Innovator Edition. It also has a better touchpad for improved control. It costs the same $99 and works with Samsung's 2015 flagships: the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5.
Along with the headset's launch, you should expect the release of several new made-for-VR games that are optimized for the Oculus platform such as Lands End from Ustwo Games, the makers of Monument Valley. Users will also have access to video content from Samsung Milk VR, Netflix (with a subscription), and Oculus Video.
At $99, the Gear VR is sure more expensive than Google's Cardboard units, but it does look more spiffy and has the backing of a more specialized company in Oculus. But it's tough to deny that both offerings are really making virtual reality more affordable and attainable to everyone.
- Samsung Tomorrow