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Samsung takes virtual reality to a new level

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Samsung just added a new member to the flagship Galaxy family to much excitement, and it is easy to see why.

By Brian Yatich

As a follow-up to the S6 and S6 Edge phones, Samsung released the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones, all this amidst rumours of a new phone release by Samsung’s biggest competitor, Apple.

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The South Korean electronics giant has made some key improvements on several aspects of the S7 and the S7 Edge devices.

Specs

The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge introduces the first dual pixel camera on a smartphone with a wider aperture and bigger pixel and a faster shutter speed, delivering sharper images even in low light conditions. A 12 megapixel camera which it claims lets more light in, allowing for a picture that is 95 per cent brighter than the Galaxy S6 as well as faster autofocus are some of the new features.

Also new are a 5.5 inch screen on the S7 Edge and 5.1 inch display on the S7 edge, a faster processor and better graphics card specifically to enhance mobile gaming and expandable memory.

Dust and water resistant

Samsung has improved the use of the Edge capability. It has a feature that lets you put specific contacts and apps to be accessed quickly. But it has also introduced a new feature called “Task Edge” which allows you to put specific tasks to be carried out quickly, such as immediately accessing the selfie camera or going straight to the message thread of a specific contact.

The two are coupled with a 3D glass and metal in a sleek design with an ergonomic curve for a comfortable grip.

The devices display major improvements from its predecessor models that include a longer-lasting battery, a better camera and a return of the expandable storage feature that was unavailable in the S6 and S6 Edge.

Samsung Gear VR

However, the most interesting thing about the new releases is the accompanying Virtual Reality (VR) device. This device has been in the works for some time, with the first Gear VR, dubbed the ‘innovator edition’ being released a year ago.

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(VR is now going mainstream as device manufacturers globally launched theirs over the past year.)

The price of the VR has since dropped considerably, now costing almost half the price. Those who pre-ordered the S7 and S7 Edge, however, will get the device for free.

Compared to the innovator edition, the Gear VR has also changed tremendously. Although it is still huge, the new one is 40 per cent less in size from its predecessor, which is commendable.

Apart from size, it is interesting to note that Samsung also made some technological and software improvements, so the performance of the device is better than that of the previous test model. The trackpad of the device resembles a D Pad, so users can easily swipe in all directions. New users should not have a problem using the Gear VR, as the device is quite easy to set up.

The user interface is fairly simple: Users shouldn’t have any problem navigating. For the most part, users navigate the interface by moving their head, along with buttons and controls on the device. Users can see what is in front of them using the rear camera of their phones, when the phone is attached to the Gear VR.

The device let users browse the Internet in virtual reality, offering quite a different experience for everyday tasks such as reading one’s Facebook News Feed or checking emails. It also supports HTML5 and 360/180 degree and a 3D video streaming and Gaze Mode, which allows users to simply gaze at a menu item to select it.

The Gear VR handset works hand in hand with Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge.

Its latest flagship smartphones in the market have made a big push into the virtual reality space as it looks to new areas of growth amid a slowing smartphone market.

The Galaxy S7 series is available in Samsung stores in the country. Samsung said that anyone pre-ordering an S7 or S7 Edge would get its predecessor, the Gear VR headset, bundled in for free.

By 2020, Naughty America – backed by research conducted by analysts at Piper Jaffray – claims the VR adult entertainment market will be worth $1 billion per year, and that porn will be the third largest VR market behind films and gaming.

The S7 and S7 Edge devices are not pre-installed with the VR software. When users first connect their phones to the Gear VR, they are asked to download a number of applications.

One of the interesting applications is the Oculus Store, which is the equivalent of the Google Playstore, providing a range of fun games, videos and other entertainment features that can be downloaded by the users.

US users have an advantage over other users, as they can get additional content from Samsung’s Milk VR Store. The Milk VR Store is exclusive to US users for now.

To date, this has been one of the most interesting releases by the Korean manufacturer. It will be interesting to see what the future models from the manufacturer will look like.

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