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Samsung Gear VR (2015) Retail Mod for Note 4
Photo Dec 18, 11 30 51 AM

VR is here, and it’s here to stay. It remind me of the “Wild West” days that 3D software packages had decades ago. Companies like Softimage, Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Lightwave were all “Shooting Out” for a stake in the claim, and it was very exciting to see the technology advance. Roll forward and this is happening again with every large company investing in the VR Headset market. What happens when the technology moves this fast is some get left in the dust. I have been developing and creating content with a Samsung Note 4 with the Samsung Gear VR (Innovator Edition) for quite some time. I was excited to hear of  the new Gear VR (2015) Retail Version, but was disappointed to learn that it wouldn’t support the Note 4.

Photo Dec 18, 11 31 28 AM

I picked up the $99 release version and wanted to take a closer look and see if a mod could make this work with the Note 4. The (2015) Retail Version has spring loaded pins that support four different phones (Samsung Edge6, Edge 6+, Note 5).

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After taking some initial measurements, it looked like the Note 4 was about 2mm to big vertically, and it would fit on the horizontal.

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I already knew the headset would fire up from earlier tests when I plugged the phone in to the headset and even though it was on a angle and wouldn’t fit in, I did see the phone start up with the Gear VR App.
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I thought I could easily use a Dremel to remove enough plastic to make it fit as I’d only have to remove approx 1mm from the top, and 1mm from the bottom. The tricky part would be to Dremel and not cause any damage to the spring loaded pins. Tape was used to prevent plastic shavings from getting inside the unit.
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I used an exacto knife to hold the pins down as I dremeled away at the plastic. Slowly I dremeled away at the plastic and did each of the four corners. I also dremeled away in the middle.
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After cleaning up the edges with an exacto knife, it was the moment of truth and see if this works. I put the Note 4 into the newly modded Gear VR, and it worked. The first thing I noticed was it was brighter than my Original Innovator edition. The camera correction isn’t perfect, the video seems a little large, and there are some ripples in the stitching, but overall this thing ROCKS!!!

Photo Dec 18, 8 40 39 PMa


    • SD
    • Posted January 3, 2016 at 8:44 am
    • Permalink

    Nice work, thank you for posting your experience with this modification and testing.

    I was very curious about doing this myself.
    Would it be possible to clarify a few things?

    1. Do you have experience with the previous Gear VR designed for the Note 4? (My inquiry is intended to be respectful and polite. To determine the degree of certainty that you can reliably compare the phone between the two headsets.)

    2. Does this 2015 Gear VR seem to actually be a funtional replacement for the 2014 model with the proper modifications to allow it to fit?

    *I made a very effective custom cover/cooling system for the Gear VR Note 4 innovator edition if you are interested in any info please feel free to email me.

    Sorry if this is not the proper method or place to ask these questions. I thought the Q&A might be helpful to other visitors.

      • PatStarace
      • Posted January 13, 2016 at 4:32 pm
      • Permalink

      SD, Thank you. Yes, I have experience with most current HMD’s, including Rifts, GearVR, Cardboard, etc. I have the Original GearVR Innovator Edition that worked with the Note4. I wanted to know if it would work with the New Retail $99 Version of the GearVR, so I set out to do this mod. It can be a functional replacement, though it’s not perfect it does let you experience Virtual Reality. There seems to be ripples at the stitching seams, and the image also appears a little bigger than in the Innovator Edition, but with that said it does let you get into the game. My feeling are a $99 mod, beats being let in the cold. I hope this helps, and feel free to ask any further questions. ~Pat

    • Doug
    • Posted January 5, 2016 at 10:37 pm
    • Permalink

    Wow. That’s awesome. I also have a Note 4 and I’m not quite ready to upgrade to 5. Would you be willing to make a youtube video showing how to do this mod? I don’t want to buy a Gear VR and end up messing it up.

      • PatStarace
      • Posted January 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm
      • Permalink

      Doug, Thank you. I don’t really have the time to do a youtube video, but if I do, I’ll be sure to let you know. Regards, ~Pat

    • jugal
    • Posted February 7, 2016 at 11:03 am
    • Permalink

    hi mr pat ! good to know there is someone sharing the same curiosity as me … now its great that u tried and succeeded in your quest for turning consumer edition vr turn in favour for note 4 ..
    but for beginners like me it would be difficult to assess and understand i would be highly oblige if u could make a youtube video and put it so that we understand all the steps involved in making this possible
    thanks , it would be really exciting to see how to get it done

  1. Awesome post.

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