Samsung had so much to talk about during the reveal of its Gear VR smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) this week that it was inevitable that some of the smaller details of the device would be overlooked at the Unpacked presentation in Berlin, Germany. Audio was one such factor with the company failing to mention just how Gear VR users might hear any given experience being used with the device. However a quick look at the device itself on the show floor at IFA reveals a simple solution for audio.
While a direct headphone jack isn’t included on the device itself, there is a small hole that allows users to plug headphones into the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the smartphone that is used with the device. This means that audio comes from the phone directly as opposed to other aspects of Gear VR such as head-tracking, which is handled through the device. The port should support all standard headphones as with other Samsung smartphones.
Audio is of course essential to the immersion in a VR experience, so it’s encouraging to hear that it isn’t being omitted from Gear VR. The device itself is expected to launch in mid-October as an Innovator Edition, designed for developers and early-adopters at a bring below $200 USD. Release plans for a full consumer version are yet to be revealed. VRFocus will continue to follow Gear VR going forward, reporting back with any further updates on the device’s development.