Virtual reality was all the trend last year. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR systems released to a lot of hype. Samsung revealed its consumer version of the Gear VR mobile headset in late 2015. Google debuted its Google Daydream View headset and Daydream VR platform towards the end of 2016. Nokia also interrupted its Ozo VR camera, citing “slower-than-expected development of the VR market.”
However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been any enhancements or new additions to space. Facebook’s Oculus recently undraped a standalone headset that’s coming back next year, and Google additionally announced it’s working with Lenovo, Qualcomm, and HTC to introduce unbound mobile headsets that don’t need a phone or PC. Whereas we’ve yet to find out more about those devices, we’ll need to make do with Google’s 2017 update to last year’s Google Daydream View headset. In our review, we tend to found that while the headset doesn’t add a lot of regarding recent stuff, it dramatically improves the expertise and it’s still one amongst the comfiest VR headsets we’ve tried.
What is Google Daydream View?
Daydream is Google’s mobile virtual reality software system platform. Put a supported headset on with a supported smartphone, and you’ll be placed in a park with a floating screen of media content and apps. You’ll be able to look around in 360-degrees by moving your head around. However, the headset doesn’t track your position within the room as some high-end VR headsets do — it’s best used on a chair.
In the Daydream surroundings, you’ve got access to the Google Play Store, permitting you to install apps, games, or download movies directly in VR. Familiar media services are offered with “VR” connected to them: Netflix VR, YouTube VR, Hulu VR, and more. You’ll primarily wish to look at 360-degree content here for the total, immersive experience, however, regular videos can play as usual, with you sitting in an exceedingly comfortable living room watching a large, rectangular screen.
Since its launch last year, the Google Daydream View has grown significantly. There are tons of and thousands of videos you’ll be able to watch, and a plethora of games. VR’s biggest downside is its lack of appealing titles and content to keep us returning, and we’re happy to find a lot to dig through on Daydream. Still, just because there are a lot of games, doesn’t mean they’re nice. Plenty of titles, like Gunjack 2: end of Shift, tend to feel quite repetitive.
There are plenty of free games and content to examine, but do note that you’ll need to cough up some dough certainly apps and games. Thankfully, most of the paid content is cheap, usually under $5 and $10.
Google Daydream View and its Improvements
The Daydream View comes with a controller. However, there’s not a lot of tech within the actual headset itself.
We admired last year’s design and material and said it’s and oozes comfort — nearly like breathable sweatpants. However, once you place the new Daydream View next to the 2016 model, you’ll instantly notice the difference. The 2017 design itself is incredibly similar. However, everything feels a lot of rigid and tight. The material is textured nearly like canvas. The strap is firmer, and also the inside lining where your face rests is softer and lighter.
Since its launch last year, the Google Daydream platform has expanded considerably.
We still like last year’s softer exterior material. However, this year’s Daydream View looks smarter. It’s a better fit, and there’s an additional strap that goes over your head for extra support (you can take away it if you don’t need it). There’s no need to worry if you’ve got glasses, we had no issues wearing the Daydream View over ours, and the same is right with last year’s model.
Unlike the first generation headset, you’ll no longer stow away the controller on the inside of the front cover of the new Daydream View. Google suggests putting the controller in a loop on the back strap. It is smart — we hardly transported our headset. Therefore there wasn’t a lot of a requirement to stow the controller. The option to put it in the strap is simply as convenient.
The flap where you place your phone now doubles as a magnesium heat-sink that helps with a very real downside with VR: Burning hot phones. Last year, our pixel XL often got unbelievably hot after about an hour of VR use, making games to slow down and shutter. We’ve already seen the heat-drain on the new headset facilitate lots. We played a couple of games and watched some 360-degree content for about an hour, and our pixel 2 XL only got warm. This implies you should be able to spend more time in VR without heat forcing you to stop.
But the best change over last year’s Daydream View is that the 10-degree wider field of view. It’s simple to note the difference once switching between the 2016 and also the 2017 model. 10 degrees may not sound like much. However you’re able to see a good deal more on the screen, and better of all there’s far less light leak. Last year’s headset had gaps on the edges and close to the nose, which allowed light to leak in from outside and disturb the experience. You’ll always shut down the lights, but that’s just a half-measure. There are nearly zero light leaks with the new headset, tho’ we did see a couple of gaps near the nose — you will have to regulate the headset, so everything is completely covered.
The Daydream View is also a little more substantial than before, and while it’s not as comfy, it still takes the crown as the comfiest mobile VR headset. Its primary competition is Samsung’s Gear VR that uses hard plastic. It’s bulkier, heavier, and not as engaging or comfy.
