Anything Daydream can do, Samsung can do clickier. Its mobile Gear VR headset now has a touchpad controller.
The controller looks a bit like a mini Vive accessory and is designed to be used in one hand - like Daydream's - with a wrist strap to keep it secure. But it looks like it does a lot more than Google's accessory. The Samsung controller tracks your hand motion and has a circular, clickable touchpad, which lets you point, drag and drop objects, tilt (which should help to minimise motion sickness) and of course shoot in Gear VR games and experiences.
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There's also a trigger (self explanatory) plus home, volume and back buttons on there so you're not tapping the side of the headset so much. It weighs 64.3g, packs an accelerometer and gyroscope and takes two AAA batteries. Samsung essentially wants users to faff less and move/tilt their head less.
We managed to get our hands on the controller but weren't able to see it in action. What we can say is that the matte black controller is a little bigger than the Daydream controller and the touchpad reminds us of the one on the Steam controllers. It's light too, so we'd imagine it's not going to be too cumbersome to use when you've got your headset strapped on.
Of course you can already hook up a Bluetooth gamepad or Xbox controller, but interestingly this isn't the two hand gesture control set-up we saw demoed from Samsung startup Rink last year but this may still be coming.
Billed as the new Gear VR with Controller, the bundle of headset + controller is the 2016 edition Gear VR so there's 42mm lenses, 101 degree field of view, 345g, both Micro USB and USB C compatibility. As with the 2016 edition it works with these Samsung phones: Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Galaxy S6, S6 edge, S6 edge+ and the Note 5.
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The only addition we can spot is a strap on the headset to hold the controller when not in use. Samsung does also refer to advanced distortion correction which may be another minor upgrade.
We don't have price or release details yet but Samsung has told us to expect more details in the coming weeks. The company is set to unveil its new flagship smartphone on 29 March in events in London and New York, so perhaps we will hear more then. We assume the controller will also be sold separately but we will find out more on that soon.