A Type-C USB adapter is possibly one of the most crucial parts in a Gear VR, since it is what allows it to interface with mobile phones. If you’ve got a slightly older Gear VR, and have upgraded your phone, you may find that it is incompatible with your Gear VR. If that’s the case, you’ll need to buy one of these adapters. The same applies if you have a newer Gear VR, but have lost the adapter that is supplied with it.
However, while it’s not hard to find a USB C adapter, it should actually fit with your Gear VR, and more importantly, allow your mobile to fit into the device. The key here is compatibility.
For those searching for the exact part in question, the official part-number is GH98-40350A.
Samsung doesn’t stock the part
The official Samsung website doesn’t seem to stock a compatible part. While there are Type-C adapters available on the Samsung site, they all look like they won’t really fit the Gear VR. Calling Samsung customer support hardly seems to solve the problem, especially if you have an older Gear VR. They’ll probably try to get you to simply buy a newer Gear VR, which is not quite the fix you were searching for. After all, you don’t want to pay over a hundred bucks to solve a problem that can be solved with a part that costs roughly $14.
Samsung and compatibility
This part is so crucial because the earlier Gear VR models didn’t have much in terms of potential compatibility. Samsung does provide backward compatibility with its latest Gear VR, whose adapter can shift between Type C and Type B. However, the fact that an adapter that would provide a crucial link between older Gear VRs and more modern mobiles is not stocked by Samsung officially definitely means that their support services leave something to be desired.
Stores that you could source the part from
There are some stores offering the part. However, not all of these are reliable. For example, this part is available at samsungparts.com. By all accounts, though, their service is substandard and not recommended. Moreover, while they charge about thirteen dollars for the part itself, customers ordering the part from Europe are charged an exorbitant twenty three dollars for shipping alone, plus, of course, the cost of the part, all of which is rather ridiculous. There are also a host of negative reviews on the site, and all-in-all, it’s best to give it the go-by.
And then there’s eBay
The best place to get a Gear VR USB C Adapter really is eBay. Just paste the part number into their search box, and you’ll get a whole slew of sellers offering you the part, and people who have bought it say it fits and works perfectly. This is a nice place to buy the part, because their buyer protection is really good, which ensures that you really get a working and compatible part… or your money back. Here’s the cheapest option on eBay that we could find, but you could certainly look around for yourself as well.
It might be wise to order one extra in advance, even if you already have one, since it really is indispensable to your Gear VR experience.
Once you don an HTC Vive, it becomes perfectly obvious why this is considered the premium VR experience today.
Everything about this headset says ‘quality’
The material and workmanship are excellent, and the headset itself is built to last. And that’s just the beginning.
The headset delivers exceptional visual clarity
The visual quality is quite simply the best on the market. Resolutions are excellent, and while the HTC Vive Pro takes that one step further, the visual clarity of the classic Vive is perfectly satisfactory. You can hardly notice the infamous ‘grid effect’, even when you’re actually looking for it. The quality of the tracking is utterly precise, while the high refresh rate of the screens allows you to turn your head to look around without any tell-tale after image to spoil immersion.
The three adjustable straps provide support and distribute the weight really well. The tie behind the head is well designed, and the front of the headset does not weigh on the nose. How comfortable the headset is depends – to some extent – on the exact shape of one’s face, but most users find it comfortable, and quickly progress to hardly feeling it at all in VR sessions. The design also makes it possible to turn suddenly without the headset’s weight interfering with your immersion in VR.
The headset is very well supported even when you’re looking at the ground, which is a notorious weakness in other models. Even in that situation, as the headset tightens on the face, it feels good, a bit like a ski mask, actually; without giving the impression of having significant weight. Those who use glasses can use them with the headset, thanks to inserts provided in the foam for the frames.
The design of the Vive controllers is excellent. In addition to being pleasant to hold, their motion detection and integration into the virtual world are almost perfect. Your movements, even the more subtle ones, are always recognized. All the buttons are intuitive and easy to reach, and the large track-pad on the joysticks is very useful as well. A small white dot tells you where your finger is, and clearly limits handling errors. The trigger on the back is also easy to reach and use.
