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Samsung XR rumors: Everything we know so far and what we want to see

Here's what we know about the upcoming Samsung XR, the company's attempt to create an Apple Vision Pro competitor.
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Published onMay 16, 2024

The VR market has experienced its share of ups and downs over the last decade, and while it has found its place among businesses and enthusiasts, the mainstream public has been a bit slower to adopt VR. This has started to change in the last few years with devices like the Meta Quest series, and more recently, Apple jumped in with its own Vision Pro headset. Not wanting to be left out of this newfound attention, Samsung will soon have its own take on virtual reality technology in the form of what’s currently being dubbed the “Samsung XR.”

Keyword: At a glance

  • When is it expected to come out? There's no clear timeframe for when the Samsung XR will be released, though Google and Samsung have confirmed there will be an event to show off a new XR platform later this year, which is expected to be joined by a hardware announcement.
  • What new features could there be? It's expected to offer an experience similar to the Vision Pro, though possibly with slightly weaker specs and pricing.
  • How much might it cost? Rumors have been all over the map when it comes to the Samsung XR price tag. At the low end, it could be around the $1,000 mark but there have also been suggestions it might have a price tag closer to the princely Apple Vision Pro ($3,499).

What is the Samsung XR?

The Samsung XR is a rumored upcoming high-end product that will be capable of MR, VR, and AR and is likely designed to take on devices like the Apple Vision Pro. There is little official information on the Samsung XR’s specs, but the company has revealed its plans to partner with Google and Qualcomm for the device’s software and hardware needs.

As for what is the most likely Samsung XR release date? Previous rumors have suggested the headset was delayed after the Apple Vision Pro launch, though we might see the Samsung XR towards the end of this year.

The good news is we hopefully won’t have to wait too much longer to learn more. It was originally believed we would learn more about the Samsung XR at Google I/O, alongside the rumored launch of the Android XR platform that will power it. It has since been clarified that the two companies will reveal more about the platform behind the XR with Google at a separate event soon. Unfortunately, we don’t have an exact time or date to share just yet.

What rumored specs and features could the Samsung XR have?

While there’s a lot we don’t know about the Samsung XR just yet, we can confirm that the headset will run on the new Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 chip. The latest Qualcomm chip supports powerful specs, including 4.3k per-eye resolutions, 90Hz refresh rates, and support for 12 concurrent cameras. Remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean Samsung will match these capabilities, only that the SoC is capable of it.

It’s also confirmed that Google has partnered with Samsung to bring a version of Android to the device, as mentioned briefly above. Neither company has provided any specifics yet, but previous rumors have hinted that it will be called Android XR.

As for what Android XR will offer, while we don’t have any official details, it would be safe to assume it will be similar in scope to Meta Horizon OS.

That’s all we know with any real certainty, but there are a few other Samsung XR rumors out there. In 2023 we saw a few images suggesting what the headset might look like, and that’s not all. According to a report from Daily Korea (via SamMobile), the XR will have micro-OLEDs with a resolution of 3,840 x 3,552 pixels with a 90Hz refresh rate. It will also support a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits.

It’s too early to say how accurate this report is, but we do know the Snapdragon XR2 Plus Gen 2 is definitely able to handle displays of this caliber. Other rumored specs include a ToF sensor, eight tracking cameras, voice command support, eye tracking, and hand tracking.

What might the Samsung XR price be?

Meta Quest 3 Flanked by Two Controllers On Gray Table
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
The Samsung XR is expected to be a more upscale experience than the Quest 3 (pictured).

All rumors paint the Samsung XR as a premium headset, so it’s unsurprising to hear that this headset might set you back a pretty penny. There were early reports that the headset would aim for the $1,000 mark, but this was before the Apple Vision Pro arrived and reportedly led Samsung to retool its plans. Based on a combination of confirmed specs and rumors, the Samsung XR looks to be a step ahead of the Meta Quest Pro, which currently retails for $1,000. Putting these factors together, I think it’s safe to say the Samsung XR will cost at least $1,000 but could certainly have a price tag more in line with the Apple Vision Pro. I don’t think Samsung would be wise to match Apple here, but I’ll get into that a bit later in this roundup.

