New Gear VR Headset Gets USB-C and a Wider Field of View
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 7 is the first Note to use USB-C, which is good for many reasons, not the least of which is it makes it easier to plug in when it’s dark. But it means you’ll need a new Gear VR headset if you want to enjoy the wonders of virtual reality.
So it’s a good thing Samsung announced the Gear VR for Note 7 along with the new phone. Yes, it works with the Note 5 and Galaxy S6 and S7 series, but it was made for the Note 7. If you’re serious about a phone-driven VR experience, it’s worth forking over $100 for the new rig.
It offers a wider field of view—101 degrees instead of 96—to enhance the sense of immersion. And it’s finished in a shade of blue so dark it’s almost black, which ought to address complaints that the earlier all-white models created reflections. Samsung also overhauled the input controls at the temple. The touchpad is recessed, and quite a bit bigger. A dedicated button takes you to the Oculus Store without dealing with menus. The padding seems cushier and comfier, and the new rig is noticeably lighter than the previous version.1
The pass-through power and peripheral port on the bottom is now a USB-C connector, as is the native phone connection. A dongle in the box lets you use older, Micro USB-connected Galaxy phones. In all likelihood, it signals that the next generation of Galaxy phones will use USB-C. Until then, you’ll have to use an adaptor and pay $100 to upgrade your Gear VR experience. But that’s a small price to pay for the wonders of virtual reality.
1UPDATE 8/2/2016 12:10pm ET: This story has been updated to correct weight information about the new Gear VR headset.