Oculus Rift

We compare the Oculus Rift DK2 with Gear VR from Samsung. Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2) display, design, UK price, availability and more. Wait for the Oculus Rift, or shell out for a Galaxy Note 4 today?

The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted virtual-reality display. An immersive headset that gives the wearer a full 360-degree view of the virtual world they inhabit. The Oculus Rift pairs with headphones to make games, virtual worlds and live events feel 'real'. It's bringing sexy back to VR. Trouble is, although the Oculus Rift's second Developers Kit version is available to buy for $350, the final consumer version is unlikely to launch until 2015.

Fortunately Oculus has partnered with Samsung to create the Gear VR. This is a headset that combines with the Galaxy Note 4 to create an Oculus Rift-like device that utilises the Galaxy Note 4's display as an integral part of the experience. And Samsing promises Gear VR will launch this year. It has also said it will provide some virtual reality content to be enjoyed on the Gear VR.

So should you wait for the Oculus Rift or rush out and buy a Galaxy Note 4? We compared what is known about both devices to help you make the decision. WARNING: not a great deal is known about either device. We'll add to this feature as we know more.

Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2): display and experience

The Gear VR is an attempt to make the Galaxy Note 4 into an Oculus Rift. And given that Oculus is the creator, it seems unlikely that it will fall short.   Because of the unique way that the Gear VR makes the Galaxy Note 4 into something like the Oculus Rift, the way each device's display(s) works is a key differentiator.

(I'm indebted to reader Kieran Wright for helping to update this paragraph.) The Oculus DK2 utilizes a SINGLE Note 3 1080p screen, offering a resolution of 960 x 1080 pixels per eye according to Oculus. Gear VR by contrast uses the Galaxy Note 4's 5.7 inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display to put a 2560 × 1440 pixel dispay in front of both eyes, so based upon pixels by inch, between the DK2 and the Note 4, the Note will have a superior image quality.

The Galaxy Note 4 has a stunning display and the first developer kit version of Oculus Rift had low-res displays for reasons of supply - and that was plenty immersive enough. We note that early reports of the Gear VR from IFA 2014 suggest that you can spot some pixelization when using it, but the same is likely to be true of the final version Oculus Rift. Certainly our testers found the Gear VR to be an immersive experience, as can be seen in the hands-on review linked to below.

Oculus says that the Oculus Rift gives the user a nominal 100 degree field of view experience, whereas Samsung claims only 96 degree for the Gear VR. In human this means that you can look a little further in the Oculus Rift and not see the join, whereas there is a fraction more artiface in the Gear VR experience. Without testing both side to side it is impossible to see how much this matters - I expect not a lot, but watch this space. For more, see Samsung Gear VR hands-on review: Samsung brings virtual reality to consumers & it's awesome and testing Oculus Rift: why VR is back.

Gear VR

Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2): build and design

Samsung isn't saying how much the Gear VR weighs, but with the 179g Galaxy Note 4 strapped to the front it's likely to be within the realms of the 439g Oculus Rift when it is on your head. Both devices have flexible, soft cushioning to help with comfort - you'll be wearing it on your face, after all. The Gear VR comes in Frost White, the Oculus Rift is black.

Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2): controls and sensors

Like Oculus Rift the Gear VR has multiple controls. These include a touchpad, a back key, forward and backward keys. Both the Gear VR and the Oculus Rift track your movements, in a good way. Both devices include multiple sensors: an accelerometer, gyro and compass, and the all-important proximity sensor so that games stop when you remove the headset.

Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2): connectivity

The Oculus Rift offers USB 2.0 and HDMI connectivity, the Gear VR connects to the Galaxy Note 4 via microUSB 1.1.

Oculus Rift

Gear VR vs Oculus Rift (DK2): UK price and availability

Samsung has yet to reveal a specific release date for the Gear VR, but according to a source close to Samsung early versions of the Gear VR are already with developers and the Gear VR is expected later this year. Although no pricing has been confirmed for the Samsung Gear VR, the fact that it doesn't use sensors built into the device itself but those of a docked smartphone means Samsung should be able to keep down costs and undercut its rivals. We are told it will cost £150. You will need to own a Galaxy Note 4 in order to use the Samsung Gear VR, though, so that'll add to the overall price of the device.

You can pre-order Oculus Rift (DK2) right now, but don't expect to get it any time soon. Oculus has said it wants to ship the Rift before the end of 2015, and amazing-looking games like CCP's Eve Valkyrie, Superhot, Elite Dangerous, and the upcoming Alien: Isolation are already dabbling heavily in VR. But it won't ship the device before the content is there. As to price, speaking to Eurogamer, Oculus VR CEO Palmer Luckey revealed that the final retail price for the consumer version of the Rift will be between $200 and $400. "That could slide in either direction depending on scale, pre-orders, the components we end up using, business negotiations..." he said. "Whatever it is, it's going to be as cheap as possible."

So it is very likely that you will be able to get the Oculus experience on a Gear VR a long time before you can buy a consumer version of the Oculus Rift. Whether that makes it worth your while to buy a Galaxy Note 4 only you will know. (For more, see Oculus Rift release date, specs and features: Oculus Rift will change the way we play, experience events, visit places

Oculus Rift vs Gear VR