Samsung launches virtual reality headset, the $99 Gear VR

Virtual reality is finally becoming, uh, a reality, with Samsung launching its mobile-powered Gear VR headset Friday.

The headset, built with technology from Facebook-owned Oculus VR, is compatible with Samsung smartphones such as the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+ and S6.

Similar to other lower-end virtual reality headsets like Google Cardboard, the Gear VR works by using the smartphone’s screen as the headset’s display. Higher end devices, like the yet-to-be-launched Oculus Rift (due early next year) connect with computers.

Samsung is shipping preorders of the Gear VR to customers Friday, and select Best Buy and AT&T stores will begin selling the device for $99. T-Mobile plans to sell it, too.

The Gear VR will ship with more than 25 made-for-VR games, and with apps that let users hang out with friends in VR, and try experimental apps and games from developers.


Aside from games, various apps and platforms are starting to run VR content, such as Facebook and YouTube, which now support 360-degree videos, Samsung’s own Milk VR, an app that offers access to 360-degree films, and the Los Angeles Times itself, where you can take a virtual reality tour of Mars.

Twitter: @traceylien