One of the best features is the interaction between the controllers themselves. Reloading a shotgun or bending a bow with a realistic movement greatly enhances immersion. All in all, the Vive’s controllers are sophisticated and perfectly satisfactory.
Sensors and Connections
The laser sensors are very well attuned to the device. However, one will sometimes need to re-calibrate the room, which should take no more than a few minutes. The length of the wires is more than adequate to most gaming sessions, though one has to set them so that they don’t get tangled in the feet.
If there’s any cause for complaint with the headset, it would be the wires. Indeed, just about the only negative aspect of the Vive are the cords and connections that link the headset to the PC. One has to be careful not to entangle one’s legs in them while using the headset. However, with TPCAST as an available third-party solution and an official wireless adapter due to come out soon, that issue will most likely be a thing of the past.
The built-in camera
The integrated camera allows one to ‘check up on’ the real world at any time without having to remove the Vive. Simply press the menu button that returns one to SteamVR (without exiting your game), and then activate the front camera of the headset. The built-in camera allows you to look around, to avoid a cat trying to trip you up or to pick up a drink from your desk.
So, as far as the hardware is concerned, this headset is one of the absolutely best on the market, and a premium buy.
But what’s the content available for the Vive like?
Remember Alice in Wonderland, and the strange realms she found on the other side of the rabbit hole? Buying a Vive is an experience that could rival that one in magnitude.
So let’s follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole…
We never heard that Alice complained about her jaunt in ‘virtual reality’, and it’s unlikely that you will either. If the Vive promises immersion, it delivers on that promise. Whatever the game chosen, one finds oneself caught up in the action. VR has the undeniable advantage of keeping you moving, unlike the previous generation of games, which tended to ensure that users chronically slouched on their sofas, or in front of a computer screen.
There’s a vast range of content available for the Vive. Here’s a small selection of the titles available today…
Time Machine VR, an exploration game that takes you into prehistory
Time Machine VR takes place in Norway, in the near future. The player must return to prehistoric times to collect data on all creatures her or she encounters along the way. For good reason, as it turns out, as humanity is about to disappear because of a prehistoric virus, and this data may be able to create an antivirus. Implausible, but in the game universe, supposedly the honest truth. Nevertheless, it makes for an engrossing game.
In addition to the story mode, an Exploration mode allows you to return to previously visited destinations to let you take your time exploring and collecting data. The controls of the game may seem strange at first glance, but help make the experience unique and original. A spectacular exploration game, available on Steam for € 22.99.
TheBlu, a deep-sea exploration experience
TheBlu is one of the most immersive and impressive HTC Vive experiences of the moment. There are three scenarios available, including an encounter with a whale, a journey through coral reefs, and a trip into the deep abyss. Each of these is unique and very engaging. The environments are detailed, and the sea creatures very realistic. A game for virtual underwater explorers, available for € 6.99 on Steam.
The Solus Project – Survival in an alien realm
The Solus Project is a survival game like no other. You find yourself on an alien planet with sublimely artistic scenery and will have to try to find food and shelter before thinking about how you could escape this beautiful but essentially hostile environment.
Enemies are present, but you are encouraged to avoid them, because engaging them will often result in the death of your character. That makes this game a great deal more realistic than most ‘superhero’ shooters. A poetic, realistic game, where the tension is so palpable that it guarantees immersion. The Solus Project is available for € 18.99
Vanishing Realms, a brilliant and engaging RPG
Vanishing Realms was developed exclusively for virtual reality by Indimo Labs. Armed with a sword, you explore a mysterious world filled with fantastic creatures. While quite a few of those creatures can prove to be major nuisances in close proximity, the appeal of the game is undeniable. Available for € 19.99 on Steam.
Fallout 4 VR
Fallout 4 is certainly one of the best FPS / RPGs of all time. Developed by Bethesda, this game offers a vast world to explore freely, thrilling quests, and a dynamic and captivating combat system. In Fallout 4 VR, the player can immerse themselves in a stunningly realistic virtual world of first-person role-play. You can find it at a heavily discounted price on Kinguin.
In Superhot VR, time stops as long as the player does not move. Thus, the player must take the time to examine his or her situation and then down several enemies in a row using firearms or decorative items.
