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CNET First Look
Samsung Gear VR turns a Note 4 into stunning virtual reality headsetAre you VR-curious? Samsung's "Innovator Edition" headset accessory for the Galaxy Note 4 does a seriously impressive job of putting you into another world...from absolutely anywhere.
[MUSIC] The gateway to another world is here and it only costs $200. I'm Scott Stein. Maybe that sounds a little grand but you've heard of VR right? Virtual reality is in everything from the Oculus Rift to Sony's Project Morpheus and that technology involves you plugging into a PC or a console. But you can plug into your phone as well. Google Cardboard showed that it could be done. And now here, is the first one that you can really buy that's a rig. This is the Samsung Gear VR. And as a $199 accessory available only in the U.S. for now. That works with just one phone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4. And it's really just a bracket for it. If you open up this here, you plug in your phone right at the top, and it takes advantage of the Note 4's 5.7 inch quad HD display. Inside there are two spherical lenses that bend everything, and suddenly turn what you're seeing into an immersive 3-D experience. And what happens in VR? Well imagine you put this on and then suddenly you see perhaps a 3D concert. Somebody playing a guitar and you're sitting in their living room. You can look at them. Up, down, all around. It's everywhere. Behind you. There's a built in accelerometer that tracks head motion. It doesn't allow you to do full head tracking like some of the more advanced virtual reality rigs can. So you can't bend down and explore the space. But you can turn around in all directions like this, and use a touch pad on the side to navigate. Or pair a Bluetooth controller to play games with. Right now on Gear VR there are only a handful of apps. And they all run through an Oculus app. That allows you to download the experiences. They're all free. And they range from games to panoramic photos and videos and immersive theatrical experiences. What you feel like is that you're immersed in that space. But the experience is a little bit limited. Because even though the screen resolution on that phone is fantastically dense. When it's expanded out in virtual reality you begin to see the pixels individually. And videos are a little more low res than you might expect. Still, that immersiveness creates something that's more eye popping than I think I've ever seen before. And I've shown this to so many people, ranging to my family. Friends, a lot of the tech experienced cynics out there. And nearly everybody is more often than not blown away by the experience. And I can't think of anything since the debut, possibly the iPhone, that's created technology so futuristic that everybody wants to line up and try it out. We don't know how many more apps it will support down the road. But hopefully with the Acula's partnership, this is developed in, in collaboration with Oculus, that you're going to see a lot of stuff down the road. What do you get for your $199 is you get this headset, you also get a microSD card, 16 gigs that's loaded up with some other experiences that you can put on it, and you get this carrying case. But if you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, this seems like a, a really good treat to yourself. You just dive in and have fun with it. Provided you wanna play around with the VR. There will be a lot of virtual reality tech coming up in 2015 from a lot of different companies. New types of input, ways that you can reach out and explore. And this limited set may not fully go there but it is an amazing first step. If you wanna be in a virtual movie theater. Swim in an aquarium, explore the solar system, play virtual arcade games that are floating in front of you and more. The Samsung Gear VR is the first available and right now it's definitely the best. [MUSIC]