Sit on your couch in a beautiful open air design, and explore a world you never imagined. That's the idea behind Oculus Home, your base of operations while using Gear VR. It's from here you can access your library, and new as of yet unexplored apps or experiences. Knowing where everything is helps quite a bit though.
Inside Oculus Home
Oculus Home is set up to make sure you can find everything you're looking for at a glance, and there is quite a bit here to sift through. Directly in front of you is a grid of six apps that are currently featured. Below those are eight different categories to help you easily find the content you are looking for. To your left are new featured games, while to your right you'll see upcoming featured events.
This screen has gone through a bit of an update recently, and there is a lot more going on at a glance. While it might seem more complicated, it's actually to make finding what you want faster, and easier than ever.
The second tab down at the bottom of the screen is for your library. This is where all of the games and apps you have downloaded and purchased live. Directly in front of you, you will find a few of your games. Above them, are three tabs letting you organize your library by comfort, alphabetically, or by how recently they were downloaded.
To your left is a floating box with 3 categories; My Apps, Updates, and Not Installed. This is where you can see apps you've purchases, whether any apps you have installed require updated, and a list of apps you own but have not installed on your Gear VR.
Oculus has given their internet browser some work as well. When you open it, you'll find it's suddenly much easier to surf the web from your Gear VR than it was just a few short months ago. The screen you'll be websurfing with floats in the middle of your display.
Just under the Oculus symbol you'll find icons for a number of popular websites. All of the controls for websurfing are along the bottom of the popout window. The navigation bar sits in the middle, and can be used by typing or by using Sasmung Voice. To the right of the navigation bar is the number of tabs you currently have open, as well as an X to close windows. To the left of the navigation bar is the refresh button, as well as forward and back buttons.
This setup is a little bit weird to get used to the first time you use it, but once you've figured out where everything is hiding you'll be good to go. Including the icons to sites like Amazon, Facebook, and the Chrome browser also mean that at times you'll be able to get where you're going in just a moment or two.
You can access the Oculus store by using the icon for store located along the navigation bar towards the bottom of your screen. This is where you'll find all the of the apps and experiences that are currently available for Gear VR. When the store opens up, you'll see a grid with 6 games that are for sale. They'll list the price along the bottom of the game icon, unless you already own it in which case it will read 'installed'.
Above the grid there is a navigation bar which can help you find certain types of titles. You can look at featured titles, see titles listed alphabetically, see the most popular apps and games, see titles by their release date, or view recommended titles.
Below the grid there is another navigation bar for the store. It's a bit smaller than the main navigation bar and will let you switch between the pages of games and apps you are browsing. Different categories will have different amounts of games, so you'll need to move from page to page while seeing what is available for download.
This is the easiest way to find the type of game you are looking for without endlessly scrolling through titles.
To your left is a screen to help you filter out games and apps in the store. You can look for controller ready games, see featured games, movies, top selling games, and more. In many cases this is the easiest way to find the type of game you are looking for without endlessly scrolling through titles in the store with no rhyme or reason.
When you select an app or experience, you'll get more information about it before you go ahead and download it. This includes the price, the rating, the comfort level and a small description of the game that you are about to install. The information provided is there to help you make an informed decision about every app that you pick up for Gear VR so that you always find what you're looking for.
Enjoying VR by yourself can be plenty fun, but it it definitely doesn't need to be a solo experience. Oculus Events is a tab on the navigation menu at the bottom of the screen, and it's filled with exactly what it sounds like. Social events that you can get involved with along with other Oculus players.
Directly in front of you is a three screen grid. It will show you the upcoming events, along with a filtering menu above the screens, and page navigation below it. Events tend to vary quite a bit, but you can expect to see social games like Dragonforce pop up on this list.
Above the screens is a small navigational menu that will let you switch between all upcoming events, and 'My Events'—events you have indicated you want to attend. To add an event to the My Events tab, just select it from the upcoming events and indicate your interest.
When it comes to finding a specific item or title, Oculus Home has been somewhat difficult to navigate. The updated search function makes it really easy to search for a specific title, or for a more broad subject.
After you have entered the search parameters, you'll get a floating window filled with your search results. Above the search results is your search bar, and it will show you what you just searched for. Just under your search results is the navigation bar which will let you move between the pages of results so that you can find everything.
Oculus Voice is how you can control your Gear VR by using your voice—making your touchpad almost unnecessary in most cases. To start it up, all you need to do is navigate to the voice the first time, and enable the service. After that you can launch Voice at anytime from Oculus Home, and it works quite well too.
It picks up on your voice without needing to train it at all, and all you need to do is say "Okay Oculus" and it will launch a screen. This screen initially helps you to see how you can use voice. Since you can launch Voice features by speaking, navigating using the menu is more or less unnecessary.
There is a ton of great content hidden within the many sections of the Oculus Store. Samsung Picks is where you can see the apps, games, and experiences that Samsung has suggested for you. It's a curated list that is updated. It's made up of a six screen grid filled with the apps that Samsung thinks that you just give a shot.
Do you have more questions about Oculus Home? How do you feel about the facelift? Be sure to ask away in the comments section below; we want to hear all about your experiences when using it!
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