Google Daydream View VR: Cardboard Version 2?
I was excited to get my free Daydream View VR device for ordering my Pixel XL. I really enjoy the device, but we have to make something clear. This is NOT virtual reality. It does well as trying to do so, but it's just not the same as what you'd get from a standard VR rig. It's not the HTC Vive. It's more like Google Cardboard version 2.0. That's not a bad thing.
I enjoy that the Daydream View is comfortable to wear for an extended amount of time. Even with glasses on your face, you can enjoy a virtual environment. The material is soft, but just sturdy enough. It also blends in fine with your home furniture so you could leave it in your living room.
Using The Daydream View
When you decide to fire it up, be sure you have an open area to stand or my preference, a swivel chair. Most of the apps for Daydream are based on 360-degree motion. This is good and not so good. Depending on the scenario, being able to see your surroundings is pretty immersive. Moving in that virtual space is even more immersive. This is when the included remote comes in handy with the Daydream. Depending on the app, the remote allows you to navigate in "z" space of the virtual environment. Google Street View for Daydream does a great job with this allowing you to get a sense of where you are. I also enjoy the YouVisit app for this reason. It allowed me to see parts of New York City from a helicopter. The ride felt real and allowed me to see Manhattan from above the tall buildings. I highly suggest coupling the experience with a set of nice headphones to really pull yourself into the virtual environment.
You don't have to solely enjoy "VR" or "360" apps to enjoy the Daydream. You can fire up the applicable YouTube or Hulu apps to watch your favorite videos. Watching videos this way makes it look like you're watching a 100-inch screen - or larger depending on if you select to zoom the screen. Some apps use a theater environment, others use an amphitheater environment. You'll totally forget you're sitting in your home. Definitely wear headphones for this experience because smartphone speakers are terrible in my opinion. Not all 360-degree cameras are created equal. Sometimes you'll notice lower quality footage depending on the camera being used. This isn't Daydream's fault.
You phone will get really hot after an extended amount of time. The CPU is working over time to provide a realistic experience. This can also lead to the headset feeling hot on your forehead. In that case, take it off. Otherwise, you'll be warned by your phone to take it off due to overheating.
Buy or wait?
The Daydream View is $79.99 through Google, Best Buy and Verizon. I personally don't think it's worth 80 bucks. Maybe it's worth $50. The remote control does give it a bonus. Then again, maybe I'm just too tight with cash. I'd say buy it, but only if you can spare the $80. Otherwise, wait for the holiday deals to come.
Thanks for reading my thoughts on the Daydream View. In my opinion, the device should be marketed as a virtual ENVIRONMENT device instead of a virtual REALITY device. I plan to have fun with this thing and share it with my family. This thing isn't just for geeks. I think everyone can enjoy it.
Check out my video review below. Please note that this is recorded with footage from my perspective as I wore the device, so it may look "funny" expanded on a flat screen. Thanks for watching and clicking those "like" and "share" buttons!