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The Best Gamepads for Gear VR

Want to get the best out of your new mobile virtual reality (VR) hardware? You’ll need a bluetooth gamepad to go along with that…

Acquired a new Samsung Gear VR head-mounted display (HMD) this holiday season? Want to get the best out of your new mobile virtual reality (VR) hardware? You’ll need a bluetooth gamepad to go along with that, but there are a great deal available suggesting compatibility with Android devices. Not all will work perfectly with the Gear VR however, so here VRFocus offers a rundown of some of the best bluetooth gamepads for the newly launched HMD.

In its Oculus Home application, the Gear VR offers a direct and immediate sign as to whether or not each of the available videogames and experiences can be enjoyed without a bluetooth gamepad. However, most of the more complex videogame titles do require that extra piece of hardware, and so VRFocus has been hands-on with the best bluetooth gamepads available today to ensure that our readers aren’t mislead. Read on to find out which bluetooth gamepads will best suit your needs in the wonderful new world of mobile VR.

MOGA Pro Controller

MOGA Pro Controller

The MOGA Pro Controller is a very popular bluetooth gamepad, offering compatibility with Android, iOS, Windows Phone (also Windows Mobile) and Windows PC devices. Featuring dual analog sticks, shoulder buttons and triggers, a D-pad and four face buttons the MOGA Pro Controller is obviously influenced by the Xbox 360 control pad, and is all the better for it. A long battery life and rubberised grips make the MOGA Pro Controller comfortable for long play sessions, while the official MOGA app ensures compatibility with software outside of that on the Oculus Home store. Sadly, this last point is somewhat of a caveat, as while the MOGA Pro Controller is compatible with a wide range of software it rather oddly only appears to work with a limited number of Gear VR videogames.

Average Retail Price: $49.99 (USD)

Availability: Online & High Street Retail

Gear VR Verdict: Not recommended.

Gamesir G3s

Gamesir G3

The Gamesir G3s is perhaps the least well known controller in this feature, being of Chinese origin and having little presence in western markets. However, the Gamesir G3s is a respectable bluetooth gamepad for Gear VR gaming. Supporting Android, iOS, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC videogames by default (and including a USB bluetooth adapter for the latter) it’s a versatile bluetooth gamepad with a comparable battery life to the MOGA Pro Controller. On the downside, the face buttons are not as well presented as that of many bluetooth gamepads and the shoulder buttons lack any satisfying depression. The shoulder triggers, presented concave, are vastly more tactile.

Average Retail Price: $47.99 (USD)

Availability: Online

Gear VR Verdict: Good price and performance, though retail availability may cause an issue.


SteelSeries Stratus XL

SteelSeries Stratus XL

The SteelSeries Stratus XL is the bluetooth gamepad recommended by Oculus VR (replacing Samsung’s own diminutive bluetooth gamepad) and for good reason. The build quality is far above that of it’s competitors, the position of the grips and analog sticks is more comfortable than the Dualshock 4 and the shoulder triggers have a pleasing amount of resistance to depression. The SteelSeries Stratus XL provides official support for Android and Windows PC devices, with an unofficial iOS app also available. The biggest disappointment with the SteelSeries Stratus XL is that it doesn’t use a rechargeable battery, instead opting for 2x AA batteries.

Average Retail Price: $99.99 (USD)

Availability: Online & High Street Retail

Gear VR Verdict: The best bluetooth gamepad available for Gear VR, though the price may be too great a hurdle for some.

  1. The Moga Pro controller actually works across all Gear VR apps I’ve tried… but you MUST switch it to “B” Mode, not the default “A” Mode. This threw me off for a while, too.

  2. I have been using the amazon fire controller for nearly a year with no incompatibilities.

    A small caveat is that I have the 1st Gen controller, though I believe the only difference is a new microphone to support Fire TV and an increase of $10 to the price.

  3. I have had the moga pro power since the launch of gear VR and not one application for gear VR and my note 4 has an issue with it.

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