Which mobile phones can you use with Samsung's Gear VR virtual reality headset, and how does it work? Here's everything you need to know if you're thinking about buying a Gear VR or you want to get your set up.
Virtual reality is becoming more popular than ever, now that you can enjoy VR experiences using nothing more than a simple headset and your trusty mobile phone. One of the best VR headsets you can get right now is the Samsung Gear VR and here's everything you need to know, including what phones the Gear VR is compatible with and the best Gear VR apps and games.
Read next: How to enjoy VR on your mobile phone
What is the Samsung Gear VR?
The Gear VR is Samsung's virtual reality headset. It's basically a plastic casing which uses your mobile phone as a display, for viewing VR movies and games. Samsung first released the Gear VR in 2015 and has given away hundreds of thousands of the headsets with its flagship smartphones, usually to pre-order customers. You can also buy it separately.
Of course, the Samsung Gear VR isn't the only VR headset that works with mobile phones. Check out our best VR headsets round-up to see our favourites.
What phones work with the Samsung Gear VR?
The Gear VR is a great way to get started with virtual reality, but its compatibility is rather limited. Unlike many other VR headsets like the Google Cardboard, which work with a huge range of Android devices, Samsung's Gear VR only supports a small selection of Samsung's premium Galaxy phones.
At the time of writing, the only phones that work with the Gear VR are:
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
Samsung Galaxy S7
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
How do I get started with the Samsung Gear VR?
Getting started with the Gear VR is pleasingly simple, but you can check out Samsung's online manual if you need any assistance.
First, you need to remove the front panel of the Gear VR and slip your phone inside, to act as the screen. The phone plugs into a USB connector at the edge of the helmet. With that done, replace the front panel and slip the Gear VR onto your head and adjust the straps until they are tight enough to keep the headset from moving around. There's a built-in proximity sensor, so the Gear VR knows when you're wearing it and loads the Gear VR app automatically.
You have controls built into the right edge of the Gear VR, for navigating through the Gear VR app's menus. There's a spacious touchpad which can be tapped to select an option and load a virtual reality app, as well as back and home buttons to step back through the menus. You also get a focus control wheel, so you can make the VR images nice and sharp if things are a little blurry.
Can I attach a controller to the Samsung Gear VR for playing games?
As well as using the built-in controls on the side of the Samsung Gear VR, you can also connect a Bluetooth controller to your Samsung Galaxy phone, in order to play VR games. Only some virtual reality games support the use of a controller, however.
Pretty much any gamepad with Bluetooth built-in will work, as long as it's Android compatible. These days even the Xbox wireless controller is supported, for playing Gear VR games.
What are the best apps and games for the Samsung Gear VR?
Samsung's Gear VR helmet can be used to play any virtual reality game on the Google Play store, as well as enjoy the VR games and experiences on Samsung's Gear VR store.
Check out our guide to the best VR games you can play right now for some inspiration. And if you're feeling a bit more brave, take a look at our favourite VR horror games, for a seriously terrifying first-person experience.
How can I buy a Samsung Gear VR?
You can buy the Gear VR direct from Samsung for £80, or you can also buy it from third party retailers. For instance, O2 sells the Gear VR, again for £80.