A better VR experience from Google is finally here, but for how long?
Google jumped in the VR business a few years back when they introduced Cardboard VR to the masses. Now, the company is one-upping themselves with an insanely greater option called Daydream View. It’s a $79 portable VR headset equipped with a versatile motion controller that promises a high-quality mobile VR experience.
Sure, it’s obvious Google isn’t the only one doing this. There’s the Gear VR, which only works with Samsung phones. There’s Cardboard VR, which we discussed, in brief, a little earlier. And if you step out of the mobile realm, there’s the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the newly launched Playstation VR. Keep in mind, the last ones mentioned are going to set you back when it comes to price.
But when it comes to mobile VR, Daydream is by far the easiest of them all, and by far, offers the greatest experience. But before you go out and by one, there are some notable caveats that should be mentioned.
Setup: Getting the Daydream headset up and running is surprisingly simple. Literally, open the headset’s front door, slide your phone in, and that’s it. You’ll have to adjust the straps on your head to get a good fit and to ensure the image looks clear. From there, just hold down the action button on the motion controller and calibrate it with your headset to get going.
And don’t worry, there’s a really fun training demo that walks you through how to use remote and all of Daydream’s features.
Motion controller: This is by far one of my favorite components of Daydream. The device comes equipped with a motion controller that transforms the mobile VR experience. It works like any other remote but with a whole lot more capabilities. There’s even a cool little compartment stashed in the headset that allows you to store it when you’re done using it.
Image quality: Daydream most definitely outshines any mobile VR headset out there when it comes to image quality. There were times I had a couple of “oh shit” moments which certainly had me surprised. Every once in a while, you’ll have to adjust the straps on the device to get the image clearer, but again, it’s not something you’re constantly doing every 3-4 minutes. However, I do find at times that you’ll have to recalibrate the controller every couple of mins if you move around a lot. Other than that, superb image quality.
VR sickness: Daydream VR is exclusively made for Daydream-certified phones. At the time of writing this, there’s only two of them – Google Pixel and the Moto Z. This isn’t by accident. Google claims that by having phones and apps that meet a certain quality standard, the company ensures Daydream shouldn’t get you sick. Well, I did and it wasn’t pleasant. Was it out of the norm where it had me spewing chunks? No, but there was some unpleasantness. Not a big deal for me, but I can imagine it being for some.
Not enough content: I got bored of Daydream VR pretty fast. Google’s platform doesn’t offer enough stuff to do. And if there is something that really catches your eye, you’ll have to cough up $5 to $15 per app. Pretty messed up after spending $79 and purchase of a phone that supports the device. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fairly decent of free stuff, but it’s mostly lame apps that you’ll lose interest in pretty quickly.
Should you go out and buy one? Sure, but I would consider waiting it out if you don’t have a Daydream certified phone. There’s no reason to go out and buy a $79 device if it means you have to cough up the $600+ to buy a device that’s compatible with the Daydream.
For the folks who have a Daydream certified phone, definitely go out and get your hands on one. It’s fun, easy to use, and something that will entertain you and your friends over time. Sure, you’ll probably get bored by the lack of content, but Google promises more apps are on the way. As with anything on Android, developers usually take their time to make apps for it.
Overall, I liked it – it’s truly an enjoyable experience and I’m sure once more developers create more apps for the platform, I’m sure Daydream will be a winner in the mobile VR game.