Not much has modified with the plastic controller. It fits perfectly in our hands, quite like a Nintendo Switch Joy-Con, and feels sleek to the touch. The controller now matches the color of the headset you purchase, rather than always being a dull gray. There’s an indented trackpad that may recognize swipes and presses, an App button, a Home button, and a volume rocker on the side. If you need to re-center the home screen, press and hold the home button or the action in any app or game. The most significant physical difference is that the App button is now raised to differentiate it further from the home button.
Google Daydream View Simple Set up
Right now, there are twelve phones that work with Daydream VR: Google Pixel, Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, Pixel XL, Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 Plus, LG V30, Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z Force, Huawei Mate 9 Pro, Asus Zenfone AR, and ZTE axon 7. It’s an impressive list that has grown significantly this year, however, hopefully, we’ll begin seeing more budget-friendly devices trickle into the list.
You’ll ideally wish to use a device with higher|the next} resolution as everything can simply look better. Playing a game on the Pixel 2 XL, as an example, looked a lot better than on the Pixel 2. There’s no support for iOS yet, thus don’t expect to use Daydream with an iPhone X.
One of the biggest parts about Daydream is how simple it is to leap right in. You only got to check that the Daydream app is installed — you can find it on the Google Play Store. Place the smartphone on the inside of the flap, and an NFC device can detect it. Your phone might ask you to press and hold the home button on the controller thus it will pair with it. Once completed, Daydream mode should automatically launch on your smartphone. Simply shut the flap and attach the rubber strap to the “front door latch” to keep it secure.
It’s all pretty straightforward after that. You’ll see a pointer — that’s the direction your controller is pointing. Use it to point at apps or games you would like to open and press the trackpad. The controller feels way more responsive, and Google said it did create it more accurate. We’ve yet to run out of the controller’s 220mAh battery, however, if you run out of juice, there’s a USB Type-C port you’ll be able to use to charge it.
Google Daydream View Gaming and Watching Movies
While enjoying a variety of test games (including Eclipse: Edge of Light, and Gunship Battle 2), we had no problems with performance. Most of Google Daydream View’s supported devices run the Snapdragon 821 and also the Snapdragon 835. Therefore you shouldn’t run into any problems. The games we’ve been trying are fun and interactive. However, we’re not so sure if there’s enough here to make us come back six months from now.
Watching YouTube videos in VR is comfy enough, tho’ we still like a traditional screen without the headset-wearing us down. It always feels like you can merely exhaust your options of fine 360-degree content.
At times, mobile VR feels pretty much like mobile gaming. Games, for the most part, feel repetitive, with some exceptions, and it’s best to play brief sessions. The most effective part about the new Google Daydream View 2017 experience, though, is how you’ll be able to cast what you see to a Chromecast-enabled TV simply. It worked seamlessly for us, and it allows you to increase the fun with more people.
Price, Availability, and Warranty
The Google Daydream View 2 costs $20 more than last year’s model, setting you back $100. You’ll want a compatible phone too — the most affordable being last year’s ZTE Axon 7. It’s offered for purchase now in sessions grey, black, and coral.
For a limited time, Google is giving $40 of Google Play Store credit once you purchase the new Daydream view. That should be lots to get you started with some excellent games.
Google offers a regular limited warranty that protects your device from manufacturing defects one year since the date of purchase.
Google’s latest Daydream View headset hugely improves upon last year’s model with better build quality, less light-leaking, and a snugger fit. It’s still one among the most comfortable VR headsets on the market, and also the Daydream platform has grown significantly.
Is there a better alternative?
At this price point, your next best choice is the Gear VR from Samsung. It’s not as cozy. However, it’s a large library of excellent games — some of which also are offered for the Oculus Rift. The problem is you need a Samsung smartphone to use it. If you don’t wish to switch to a Samsung smartphone, Daydream is your best bet.
You may wish to wait to see what Google and its partners have cooked for standalone VR headsets. These devices won’t need a phone, nor will they need any cables that tether them to a pc. We’re probably going to see news regarding them closer to the end of the year. Therefore it should be worth the wait. Chances are good they’ll be more expensive – however also more advanced.
How long will it last?
Last year’s Google Daydream View 2016 continues to work surely well, and it’s receiving plenty of the software improvements seen here. Considering there’s not a lot of tech within the actual headset itself, we tend to imagine the 2017 unit will continue working for three to four years, if not more. It, for the most part, depends on what direction Google takes the software.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you’re interested in VR, the Google Daydream View 2 is currently the most effective mobile VR headset on the market. The landscape may change shortly, though, as standalone headsets make their approach into the market.