New Samsung Gear VR for Note 8

Oh come on. Another Gear VR headset?

Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung’s newest phone looks great. But the Galaxy Note 8 has an unfortunate accessory problem: it needs a new VR headset.

The Oculus-partnered Gear VR has seen several goggle iterations over the years, the last one arriving alongside the Galaxy S8 and S8+. According to Samsung, the new Gear VR is just like the old Gear VR… but it’s a bit wider to accommodate the Note 8’s chassis.

The new headset is $130, just like the last model, and comes with a wireless Bluetooth controller. It’s backward-compatible with Samsung phones going back to the Note 5.

But if you have an older Gear VR and plan to use the Note 8 with virtual reality, you’d better be ready to trade in your headset. Or, rather, buy a whole new one. Which is a big letdown, especially considering the last version of Gear VR just debuted about six months ago. The “new Gear VR with Controller” arrives September 15.

You’ll need that Gear VR, because it’s still unclear whether Daydream View will work with Note 8, or when. Google’s Daydream View VR headset works with the Galaxy S8 and S8+, but we’re waiting for absolute confirmation on whether it’s also Note 8-compatible at launch. According to a Samsung representative, “We have a great, long standing partnership with Google and work with them on many fronts. We have nothing to share right now, but please stay tuned for future updates.”

Read CNET’s full impressions of the Galaxy Note 8, and our review of the last model of Gear VR. I tried the Note 8-connected Gear VR briefly, and it seems pretty much the same. Which is all the more annoying for long-term Gear VR users.

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