Best overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

Steelseries Stratus

See at Amazon

The folks at SteelSeries have a long history of quality controllers for mobile platforms, and the Stratus XL kicks that up a notch. Instead of focusing on portability and pocketability like the other controllers in this product line, SteelSeries focused on comfort and capability which makes it an incredible choice for the Samsung Gear VR. It has all the quality of a major console controller, with great battery life and a $50 price tag to match.

It pairs instantly to your Samsung phone and works with dozens of Gear VR games right out of the box. Stratus XL is an all around quality gamepad, with a layout that is easy to remember when you eyes are in VR.

Bottom line: If you want the best overall gamepad for your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to be.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with the Gear VR.

Why the SteelSeries Stratus XL is the best

Everything you need in a gamepad you'll be using without your eyes.

While the Samsung Gear VR comes with its own Controller now, there are plenty of VR games you play on this headset which require or are enhanced by a good ol' fashioned gamepad. It's just not as enjoyable to play Minecraft with a motion controller, which is why Samsung continues to support games and gamers who prefer this gameplay mechanic.

Three things matter most when it comes to a VR-friendly gamepad — comfort, battery life, and durability. SteelSeries has checked all three boxes with the Stratus XL. This is an Xbox-esque gamepad that looks and feels familiar with a button layout you will quickly become comfortable with despite not being able to look down at it while in VR. This gamepad will easily survive the occasional drop when you are spooked in VR thanks to its rugged plastic design, and the use of standard thumbsticks means the chances of breaking them on a drop is unlikely. On average this controller will get you through 30 hours of constant use, which means the only way you're charging this controller once a week is if you are really and truly invested in VR Minecraft. If you do run out of power in the middle of a game, the use of a microUSB port means just about everything can charge this controller quickly.

Best for portability

Moga Hero Power

See at Amazon

Having an Xbox-style gamepad is great for familiarity, but the Gear VR is a portable virtual reality platform and it makes sense that you'd want the gamepad to be equally as portable. That means it stows in a bag easily, and doesn't take up a ton of space. Moga's Hero Power gamepad offers this exact experience, with buttons and joysticks nearly flush with the casing and shorter palm grips that flow in line with the rest of the body. This gamepad also doubles as a more traditional phone gamepad with its foldable phone clip, which is pretty sweet when you consider it'll only set you back $27!

Bottom line: If you value portability above all, Moga Hero Power is what you want.

Best value

Beboncool controller

Beboncool controller

See at Amazon

It's portable, it's plasticky, and at $20 it's way cheaper than most other Bluetooth gamepads that play nice with the Gear VR. Beboncool makes a bunch of gamepads for tablets and phones alike, but this smaller controller is perfect for portable Gear VR gameplay. The battery is rated for 12 hours of constant gameplay, but the auto-off feature ensures you'll only be using power when you're actually playing.

Bottom line: If you want a better Gear VR gameplay experience without spending a ton, Beboncool has you covered.

Conclusion

If you're looking for console-class gaming on your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to spend your money. There's always a place for portability, though, and Moga has what you need if you're on the go. If all you really want is an affordable gamepad to save you from constantly tapping the side of the Gear VR while playing your games, Beboncool is a great gamepad at a reasonable price.

Best overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

Steelseries Stratus

See at Amazon

The folks at SteelSeries have a long history of quality controllers for mobile platforms, and the Stratus XL kicks that up a notch. Instead of focusing on portability and pocketability like the other controllers in this product line, SteelSeries focused on comfort and capability which makes it an incredible choice for the Samsung Gear VR. It has all the quality of a major console controller, with great battery life and a $50 price tag to match.

It pairs instantly to your Samsung phone and works with dozens of Gear VR games right out of the box. Stratus XL is an all around quality gamepad, with a layout that is easy to remember when you eyes are in VR.

Bottom line: If you want the best overall gamepad for your Gear VR, SteelSeries is where you want to be.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with the Gear VR.

Updated October 2017: The Steelseries Stratus XL is still the best Bluetooth gamepad for the Samsung Gear VR.