It does have a lot to do with refresh rate. High refresh rate along with a low persistence display eliminates discomfort for almost everyone. There is still certain types of movement that trigger nausea related to conflicting Visual/Vestibular information but they can be worked around.
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You have your facts wrong.
It's not just a phone holder like cardboard. Samsung allows the Oculus software root access to the phones hardware. When you are in Gear VR mode its bypassing most of the OS and allows for sub 20ms latency when head tracking. The Gear VR also contains its own sensors that track much better than the phone could by itself.
The only way it can be compared to cardboard is that they both use phones as a display. The experiences are not comparable.
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