18 Mar 15
Which Gear VR Controller Should You Buy?
Many of us didn’t receive or buy a Gear VR controller when we’ve got our mobile virtual reality headset. With the official Samsung controller being priced pretty high and a vast number of bluetooth controllers available; here is a list of some tested Gear VR controllers. First know that if not all, most bluetooth controllers will connect with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 BUT they will have to be mapped correctly to work with Gear VR apps. Games and applications are programmed to use certain control schemes and only work with certain controllers. As of now the only “official” Gear VR controller is the Samsung Smartphone Gamepad. That said, just about any bluetooth gaming controller may work with the Gear, but the controls might be mismatched to what the game was programmed for. The list below is a list of controllers tested with a Galaxy Note 4 and Gear VR Innovator Edition.
1) Moga Pro
The Moga Pro is older and sometimes hard to find but works just as fine as the newer Moga controllers. There doesn’t seem to be any issue with connecting the controller with the Galaxy Note 4 nor does there seem to be any Gear VR apps that don’t work properly. It may not be the best controller in terms of quality and durability but if you want a controller for demo and testing purposes the Moga Pro is a good choice.
2) Moga Pro Power
The Moga Pro Power, which is a more updated edition of the Moga Pro Power, works flawlessly with the Gear VR when set into mode “B”. To connect the phone to the controller you will need to download an additional app. Its been confirmed to fit within the Gear VR’s carrying case and has a phone attached port for non VR gaming. It’s priced at $79.99 online but can usually be found around $50 at Gamestop.
3) Moga Hero Power
The Moga Hero Power is confirmed to work with the Gear VR. Being sized smaller than the Pro Power it can also fit within the Gear VR’s carrying case, even within the small pocket inside the case. Like the Pro Power it also has a phone-attached port for non-VR gaming. It’s priced lowered than its family at $35.99 online.
4) PS4 Dualshock 4
PS4 Dualshock 4 controllers are a hit or miss. Depending on if you have a launch controller or brought a controller after the PS4’s launch it may or may not work. It’s rumored that launch controllers will not work with a Note 4 while controllers brought after the PS4 launch seem to work with some but not all games. It’s priced at $60 and I wouldn’t advise choosing this as your VR controller but if you have a PS4 its worth the time to test it out.
To pair your PS4 controller hold down the PS Home + Share buttons until the light on the controller starts flashing, then go to your phone’s Bluetooth and connect.
Update: Users noted that PS4 controllers only worked with Gear VR until Android Lollipop. Samsung has blocked Sony’s ds4 controller since Android marshmallow.
5) PS3 Dualshock 3
PS3 Dualshock 3 controllers will work with the Galaxy Note 4 but will require you to root your device. Rooting your device will allow you to install unapproved apps and make tweaks and adjustments to your operating system, clock speed and more. Rooting comes at the risk of voiding your warranty and even possibly bricking your device, luckily there are plenty of guides that will show you the correct way to root your device.
6) Samsung Smartphone Gamepad
The Samsung Smartphone Gamepad is the official controller for the Galaxy VR. The controller works flawlessly and connects to the Note 4 without any issues. For Non VR gaming or navigation the Samsung Smartphone Gamepad has a phone mount like other mobile controllers. The size of the controller makes it small enough to fit within the Gear VR’s carrying case but may be too small for big hands. The only major problem is the price. At $80 its one of the most expensive controllers available but if price isn’t a concern it pairs up nicely with the Samsung Note 4 and Gear VR.
7) Amazon Fire TV Controller
The Amazon Fire TV Controller works with the Gear VR and it’s currently the controller we use here at RiftyBusiness. At $40 it isn’t the cheapest controller but works great with all apps and is a great bluetooth controller overall. Unfortunately it lacks a phone mount and getting it to fit within the Gear VR case is a bit of a challenge. If you have an Amazon Fire TV or another device that can utilize the controller I would recommend the Fire TV Controller over the others.
8) Ouya Controller
Remember the Ouya? Yeah, me neither but it you happened to back the Kickstarter project or ended up buying one during launch, the Ouya Controller works with a few minor problems. Some of the keys aren’t mapped properly and there are some issues with the d-pad but at $35 and with better thumbsticks than the official Samsung controller, it’s an option.
9) iPega Wireless Controller
The small $20 iPega Wireless Controller works well with the Gear VR. The iPega has four different pairing modes and works best under “X” mode. The controller is small and won’t feel too good in big hands but is very portable. It can easily fit within the Gear VR’s carrying case and even has a phone mount that supports 5.5 screen phones (which may be too small for the Note 4).