Samsung Gear VR versus Google Cardboard - May the Best Win!

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Alejandro Crespo MartĂ­nez
@alejandrocrespomartinez
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Summary

  • Round 1, aesthetics ...
  • Round 2, the price ...
  •  Round 3, characteristics…
  • Round 4, les applications…
  • Conclusion

Round 1, aesthetics ...

The first glaring difference between the two is aesthetics. The Google CardBoard, the first virtual reality headset, is cardboard while the Samsung Gear VR chose the plastic. The Gear VR is therefore more headset Premium than Cardboard, and is more pleasant. Not to mention that the Google Cardboard does not fit on the head by itself, while the Gear VR is equipped with a strap that allows the user to have their hands free. This image battle is therefore largely won by Samsung, 1-0 for South Korea.



Round 2, the price ...

Either way, it's the most affordable gateway to virtual reality for consumers. However, the Samsung Gear VR, which wants to be high-end, costs much more, it sells for 99€, against 15€ on average for the Google Cardboard. Without forgetting that for the Gear VR, you must be in possession of a smartphone Samsung compatible (S6, S7 and Note 4 ranges), i.e. around € 600. Google really wants to democratize virtual reality by making its headset accessible to everyone. Especially since some brands have offered a Cardboard at a lower cost to promote their products, such as OnePlus. On the other hand, the Samsung Gear VR can boast of being the cinema of tomorrow. Winner of this round, Google, 1-1.

 Round 3, characteristics…

Because appearance is not everything, we are going to look at the characteristics of these two helmets. The Google Cardboard has the merit of being available with the most smartphones Android, unlike the Samsung Gear VR which is limited to smartphones from his company (and again only the S6 and S7 ranges and the Galaxy Note 4). It is therefore an advantage for Google which appropriates a larger audience. With this type of headset, the smartphone does almost everything, since it is his screen which is used for project the user into the virtual world.



But the Gear VR incorporates buttons to his helmet which simplifies the use of the headset compared to the Google Cardboard. Thus controlling the applications is easier by the presence of a touchpad (for navigation) and a back button placed just above and it is possible to connect a bluethooth controller to play. Result, equality between the two helmets, the Gear VR is certainly more functional, but it also more limited. 2-2.

Round 4, les applications…

The Samsung Gear VR is the result of a partnership between Samsung and Oculus Rift. This is why its applications are available in the Oculus Rift store, theOculus Store. Prices vary between 2 and 10 euros, and hundreds of games or virtual reality applications are available. But the interface of this store is not very clear, no search tools for example. As for the Google Cardboard, there are no less 500 applications to enjoy it, present in Google Play. Certainly it will be more expensive to build up a game library for the Gear VR, but the quality of the content in the Oculus Store is much better. What's more, one can navigate theOculus Store and download apps even with the helmet on the head. 3-2 final score, Samsung advantage!



Here is a video of a gaming test on the Samsung Gear VR:

Conclusion

The 5 million Google Cardboards sold do not necessarily make Google the winner of this game. Samsung wins, thanks to a aesthetics, comfort, and better quality content than the Google Cardboard. But the two firms nevertheless won their bet. Google's ambition with its headset was democratize this technology and for that they really made it affordable by putting aside the quality of the headset and the content. Unlike Samsung which wanted to offer a good virtual reality experience while remaining accessible to its customers.



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