Soft, compact and affordable…am I still describing a headset here?
The Google Daydream View was a breath of fresh air for many upon its release in late 2016. Finally, more people with Android phones could dive deep into the depths of virtual reality. Most early adopters of VR assumed that Google would be driving much of the early innovation and technology due to the release of the Google Cardboard. Samsung has dominated much of the mobile VR market with the Gear VR, but the Daydream introduces more people to the world of virtual reality. Is the Daydream View comparable to the Gear VR and does it deliver a rewarding experience?
Google Daydream View Review
Daydream View by Google
This Google Daydream View review and the Daydream itself were a long time coming. There’s no question that the Google Cardboard was the driving force behind the current mobile VR market but the people wanted something more. By the Fall and Winter of 2016, Android users had a new and more comfortable way to explore virtual worlds and enjoy 360° videos. The Google Daydream View has a wireless motion controller, a padded and form-fitting exterior but with these additions, there are still drawbacks.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Dream
The Daydream is very user-friendly and comfortable. Unlike the Samsung Gear VR, you’re not limited to apps and content found within the Oculus platform but there are a handful of exclusives you’d miss out on. The controller is intuitive and responsible and charges via USB. The Daydream’s controller is also a welcome change cranking your head around trying to interact with videos or other VR applications.
While the Google Cardboard is compatible with virtually any Smartphone and all Android devices, the Daydream is for Androids only, and so far, only a few at that. To enjoy the Daydream headset with your phone it will need to be running Android 7.0 Nougat. Only a select few such as the Google Pixel and Pixel XL as well as the Lenovo Moto Z, Moto Z Droid, and Moto Z worked with the Daydream at launch. Since then, the list of compatible phones has grown to include the Axon 7 and Samsung Galaxy 8.
The Daydream is constructed from a lightweight, breathable fabric which makes it unique in the world of VR headsets. It’s also comfortable and the contoured facepad can be removed for cleaning. Like the Gear VR, those with glasses can also use the Daydream. Unlike the Gear VR, AR or augmented reality isn’t really an option with the Daydream View. The solid cover and overall design confines your phone and blocks the rear camera.
Pleasant Daydream or Virtual Nightmare?
If you’ve been using a Google Cardboard to enjoy VR, then sweet Jesus, you better be considering a Daydream View! Check the list of compatible devices to be sure the upgrade is right for you or at the very least look at Android and iOS friendly equivalents.
The Daydream features greater comfort, a decent motion controller, and portability. This was the next evolution in the Google Cardboard and it was inevitable. We can’t wait to learn about the joint venture with HTC VIVE for a new standalone VR headset using WorldSense.
A step in the right direction…