Samsung Gear VR is a virtual reality headset that was announced alongside the Galaxy Note 4 phone at simultaneous events in New York, Berlin and Beijing in September 2014. The Gear VR, not unlike the Oculus Rift, is mounted on your face with two adjustable head straps that place it securely over your eyes for a more immersive experience. Once positioned properly, the Gear VR displays images through individual lenses to your eyes to provide you with a virtual reality experience.
The Gear VR reacts to your movements through a variety of sensors, as well as input from a touchpad and button on the left side of the unit. It can output audio through speakers or to connected Bluetooth wireless headsets.
The fact that it was announced with the Note 4 is important, as the Gear VR is essentially useless without the phone. The Note 4 clips into the front of the Gear VR and provides it with nearly all essential components for its use through its USB port. This helps keep the Gear VR light, and also removes the need for any additional cables or connected external devices. It does limit the power of the Gear VR compared to other computer-connected headsets, however. The Gear VR gets its content via special downloads on the connected Note 4 device, but also comes with an SDcard pre-loaded with plenty of content to start using it with right out of the box.
The Gear VR looks and acts very similarly to the Oculus Rift, and that's due to the partnership between Samsung and Oculus for the device. It bares the "Powered by Oculus" branding in both hardware and software, and there's no doubt that some of the virtual reality expertise from Oculus has made the Gear VR more powerful.