Samsung announced a motion controller for the Gear VR during Mobile World Congress, at last addressing the headset’s biggest problem.
The controller resembles a pared-down version of the HTC Vive remote (or a slightly more powerful Google Daydream one). On the front, you get home, back and volume buttons, as well as a clickable trackpad. On the rear, there’s a trigger button. Inside you have an accelerometer, gyrometer, and magnetic sensor.
It’s powered by two AAA batteries, which can supposedly provide 40 days of battery life with two hours of daily use. There’s also a strap on the new headset to hold the controller, which appears to be the only difference from the previous Gear VR. Otherwise, the controller is compatible with older versions of the headset just fine.
It’s about time Samsung introduced an official controller. The Gear VR has some of the best immersive experiences outside of a Rift or Vive, but relying on a small touchpad on the side of the headset is cumbersome, to say the least. You could use a Bluetooth controller, but VR often works better with motion controls anyway. Google got it right by including a controller with its Daydream headset by default.
All that being said, Samsung hasn’t announced a price or release date yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if it’s worth your money. Here’s to hoping it’s included with all future versions of the Gear VR as well.