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Virtual Reality

Hands-on with Samsung’s Gear VR controller

The virtual reality experience on mobile is getting better, but the steps it has taken towards improvement have been small. For me, it feels like a long time ago that I tried the Gear VR before putting it away and never picking it up again. The main reason then was the lack of content, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how the amount and quality of content has gone up. Of course, the VR experience isn’t top notch yet, primarily because the display resolution on smartphones isn’t high enough yet.

While Samsung isn’t yet offering a solution to that problem, the company is, however, wanting to make controlling the Gear VR an easier affair. To this end, Samsung (and Oculus) introduced the Gear VR controller at MWC 2017. We weren’t able to play around with it at the time but were able to check it out alongside the Galaxy S8. The Gear VR controller is very light, and its design is very unassuming as you will see in the pictures below. It has a couple of buttons and a trackpad; the latter can be used to walk around in games or scroll between menus inside the Gear VR interface.

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There are standard navigation buttons (home and back) below the trackpad, as well as buttons for volume control. At the back, you get a trigger similar to the one found on the Xbox and PlayStation controllers, one that you can use inside games (more than 70 games already support the controller) or in the menus as an enter button. The buttons have a nice feel to them, although the controller itself is too light. Light controllers aren’t great in my opinion, but overall, this thing exudes quality and is very convenient to use.

For those who use their Gear VR frequently (especially for gaming), the Gear VR controller is an easy-to-recommend product based on our hands-on experience. Naturally, we’ll have a better understanding of how the controller works in the long run once we review it, but for €39.99, we’d say it would be a wise investment for anyone regularly visiting virtual reality with their Gear VRs.

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