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on September 25, 2017
I'll start off by giving a brief overview of what types of VR headsets currently exist (if you are familiar with these and just want to read specifically about the Gear VR then scroll down to the section titled "Gear VR").

There are many Virtual Reality headsets in the market right now (Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, etc.). These typically fit into two categories: tethered vs. mobile.

Tethered: Devices built from the ground up for VR. As such, they typically have a higher quality image than mobile VR headsets but require a somewhat powerful machine to wirelessly connect and "tether" to in order to operate (such as a PC or gaming system). These are also typically more expensive and can range from $300 - $800 dollars.

Mobile: Imagine quality relies on the specs of the phone or device you place inside it. Because of this the image isn't nearly as high quality as the tethered devices but that's not to say they aren't impressive and immersive. These are typically cheaper than the tethered units ranging from $13 to $150. Mobile VR headsets are also incredibly convenient and portable (normally all you need is your phone and your headset). Another feature that isn't typically mentioned with these is that devices (such as the Gear VR) have a phone cast feature that allows you to use virtually all of your phone apps and games through the headset (including texting, Spotify, Super Mario Run, internet, Kodi, Youtube, etc.).

Gear VR: I used this with my new Galaxy Note 8 and enjoyed the heck out of this little headset. For something similar to a face mask it is quite comfortable and lightweight. One thing to note however is that if you are hot or sweaty the lenses can fog up from your body heat getting trapped in the headset. You can try to take it off and wipe the lenses but it will just continue to fog until your face isn't giving off as much heat (so it might be best just to give yourself a couple minutes to cool down).

Though the Gear VR comes with a touchpad remote, many games in the oculus store require a Bluetooth wireless gamepad controller to use so make sure you factor that into your budget if you are planning to use the headset for gaming. At the reasonable $130 price point, the image quality impressed me; the pixels of the phone are still somewhat visible but this may continue to be improved as phone screen resolutions continue to evolve. Note: the phone can still be charged while using the device by plugging in a charger to the charging port (USB - C) located at the bottom of the headset.

Overall, I found this nifty headset to be a great product at a great price. At a considerably cheaper price point than the HTC Vive and the PlayStation VR, its features and quality did not fail to impress. You haven't watched a movie until you watch one through a VR headset with high quality around-ear headphones. It's like having the best seats in a theater but without the hefty ticket price - all from the comfort of your couch/bed/bus/airplane/car! Bonus points for being able to watch movies in bed next to someone without disturbing them.

Pros:
• Relatively inexpensive for a VR headset
• Can be used on-the-go with your phone
• Comes with wireless controller
• Can charge your phone through the headset (with cable)
• With Samsung PhoneCast you can operate most of your phone apps and games through the headset
• Sleek, comfortable, and lightweight

Cons
• Lenses can fog up from heat
• Many games require the purchase of an additional Bluetooth game controller
• Image quality isn’t as refined as higher end VR headsets (such as the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift)
• Only works with Samsung flagship phones (with the Galaxy Note 8 requiring its own specific edition of the headset due to its size)
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on March 17, 2018
I purchased the 2107 version of this device (SM-R325) which -- compared with the earlier model -- has been modified by Samsung to work with the Note 8. When the product arrived the text on the box showed that it was compatible with S8/S8+ and earlier only. However, a sticker over the barcode said "Samsung Gear VR w/Controller (2017) - Latest Edition- Note8,..." I assumed Samsung/vendor was just reusing packaging left over from the earlier model. When I tried using it with the Note 8 I could get it to work, but the fit was terrible and inserting/removing the phone was very difficult. After reading the Samsung site I realized I had received the earlier version device. So how to tell? There are two easy ways: 1. The newest model does not have a volume rocker. On the older model the volume rocker is on the right side of the headset immediately in front of the on-device touch pad. 2. The model number is listed in very tiny print behind the removable front cover. If it shows "SM-R324" you have the older model. When you receive your package make sure you get what you've paid for! Returning for replacement.
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on September 10, 2017
Just got the Samsung Gear VR w/Controller (Note8 Edition) today works very similarly to the last model though it's just a tad sharper. honestly I just got it since I loved watching movies on my old one that I used with my note 5 and S7 then got the note 8 and needed a new one. I like that it has a removable multipurpose jack so if you get this it is backwards compatible. it has a micro usb and a usb c jack you choose which you need.
A tip for those that love watching movies run them through handbrake (a free video program) to get them to a proper size and codec so the phone doesn't get hot!
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on September 16, 2017
I have been fighting getting into VR, mostly cause my eyes don't do well with 3D videos. I had some money to spend, and this had good reviews, so I went for it. SOOOOO glad I did! This thing is awesome! The video is so clear, and it runs so smooth on my new Note 8. The oculus app has so many awesome videos to watch and apps to play, you will not get bored anytime soon. Motion sickness? Non existent! I don't know how it counters that, but it does. The controller is comes with works really well too, it's better than the Nintendo remotes in terms of accuracy and response. The Netflix app is absolutely killer as well!

