Google’s Daydream View VR headset review


(upbeat music) – Daydream is here,
Google’s virtual reality platform for the Android
Ecosystem is at last here in the form of the $79
Daydream View headset. And it’s a much more fine
product then we have been used to seeing in the
very young VR industry. Daydream is an effort
to take a step back and uncomplicate virtual reality. First things, first
Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are the only smartphones that
work with this headset now. But as more and more devices
become Daydream ready you’ll be able to use
this headset with them because of the Daydream standards
that Google is mandating across the board. If you spend a few minutes foolin’ around with Google Cardboard
you know its limitations. Mainly, that experiences
lasting more a few minutes tend to make you feel a bit queasy. Most of this is because of
the head tracking latency, you move your head and
the phone display follows but just a bit too slowly. Google has fixed this thanks
to some software wizardry in Android Nougat and the
low persistence OLED displays on the new Pixel phones. In practice it’s actually really
noticeable how much better it is, definitely on par with
the Gear VR and the rest of the VR headsets out now. The View itself is very
approachable, the fabric is really soft and it’s
honestly a great balance between comfort and portability
that no other headset on the market has right now. You just pop your phone is the headset, the phone auto-aligns and it
launches the Daydream App. And you’re good to go. In terms of content it’s
still all about the games there really aren’t a
ton of other use cases that have proven themselves so far. Appropriately, the new Daydream
controller is a lot like a tiny Nintendo Wii mote,
it’s not positionaly tracked so it’s still a bit quirky
in terms of what you can do. But it’s far more full-featured
than anything we’ve seen on mobile from the big players. You can use it as a laser
pointer to make selections instead of having to
bobble your head around. You can swing it like a tennis
racket to register movements during games. It’s basically a Wii mote,
so expect to see a lot of the same use cases and concepts
getting dug up by game makers. A lot of the big expensive
virtual reality headsets you’ve been hearing about like
the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR aren’t
what you should be comparing this system to. All of those are significantly
more high powered and offer richer overall experiences. Samsung’s $99 Gear VR is
a much more comparable piece of hardware. Google and Samsung really
took different approaches to these products. The plastic Gear VR
definitely feels more like a serious semi-clunky gadget. The View feels a bit more
friendly and less geeky. While you’re stuck needing
the Galaxy or old Note for the Gear VR Google
is going to benefit from its much wider reach as
more and more phones become Daydream compatible. Oculus has an early lead
in terms of courting developers and exclusive
content for the Gear VR. But many of devs those
will be sure to embrace Daydream as well once it
grows beyond the Pixel phones. Google was always going to be
the one to beat on mobile VR. The Android infrastructure
is a natural home for virtual reality. They definitely know this
and have been careful to make approachable moves that
have the long term vision of VR at Google in mind. The Daydream View is
ultimately about as perfect as VR headsets get right now. Its only shortcoming is its stunted ambition, Google could have
done a lot more in terms of input or positional
tracking, but it’s clear the Daydream View isn’t a product
designed with the people who have other VR headsets
sitting on their desk. It’s for the people who
haven’t had a reason to try one out yet.

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