With its innovative gameplay and stylized graphics, Superhot VR is already a very good game on the PC, but takes a whole new dimension in VR. The player must actually bend down and lean over to dodge enemy shots, which is all rather reminiscent of the movie Matrix. An indispensable game for the VR enthusiast. Discounts available on Kinguin.
Island 359 – Dinosaur hunting on the HTC Vive
In this game, you will play a mercenary who finds himself on a hostile island populated by dinosaurs. Arm yourself to survive, and enter a universe where the dinosaurs are so well modelled that you will truly fear for your life. Island 359 is available for € 19.99.
Ah, but you’re one of those who prefer space exploration sagas? The Vive has that covered as well…
Elite Dangerous VR, a VR space exploration game
Despite the fact that it is not specifically created for VR and the HTC Vive, Elite Dangerous tends to make the most of the Vive Headset. It allows for graphic immersion in what is a classic space opera. The graphics are exquisite, with everything from the space stations you dock with to the controls of your spaceship being brilliantly rendered. Elite Dangerous VR is available from €17.99 on Kinguin.
EVE Valkyrie, the ultimate space saga
If you have just about any of the major VR headsets, you can play EVE Valkyrie multiplayer, and this game is truly worth playing. It takes the legendary EVE series to a whole new level. Join galactic pirates or those who combat them, upgrade your ship and explore a vast and engaging cosmos. The graphics are sumptuous, and the immersion legendary. It’s a progressive game, allowing you to level up and improve your character and your starship. Latch on to this one for days of immersive gaming. Available on Kinguin for heavily discounted €24.99.
Now you understand the lure of the Vive, young Padawan…
The vast range of quality content available for this platform, combined with the excellent visual quality, tracking and comfort levels of the headset make this one of the best virtual reality experiences in the world today. And that’s if you don’t spring for the Vive Pro, which is even better.
If you want one the best possible VR experiences on the market without bleeding your wallet dry, this is it. Best bang for the buck out there.
High end virtual reality headsets offer various highly immersive and unique experiences. If you happen to own one, like HTC Vive, you are aware that this amazing piece of technology comes with tons of cables. While some futurists predict that not such a long time from now virtual reality devices may become so advanced and powerful they could be produced in a form of a VR contact lens, first step towards this breakthrough is making our bulky headsets wireless. Well, even today you can get rid of the cords and go wireless, at least on HTC Vive, using TPCAST.
TPCAST is a wireless adapter which you attach atop of your VR headset. You can buy it for HTC Vive, and the developers are working on the version for Oculus Rift, which is currently available for pre-order. Even before acquiring your high-end VR headset, you were probably aware that this is an expensive hobby. After a while, you’ve probably realized that purchasing the headset itself is only an initial investment, and there are several accessories you’d want to buy in order to enhance your VR experience even further.
So what does untethered HTC Vive experience look like? You are probably wondering, is it worth the investment?
VRBorg’s TPCAST review breaks it down for you.
What Comes In a TPCAST Box
20100 mAh battery
Router power supply
You might be thinking, hey there’s still a wire here! Well, technically, yes. However, these cables only connect the HMD receiver to your Vive headset and the battery supply.
Setting TPCAST up is quite a process, but is nothing that anyone with basic tech knowledge wouldn’t be able to do. It’s easier then setting up the Vive, anyway. The instruction manual is made with attention to details, and each step of the installation contains images which thoroughly explain the process. As you can see, there are several components you have to connect, but hey, after you’re done with it, you will never have to worry about cables anymore!
You should install the software prior to setting up the hardware. This part is a piece of cake. You can find all the downloads on the TPCAST support page, including user guides and the installation software. Installation is as simple as it gets, but make sure to read the user guide thoroughly. Once you are through with the installation, it’s supposed to look something like this.
Once you are all set, make sure that the battery is fully charged before immersing into wireless Vive experience. This is because, while you got your headset on, there is no indication of the remaining life battery, except the 4 blinking dots on the hardware itself, each indicating 25% of remaining life. The portable power bank has few other issues of its own, but we will talk about that later on.