Should you wait for the Samsung XR?

Apple WWDC 2023 vision pro price
Apple

The Samsung XR is likely many months away, so is it worth the wait? It depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re just intrigued by VR and are hoping this will cost $1,000 or less, you’d be better off considering the Quest 3 ($499.99 at Best Buy) or Quest Pro. In other words, there are much more affordable choices available right now.

For those who simply want the best headset money can buy, you might want to wait, though. While it’s likely that the Samsung XR won’t outgun the Apple Vision Pro in terms of specs, it’s possible it could still be a better alternative for some, and it’s likely you’ll only have to wait a few months to learn enough about the headset to make your decision on whether Apple or Samsung will be the better fit for your needs.

Samsung XR: What we want to see

The Samsung-Google XR device is shrouded in mystery but there’s plenty I want to see from the final product when it eventually emerges.

A design that works with glasses

CES 2020 Mutrics Gaming Glasses

As a glasses wearer, I’ve had more than my share of troubles with getting my glasses to fit nicely into various VR headsets. Some headsets have certainly been better at accommodating my vision issues than others, and I’m hoping Samsung XR considers this. The Vision Pro solves this by offering expensive prescription lenses, but all I really want is an optional spacer that gives me more room to work with.

Hit the price and performance sweet spot

As I said earlier, I think Samsung should attempt to undercut Apple with its XR headset. Right now the VR market is at the height of its popularity thanks to a combination of Meta and Apple. Apple’s commercials make the device look straight out of the future, but an average consumer will see this price and run for the hills. Even many enthusiasts are going to find this price very hard to swallow. Samsung would be wise to aim for a price and experience that slots between the Meta Quest Pro and the much more expensive enthusiast/business-focused Apple Vision Pro.

By undercutting the Apple Vision Pro, Samsung creates a high-end alternative that doesn’t have the same “Apple tax” many accuse Apple’s products of carrying. We also know the Samsung XR has a better processor and likely better specs all around than the Meta Quest Pro, so this makes it unlikely that the headset would cost anything less than $1,000 and it’s very likely the price will be even higher. For my money, I feel like the $1,650-1,999 price tag would be the perfect way to help it stand out from its competitors as the best compromise between price and features.

Guaranteed commitment

Let’s be honest, Google and Samsung have a mixed track record when it comes to both their VR implementations and their long-term support. Devices like the Gear VR and Daydream are just two hardware examples, but Google’s general attitude towards VR has always been that it’s more of a side experiment. With Meta and Apple bringing their A-game, Google and Samsung need to show that they are serious this time. For me, that means some kind of guaranteed commitment policy for Android XR (or whatever the rumored Android-based OS is named) and the headsets that run it. Matching Samsung and Google’s Android software support with a seven-year XR commitment would definitely help put my concerns at ease.

While Samsung might not quite match its flagship phones, I suspect it will at least have some kind of game plan in place to ensure long-term support.

Universal components with other Android XR headsets

Samsung Gear VR was the company's previous attempt at mobile VR.

There are rumors Google will also unveil its own Android XR device at some point or at least other partner devices, though it is very possible they will focus on the initial launch of Samsung’s headset first and foremost, similar to how Samsung’s watches tend to get first dibs for major Wear OS updates.

We can’t say for certain that Google intends to make its own Pixel XR or something similar, but it seems unlikely they would invest in making a whole Android-based VR platform for just Samsung.

It could just be a matter of time before other brands like OnePlus put out their own Android XR devices. Once this happens we could see two things happen: a bunch of headsets could ship with Android XR while having little capability beyond the OS, or Google could opt to take a heavier hand with Android XR and what its OEMs can and can’t do, similar again to its wearable efforts. I’m hoping for the latter.

If Google has a standard controller in mind, this will certainly remove some of the developer headaches involved with supporting multiple controller configurations. Similarly, we’d like to see a certain level of uniformity with Android XR accessories like expandable batteries or better audio accessories. How likely is it that Google would do this? Honestly, I’m possibly being overly optimistic about accessories, but the idea of a standard layout for Android XR controllers makes a lot of sense and is much more likely.

Samsung XR wishlist - what would you most like to see?

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