A good browser in VR is hard to come by, but Oculus nails it with the Gear VR.
Oculus may not have made the first web browser for the Gear VR, but it certainly has made the best one so far. It gives everyone access to 360-degree videos from services that don't currently have Gear VR apps, lets you browse the web just like you were on your phone, and makes reading in VR a whole not nicer. Here's how to get the most out of it.
Using the Gear VR Browser
Instead of existing as a separate app, the third tab in the bottom of the Oculus Home screen lets you access the browser any time you are on this screen labeled Internet. The biggest benefit to this setup is being able to open multiple browser tabs and have them stay open even when you leave Oculus Home and start another app. This means you could, for example, keep a guide from your favorite VR blog open in a tab and use your other apps and games without needing to take the headset off for a refresher.
The interface for this browser is simple. It floats in the same virtual room as Oculus Home, with a floating curved square just far enough away to fill your field of view but not close enough to make you move your head a lot to see the whole window. The landing page has links to the most popular sites people will probably go to in VR, with a standard navigation bar at the bottom of the window so you can go to whatever address you want.
Tapping in that text field will enable the virtual keyboard, which will float just underneath wherever your cursor clicks to fill in text. The keyboard is slightly more curved than the rest of the window, so you can quickly jump from one letter to another with head tracking. This is obviously much faster if you're using the Gear VR Controller, but you can use either input method and it works just fine.
Watching 360-degree and 3D videos in the Gear VR Browser
One of the biggest reasons this browser exists is to be able to quickly watch videos on YouTube and other 360-degree sites (yes, including the Adult ones) when there are no native VR apps for those experiences. You can browse these sites just like you would any other website, and when you find a video you want to watch you click the play button just like you would if you were watching a regular 2D flat video on your phone.
Once the video has started playing, click on the option to full screen your video. Everything around the window will get darker, and you will notice a new bar of options appear at the bottom of the screen. These choices allow you to change the video from a flat 2D video to a 180, 360, or 3D video. Click on the option you want to enable, and the image will immediately move to fit. The darkered room will fill with the video you are loading, and you'll be able to experience everything as though you were using a VR video app.
The 3D mode on this app allows you to choose between side-by-side 3D or top/bottom 3D as well, so you can watch any kind of 3D video you'd find streaming on the internet. If you click on the wrong thing, you can quickly click another option on the bar and change how the video you are watching looks.
Always there when you need it
Arguably the most important feature of Oculus Internet is its ability to keep your tabs open through just about anything. If you leave Oculus Internet and go play a game, those tabs will still be there when you come back. If you leave the Gear VR entirely, and spend a day using your phone like your normally would, those tabs will still be there later when you go back into the Gear VR. Which is great, especially if you're using the browser to watch something in VR and aren't able to finish it in one sitting.
Closing tabs is super easy, you just click on the tab icon in the bottom right corner of the floating window and click the X next to the tab you want to get rid of. If you close all of the tabs you have opened, Oculus Internet will close and return you to the Oculus Home menu. When you go back to the Internet tab from Home, a new browser window opens just like the first time you used this app.
- The Ultimate Guide to Gear VR
- Best Games for your Gear VR
- Samsung Gear VR vs Google Daydream
- How to watch porn on your Gear VR
- Talk with other Gear VR owners in the forums!