All in all, such a great buy, so glad I did it. Highly recommend!
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on March 26, 2018
I’d give 0 stars if I could! I purchased this item as a gift, and was looking specifically for the newest version/ Note 8 / Galaxy S9+ compatible. The box was obviously resealed- not new, although advertised as new. There were rips on the box upon arrival, and multiple layers of tape. This prompted us to examine further before trying the phone in it- good thing too! Samsung says it will BREAK YOUR PHONE if not used with a compatible device!! This model is listed as “newest version” SM-R325, and a new sticker (amazon printed, I’d guess) has been placed over the original barcode of the box to say it’s Note 8 compatible, but on the side it’s clearly labeled as the previous model; SM-R324. Pretty disappointed at the misrepresentation of a product...
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on December 18, 2017
Great fun even for older folks. Found myself really getting into the games. At 71 I use it to train myself to keep from getting too exited in tense situations.
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on December 28, 2017
Samsung GearVR with Controller is the latest duo of VR headset that uses the mobile technology to garner you access to the world of VR. How does this compared to the tethered counterparts like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? There are split reactions, mine will be solely on the GearVR uses and GTK (good-to-know) Tid-Bits since other review focuses on the technical and comparable specifications.

WHAT TO EXPECT: The streamlined packaging allows you direct access to the GearVR headset and the Controller (requires (2) AAA batteries). The Controller will need to be paired via Bluetooth to your headset (more on this later). Instructions are simple and the GearVR headset is available for use right out of the box because there is no 'charging' involved. The battery source is from the mobile itself so make sure your phone is well-charged.

It may be good to mention this GearVR headset works only with Samsung (hence, it's a Samsung GearVR). I've used it with Samsung S7 Edge and the S8+. BOTH of the phones will require you to download the Oculus APP to use. Once you remove the plastic 'cover' from the front part of the GearVR, you will notice the phone port on the right side and a 'spring clasp' mechanism on the left. With the S7 Edge, you will need to use a microUSB attachment (which, by the way, is included in the package - AWESOME). Out of the box, the GearVR headset already has the USB Type-C port attachment (good for Samsung S8+) so changing the attachment out is a bit tricky but once you get it, it's pretty logical. The 'spring clasp' on the left side of the GearVR is adjustable to fit both the S7 Edge and the S8+ snuggly. From the other reviews, it looks like there will be no issues using with Note8 or the S8; but it looks like the GearVR will not work with J7.

GTK #1: SIT. DOWN. PLEASE! Can't emphasize enough the danger in thinking you will 'walk' around in your VR. You can loose track of where you are standing, what's in front of you or underneath you. Last thing is for you to turn around only to hit a wall - and your nose, by the way, as it is the impact point of a side hit - so be sure to find a comfortable, 'safe' place to move your upper body around. Sofa seems to work the best, Beds... well, you can easily roll off so a word of caution on that!

HEADSET: Black, solid quality plastic-body with two head strap adjustments and it makes a LOT of sense to have the one going above your head for support to carry off the weight of the mobile phone, Pretty comfortable, especially around the eyes where the padding snuggly fits to block out the ambient light. It can feel a bit front-heavy due to the mobile so be aware of you dropping your head down as it may happen faster.

GTK #2: If you are generally a 'Hot' person - well, you can define that whichever way you'd like but we're talking about body temperature in this instance - your GearVR may 'fog' as it does retain heat. You can wipe down but the best solution so far seems to be to have a portable fan near by blowing on your face. This is actually for you to cool down so if there are other ways, do that as it does become a nuisance if you're in a VR Chat and people can all hear the rotating fan sound. Tid-Bit: One thing to look out for is the temperature from the Phone can also be alarming as it can get quite 'Hot' to touch but it seems to depend particular Oculus Apps. For example, the temperature may be higher if you're playing a rollercoaster game vs. a chat or Facebook360. No worries, though - the Samsung mobiles have a temperature gage so rest assured it will not become dangerously overheated.

