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News First Impressions of the Samsung Gear VR (Same screen as Oculus Rift CV1)

Discussion in 'Off Topic - All other stuff here' started by Ben V, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Ben V

    Ben V Member

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    Along with many others in this community, I have been following the development of the Oculus Rift VR headset in hopes that it will add a higher level of immersion to my racing simulator. Aside from the difficulties with proper motion tracking on a moving simulator, the biggest complaint I've heard is the screen resolution.

    I had the opportunity to watch a 10 minute video on a Samsung Gear VR this afternoon, which, according to the press releases, has the same 2560 x 1200 pixel screen as the consumer version of the Oculus Rift. This is a nice bump from the 1920 x 1080 pixel screen of the Oculus Rift DK2, but is it enough?

    Here is a rundown of the pros and cons I felt while using a VR headset for the first time. My closest frame of reference is watching "The Amazing Spiderman" on a 55" 3D television, so I'm going to compare against that experience.


    Cons:

    Tunnel vision - the only part of the screen in focus is the center. Anytime you want to look at something, you have to move your entire head, not just glance with your eyes. As someone who wears eyeglasses, I already experience this to some degree and adapted quite quickly. On the television, this effect is much worse. There is only one portion of the screen in focus, and if you don't follow it with your eyes as the scenes change, it can be quite nauseating.

    No diopter adjustment - The focus wheel sets both eyes at the same time. I'm nearsighted, my eyes are not the same prescription, and my glasses didn't fit under the headset. Not being able to adjust for my eyes individually probably contributed to the tunnel vision.

    Pixel separation - There must be a technical term for this, but i felt like I was looking at everything through a screen door. There was a very visible black mesh separating the pixels.

    Resolution - I've probably been spoiled by high definition televisions and smartphone displays. Hence, I felt the resolution on the Samsung Gear VR was still a bit lacking. It's not unplayable, but you're not going to be glancing down to your virtual dash to check the speedometer. It feels like going back several years in computer graphics.


    Pros:

    Immersion!!! - Even considering some shortcomings in the image quality, I felt very immersed in the surroundings. I compare a 3D television to watching a scene unfold through a window instead of on a screen. On the VR headset, I jumped out of the window, right into the action! In one scene, sitting at a school desk, I actually leaned forward and tried to put my hands on the desk, then suddenly realized it wasn't actually there.

    Refresh rate - I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of motion blur. This may change in a fast paced video game, but I could rotate my head quite quickly during the video without any noticeable blur.


    Conclusion:

    For the list of cons I started out with, you may think that I didn't like the VR headset. However, the level of immersion really made up for its shortcomings, and I was quite impressed. My biggest concern is if the graphics shortcomings would turn out to be too nauseating during long video game sessions. The graphics quality of the game is a big factor here too, for if I was watching something a little less life-like, the low resolution of the headset would be a lot less noticeable.

    Hopefully my experiences will help out anyone who is on the fence about whether to jump into VR or not. For myself, I really see the potential in VR, but I'm probably going to hold out for a 4K display.

    Post your own VR experiences, or anything that you think should be on my list!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2015
  2. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Can I clarify, is that the current developer version of GearVR or the about to be released consumer version you got to try?

    I would like to point out that there is far more to quality VR that screen resolution and GearVR is not really an good benchmark to judge the CV1.

    Unlike GearVR the CV1 rift uses 2 separate screens and a bunch of other visual refinements that, by all reports, pretty much eliminates the screen door effect and with a much higher refresh rate is much smoother than GearVR, plus the Rift has positional tracking.

    The limited FOV is still there in CV1 and will be until some hardware level bottleneck challenges like video transfer speed and latency processing speeds improve. The simple part will actually be the 4K screens themselves, it is the other large data transfer and processing challenges that will hold back wide FOV 4K experiences.

    The CV Rift will have built in IPD adjustment and new Fresnel Lenses, which will allow a much larger vision 'sweet spot'.

    Personally I will get the soon to be released GearVR, mainly for VR video and quick demonstrations. But it is very different from and is aimed at a different market than high end VR with the CV Rift and Vive.
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  3. Ben V

    Ben V Member

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    @noorbeast thanks for the additional info about VR experiences. All I got was a quick demonstration at a University event, so I don't know which version of the Samsung Gear VR it was. It had a Galaxy Note 4 clipped in for the screen.
  4. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    I just got the new Note 5 and am waiting for the consumer GearVr HMD to go on sale, at $99 I consider it a bargain if you don't mind the Samsung high end mobile phones: https://lockerdome.com/geekdotcom/8064587617665300

    There are a lot of the old developer GearVR flooding the market at the moment at the same price point, but it is better to wait for the new version.
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  5. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    I'm pinning my hopes on the Vive. Judging by all reports so far it's stepped the benchmark up to a much higher level than any existing headsets.
  6. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    I am likely to get both the Vive and CV1 Rift, as VR is one of my primary interests. I didn't bother with the GearVR dev kit but will get the consumer release next month.

    The final Vive specs and design are not yet out, but soon should be. I favor the more open Valve approach but it is too early to tell where and by whom VR advances will be made. I am just please that consumer grade VR is just around the corner and know it will likely be a decade of exciting development before it even starts to meet its potential.
  7. Roadster2

    Roadster2 Member

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    Can the Gear VR be hooked up to a PC and used with Project Cars and Assetto Corsa.
    I just want to test the water before investing in a Rift or Vive.
  8. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    Some use a streaming app but honestly it is not comparable, particularly with the lack of positional tracking and limited frame rates.
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  9. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    In my eyes the Gear VR is a very expensive Google cardboard when compared to the Vive and Rift
  10. noorbeast

    noorbeast VR - The Next Generation Staff Member Moderator

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    I consider GearVR to be significantly better than Google Cardboard and it is actually pretty good for things where you don't notice the lack of positional tracking, like Ocean Rift.

    My Note 5 with GearVR gives less screen door effect than the DK2, but has a small FOV.

    GearVR is great as a portable wireless way to show people VR for the first time, but does not have the same sort of flexibility as high end PC VR.
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    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  11. Barry

    Barry Active Member

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    Absolutely, it's got it's place in the market. I think in terms of simulation while seated the gear VR is probably as well equiped as the oculus and would be interesting to see it with a racing rig. The obvious major advantage is that there's no need for a massive number crunching graphics card to run it.
  12. Roadster2

    Roadster2 Member

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    Thanks for your input guys. I bought the Gear VR trade so that helps and I bought it just to see if VR was Ok with an eyesight problem. It's done it's job in that respect but I had wondered whether it could be hooked up to a sim to try it. Looks like it's just a question of waiting a little while for the Vive release.

    For anyone that hasn't yet tried VR - try it !!