If you’re already a Gear VR fan and want your next phone to offer the biggest upgrade possible, it’s important to know that the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus are very different phones in VR. They are built to be similar to pretty much everything else, but inside Gear VR there will be two major differences that make choosing the best experience a little more difficult.
Here’s what you need to know.
Screen door effect
No one likes to see this mesh in Gear VR when a completely white background appears somewhere, and in most cases avoiding this effect comes down to pixel density. Higher pixel density means more immersive virtual reality, which is very important.
The smaller Galaxy S8 offers a 5.8-inch 2960×1440 display with 570 ppi, which is great. The larger Galaxy S8 Plus, which offers a 6.2-inch display with the same 2960×1440 resolution, only offers 529ppi. There are noticeably fewer pixels on the screen, which means that the screen door effect will be more noticeable.
While the display will be tighter in the smaller version, it’s worth noting that Oculus is working on UI improvements to make the screen door effect less noticeable overall. It’s not something you’ll find in every aspect of Gear VR for a long time, but it’s something that’s being tackled with hardware and software right now.
Larger screens consume more battery power, which is why the Galaxy S8 Plus offers a 3,500mAh battery while the Galaxy S8 only has a 3,000mAh battery. Under normal daily use of the phone, the actual battery life between the two phones will be about the same. This large display doesn’t really do anything in VR, so your results will be slightly different.
Samsung uses AMOLED displays, which means that when the display shows «black», what you actually see is that the pixels in that part of the screen turn off completely. This means that they do not use power at all, which is important in this context.
The Galaxy S8 Plus is much taller than the Galaxy S8, but not much wider. This means the two phones use very similar display space to project images into the Gear VR while leaving the rest of the display off. The two phones will use roughly the same amount of power when running as a Gear VR display, meaning the larger battery in the Galaxy S8 Plus will give you more virtual reality on a single charge.