CONTROLLER: You do need to PAIR this via Bluetooth before it can be used and this may take several seconds, depending on the phone. There is also a 'touchpad' function available on the right temple area of the GearVR that is useful, especially if you don't have a Controller (or lost contact with it, which does happen!). All functions available on the Controller can be accessible in this manner as well. The Controller set-up is pretty simple, follow the instruction BEFORE you put your GearVR on.

GTK #3: The Controller can disconnect unexpectedly from the mobile phone, which can disrupt whatever you are doing. In most cases, you would need to re-PAIR it via Bluetooth - notification seems to pop up that the Controller is available and you can use also the 'Home' button to reset the Bluetooth. However, if the Controller seem to 'loose control' (the pointer vibrates on screen or does not seem to point in the right place), one of two things can be done: If it doesn't seem to point in the right place, press the 'Home' button until you see the spinning Controller on your screen - keep it steady - and it will reset the pointer center. If the pointer seem to skip from here to there, it actually may be your BATTERY (it does seem to run out sooner than later!)

CHARGING: There is a review that says you can 'charge' your phone while you use the GearVR. Actually, there is a port available on the right lower side of the GearVR; however, this port is so that you can connect your headset to the USB Type-C port (provided in the package) SO that it does not use your phone's battery. It does NOT charge your phone.

SOUND: You can hear sounds without a headset but in certain places - like VR Chats - you are required to have a headset. You can use BOTH the wired and wireless - the wireless headset must be also paired via Bluetooth (yes, possible to have both the wireless headset and the Controller connected at the same time!).

VISION: OK, the first few times you use the GearVR set, you will notice some changes to your vision. There is a rotary wheel on the front part of the GearVR that adjust the depth and clarity of your vision within VR. If you use glasses, it may be a good idea to use the GearVR without your glasses (yes it is possible to adjust your vision this way!). Same goes for the contact lens users. For those with 20/20 or better, lucky you! At first few times you may feel dizzy and even nauseous. Also your vision may feel dimmed after removing your GearVR. Brightness can be adjusted in the settings function within GearVR. It's NOT a good idea to have the brightness on full high as it will affect your eyes.

GTK #4: SERIOUSLY consider NOT eating right before the GearVR experience especially if you're going to 'ride' the rollercoaster. It's trippy how your mind actually will make you feel like you're spinning, hence your body will feel nauseous!).

MOBILE USAGE: YES, it will eat up your battery. YES, you can see notifications as you're using your GearVR. YES, you can actually use your phones if you have the correct App. There are many things you can explorer with the Samsung GearVR + your Samsung Mobile phone, however you do need to download the right Apps. Samsung has this pre-programmed to help you download - one of two you will definitely is Oculus and the SamsungVR. All other Apps you can download using those two to start.

IMPROVEMENTS: Samsung GearVR is a Mobile-based VR system so unlike the tethered kind like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, it has its limitations. For example, the graphics is not as crystal clear as the tethered kind - this may also be because you have a screen protector that is not 'clear' so keep that in mind. Some of the colors available may not translate into the MobileVR so you may not get the full color experience in some of the VR Apps. Also for GearVR, there is not peripherals available from Samsung yet, like the hand tracking movement. The Controller can give you SOME functions but you won't have the full hands-on experience. Hopefully as the VR world is popularizing, they are developing this option soon!

There you have it! As more usage and experience comes with the GearVR, there may be more GTK or Tid-Bits to add to the review. This is based on first-hand experience using the GearVR for about 6 week weeks.
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on December 30, 2017
I love this thing! Amazing value for what you're getting, my favorite thing about it is Netflix vr, it's like you have an 80 inch tv in you're own bedroom!
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on November 20, 2017
Great product, very entertaining. Love the web Browers and the games are awesome. You have to experience for your self to know what I'm talking about. 100 percent happy with the VR head set
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on April 23, 2018
This item does not seem to be brand new as advertised. I watched a few unboxing videos on Youtube that people order from Amazon and this how I know my item is already opened before it is shipped to me. Seems like the item was already opened before I unbox it. The tape of the box already opened. There were no clear thing plastic covers on the VR cover shell. No plastic covers on any of the straps. The small strap for the remote is missing. The batteries were already in the remote, which it is not supposed to. Lastly, on the left hole where you slide it to open the hard plastic VR cover, there was oil. Please please prevent this problem from happening again. I was expect to unwrap a brand new item, but this is definitely not the case.
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