Best Bluetooth Controller for Gear VR
Although now discontinued, Gear VR devices are still used all over the world. The simplicity and convenience of using a Samsung Galaxy as your virtual environment background is just too good to pass up. However, unless you’re also using the best Bluetooth controller for Gear VR, chances are your experience won’t be quite as immersive.
There are many options out there, some controllers being versatile and others being more niche. Choosing between them shouldn’t be too difficult, once you understand what each of the top controllers has to offer and how they can impact your VR experience.
1. SteelSeries Stratus Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller
The SteelSeries Stratus controller has been designed primarily for Android devices. It offers amazing uptime and very smooth control responsiveness, which is very important in VR environments.
You can get up to 40 hours of gaming from two good AA batteries. The SteelSeries Stratus comes with two batteries included so you’ll be ready to game right out of the box. Among the standard controls, which feature the X, Y, B, and A buttons, two joysticks, and a directional pad, you also get home and back buttons.
This should make navigation a lot easier, whether you’re on Android or PC. The controller has been fitted with LED connectivity indicators. It also allows extensive customization through the SteelSeries Engine 3 app. You can use it to change the acceleration and responsiveness of the buttons, among other things.
The shoulder buttons are easy to press and very quiet compared to other controllers. Also, given the reliable Bluetooth connection, they should for the most part be lag-free. Another major selling point is the 10.2 oz. weight of the controller, which makes for an effort-free gaming experience.
The only small downside is that the controller doesn’t come with a Bluetooth adapter included. Therefore, the overall price to fully use the SteelSeries Stratus will be slightly higher than advertised. That said, the overall performance and feel can be hard to match, let alone beat.
- Android and VR ready
- Smooth navigation
- LED indicators
- Home and back buttons
Bluetooth adapter not included
Samsung ET-YO324BBEGUS Gear VR Controller
It makes sense that a strong contender for the best Bluetooth controller for Gear VR comes directly from Samsung. This is an affordable and very basic motion control, compatible even with older Gear VR models and Samsung Galaxy smartphones.
The controller offers a very a very realistic interaction with VR environments on your Gear VR headset. Due to its ergonomic design and reliable connection, it can quickly detect and reproduce fluid hand motions.
This controller works just as well with older phones such as the Galaxy S5 Edge+ or the Galaxy Note5, as well as Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones. The .08 lbs. lightweight device will make VR gaming comfortable and your motions fluid. At least in most games.
Another cool feature is the presence of volume control buttons. Not many controllers have this feature, and some manufacturers even make you go through hoops and access menus in order to adjust the volume. Not a game-breaking feature but a very convenient one, nonetheless.
You can use this Samsung Gear VR controller to play adventure games, socialize in VR environments, as well as play first person shooters, thanks to the trigger button positioned at the back. The touchpad is also smooth to the touch, allowing fluid navigation with only the gentlest of touches.
The sensors inside the ET-YO324BBEGUS hand-held controller are high-end. They allow for low-latency interaction as well as 360 viewing, for a complete VR experience. Note however that there may be some inconsistencies regarding the responsiveness, especially in more hardware-demanding VR titles.
- 360° viewing
- Back trigger and touchpad
- Volume control
Sensors may be too sensitive in some apps
Logitech G X-56 H.O.T.A.S
This is one of the best throttle and stick controllers for Gear VR gaming. If you’re into simulations, want the utmost precision, and some cool RGB backlighting, this could be the device for you.
Although more expensive than most Gear VR controllers, the G X-56 H.O.T.A.S controller features exceptional precision in-flight simulators.
The controller has multiple control surfaces on the small analog stick. You can use them to control pitch, roll, directions, as well as any gimbal weapons that your simulator plane may feature. If you’re familiar with planes, then the shape and feel of the buttons should make you feel even more comfortable and in control.
The H.O.T.A.S feature includes an elevator axis, adjustable stick force, as well as a 16-bit aileron. Throttle locking is allowed via the twin throttles and friction adjuster feature. While the X-56 isn’t a controller you’ll have much use for outside of flight simulators, it is perhaps the most complete for Gear VR and most of its competitors too.
Of course, the controller doesn’t just feel great but it looks really cool too. Here you’re not bound to VR simulators. Therefore, you can take advantage of the intuitive RGB lighting for a more immersive experience without your VR headset on. The controller also comes with software that controls the lighting so that you can match everything to your system.
- Military-grade precision
- Multi control surfaces
- Realistic button feel
- Very responsive
- Only useful for flight simulators
HTC Vive Controller
The HTC Vive controller is easy to use, quite responsive, and has good compatibility with Gear VR headsets. It’s loaded with sensors and offers a stable connection too, in order to minimize latency and improve VR user interactions.
If you like simple controllers with an ergonomic design, then this one may be right up your street. It’s a lot more responsive than many of its competitors, partly because it makes use of 24 sensors to handle tracking, input, and other variables.
The trackpad is multifunctional, which is always a good sign if you want to experience a variety of VR apps on your Gear VR and Samsung Galaxy setup. The rechargeable battery is a must-have, especially since this one doesn’t have the longest uptime to begin with.
The dual-stage trigger is well-optimized to handle anything from adventure games to shooters, to social interactions in a VR environment. You may also appreciate the haptic feedback technology. This will give the illusion of touch, thus helping create a more immersive VR experience for you.
It’s worth noting that unlike most stick controllers, the HTC Vive Controller will require extra grip strength. That is, if you want to experience more fluid gameplay and interactions. The surface of the device is very smooth and the absence of gritty sections makes it a bit slippery, especially if you want to play highly physical games such as Beat Saber.
- 24 Sensors
- Dual-stage trigger
- Reliable connectivity
- Rechargeable battery
A bit slippery
Initially designed as a PS3 controller, the GameSir G3s has since become an ideal companion to gaming on Android tablets, smartphones, including VR devices. This is a full-sized controller, with all the buttons PS users have grown to know and love, as well as some additional features.
This is one of the most sensitive and responsive controllers on the market, thanks to its 32-bit MCU chip. It also offers good autonomy with up to 18 hours of battery life. The double shock vibration feature can make certain games feel more immersive.
Although the device won’t work on PS4 consoles, it’s highly compatible with Android gaming platforms, such as the Gear VR. It offers a stable 2.4GHz Wi-Fi connection, a wired connection, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 connection.
Everything is calibrated to offer an ultra-low latency VR experience, regardless of the platform you’re using. You may also appreciate that the controller comes with Android native mode games support. You can recalibrate the device by a simple press of two buttons, A and Home.
What is a bit disappointing is the wired connection. The cable is just under 3.3ft. long. This isn’t a lot judging by the VR gaming industry standards. While it should be enough for Gear VR purposes, it may still slightly limit the range of motion.
One of its coolest features has to be the Turbo Function. This allows rapid fire shooting in FPS games, which you can use whether you’re playing a game in VR or not.
- Unique game mod functions
- X-Pad and D-Pad support
- Bluetooth, wireless, and wired
- Dual vibration
Inconsistent performance in some games
Choosing the best Bluetooth controller for Gear VR is as easy as finding a stable and versatile one within your budget. The SteelSeries Stratus is one of the most versatile controllers when it comes to VR and non-VR mobile gaming. What’s more, it’s quite accessible from a pricing standpoint too.
There are of course even cheaper options. If limited in functionality, Samsung’s own Gear VR controller is a comfortable stick which allows fluid hand movements. But, you can go over the top too, and order something like the Logitech G X-56, if you want to master the art of flight with military-grade precision. It comes down to choosing the best option for you.