Samsung Galaxy S7 pre-orders come with free Gear VR headset

The future's so bright, I gotta wear these free VR shades Samsung included with my phone pre-order. (credit: Kyle Orland)

With all the talk of the impending Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, it's easy to forget that the Samsung Gear VR already provides a consumer-grade virtual reality experience for a relatively low price and without the need for a pricey desktop PC. Samsung seems intent on not letting the tech world forget about its mobile VR solution, though, announcing at Mobile World Congress Sunday that pre-orders for its new flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones will include a free Gear VR headset.

On the one hand, adding a useful $100 accessory to these pre-orders seems like a good, synergistic way to generate interest in both virtual reality and in Samsung's new top-of-the-line phones, possibly pushing both to critical mass more quickly than they could unbundled. On the other hand, the fact that Samsung is willing to essentially give away a significant number of these $100 headsets suggests the Gear VR might not be selling as well as Samsung had hoped.

Business concerns aside, the pack-in deal is great for VR-curious consumers that are ready for a phone upgrade. Sure, the Gear VR might not have the head-tracking or hand-tracking capabilities of its PC-based counterparts. And the Galaxy phones can't really match the sheer pixel-pushing power of the GTX980 graphics cards needed to power tethered PC headsets.

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