Samsung Gear VR leak shows off cheap Oculus Rift alternative

An image that appears to be of Samsung’s Oculus Rift rival has been leaked ahead of the device’s reported unveiling at IFA 2014, which starts on 5 September.

A picture of the Samsung Gear VR has been revealed. Looking like a fairly slimline pair of goggles a good deal smaller than the Oculus Rift, it’s something you slot a Samsung Galaxy Android device into, rather than having its own displays perched in front of your eyes.

The image was published by SamMobile, which claims that the Gear VR will be shown off at IFA 2014, where Samsung is also expected to announce the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

The Samsung Gear VR headset appears to use the phone’s hardware almost exclusively, with little of the work done by the headset itself. Your phone’s screen becomes the Gear VR’s display, the rear camera is used to ‘see’ the outside world using a transparent windows in the headset and the phone’s sensors are used for head tracking.

All of Samsung’s new phones have a gyroscope and accelerometer, letting them track your head movements fairly accurately in Wiimote style.

The Samsung Gear VR’s main job is to provide the lenses that trick your brain into thinking you’re viewing a display at a proper distance, not a 5-inch screen an inch away from your eyeballs.

The inspiration for this device is fairly obvious. Google gave out a cardboard virtual reality headset at I/O 2014, and it seems Samsung may do the same with its plastic ’n’ rubber Gear VR at IFA 2014.

SamMobile writes that apps like the gallery, media player and 360-panorama viewer will initially work with the Gear VR, and that Samsung will also make an SDK available to developers.

It seems like the Samsung Gear VR may soon join the Galaxy Beam and Galaxy Round as odd little curios that’ll never really sell. But we’re looking forward to trying it out to see if it induces a headache in less time than it takes to brew a cup of tea.

Next, read our Oculus Rift vs Project Morpheus comparison