The Vive itself requires enormous bandwidth in order to get high framerates. Therefore, it’s been logical to expect that wireless virtual reality is still much further away than this. But the truth is, TPCAST works without notable lag, if any. It isn’t entirely perfect though, and you may encounter skipped frames from time to time, but these glitches may happen with your regular wired Vive setup as well.
The most important aspect that makes TPCAST a viable wireless HTC Vive add-on is its functionality. Video and audio quality remains the same as it would with the regular Vive setup. There may be occasional tracking issues if something gets in the way of the transmitter-receiver trajectory, or if you turn the head away from the transmitter. This issue can be easily dealt with if you simply place the transmitter on a high point in your VR dedicated room. TPCAST promises the maximum latency of 2 milliseconds, meaning even if you try really hard to find the performance downsides, you won’t be able to.
The Vive weighs around 500 grams, so you may fear that an additional component could weigh your head down or put added pressure on your neck. However, with TPCAST the added weight is insignificant. This being said, TPCAST significantly enhances the regular Vive experience.
Usually when you are wearing your Vive, it’s hard to forget that you are wearing it, because it is cable heavy and requires constant attention to avoid the tripping hazard or entanglement. Even if you use an advanced room-scale VR setup that minimizes the chance of tripping over, cables often can get twisted and this is never a good thing. With the TPCAST installed, you may often forget you are using the Vive.
The first thing that comes to mind when discussing battery issues is battery life. TPCAST’s power supply lasts for a little less than 2 hours, which is longer than the most VR sessions. The recharge time lasts for about 3 and a half hours. So what are the problems?
First of all, the HMD receiver is wired to the battery. This means that you have to attach the battery to the piece of clothes you are wearing. This means that you probably won’t have problems if you are wearing jeans, but if you are wearing a dress, this isn’t the case.
Another issue that the power bank will get warm in the normal usage, as the manufacturer states in the user instructions. After extensive use, it can heat up to 120°F, and the developers warn that you should stop using it if it reaches such high temperatures, in order to avoid burns or other hazards.
As you can see from the image above, it seems that you can overcome this nuisance if you have the official Vive Headphones – Deluxe Audio Strap. Unfortunately, this isn’t really the case, since the Deluxe Audio Strap actually has the bulge in the very place where TPCAST seems to fit perfectly. It actually looks like this.
That is what the longer cable is made for. For now, you will just have to strap it to your waist or put it in your pocket. However, we have seen before that many downsides of VR related products quickly get “patched” with additional products, which makes them more user-friendly.
Don’t let the technicalities deter you from purchasing this amazing HTC Vive add-on. The ability to enjoy Vive “unchained” will make you never want to use the original, wired version again.
Wireless VR is the future. TPCAST is the only device that enables you to experience wireless HTC Vive. Oculus Rift version is in the pre-order phase, but judging by the early success of the TPCAST for Vive, it will soon become a new must have accessory.
A problem many users have with the Oculus Rift headset is that it rarely if ever renders pitch black as ‘black’. The Rift renders black as ‘grey’. You might think this isn’t much of a problem, but you’d be surprised at how much having grey skies in space destroys immersion – or having grey ‘dark areas’ in a horror game. The simple fact is that humans are used to seeing black as black – seeing black as grey is positively unnatural, and destroys immersion.
If this is a problem that you’re having at the moment, there’s an easy fix, and no, it does not involve simply replacing your Oculus Rift with an HTC Vive or PlayStation VR.
Use the NVIDIA Control Panel to fix the problem
It goes without saying that this fix is only applicable if you are using an NVIDIA driver. Here’s how to solve the problem in a few easy steps.
First of all, disconnect the HDMI cable at the point where it attaches itself to the Rift headset.
Then, at the same point, connect a display unit such as a monitor using a DVI-HDMI connector.
Once you have done this, bring up the NVIDIA control panel. Do note that you should be ready to exit the NVIDIA control panel immediately after the next step, as there’s a bug that could cause problems if you don’t.
Now select the RESET option within the control panel and reset everything to the default settings.
Then immediately EXIT the control panel.
