Samsung Gear VR

The best VR headsets

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The best mobile VR headset

You don’t need an expensive computer or PlayStation 4 to dip your toes into virtual reality. If you have a compatible Android smartphone, you can also choose from Google’s Daydream View or Samsung’s Gear VR. Thanks to a bit of help from Oculus, Samsung enjoyed a big head start in this arena. The Gear VR has been around since 2015, and it’s steadily evolved alongside the company’s smartphones.

This year, Samsung finally released a motion controller for the Gear VR, which impressed us with its accurate tracking and comfortable design. It also costs just $40 on its own, making it a no-brainer upgrade for anyone who already owns Samsung’s headset. (You can get the Gear VR and controller together for $140.) While Google launched the Daydream View with a controller before Samsung, the Gear VR’s version is better overall. In particular, it has a trigger button, which is essential for interacting with virtual reality environments.

Unfortunately, the Gear VR still only works with Samsung smartphones, so it’s not the best option if you’ve recently upgraded to another model. The main advantage with Google’s Daydream platform is that it supports multiple phones: In addition to the Pixel phones, it also works with the Moto Z and Z2, LG V30, and a few others. If you own a Galaxy S8, S8+ or Note8, though, you can choose between either VR platform.

While you’d have a good experience with the Gear VR and Daydream View, if you have the option, we’d recommend sticking with Samsung’s platform. It has not only a better controller but also a larger software library, thanks in part to some help from Oculus.

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