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Samsung's Next Gear VR HMD Includes A Tracked Controller

Samsung is firing back at Google’s Daydream VR system. The electronics company revealed that its third-generation consumer-grade VR HMD features a tracked controller. Google just lost its biggest advantage.

During Samsung’s presentation at Mobile World Congress 2017, the Korean electronics giant announced the Samsung Gear VR with Controller, which, as you probably guessed, includes a motion controller like the one that Google provides with the Daydream View HMD.

The Gear VR controller features buttons for home, back, and volume control. It also includes a clickable trackpad like the one found on the HTC Vive controllers, as well as a trigger on the back. Samsung loaded the controller with an accelerometer, gyrometer, and magnetic sensors to offer limited motion control. When not in use, the Gear VR controller fits into a strap inside the headset so you don’t lose it.

“At Samsung, we are focused on setting and exceeding the standard for VR experiences, making them even more accessible and delivering the highest in quality,” said Younghee Lee, Executive Vice President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “The Gear VR with Controller expands our VR ecosystem to help consumers get more engaged and immersed in VR content – whether it’s games or videos.”

The Gear VR controller opens possibilities for VR games and interactions that were previously not possible on Oculus’s mobile VR platform, such as first person shooters and interactions in which you grab items in the virtual world. The controller should also simplify navigating Oculus Home.

Oculus said many developers are already working with the controller, so there will be content built to suit it on the release date. The small selection of developers with early access to the controller SDK are developing more than 70 titles, and several of them will launch alongside the new HMD. Oculus plans to release the Gear VR Controller SDK to all developers in “a few weeks,” so expect that list to expand soon. Oculus also confirmed that Samsung’s controller is compatible with all 550+ existing Gear VR titles.

We haven’t seen the new Gear VR in person yet, but the image Samsung provided suggests the company deleted the overhead strap from the previous headset. The loops for the strap on the rear and top of the headset are absent in the image--although that could be photoshop trickery. The overhead strap is one of the Gear VR’s primary advantages over the competition. It would be silly for Samsung to remove that feature.   

Samsung said the Gear VR with Controller is compatible with the same list of phones as the previous version, which includes the Galaxy S7 and S6 series smartphones and the Galaxy Note 5. Just like the previous iteration, the new Gear VR includes an adapter to switch the headset’s USB interface from micro USB to USB Type-C.

Samsung did not reveal the price of the headset or when it will hit the market.

Samsung Gear VR with ControllerController
Dimension / Weight207.8 x 122.5 x 98.6mm / 345gDimension / Weight108.1 x 48.1 x 38.2mm / 64.3g
Optical LensΦ42, FOV 101º x6.25Control & FunctionTouchpad (Clickable), Trigger, Home Key, Back Key, Volume Key
SensorAccelerometer, Gyrometer, ProximitySensorAccelerometer, Gyrometer, Magnetic
CompatibilityGalaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edgeBatteryAAA Battery * 2ea (1000mAh, average 2 hours of daily use will last for 40 days)
  • cryoburner
    19354228 said:
    We haven’t seen the new Gear VR in person yet, but the image Samsung provided suggests the company deleted the overhead strap from the previous headset.
    A press image that Samsung released for last year's Gear VR also left the strap loop out, and it's probably just to make it look nicer for the photo. Or maybe the strap connects slightly differently. Notice that there's still a notched out area behind the focus dial though.
    Reply
  • Dosflores
    This looks like a worthy upgrade. I don't even care about the motion controls; replacing the touchpad on the HMD with a proper controller is a huge step forward for the Gear VR platform. And it's nice not having to buy a new (brutally expensive) Galaxy S8 to benefit from it.
    Reply
  • zambutu
    Yes the head mounted touch pad is nothing short of irritating to use. I can't believe it lasted this long
    Reply
  • Jeff Fx
    They're going to have to manage to create a new Note that doesn't burst into flames to sell me a new Gear VR. A new headset is not going to solve the overheating problem when using my S6 for VR.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    19354421 said:
    19354228 said:
    We haven’t seen the new Gear VR in person yet, but the image Samsung provided suggests the company deleted the overhead strap from the previous headset.
    A press image that Samsung released for last year's Gear VR also left the strap loop out, and it's probably just to make it look nicer for the photo. Or maybe the strap connects slightly differently. Notice that there's still a notched out area behind the focus dial though.

    yup. i suspect you're right, but there's no way to know for sure from this image.
    Reply
  • therealduckofdeath
    "We haven’t seen the new Gear VR in person yet, but the image Samsung provided suggests the company deleted the overhead strap from the previous headset. The loops for the strap on the rear and top of the headset are absent in the image--although that could be photoshop trickery. The overhead strap is one of the Gear VR’s primary advantages over the competition. It would be silly for Samsung to remove that feature."Uh, it is the actual 2016 edition HMD they're showing in the press release. The overhead strap was removed last year.
    Reply