After closing down the NVIDIA control panel to bypass the bug, re-open it again, and click on the CHANGE RESOLUTION tab. At this point, you will notice something called an OUTPUT DYNAMIC RANGE, which you will need to ensure is set at FULL. There is some sort of a bug – at least, for want of a better description – that resets this setting to LIMITED even if you were to have previously set it to FULL. This happens especially after the installation of a new driver. You may have to repeat this process if you install a new driver.
Now, within the NVIDIA control panel, click on ADJUST DESKTOP COLOR SETTINGS. On the page that now opens, you will need to locate the DIGITAL VIBRANCE slider and ensure that it is set to no more than around between 38% to 45%, as opposed to the default 50%. However, experiment with this setting a bit to see what looks best. Don’t forget to press ‘Apply’.
Now, EXIT the NVIDIA control panel and detach the monitor from the HDMI cable.
Once the cable is unplugged from the monitor, reconnect the Oculus Rift headset to the HDMI cable.
Other display properties can also be tweaked using the method above, so that you can create a highly individualistic display for your headset that suits you perfectly.
An important consideration
If you are using other drivers instead of NVIDIA and are encountering the same problem, it’s possible to adjust the settings using the integrated control panel of your driver, working along the same lines as above. Obviously, I wouldn’t really recommend actually shifting headsets if you already own the Rift.
As you probably know, Gear VR isn’t a dedicated stand-alone VR headset like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Instead, Gear VR is a mobile headset in which a smartphone is inserted into the headset to act as a screen. The resolution of the headset will therefore depend on that of the smartphone inserted. The smartphones compatible with the Gear VR are the Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge + and Note 5, all of which feature an AMOLED Quad HD display.
Gear VR has a new avatar
The new Gear VR sports a blue-black finish that looks a little more like the Oculus Rift, but the concept is the same as the black and white model it replaces. The field of view has been slightly enlarged, from 96 to 101 degrees. That’s still a little less than the complete angle of the human field of vision, but quite sufficient for immersion in a realistic virtual world.
The wheel to adjust focus, which works with or without glasses, is more flexible in this version. The headset is also more comfortable to wear. The touch pad located on the side of the headset is large enough that it is easy to find with your fingers – though it is hardly necessary, with the highly intuitive controller that comes with this version of the headset.
Thanks to gyroscopic sensors and high-speed accelerometers built into the headset, the device tracks the movements of the head, allowing you to ‘look around’ in a virtual world. The low persistence of the images generated make it possible to maintain clarity in virtual reality even while turning rapidly.
Gear VR has a presence sensor that puts the smartphone into sleep mode when a user removes the headset, which saves on battery power. Similarly, it automatically activates the device when a user puts the headset on his or her head.
Bypasses the need to wear glasses
There is also a focus adjustment dial that allows the Gear VR to perfectly focus for users with different visual needs – this negates any need to wear glasses with the headset. There’s also a knob to adjust the volume.
An excellent Controller
Theincludedcontrollerdetectsyourmovementsforanevenmoreimmersive experience. It is comfortable and practical, and perfectly adaptedtotheshapeofyourhand. If the more than 700 apps in the Oculus Store, dozensofthemhavebeencreatedspecificallyforusewiththeGearVRcontroller.
Simply put – Gear VR is the best mobile headset currently available
It feels comfortable, and never gets too hot wearing the headset. The lenses do not fog up. The grip of the controller is perfectly natural. The presence sensor is an undeniable advantage to preserve the battery or suspend an application.
Finally, the micro USB port allows you to connect the headset to a charger during use, for longer gaming sessions.
That’s a nice option, especially if you have a portable charger on you. Without an external charger, and on full charge, you can count on between two to four hours of play before your battery is exhausted.
That depends on what you’re competing with. If you’re competing with the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, the price is very competitive.
If you’re competing against Google Cardboard, the price isn’t competitive at all.
However, Samsung Gear VR walks a crucial middle line between these two extremes, offering excellent quality VR at a very reasonable cost. When you consider that the Rift or Vive require a heavy-duty PC or laptop to work, the cost of the Samsung Gear VR – considering the quality of the apps – becomes eminently reasonable.
What’s the experience like?
Of course, the experience will depend on each application. Visual quality is excellent. The image is clear, and the backgrounds very detailed, while the grid effect that is the trademark of all VR headsets today is much less noticeable on the Gear VR.
