The Samsung Gear VR is once again on sale for half price: Today only, and while supplies last, A4C has the refurbished Gear VR for $49.95 shipped. (Best Buy is close at $56.99, but there you’re on the hook for sales tax — so more like $60.) List price for a new one: $99.99.
This is not just a branded Google Cardboard — far from it. The Gear VR relies on Oculus-powered software, meaning you can enjoy at least some of the same apps and games as owners of a $600 Oculus Rift. And the core experience is way better as well, starting with a gorgeous UI that appears the moment you dock your phone in the headset and place it on your head.
There’s a touchpad built into the side of the Gear VR, and while it can be cumbersome for certain activities, at least it’s there; Google Cardboard, for some apps at least, requires some kind of external controller. And even with one, there’s no way to switch between apps without taking off the headset, taking out the phone, running the new app, putting the phone back in, etc. Hassle city.
The Gear VR has one fairly significant limitation, and that’s compatibility. It works with only half a dozen Samsung phones. That leaves out iPhone owners and plenty of Android users.
But if you own a compatible phone, I really must insist you grab one of these. I paid full price for mine and don’t regret it one bit. At $50 out the door, it’s a steal — and a great way to get started in the wonderful world of VR.