From Virtual Reality’s ‘gateway drug' to dizzy highs and tummy aches: we spent three hours with Samsung’s Gear (powered by a Samsung S6) road testing four popular pastimes.

Total immersion is the calling card of a good Virtual Reality experience – you should be able to shut out the outside world and lose yourself to a digital dimension. In this respect, Gear holds up: it’s light on the head with a clear screen that takes up around 150-degrees of your vision. There’s a 4-button keypad on the right of the headset, which makes navigating a little tricky at first, but simple to pick up after a few seconds.

YouTube 360

After the debut of live 360 video, an audio-visual experience described by The Verge as a “gateway drug to virtual reality,” YouTube has adapted its 360 model specifically for VR. Whether you’re accessing the marvels of modern engineering like CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, or exploring the surreal landscape of Utah’s Goblin Valley, YouTube’s innovation is sure to thrill first timers.

Best Part: Micro-holidays during lunch! Plunge from a helicopter into tropical waters to snorkel in the Hamilton Islands. Bonus points if you can hold your breath in real time while diving.

Worst Part: Horror films are menacing enough when they’re confined to your laptop – immersing yourself right in the terror is too much for the faint hearted.

Courtside…ish

NextVR marks the next chapter of entertainment for sports fans, giving you an immersive front row experience without the cost. Boasting a 180-degree point of view, you can look around a court or field by moving your head while enjoying multiple vantage points that can be swapped on demand.

Best Part: The variety of content! Also, the vantage points are good, the view’s even better, and there’s no need to pay for stadium food or sit on uncomfortable plastic chairs.

Worst Part: Where’s the vibe? There’s no friends to cheer with, no popcorn to throw at your mate, and no rival team members to yell at.

Let’s play!

Holidays are lovely, but let’s be real: we all came here for the games! With PlayStation’s VR project hot on our heels and Oculus at the ready to pioneer immersive games, this is the future of entertainment.

Temple Run VR

The insanely popular mobile game was one of the first to be adapted for VR, controlled by the keypad on the helmet. We felt real adrenaline sprinting across an Arctic landscape, chased by demon monkeys with dead ends at every turn. Fun!

Best Part: Being able to turn around and see your enemies, or looking down a chasm you’ve just leapt over. The intensity of tripping over an icicle, only to see an ominous shadow looming over your shoulder certainly motivates you to nail that jump. Neat!

Worst Part: Nausea. Unfortunately, seeing yourself run while sitting still in your chair throws your balance  off. Temple Run’s only real downside is that your head starts spinning 10 minutes in, and you might just need to walk it off IRL.

Anshar Wars

From the 360-degree lobby to the asteroid belts and rendered ships, Anshar Wars looks great. It also controls well – you fly where you look. Surprisingly, this doesn’t induce any nausea, but you will need a good swivel chair or a controller to properly complete the missions.

Best Part: Level and mission variety. You’ll be flying around asteroid belts and snowy planets, busting out allies from jail or escorting cruisers from one warp gate to the other.

Worst Part: Spinning around to nail an enemy fighter only to smash your knee on a table you forgot was there. You’ll definitely need to make some space for this one – don’t play on the bus!

Final thoughts

Overall our debut VR experience was a fun, albeit primitive one – we got to play around with some really interesting concepts and saw some things we never expected. But make no mistake; it’s early days for this technology.

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