At Galaxy Unpacked back in February 2023 Samsung announced that it was partnering with Google and Qualcomm to develop a XR headset – and if these leaks are correct we might have got our first look at its efforts so far. Well, kinda.
Very little is know about Samsung’s latest XR efforts, though it’s expected to be a standalone device rather than something powered by smartphones like its old Gear VR headsets. This new leaked prototype (assuming it’s real) gives us an insight into Samsung’s design philosophy, though according to the leaks it’s not an in-development prototype. Instead, this is what Samsung was working on until it saw the Apple Vision Pro and decided to start over.
The leak was first posted by the Chinese publication Vrtuoluo, but the article has been deleted (via Android Authority). The only way to view the original is using the Way Back Machine which has archived the original. The images it posted look a lot like a typical VR headset – such as the Oculus Quest 2 – with it apparently featuring four tracking cameras, dual RGB cameras, and a depth sensor for full-color passthrough. No controllers are included with the images so it appears that much like the Vision Pro the Samsung XR device would use hand and eye-tracking controls by default.
The prototype apparently also uses dual micro OLED displays, and (surprisingly) a Samsung Exynos 2200 rather than a Qualcomm XR chip such as the Snapdragon XR 2 found in many VR headsets like the Pico 4, or a XR 2 Plus like the one in the Meta Quest Pro.
It’s worth remembering this is just a leak however, and not one that we may ever be able to easily verify – as this is a prototype for a headset that we should never see publicly. As such we should take the information and images with a pinch of salt. That said, if this is indeed a canceled Samsung XR headset, we can see why the project is no longer in development.
Not an Apple Vision Pro rival yet
This leaked Samsung prototype isn’t close to being a Vision Pro competitor. The specs are fine, but not in the same league as the Apple headset, and the design is significantly more bulky. After seeing the Vision Pro announcement we can see why Samsung might want to go back to the drawing board.
Not being a Vision Pro rival isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however. Sure, borrowing some of its cues could be smart, but mimic it too heavily and you’ll end up copying its biggest flaw – the sky-high price of $3,499 (around £2,800 / AU$5,300).
If a Samsung headset can offer many of the Vision Pro’s features at a fraction of its cost – with rumors teasing it might cost closer to $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$1,500 – then it could be onto a winner. It’ll likely be a while before we see anything from Samsung though. With it abandoning this nearly complete project for a new one it’s possible we won’t know anything concrete until 2024 or even later – we’ll just have to wait and see what it announces.