The field of vision is excellent, wide enough so that one hardly notices that it’s slightly less than normal human vision after a few minutes of use. The lenses are of very good quality, chromatically perfect, and provide crystal clarity.
The rotary tracking responds perfectly
The announced latency of less than 20ms is not an exaggeration and allows for perfect tracking at 60 frames per second continuously. As you turn your head, the scenery moves around you and tracks perfectly, for complete immersion.
Excellent sound quality
With a good pair of headphones, you’ll find that Galaxy smartphones offer excellent sound quality, and this allows for good sound positioning in virtual reality. While it is possible to play games on the phone’s speaker, we advise you to always play with headphones to enhance immersion.
So… is Samsung Gear VR worth it?
Want excellent quality virtual reality at a VERY reasonable price?
Already own a compatible phone?
Then buy this headset today.
Samsung Gear VR is an excellent product for the mobile, probably the most successful one at the moment. It offers the best selection of mobile virtual reality apps. In the end, this is perhaps our favorite virtual reality platform as of the moment because it is simple to use, to transport, and to share with others.
You’ll be astounded. Here’s a small selection of the more-than-700 games and apps that are available for the Samsung Gear VR.
Developed by CCP games, creators of the famous Eve Valkyrie virtual reality game, Gunjack, formerly known as Project Nemesis, is a very successful space arcade game. Largely inspired by the world of its predecessor, the graphics are also nothing less than exceptional.
Seated at the controls of the automatic turret of your ship, you must eliminate any enemy appearing in your field of vision. Easy to handle, with intuitive controls , Gunjack offers a good, and reasonably long gaming experience through multiple missions and bonus levels .
Available for € 9.99 at the Oculus Store
Minecraft Gear VR
The famous adventure and construction game sees its universe adapted to virtual reality. Minecraft, developed by Markus Persson aka Notch, is now ported to the Samsung Gear VR. Immerse yourself in the cubic world of Minecraft, where your explorations and fights will be the most immersive ever.
Minecraft Gear VR has all the features of its mobile version ‘Minecraft Pocket Edition’, including the famous multiplayer mode. This is certainly one of the best Samsung Gear VR apps.
Available for € 6.99 at the Oculus Store
Suicide Squad: Special Mission
This game builds on the recently released DC movie. You will play as Deadshot, Harley Quinn and El Diablo. You must survive successive waves of enemies that attack you. The gameplay is intuitive, because the controls of the headset are exceptionally well exploited.
Since each character plays differently, the game remains interesting as you go through it. This is probably the most advanced shooting game on the platform, and well worth your time. That it’s for free doesn’t hurt its case any.
Available free at the Oculus Store
Gone is a Samsung Gear VR application that must not be missed. This psychological thriller produced by the creators of The Walking Dead puts you in the shoes of a mother looking for her mysteriously missing child.
A deeply engrossing and interactive application, this 2-hour series, divided into 10-minute episodes, is exclusive to the Samsung Gear VR and would interest any fan of the series, or of virtual reality .
Available for free at the Milk VR store
Within is an application that offers brilliant 360 degree video content. Its high quality content makes it a model in terms of video rendering. You can find video clips of Muse or U2, enjoy beautiful panoramas, or even listen to reports by the New York Times.
This application has set new standards in terms of what one usually expects from 360 degree videos. Best of all, all the available content is free.
Available free at the Oculus Store
To buy… or not to buy?
If you can afford the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive AND the state of the art computer needed to run VR on either of those headsets, then buy one of those. While the cost of both the Rift and the Vive have fallen, the fact that those headsets need a very high end personal computer means that they cost considerably more than the Samsung Gear VR, even if you include the cost of a compatible mobile phone.
Samsung Gear VR is the ultimate meshing of price and quality, and if you like the idea of quality VR at a reasonable price, then this is the headset for you.
The Samsung Gear VR is excellent value for money. As you’ve just seen, there’s a wide range of content (more than 700 titles!) available, and the quality of the experiences they provide is excellent. That’s what the Samsung Gear VR delivers, and it’s an absolute must buy.