Samsung's consumer Gear VR opens pre-orders ahead of U.S. release next week

After two Innovator Edition models, this is the one meant for the mainstream

Google Cardboard is the easiest way to get started with phone-based VR, but if you have a recent Samsung phone, the company's Gear VR headset offers a step up in quality - and many exclusive games and apps to check out.

Following last autumn's first Innovator Edition model for the Galaxy Note 4 and this year's successor for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, Samsung is about to unleash the first proper consumer edition of the Gear VR. And it'll be out next week, on 20 November - at least in the States - for US$100 (about RM440).

American retailer Best Buy seems to be the only one shipping for delivery on 20 November as of now: Amazon US also has pre-orders, albeit with no listed release date, while Samsung's own website says it'll deliver in about 2-3 weeks. There's no word yet on an international release date for the headset, but Samsung originally said that it would ship worldwide in November.

The biggest upgrade with the consumer model is compatibility: it'll work with the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, but also the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+. One headset for 2015 Samsung phones large and... slightly less large. It's also 22% lighter than the last Innovator Edition model, has newer cushioning for better comfort, and promises a more precise touchpad.

Software partner Oculus has just delivered some new reasons to grab it, as well. Oculus Arcade, which lets you play 20+ classic arcade games in VR, is now available for Gear VR, while Twitch and Vimeo are now looped into Oculus Video. And just today, Monument Valley maker Ustwo Games released the stunning-looking 3D puzzler Land's End, which you can glimpse above.

[Sources: The Verge, Oculus Blog]